2022 Greatest Story On Turf: Week 16
Updated: Dec 24, 2022
16. Cardinals vs. Bucs
Tom Brady elevated to God status in football long ago. He is widely considered to be ageless and the Goat. However, this year Brady has had a big decline. It's been the worst season of his career, and he's held onto their playoff spot by sheer luck. The entire NFC South is a game behind the Bucs for playoff contention. Everyone is in play, and Bucs could miss the playoffs. The Goat is falling from grace quickly, or so it seemed. Just when the Goat Tom Brady needed it most, a sacrifice appeared. The Arizona Cardinals who are in disarray and don't even have their starting Qb. This is as good a match-up as the Bucs could hope for.
However, the Cardinals aren't just going to roll over and die. They are eliminated from the playoffs, but they still have pride. The Bucs are at the point where they could lose to anybody. Why not the Cardinals? Losing the lead in the NFC South would be the most Bucs way to do it.
15.Rams vs. Broncos
The Entertainment Weekly Game of The Week
Both of these teams are completely eliminated for playoff contention. Both teams are fighting for their fifth win in week sixteen. This game doesn't really mean much, so what makes it interesting? The Celebrity Quarterbacks are what makes this game interesting. Both these QBs are down on their luck. So people get exactly what they want a celebrity to pile onto with criticism and a comeback story? Baker Mayfield has been pretty down on his luck. He lost the best roster he will ever play with in Cleveland when they moved onto Deshaun Watson and didn't pay his fifth-year option. Then he bet on himself and took less money to go to the Panthers to prove he is still a starter in this league. Well, he lost to his old team in his first game, and they weren't even playing their starter. Then he got benched for former XFL Qb P.J Walker. Then he got benched for Sam Darnold. Then Baker found a light at the end of the tunnel and make it to La, and Baker won his debut game after one day of practice. Then he lost week two. Can Baker set the football world ablaze again by beating Russel Wilson?
Speaking of Russel Wilson, this season has gone about as badly as it could for Mr. Unlimited. He lost to his old team in week one. I wonder if everything would have been different if McManus would have made that field goal. Russel has been hurt, and he's played terribly while healthy. Russel looks the worst he has looked in his entire career. However, he has won a Super Bowl, so people will believe in Russ again because they have seen him be great. Will this be a game where Russ makes a comeback and gives Broncos fans hope for next year?
14.Ravens vs. Falcons
This is an interesting game. On the one hand, you look at it and think, this game will probably suck. Lamar Hurt and the Ravens are limping on. The Falcons haven't been exciting since their first panthers game, and they are starting rookie Desmond Ridder who seems limited. The Ravens should win this game if their defense plays to its potential and the offense is competent. However, this game has big stakes. The Ravens are trying to hold onto their playoff position, but the Raven's car is breaking down and sparking up without Lamar. Do the Ravens still have enough juice to make it to the playoff finish line?
Despite what I just said about the Ravens, paradoxically, this is the Falcon's best chance to pick up a win. The Ravens aren't at full strength, and the Falcons have an opportunity to take advantage of that. The Falcons are surprisingly still in play to win the division. It won't be over till the season is over in the NFC South. Will the Dirty Birds once again rule the dirty south?
13.Jaguars vs. Jets
#1 vs. #2
Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence were drafted one and two. They have had very different careers from that point. Trevor Lawrence was touted as a generational talent, and despite a massive buzz near the draft, Zach Wilson is nowhere near that convo. In their first years, Zach Wilson actually played better, and Wilson had more exciting moments and impressive performances. However, Trevor Lawrence has been a steady Eddie. He has been the guy for two years for the Jags with no breaks, and he has finally broken out. Zach lost his job to Mike White and got it back two years in a row.
Zach seems to have gone to a better organization. The Jets seem a lot closer to being a playoff team than the Jaguars. If we are being realistic about being a playoff team, it's the Jet's year. They should be there. However, the Jags aren't that far behind, and they are trying to steal a spot. The Jets got a legit defense, and so do the Jags. This should be a great battle on both sides of the ball. The Jets are primed, but the Jags are hungry. Are they going to go take the food off the Jet's table, or are the Jets going to handle the Jets? The number one and two picks are ready to show out against each other. Who is going to play better, Wilson or Lawrence?
