As NFL & College Playoffs Approach, Aaron Rodgers Closes In On Pat Mahomes’ MVP

It was an action-packed weekend in the NFL and CFB.

Alabama Is The Cream Of The Crop

First, let’s start with CFB where the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide completely annihilated their second-biggest arch nemesis and defending national champion LSU Tigers 55-17 in Death Valley at Tiger Stadium.

https://twitter.com/seniorbowl/status/1336020556622286848

Bama got 385 yards passing and 4 touchdowns from current Heisman front runner Mac Jones. The Tide also got 145 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns from star tailback Najee Harris.

And last but not least, wide receiver DeVonta Smith had a performance that gives him 15 catches with 446 yards and 5 touchdowns in his last two games against the Tigers and their superstar corner Derek Stingley Jr.

I’ve long believed that Smith — the second part of the hero duo as a freshman in the 2018 CFP National Title Game along with current Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa  —  is a better receiver than his former teammates, current NFL receivers Jerry Jeudy (Broncos) and Henry a Ruggs (Raiders).

The Tide seems to have fixed their unusually leaky defense for the most part as well, and are firmly entrenched as the #1 seed in the CFP as an SEC Title game against the talented Florida Gators await on Dec 19th in Atlanta.

The Contenders

Rounding out the top 6 in the CFP rankings are the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and No. 3 Clemson Tigers. These teams will clash again in the ACC Title game with Dabo Swinney’s squad looking to avenge their only loss this season, a 47-40 double OT loss in South Bend. Trevor Lawrence was out with COVID-19 during that game and will be hungry in this one. They’re followed by No.4 Ohio State, No. 5 Texas AM and 6th-ranked Florida.

The most entertaining game of the weekend took place in Myrtle Beach SC, as the 18th-ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (a program that began playing at Division 1 FBS level in 2017) upset Zac Wilson and the BYU Cougars 22-17 to improve to 10-0.

 The win gave Coastal Carolina its first-ever over an AP ranked team. The game was made on 3 days notice as their original opponent, the 9-1 Liberty Flames was forced to pull out of the game with COVID-19 related matters.

 So the Cougars who pride themselves on this motto “’Well Play Anyone, Anytime, and Anywhere” pounced on the opportunity to add this game to both teams’ resume with each being 9-0 and not many marquee matchups to help them in their postseason bowl positioning. 

Both of these teams are tough, gritty and well-coached. Both should receive strong consideration for a bid in one of the six New Year’s Bowl Games (Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Peach Bowl).

 NFL NEWS

The New Orleans Saints (10-2), winners of nine straight after a 1-2 start are now 8-0 without Drew Brees the last two seasons. They’re being led by a stingy defense that seems to have hit its stride, along with their do-it-all tailback Alvin Kamara and the receiver with the strongest hands in the NFL in Michael Thomas who became the fastest ever to reach the 500-Catch milestone in just 69 career games.

They’re joined at the top of the NFL by the Kansas City Chiefs who are now (11-1) and have won seven in a row. Their superstar tight end Travis Kelce reached his own milestone last night becoming the first tight end in league history to have five 1000-receiving yard seasons.

 Patrick Mahomes further solidified that he’s the front runner for NFL MVP. He currently has 31 touchdowns passes and just 2 interceptions this season while averaging 317 YPG and completing a career-high 68.3 % of his passes with a career-best passer rating of 113.8.

His only other competition for the award resides in Green Bay and he goes by the name of Aaron Rodgers (36 TDs/4 INTs) and yesterday he too reached a millstone with his 400th Career Touchdown Pass and he did it in 192 Career Games, which happens to be the fastest ever.

 He’s also now seventh all-time in touchdown tosses behind Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Marino and Philip Rivers). In the Packers 30-16 win over the hapless Eagles, Carson Wentz was benched in favor of 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts who provided a real spark once being inserted.

 You can expect a QB controversy in the “City Of Brotherly Love” going forward. Packers improved to (9-3) and one game behind the Saints for the top overall seed in the conference and that one coveted bye under the expanded playoff system. 

Best Of The Rest 

The Seahawks (8-3), Rams (7-4) and Cardinals (6-5) all entered yesterday separated by just one game separating each in the Uber tough NFC West.

 Don’t forget the injury-riddled and defending NFC champion Niners are (5-6) and swept the Rams. But yesterday the Rams continued to shine on defense and they got a big win in Zona (38-28) and they completely silenced the echoes championing Kyler Murray as an MVP candidate.

 Rams defense is fast, aggressive and multi-faceted led by Aaron Donald. The Seahawks blew a home game to the Giants and backup quarterback Colt McCoy. This was the Giants’ fourth consecutive win after starting the season (1-7) in the hapless and downright awful NFC East they lead the division now at (5-7).

 I firmly believe that Russell Wilson cost(s) himself any hopes of winning the MVP, an award he’s strangely never received not one vote for in his illustrious and Hall Of Fame worthy building resume. Rams now lead the division at (8-4), followed by the Seahawks with the same record (8-4), Cardinals (6-6) and the (5-6) Niners face the (8-3) on MNF.

Browns dance into “Music City” (Nashville) and for all intents and purposes manhandle the Titans (41-35). The score isn’t indicative as to how dominant the Browns were as they led 38-7 at the half behind 252 yards passing and 4 touchdowns tosses from Baker Mayfield who easily played the best game of his NFL career.

NFL Coach Of The Year 

Head coach Kevin Stefanski is currently second in my coach of the year rankings behind Dolphins (8-4) head coach Brian Flores. Titans fall back into a first-place tie with division mate Indianapolis at 8-4.

Outside Looking In

Vikings are rising, Once 1-5, they are now 6-6 after a 27-24 overtime win by over the awful Jaguars. Mike Zimmer is a leader of men and has his team back in the playoff hunt. 

Raiders avoid being the first team to lose to the Jets by winning 31-28 on a 46-yard Derek Carr to former Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs bomb with three seconds left.

“Just End The Season” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams inexplicably blitzed leaving his defensive backs in man-to-man at the game’s end on the final play and the Raiders needing a touchdown to win. Jets are 0-12 and almost assured of the #1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft while the Raiders keep their playoff hopes alive at (7-5).

Games still to be played for Week 13 as we inch closer to the postseason.

Washington (4-7) at Pittsburgh (11-0) – Monday @5PM at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh PA

Steelers are the only undefeated team in the league. Washington is one game behind the Giants for the “NFC Least” lead. The game was rescheduled from Sunday due to the Ravens COVID-19 breakout last week forcing their matchup with the Steelers to be moved from Thanksgiving night to last Wednesday.

Bills (8-3) visit the Niners (5-6) on the original MNF game at 8:15PM

 Bills bring their explosive offense led by Josh Allen and Stefan Diggs. Niners counter with an offense and defense which seems to be getting healthy in this thus far injury-riddled campaign for the defending NFC champions.

Cowboys (3-8) travel to “Charm City” to face the Ravens (6-5) on Tuesday at 8:05 PM

The Ravens are currently fighting their playoff lives after dropping three straight games (Patriots, Titans , Steelers). They get quarterback LaMar Jackson back from his bout with (COVID-19) which should help immensely. Cowboys still hope they can win the NFC East.

A lot of teams are jockeying for playoff positions, which is great for fans and the leagues. With so much to still be decided over the last few weeks, buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the rest of this ride in this very strange NFL and NCAA football.