Coming into Week 14, the New Orleans Saints had a chance to put the division further out of reach by facing the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta on Thursday Night Football. The Carolina Panthers had a tough match-up at home to face another NFC playoff team, the Minnesota Vikings. The lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers were home to face the Detroit Lions.
So what happened in Week 14?
It wasn’t a good week for New Orleans. No one cares really what happened for the Buccaneers as far as the division is concerned, but they lost to the Lions, 24-21, effectively eliminating the Bucs from playoff contention. The referees Atlanta Falcons beat the Saints 17-20, and with a Panthers win (24-31), the division is as tight as ever at the top. The Saints and Panthers are both currently 9-4 with the Saints in first place based off tie-breakers.
The Green Bay Packers ended up with a fascinating list of snap counts in their week 14 game against the Cleveland Browns. The interesting point comes particularly at the cornerback position, which saw the team severely shorthanded coming into the game.
Kevin King just went on injured reserve in the past few days, and Davon House played after being listed as doubtful for the game. However, House left midway through the game with a serious back injury, and did not return.
That normally would have indicated more playing time for Josh Hawkins opposite Damarious Randall, but instead the snap counts show that the Packers played with a single traditional cornerback on the field for a significant period of time, apparently with Morgan Burnett lining up both in the slot and on the boundary at times.
I didn’t hear his name or see Darrelle Revis very often against the Oakland Raiders which is a good sign. We’ve been hearing too much about that side of the secondary lately but Revis did a nice job quieting things down.
Derek Carr was bad so that certainly helped. There was one long pass play where Revis was beat if Carr threw a good pass but overall a good second game for him. His first game back last week he looked rusty with a couple of glaring missed tackles but this game seemed better (I say “seemed” because I haven’t re-watched the game yet).
Revis played 56 of the Chiefs 61 defensive snaps on the day up from 36 last week. Marcus Peters was out so I’m not quiet sure how that affected the rotation among the cornerbacks. The Chiefs plan was to make Revis a starter and two weeks in he’s basically there.
By now, you’ve seen that the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills faced-off in near-blizzard conditions on Sunday, the Bills pulling it out in overtime, 13-7.
The weather conditions obviously forced adjustments of the game plan, and both teams wound up running the ball almost constantly.