12.Commanders vs. 49ers
Wrong Place at The Wrong Time
The Commanders have been playing really well lately. Their defense has turned around, and the offense has been optimized by Taylor Heinicke. The Commanders have gone from losers to a playoff team, and they don't want to ever go back. However, they are just on the edge of the playoff mountain. On One side of them are the playoff teams they have to face to stay on the mountain. On the other side of them are the Lions clawing up the mountain and the Seahawks flying above, waiting for the Commanders to fall off the playoff mountain so they that they can take their spot. There are only three weeks left in the regular season, but the playoffs are starting early for the Commanders. They must win to stay in and keep all those other teams away from their playoff spot or risk falling out of contention when the playoff prize is so close that they could taste it.
Unfortunately, of all the teams, the Commanders could face, the 49ers are one of the worst. It will be like marching into a buzzsaw. The 49ers have been shutting down everyone. As good as the Commanders have been, they are clearly overmatched. The only possible chink in the armor of the 49ers is their Qb Purdy. So far, Purdy has been sensational, but he struggled in the Seahawks game in the second half. If Purdy struggles more as more teams get tape on him, then that could be the Commander's path to victory. If not, the Commanders will need a miracle.
11.Vikings vs. Giants
Y'all Wanna Go Big?
The Vikings just had the biggest comeback in NFL history nothing is impossible for this team; they can do anything! But will they? The Viking's defense showed they can be elite in the second half of the Colts game. But can they stay locked in like that for four quarters? Because they haven't really done that all season. The Vikings bought some equity with everyone. If you didn't take a sip of the Viking's kool-aid after last week's win, then you didn't watch. The Vikings have bought a fresh start. Can they prove they are worthy of being deemed real contenders by being consistent? They dragged the Colts to Hel. Now can they slay the Giants?
The Giants are just like the Viking's unlikely contenders, who people aren't sure of. We never know exactly what we will be getting each week from the Giants, but more often than not, it's a win. Earlier in the season were deadlocked with Commanders, and last week they overcame that and beat them. Some people, including myself, found the win highly suspect, considering how big a role the refs played in the game. However, one thing that wasn't suspect was the play of the defensive line. The Vikings were pillaged by the Cowboy's defensive line, which cause the Vikings to crumble and fall to the Cowboys 40-3. If the Giant's defensive line can wreck the game again and prove that they are for real, they can win this game handily.
10.Colts vs. Chargers
Super Bowl Foles
The Chargers have been surging, and it looks like they could make the playoffs for the first time in Justin Herbert's career. Justin Herbert has returned to peak form with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in the lineup. Palmer is establishing himself as a dependable number three, and Austin Ekeler is Austin Ekeler one of the best backs in the league. The Charger's defense is morphing into the unit we have wanted them to be all along. The Chargers have beaten two playoff teams already, and the Colts are not that.
However, after suffering the worst loss in NFL history, the Colts have decided to move on from Matt Ryan, and they are finally breaking the Nick Foles glass. Nick Foles is a Super Bowl winner and Super Bowl MVP. He is a different beast than any other the Chargers have faced. He is easy to underestimate but difficult to beat. In the biggest moments, Foles shines, and he's better off the bench. It's like the tougher the situation, the more he thrives. Will we be adding another page to Fole's legacy, or will the Chargers rack up another win?
9.Bengals vs. Patriots
You Are Gonna Have To Show Me
They say Joe Burrow is the most like Tom Brady. I personally think he's more like Montanna, but I get the comparison. Joe Burrow is the winner. You don't always know how he does it, but he wins. He is Cool Joe Burrow, he stays calm under pressure. No matter how high the tides get, he always keeps his head above water to guide his crew home. But there is one man who knows Tom Brady, the football player better than anyone not named Brady, and that's Bill Belicheck. Belichick will be a true test for Burrow. He will try and make Burrow uncomfortable and rattle him. Belicheck will apply major pressure but will Joe be crushed or turn into a Diamond?
Burrow isn't the only one with something to prove. Belichick's defensive mind is unquestioned, but his claim as the greatest coach ever is in serious doubt. If Belichick can frazzle the unflappable Joe Burrow and beat the Bengals, who are one of the hottest teams in the league, it will send a message to everyone. Bill is still that guy, and this is still the Death Star. Underestimate the Evil Empire at your own peril.
8. Texans vs. Titans
The Mark of Good Team
The Texans have tested the Cowboys and taken the Chiefs to the edge of their limit but can the Texans keep playing like this? The team has a lot of fight but only one win. The Titans without Ryan Tannehill are vulnerable in theory. However, the strength of the Titans is the Achilles heel of the Texans. The run game. Can the Texans stop the Titan's Titan Derick Henry? Probably not, but can they stifle him enough to outpace the Titans and take him out of the game? I think so.
