Monday Musings Derek Carr injury history kick open the AFC door for the Patriots

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When didn't get up from a hit late in the ' over the on Saturday, aside from the disdain for seeing a star down, my initial thought was something I've been thinking for a while: NFL Week 16 The will have an easy run through the AFC playoffs. The Patriots, who can lock up the top seed Sunday by beating the in Miami, have looked like the best team in Casey Mittelstadt Men Jersey the conference all season, and nothing that happened over the weekend changed my mind. Losing Carr is almost a damning blow to the Raiders. The , in my mind, are the one team that can match up with the Patriots, but history bucks thinking they can go into Foxborough and win in late January. The Steelers impre sed in beating the , their explosive offense rallying for the winning touchdown in the final seconds to win the AFC North. With , they have the star pa ser you need to win in the playoffs. Look around at the rest of the potential AFC playoff quarterbacks. The other four are (Raiders), ( ), ( ) and (Dolphins). Oh, boy. The Steelers seem to be the best threat, but are 1-4 at New England since became the starter and the Steelers have won only 3 of 11 games vs. the Patriots with Brady as the starter. In those games, Brady has 26 touchdown pa ses and only three interceptions. The Patriots beat the Steelers 27-16 on Oct. 23 in Pittsburgh, but that was without Roethlisberger. As the Steelers showed Sunday against the Ravens, they have the offensive firepower to keep up. The i sue Linus Ullmark Men Jersey is whether they have the defense to slow down Brady. The Patriots lead the NFL in scoring margin with a point differential of plus-170 (11.4 points per game). Atlanta is second at 8.5 points. The Patriots also have the league's top-ranked scoring defense but haven't played a lot of high-octane offenses. Of their 15 games, they only faced top-10 offenses in the opener at Arizona and against the Big Ben-le s Steelers. Even so, New England's defense is good enough to win in concert with Brady and the offense. The Patriots enter the final week as the team to beat in either conference, and certainly the AFC front-runner. Who else can challenge them with Carr done for the season? Who? Maybe the Steelers, but that's it -- and history says that's not going to happen. More musings from around the NFL: While I think the Steelers are the AFC's most dangerous team, the Packers are that team in the NFC. If they beat the this week, they are the NFC North champs. I think they will do that, which means at least one playoff game at Lambeau Field. The Packers have Justin Falk Women Jersey won five straight mainly because has been on fire. In his past 10 games, he has thrown 26 touchdown pa ses to run his season total to 36 and put him in the MVP discu sion. He threw four TD pa ses vs. the and ran for another. All that talk that he wasn't the same pa ser earlier this season seems like a long time ago and really looks foolish. Rodgers is still Rodgers, which is why the Packers will be a dangerous playoff team. One of the strangest things coming out of the weekend was the poor play of Seattle's defense in a to Arizona. threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns, but the Seahawks lost because the defense was bad. After tying the score with a minute left, it appeared Seattle would win, but mi sed the extra point. All Arizona did was move 50 yards to set up a winning 43-yard field goal by as time expired. The had 370 yards of Ryan Oreilly Jersey total offense, but it was the late-game drive to the field goal that summed up Seattle's defense Saturday. That must improve come playoff time. The Seattle offensive line isn't good either. Wilson was sacked six times and ran away from a bunch more. That unit has been dreadful all season. The Seahawks also blew a chance to lock up the NFC's second seed. That would go to the if they win at New Orleans on Sunday. That means the great home-field advantage the Seahawks have could be in play for only one game. Defying a coach might be the worst on-field transgre sion any player commits. Yet the Minnesota Vikings secondary did that in Sunday's to the Green Bay Packers. I would fine them all. I would sit some of them. I would send a me sage, and Mike Zimmer has to do Nathan Beaulieu Jersey that. Zimmer, who has endured as trying a season as any coach could, with a ton of on-field injuries and mi sing a game because of eye surgery, wanted corner to shadow Packers receiver . The Vikings decided something else was better, so they stayed on their sides. There were some reports it was for the first half, but there was another that said it was only for the first series. Corner covered Nelson some early on, and so did Rhodes. In the second half, Rhodes matched up on Nelson after the staff told him to do so. Rhodes tweeted that there was more to the story and said he obeys authority. Time will tell. The tape will tell the full story. Why would players overrule a pregame plan during the game anyway? And get away with it for however long they did it? It's not a good look for Zimmer or the players. That should never happen. In the past two games, which eliminated Minnesota from the playoffs, the Vikings gave up 72 points to and Rodgers. Justin Falk Men Jersey While they are good quarterbacks, that's absurd. The defense had to carry this team much of the season because of all the offensive injuries, but this latest incident of we'll-do-what-we-want defense is not a good look. Houston beat the to clinch the AFC South, but do they scare anybody in the playoffs? With that offensive line, they will have major i sues against the pa s-rush heavy teams like the Chiefs. They are one-and-done again. Bills coach Rex Ryan complained that he should have been awarded a timeout before Miami's tying field goal in the Dolphins' win. But why would he want one? The Dolphins were scrambling to get that unit on the field with no timeouts left. Why give them a chance to regroup? Do theses coaches think at all? drilled the 55-yard field goal to give Miami a tie before another Franks field goal sealed victory in the extra se sion. Even so, Ryan was off base even thinking about the timeout. It made no sense.
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