We saw so many upsets last weekend that it’s made us ask the question: Was there something in the water during Week 14? Several big Super Bowl contenders lost, including the Rams, the Patriots, the Steelers, and more! But hey, at least it was exciting stuff. Let’s recount these upsets and discuss whether these games are likely to have an impact on the 2019 playoffs and Super Bowl. (Spoiler: This late in the season, they all do.)
The Patriots fell to the Miami Dolphins
With Tom Brady and the Patriots falling to the Dolphins on the last play of the game, sports experts are calling this one potentially the most important upset of Week 14. It felt like the Pats were setting up to be the number-one seed and forcing the road to the Super Bowl to divert back through Foxborough again. All they needed to do was get a game on the Chiefs. Instead they fell to Miami, a place they’ve had trouble playing in the past. Now it looks like the Patriots won’t be the one-seed and they’ll have to head out on the road, unless the Chiefs lose in the divisional round. But simply put, the Patriots don’t have a home AFC Championship game on lock just yet and the last time they had to play away, they lost to the Denver Broncos who went on to the Super Bowl. And with the Chiefs’ win over the Ravens last weekend, Kansas City created some space. So long as they don’t blow it, we’ll see the Chiefs take the number-one seed instead.
The Los Angeles Rams lost to the Chicago Bears
Ooh, this was the Rams’ chance to clinch the NFC West and get it over with but they floundered in Chicago. The Bears were undoubtedly the toughest game left in their schedule, so if it were going to happen anywhere, this was it. A terrifying Bears’ defense prevailed over one of the best offenses in the league, holding the Rams to just 214 yards and zero touchdowns. A win here could have afforded the Rams the opportunity to stay in the driver’s seat and avoid going to New Orleans to play the Saints, who are very dangerous in the dome. But now the Rams are a two-seed in the NFC and it looks like they’ll probably have to head to New Orleans after all. (We’re assuming the Saints aren’t going to make any more mistakes this season.) For the Bears at 9-4, this means they’re currently a three-seed and looking like potential contenders if they can continue performing in December.
The Steelers crumbled against the Raiders
Uh, what? This was a HUGE loss for the Steelers against a team that might arguably be the worst in the league. Granted, they had some weird troubles with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s rib injury – taking him out of the game, letting backup QB Josh Dobbs start the second half, and putting Roethlisberger back in for five minutes in the fourth quarter. Big Ben was unable to pull off a last-minute victory and, now at 7-5, the Steelers are in danger of being overtaken by the Ravens, Titans, Colts, and Dolphins. Not to mention they’re in the unenviable position of having to play the Patriots and Saints next, which could take them to 7-7-1. This loss was significant for Pittsburgh. Despite winning six games in a row, it’s possible that the Steelers don’t make the playoffs at all. It could motivate them to win in these late, tough games, but it could be a sign that there are some deeper issues in Pittsburgh.
The Colts knocked off the Texans
This was a surprising loss for a team that was just shaping up to be a real contender. On Sunday, the Texans weren’t able to run the ball, performing poorly on the first down. The Colts were able to sack quarterback Deshaun Watson five times and pretty much neutralize the pass rush too. We were talking about how on fire the Texans looked after their nine-game winning streak, but this weekend they blew a chance to clinch the AFC South and really improve their playoff position. If they’d won this game, the Texans could’ve gotten a two-seed and a first-round bye, putting themselves in a better spot than the Patriots in the AFC. Now they’re tied at 9-4 with the Patriots and need to perform well against the Jets and the Bills… and just wait and see what the Patriots do. But hey, with the Ravens’ loss, the Colts might be able to snag the six-seed and sneak into the playoffs. So there’s some good news for somebody!
The Denver Broncos lost to a struggling 49ers team. The Washington Redskins blew it in their game against the Giants. And the Carolina Panthers – who’ve been on quite the losing streak lately anyway – fell to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns! Yeah, Week 14 was a doozy.
Whoa. So was that enough action for you? Check out the current NFL playoff picture to see where everybody stands.