The Titans looked like a runaway train to the playoffs. There was no stopping them. But Now the Jaguars have entered the chat, and the Titans have to move it or lose it. The Texans is a game the Titans should win if they are a good team that belongs in the playoffs. The Texans may have taken the Chiefs to their limit, but so did the Titans with Malik Willis. The question is who will hit the shot they are supposed to hit to win the game. Who will out-coach who? Will Conference champion and Coach of the year winner Lovie Smith coach his team to victory, or will it be APY & Hipsty's Coach of the Year Mike Vrabel who coaches his team to victory?
7. Browns vs. Saints
The Saint's season has not gone how they planned at all. They have a Qb trying to revive his career, but it's not the one they thought it would be. The Saint's superstar running back has just been a guy, and Michael Thomas has gone down with an injury, and Chris Olave won't be available this week. However, it is better to be lucky than good. Fortune has smiled upon the Saints because nobody else's season has gone how they planned either in the NFC South. The Saints are about a game away from taking the lead in the NFC South and stealing that playoff spot. The Saints have spirit, and they basically are one. The Ghost of good teams past. They still have a stout defense that will give any team a hard time. They still have a slumbering superstar in Alvin Kamara. They still have the best gadget player in the game Taysom Hill and a peaking Juan Johnson. There is still time for the Saints to rewrite the story of the season.
However, in their way stand the Browns. A. deceitfully talented team. You can look at their record in battle(6-8), but that would only tell you half the tale. Nobody truly knows how good this team can be this year. They are a powder keg of talent but will they explode this year or next? The Browns have been in every game they have played with a chance to win nearly all of them, and that was with their backup. Now they have Deshaun Watson, an elite Qb trying to get everything he has lost back in a few games. He has already been paid the most any player has ever been paid for their services. However, to whom much is given, much is required.
The Brown's road to the playoffs is a tough one. They have to win all three of their last games, and even then, they might not make playoffs. However, the Browns are used to taking the long way. For Decades they wandered in the desert of the NFL, thirsting for victory. Watson is the perfect Qb for this team. He knows what it's like to struggle. He has been in that desert with the Texans. The Brown's defense has been trending upward, and Watson has shaken off more rust with each outing but is it too late? That is yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure. Mother Nature will not show mercy Saturday, and neither will the Browns.
6.Steelers vs. Raiders
Both of these teams are among the most famous franchises in NFL. The Raiders are the Jack Sparrow franchise. They just win, baby. Last year they lost their top receiver to prison, their coach was fired mid-season, and they weren't the best-built team. Still, they battled back, beating the Chargers in the last game of the season to make playoffs. This year they had better weapons, but they had injuries and a generally awful start to the season. Their coach looked like he should be fired. Davante was taking his anger out on innocent NFL crew members, and Carr was crying at the podium. They beat the Chargers again this year, and just last week, the Raiders won inexplicably again. After the Raiders battled back at the end of the game and scored a late touchdown to tie the game, all hell broke loose. In one of the wildest plays, you will ever see, Chandler Jones intercepted an end-of-game lateral mushed Mac Jones and ran all the way to the endzone for the TD and the win against the Patriots. The Raiders need to win out to make the playoffs, but if it's one team that knows about late-game heroics, it's the Raiders.
The Steelers are bouncing back as well. They had some key injuries to their defense early, but they are getting healthy enough to make a playoff push. If the Steeler's defense can win their battle, the Steelers will win. I don't expect the Steelers to have too much trouble with the Raider's defense. 50 years ago, the Steelers played the Raiders on the 23rd of December, and Franco Harris made the Immaculate Reception. Also, Franco Harris just died right before the Steelers were supposed to honor him. Franco Harris meant a great deal to a lot of people all over the world but especially in the Steelers community. Franco Harris was the one who announced Kenny Pickett to the Steelers in what Kenny describes as one of the best moments of his life. The Steelers probably have a little extra motivation to win this week. Also, if the Steelers win out, they could make the playoffs and preserve Tomlins's record of never having a losing season. Maybe the Steelers will have another Classic moment with the Raiders for Franco.
5.Bills vs. Bears
Diamond vs. Diamond In the Rough
The Bills are the number one seed. The powerhouse of the AFC even without Von Miller, the Buffalo Bills are charging toward the Lombardi Trophy in the distance. In their path stands the Bears. The Bears have no hopes of getting where the Bills are going, but they can knock the Bills off course. The Bears don't have a high-level defense or a loaded offense. They have a historic Qb in Justin Fields and grit and determination. The Bears almost defeated the number-one seed in NFC. Can they pull off an upset on the number-one seed of the AFC?
