Welcome back to Ricky’s Round-Up, where I discuss the five biggest talking points from the NFL action of the previous week. Thanksgiving was a blast, but it’s time to head into the ‘Witching Hour’ of the regular season.
Yes, that’s right, December is here, and the race for the playoffs is well and truly underway. Let’s delve into week 13!
#1- San Francisco 49ers clip the Eagles’ wings
Bang bang 9er gang! What a phenomenal statement from the Golden Gate City boys. I had a feeling they would beat the Philadelphia Eagles in their NFC Championship rematch, but not by the margin of 23 points. They have officially thrown the race for the NFC number one seed wide open and announced themselves as serious Superbowl contenders.
Forgive me 49ers fans if you are reading, but QB Brock Purdy is not leading the MVP race despite the statistics. The supporting cast is just elite. They have the most dynamic running back in the game in Christian McCaffrey. An elite wide receiver duo of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. A top three tight end in George Kittle, a solid offensive line and a defence that gives teams nightmares.
I will say it now: the 49ers will make the Superbowl. They humbled the league’s best on their own turf, and it can only get better.
#2- Green Bay ‘Packing’ their bags for a playoff date?
As the Beatles once famously sang, ‘All you need is Love!’ Never have those words resonated so strongly than in the state of Wisconsin right now. Green Bay has a hero in their snowy midst, and his name is Jordan Love. He kissed the Kansas City Chiefs good night on Sunday and is certainly on his way to establishing himself as the Packers franchise quarterback.
The Packers have placed themselves firmly in the playoff hunt with a three-game winning streak. With their favourable remaining schedule in the regular season, and head coach Matt LeFleur’s remarkable 16-0 record in the month of December, it may be in the bag already.
I am not one to cast that award too easily, but they have really impressed in the last two weeks. Love’s passing game is flowing, the defence is ramping up its intensity, and the team are executing the basics of the game flawlessly.
#3- Hola Miami!
Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill. A glorious combination that has proved so fruitful for the team with the best record in the AFC. Hill is actually on path to break 2000 receiving yards this season, something never done in a single season by a receiver before. Yet again he walked the walk, this time against the Washington Commanders, with 157 receiving yards and two touchdowns. M.V.P.
The Dolphins offence is rampant, and quite frankly terrifying for any other side in the AFC that meets them in the playoffs. Head coach Mike McDaniel is running rings around other coaches with his offensive scheme, and unless you can disrupt QB Tua Tagovailoa’s rhythm, you may as well curl up in a ball and let the mayhem unfold.
I still believe the defence will be their downfall, but I would love to be proven wrong when push comes to shove. This team is incredibly attractive to watch.
#4- FraudWatch victim number two: Kansas City Chiefs
What on earth is happening in Kansas City? The defence that has kept the Chiefs in games as of late has seemingly crumbled, and the offence is stood there as if they have had their sweets stolen on Halloween. Taylor Swift was in attendance in the freezing cold Green Bay, but even Travis Kelce couldn’t shake it off.
The defence left the Chiefs two scores down to the Packers early on, and with the offence already struggling, it was a tough ask to try and retake the lead. Even QB Patrick Mahomes looked out of sorts, and that is not something you say often.
They will no doubt make the playoffs. It’s the Chiefs. Whether they can have a deep run however will be down to Mahomes being flawless and praying that his receivers catch the ball. The defence has shown it is capable, but it really needs the offence to take some of the weight off them.
#5- Minshew Magic, Mayhem and Mania all in one
Gardner Minshew has left me quite speechless. The Colts have won seven games and lost five this season, despite being down to their backup quarterback Minshew for most of the campaign. Head coach Shane Steichen is certainly a front runner for coach of the year with the job he has done in Indianapolis.
Steichen has implemented an attitude in this team nowhere to be seen last season. A resolve, a determination, and a drive to be better, to not let their situation hamper their season. Minshew has been marvellous, and the team have followed suit.
They lost star running back Jonathon Taylor to injury on Sunday in their overtime win against the Titans, but Zack Moss is no shabby replacement. A deep playoff run may be out of reach, but I am truly impressed with the Colts and could see them sneak into a wild card spot.
That’s a wrap
There we have it. Another week of Ricky’s Round-Up, and what fun it was. Week 14 has some absolute corkers to unfold, and I can’t wait to share it with you. See you next week!