Snap Reactions from Week 14 in the NFL

Snap Reactions from Week 14 in the NFL
Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) and free safety Xavier Woods (23) and outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) breakup the final pass of the game intended for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (88) in the endzone during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings played on Thursday, and “snap reactions” from that rollercoaster game can be read here.

Here’s our take on the rest of the action leaguewide from Week 14.

  1. Lamar Jackson’s injury should bring zero surprise to your cerebral cortex. He had a legendary 2019 season and has played pretty well since. But here’s the deal: Heading into Sunday, Jackson ranked ninth in the NFL for rushing yards this season. Running backs get hurt. Jackson certainly isn’t a running back, but he runs the ball with the frequency of an RB2. That style of play will leave him injured more than other quarterbacks. It’s science. Ask yourself why Cam Newton’s career is floundering at age 32. He got tackled a lot. It’s not supernatural.
  2. The Buffalo Bills, their fans, and the media made a grave mistake coronating the franchise after one mediocre year of football from the New England Patriots. The Bills cannot run the football. The Patriots can. New England will win the AFC East, making the “Bills run this division” chatter amid the last two years seem asinine.
  3. The MVP race is down to three men: Tom Brady, Kyler Murray, and Aaron Rodgers. Brady should be considered the frontrunner as Murray missed a month of action, and voters typically show fatigue in awarding back-to-back MVP trophies.
  4. The Indianapolis Colts are a spooky-good team bearing down on the playoff race. They do everything well. Remember that.
  5. The Vikings effectively eliminated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, plunging Mike Tomlin’s team’s playoff probability to 10% per FiveThirtyEight.com after Week 14. Ben Roethlisberger’s final hurrah evidently won’t include a playoff run.
  6. The Kansas City Chiefs are back. While it was fair to wonder “what’s going on?” it was dumb to ponder a 2021 playoff bracket without the Chiefs. Their defense is suddenly good — on-brand for a usually late-arriving Steve Spagnuolo unit. Kansas City will be in the AFC Championship, at the very least. The adversity was probably good for them.
  7. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the ugliest 9-4 teams in recent memory. Mike McCarthy’s team isn’t bad, but do you think they’re serious threats to the Packers, Buccaneers, Cardinals, or Rams? Nope.
  8. The Seattle Seahawks found their swagger too late. The 3-8 hole was too deep for even the mightiest like Russell Wilson.
  9. The Denver Broncos possess a sneaky talented and deep roster. If Teddy Bridgewater can make enough plays down the stretch, Denver will steal the seventh AFC playoff spot.
  10. The Cincinnati Bengals must crawl before they walk. Some weeks, the squad is masterful. And sometimes they look like a team led by a second-year quarterback — which is exactly what they are.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).