Week 14 in the NFL season was one of the more entertaining weeks of the season thus far. With very few teams having been completely eliminated, there is still a lot to be decided in the final quarter of the season, if anything, week 14 just made the whole playoff picture in both conferences that blurrier. This is something that I’m sure the NFL loves, as the parity in the league is becoming more evident. With that being said, there were still some big time winners and losers during week 14.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have not been in the postseason since 2007, a span of eight seasons. All but four other franchises have been in the playoffs during that span. However, that drought could be coming to an end soon. Jacksonville still needs help, as they sit a game back of Indianapolis and Houston, but they did themselves a huge favor this weekend by crushing the Colts 51-16, and outscoring Indy 42-3 in the second half. It may be a little too late for the Jaguars, but their domination this week showed they’re on the rise. It must be refreshing for Jags fans to see their team alive at this juncture in the season, and with a little help, they could be hosting a playoff game in four weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are on an absolute tear right now, winning their last seven games after a 1-5 start that had some fans petitioning for Andy Reid to lose his job as head coach. All of a sudden, it’s no longer a lock that Denver will even win the AFC West after their slip up at home to the Raiders as the Chiefs sit just two games back with three to play. The remaining schedule looks pretty favorable on paper as well, as the Chiefs final three opponents have a combined record of 13-26. It is a good sign for Kansas City fans that the team is finding its groove at the right time. If you remember, it was just two seasons ago when the Chiefs started 9-0, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have been losers in every sense of the word for the past two months now, but this really came full circle this past Sunday when Atlanta was drubbed 38-0 by divisional rival Carolina. Yes, the Panthers are really good, great even, but that is an embarrassing score. Make it six losses in a row now for a team that started out 5-0, and aside from squeaking by the lowly Tennessee Titans 10-7, they have lost every game since and are now 6-7. However, it’s not as if no one saw this coming. The Falcons needed a fourth quarter comeback against a completely brand new Eagles team, a double digit fourth quarter comeback against a Giants team that can’t hold a lead, multiple two touchdown comebacks against the Brandon Weeden led Cowboys, and overtime at home against the Washington Redskins. Atlanta has a long way to go to become competitive again, and it’s never been more evident than now.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cincinnati seemed poised to break out of their playoff losing drought this year, but those hopes took a big hit Sunday. Not only did the Bengals lose badly to the Steelers at home, but they lost their starting quarterback, Andy Dalton, to a broken thumb. It remains to be seen how long Dalton will be out, but this is not good for Cincy. The Bengals came into the weekend as the #1 seed in the AFC, but have fallen to the #2 seed, and could lose that first round bye if they can’t finish the year strong. Say what you will about Dalton, but this Bengals team is better off with him under center then A.J. McCarron. If Dalton cannot get back on the field soon, the Bengals winless drought in the playoffs, which dates back to 1991, may live another year.