The final NFL Sunday before Thanksgiving has come and gone. Week 11 provided thrills and spills in equal measure. Here are the headline makers from this week as Tayyib Abu and Marissa Myers give their weekly stock report.
NFC Stock Up:
Who do you think holds the longest current win streak in the NFC? It is Dan Campbell’s fighting Detroit Lions. Detroit trebled down on Sunday as they dominated the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. The Lions wrecked the Giants’ game plan as they nullified the run and forced Daniel Jones to chase the game. After waiting 22 months for a road win, Campbell’s Lions have won two consecutive road games. The Lions are playing meaningful football on Thanksgiving, and it should be a ferocious atmosphere at Ford Field on Thursday.
The Dallas Cowboys detonated their doomsday device at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. Dallas ravaged the Minnesota Vikings in a 40-3 beat down. It was the biggest road win in team history. Dallas’ defense mauled the Vikings’ offensive line. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins was pressured on 63% of his dropbacks. In total, five Cowboys registered sacks. Dorance Armstrong and Micah Parson had two apiece. Parsons had nine individual pressures for the game. Dallas’ defense crushed Minnesota’s offense.
Offensively, the Cowboys never punted and amassed 458 total yards of offense. Dallas used their two-headed backfield to devastating effect. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for two touchdowns, and Tony Pollard snagged two receiving touchdowns. Brett Maher even nailed a 60-yard field goal. Twice!! Every element of the Cowboys’ game clicked in this matchup. At 7-3, they are primed for a big run at the NFC East title.
“Riverboat” Ron Rivera and his Washington Commanders are at it again! Washington has now won five of their last six games. At 6-5, they are alive and kicking in the NFC. Key to their upturn has been a stingy defense. Across the last six games, Washington’s defense has kept opposing offenses very quiet. Opponents are averaging 16 points per game against the Commanders. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke is looking after the ball and making enough plays to give his team a chance. The Commanders are cooking right now.
NFC Stock Down:
New York Giants
The Giants had walked a tightrope to a 7-2 record. Their formula was simple and effective; run the ball, stop the run, and be brilliant in the red zone. The Lions shredded the tightrope. Detroit ran in four red zone touchdowns. Saquon Barkley registered 22 rushing yards. In total, the Giants posted 89 rushing yards. With the Giants’ run game in ruins, Daniel Jones pressed and threw two costly interceptions. Detroit scored 14 points off those interceptions. The Giants’ margin for error disappeared, and they lost convincingly. A road trip to Dallas awaits the Giants on Thanksgiving, a massive test for Brian Daboll’s side. Consecutive defeats could cause panic in the Big Apple.
Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford suffered his second concussion in two weeks. The Rams are 3-7. They do not have a first round pick in 2023. The Rams’ bandwagon has lost its wheels. A defeat to the New Orleans Saints ended the Rams’ playoff hopes. A year is a long time in the NFL. From cradling the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February, the Rams are staring down the barrel in November.
The Vikings got humiliated by the Cowboys. It was the kind of performance coaches like to ‘flush’ down the toilet. Nothing worked for Minnesota. They are still in charge of the NFC North, but a damaging defeat like this may hurt them in the playoffs. Kevin O’Connell’s team needs a significant response on Thursday night when they battle the New England Patriots’ top-notch defense.
AFC Stock Up:
If there was a Most Valuable Defensive Player of the Game award, it would go to Trey Hendrickson. In the Cincinnati Bengals game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was giving Kenny Pickett nightmares with how frequently he was in the backfield. Hendrickson notched seven pressures which he turned into two sacks, two quarterback hits, and three hurries. It didn’t stop there as Hendrickson also had three tackles and four run stops, and was able to play in coverage, only allowing nine yards on two receptions! Hendrickson was a game wrecker, and continues to show he was a steal from the Bengals 2021 free agency period.
The Tennessee Titans put together a sensational game on Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers. It was a complete game from the entire team. Starting with Ryan Tannehill, who put together his best game of the season with an 81.5% completion percentage, 333 yards, and two touchdowns. The receiving group stepped up as well, especially Treylon Burks with his 111 yards on seven catches, and Robert Woods who had six receptions for 69 yards, and three first downs. The offense complimented the defense, which held Aaron Rodgers to just 227 yards and the run game to 56 yards. If they can continue to play this way the rest of the season, they will be difficult to stop.
Jordan Poyer is a huge key to the success of the Buffalo Bills, as when he plays, they have a 6-0 record after their win against the Cleveland Browns. With Poyer the Bills only allow 14.8 points per game, without they allowed 19.3. Poyer was a difference maker in his first game back, flying around all over the field. He allowed only one reception in coverage, but it went for negative yardage due to how quick he was able to notch the tackle. Poyer also finished with a forced incompletion and pass breakup. He brought an elevated element to the defense, and it showed in how the Bills played.
AFC Stock Down:
The New York Jets defense put together a great game, limiting the New England Patriots to only three points until a punt return for a touchdown gave them the 10-3 win. Had it been for the offense showing up, they could’ve had a chance to get the win, but Zach Wilson had a poor game. Although his response when asked after the game if he felt he had let the defense down was a simple “no”, he didn’t do them any favors. In the game the Jets had more punts with 10, than Wilson did completions as he had nine. The struggles Wilson had were highlighted by his second half performance that saw the offense only put together two yards over 26 plays. His 3.5 yards per attempt are also the fewest by any quarterback with at least 10 attempts this season. Wilson has not shown any growth in his second year, and it may just cost the Jets a chance at the playoffs.
In back-to-back games now, the Cleveland Browns have seen their run game with Nick Chubb get shut down. Last week against the Miami Dolphins he had 63 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown, this week against the Buffalo Bills though, things got worse. Chubb was limited to just 19 yards on 14 carries, averaging 1.9 yards per carry. This led to Jacoby Brissett having to take over in the passing game, but it wasn’t enough and resulted in the loss.
So, Nathaniel Hackett finally made the decision to hand over play calling duties to Klint Kubiak, and yet the outcome was the same. The Broncos scored only 16 points against this Las Vegas Raiders defense that had allowed over 20 points in every game prior. The Broncos are still struggling with penalties, dropping passes, and fumbling the ball. They don’t have the fundamentals down, and it is going to be a long seven weeks to finish out the season for Broncos Country, who are on a very bumpy ride at the moment.