If you’re a fan of offensive football, then you probably really enjoyed Week 13 of the 2014 NFL season. On top of the outpouring of offensive production, there were several exciting matchups, a potential changing of the guard at quarterback in Cleveland, and a couple of coaches who likely sealed their fate with their current franchises following ugly losses. Here’s a look at five significant takeaways from Week 13 of the 2014 NFL season.
All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.
1. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL right now
Rodgers led the Packers to a 26-21 win over the New England Patriots in a game that many people feel was a preview of Super Bowl XLIX. The 10th-year signal caller out of Cal was clearly the best player on the field on Sunday, and did a lot to separate himself from the pack in the race for the 2014 NFL Most Valuable Player award.
2. Both New York teams will likely have new coaches in 2015
The New York Giants blew a 21-3 halftime lead and lost 25-24 to the then one-win Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13. Their second half collapse against Jacksonville dropped the Giants’ overall record to 3-9 in 2014 and clinched a second straight losing season for Tom Coughlin’s team.
The New York Jets lost an ugly 16-13 game to the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football in Week 13. The loss dropped the Jets’ 2014 record to 2-10, and for the first time in his career in New York, Jets head coach Rex Ryan was noticeably dejected and at a loss for words.
Ryan, who has not posted a winning season in New York since 2010, is expected to be fired shortly after the regular season, if not sooner. Rumors have even been circulating about the Jets making a play for San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
The situation with Coughlin is more complex. The Giants’ 68-year-old head coach has brought two Super Bowl titles to New York, but there is no denying that the Giants are now far from being contenders in the NFC East. The Giants are in the midst of their second straight losing season, likely signaling that Coughlin’s career in New York will be coming to an end sometime in the coming weeks.
3. The Arizona Cardinals may miss the playoffs
The Cardinals still own the best record (9-3) in the NFC, but they looked like anything but NFC contenders in Week 13. They lost 29-18 to the Atlanta Falcons, and their usually staunch defense was shredded by an inconsistent Falcons offense. Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton struggled, and the Cardinals’ running game was nonexistent against arguably the worst defense in the league. There isn’t an easy game remaining on the Cardinal’s schedule, and if things don’t turn around in a hurry, Arizona could miss the playoffs despite a 9-1 start to the season.
4. The Chicago Bears may have been better off if they kept Kyle Orton and never traded for Jay Cutler
When Jay Cutler forced his way out of Denver and the Broncos to traded him to the Chicago Bears, Kyle Orton, the Bears’ incumbent starting quarterback, was uprooted and traded to the Broncos as a part of the blockbuster deal. Orton had a decent run in Denver but was eventually replaced by Tim Tebow, and then latched on as a backup with the Dallas Cowboys. He is now the starter for the Buffalo Bills and has played the team into playoff contention. Cutler has at times looked brilliant, but for the most part has been incredibly inconsistent and frustrating for Bears fans or anyone involved with the Bears organization. Here’s a look at the two quarterbacks’ statistics since the trade:
- 11,700 passing yards
- 61.4% completion rate
- 66 touchdown passes
- 37 interceptions
- 45 starts
- 19-26 record
- 18,018 passing yards
- 61.3% completion rate
- 125 touchdown passes
- 89 interceptions
- 79 starts
- 44-35 record
Orton flat out does not have the physical attributes that Cutler does. But he does do an excellent job of managing games and limiting turnovers; Cutler struggles with both. The most important stat on the above list is overall record. Cutler has a better winning percentage since the trade, but at the same time, Orton has never played on a team nearly as talented as the teams Cutler has had in Chicago.
This is a difficult comparison, but given his performance this season for the Buffalo Bills, it’s hard to not wonder what Orton could do with an offense as talented as the Bears have.
5. C.J. Anderson may save the 2014 season for the Denver Broncos
The above statement may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the emergence of the Broncos’ rushing attack, led by Anderson, in their last two games gives definite reason for optimism following two ugly losses in the month of November. If Anderson proves to be the running back Denver has been missing over the next month, the Broncos will be a completely different team when the postseason rolls around.