The NFL now seems to be winging it without any rhyme or reason.
They forced Denver to play without a quarterback by refusing to move their game with the Saints, but moved the Baltimore-Pittsburgh game three times. l
Things will get worse with Thanksgiving weekend being a super spreader, but the NFL has increased size of the practice squads so they can replace players on the Covid list.
The NFL seems intent on playing all the games and collecting the TV money even if the teams wind up being a 2020 version of the 1987 replacement teams.
—Patrick Mahomes outdueled Tom Brady to lead the Chiefs to the victory over the Bucs. He threw for 462 yards passing and has had at least 30 completions and 300 yards passing in four consecutive games – an NFL record. Tyreek Hill had 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter and finished with 269 yards. Brady rallied the Bucs but fell short in a 27-24 loss that raised questions about whether the Bucs are running the first offense for Brady.
—It has been assumed that KC and Pittsburgh will meet in the AFC title game, but the Titans can’t be counted out after they crushed the Colts 45-24. Derrick Henry had 178 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. The Colts couldn’t stop him with run stuffer DeForest Buckner sidelined. In bad weather in the playoffs, they could challenge the Chiefs and/or Steelers with their running game.
—What was the NFL thinking when it made Denver play without a quarterback? Running back Phillip Lindsay started but rookie Kendall Hinton, who came up from the practice squad, took most of the snaps in a 31-3 loss to the Saints. Hinton completed one of 9 passes for 13 yards and was picked twice. But nobody was blaming him. He was placed in an impossible situation. With one completion and two picks, he was the first quarterback to have more interceptions than completions since Ryan Leaf did it in 1998.
—Seattle beat Philadelphia, which was no surprise, but a lot of money changed hands at the end. The Eagles scored a Hail Mary touchdown and a two-point conversion to lose by 6. Since they were 6½ point underdogs, they covered the spread. Imagine having Seattle giving the 6½. There was a report that one bettor did that and put down $500,000 on the Seahawks.
—Minnesota edged Carolina 28-27 as Kirk Cousin threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 46 seconds left, but the star of the game was Carolina linebacker Jeremy Chin. He grabbed a Cousins fumble and went 17 yards for a touchdown and then on the first play of the next series, he helped force a Dalvin Cook fumble and went 30 yards for his second touchdown. He was the first player with multiple fumble returns for touchdowns in a game since 1948. He is also believed to be the only player ever to do it on consecutive plays from scrimmage.
—Aaron Rodgers set another milestone, surpassed the 50,000 yard mark in passing yardage as he threw for four touchdowns in a 41-25 win over the Bears. He has better numbers than Brett Favre in several categories but Favre won the personality and is probably more beloved in the hearts and minds of Packer fans.
—The Giants edged the Bengals 19-17 to tie Washington for first place at 4-7 in the NFC East. Imagine one of those teams will likely host a playoff game. Washington beat Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. The Giants have rebounded after starting their season 0-5 but quarterback Daniel Jones could miss time with a hamstring change.
—The Jets and Jaguars both lost to the Dolphins and Brown to retain the top two spots in the draft next year. The winner probably gets Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars fired general manager Dave Caldwell after the loss and head coach Doug Marrone is likely to join him on the unemployment line after the season. Adam Gase of the Jets also figures to get the pink slip after the season if not before.
—The Lions fired both GM Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia after their Thanksgiving Day loss to Houston. Another coach on the hot seat is Anthony Lynn of San Diego, who is 4-14 over his last 18 games and has been guilty of poor game management several times.
—Will interim coach Raheem Morris get the Atlanta job at the end of the year? After the Falcons routed the Raiders, 43-6, he is 4-2 since taking over for Dan Quinn, who was fired after a 0-5 start.