However, it's highly unlikely the Bills will be caught off guard. Josh Allen and the Bills have been where the Bears are, and they haven't forgotten. They recognize the hunger in the eyes of the Bears. Josh Allen knows what it's like to perform heroics in game and have it not pay off. Josh knows what it's like to have greatness inside of you but have nobody see it. Josh was considered a bust early on in his career, but he proved everyone wrong. Back then, they didn't want him, but now that he's hot, they are all on him. You would think people would have learned from Josh Allen's story, but instead, they treat him like an anomaly. Josh can probably see that same greatness in Fields, and he knows the breakout is coming, despite what the media says about Fields. The players seem to understand who Field truly is and what he can become. Will the Bills catch Fields before his true breakout and continue on their path, or will the Bills provide Fields and Bears with their biggest victory of the year?
4.The Cowboys vs. Eagles
Like A Telenovela
There is so much drama in this despite the loss the Cowboys took in Florida and the injury that knocked Hurts out of the game in Chicago. The Eagles and Cowboys fans have been talking shit all year, and it all comes down to this. Who will unmercifully troll the other team, and who will have to eat crow? The Eagles beat the Cowboys without Dak, so if the Cowboys can't beat the Eagles without Hurts, what does that say about the Cowboys? Also, even if they do beat the Eagles, that would mean both teams won against the other team's backup, adding even more hype to a possible playoff collision between these two teams.
Also, there is Jalen Hurts individual journey. He has played an MVP season, and if he were Aaron Rodger or Justin Herbert, or someone that everyone in the national media fawns over, he would have this MVP locked up. However, Hurts isn't that guy. He's the guy that had to battle with Carson Wentz even when he was clearly better. He's the guy that showed flashes of greatness that were ignored and downplayed. He's the guy they said couldn't throw before he got AJ Brown and ended that debate quickly. He's the guy who overachieved and got a bottom-tier team to the playoffs last year and who gets criticized for losing in those playoffs to the Goat by fifteen points. If Minshew wins this game against the Cowboys, the Eagles may lock up the one seed, but it may also be used as an unjust reason to discredit Hurts and say he has only succeeded because of his roster. However, if they don't win, it keeps the Vikings in play for the one seed. Don't miss this Sunday's new special Christmas episode of the NFL.
3.Panthers vs. Lions
We're Not So Different
The Lions and Panthers share quite a few commonalities. The Blue Lions of the North and the Blue Panthers of the South. Fighting for supremacy in the NFL Jungle. Both teams are in playoff contention and control their own fate. Both teams are teams that weren't supposed to make it. Teams that were written off mid-season. The Lions went 1-6, and the Panthers had a fire sale and fired their coach. But the fire inside them didn't die. Through grit and determination, these two teams rose through the muck of mediocrity.
Dan Cambell is living up to his promise to bite off kneecaps and fight with everything he has. This Lions team has clawed their way back from 1-6 to 7-7. Steve Wilks inherited what most would consider a disaster. However, Steve saw an opportunity through run game and defense, the Panthers have redefined their expectations, and they are now racing to the top of the NFC South Moutain. However, it's not just the coaches making a comeback. Jared Goff has shown everyone that he is who he says he is. He didn't need Sean McVay. He's still great. In fact, Goff is one of the most electrifying Qbs in the league. On the other side is Sam Darnold, the forgotten son of the Panthers. He was beyond written off by everybody, and yet here he is, reviving his career and proving he can be a starter in this league. When these teams collide, who will continue on the path to greatness and who will be left by the wayside?
2.Chiefs vs. Seahawks
The Chiefs won their battle with the Texans, but it was too close, too difficult. The Chiefs were wounded in that battle, and though they continue on, the scars remain. When the season began, the Seahawks were flying high, but now that the season is winding down, they find themselves on the wrong side of the playoff wall. They are frantically searching for a way back in before it's too late, but they are running out of time. When the world looks at the Chiefs, they see juggernauts. However, the Super Bowl-winning Seahawks head coach has a more keen eye. He sees the scares from the Texan battle. He knows everything that went wrong in the Texans game, and he will be waiting in the wings to attack any weakness the Chiefs have. I imagine the number one task of the Seahawks will be to cover and contain the Chiefs ace Travis Kelce.
However, the Chiefs are revered for a reason. Seeing them coming is one thing stopping them is another. Everyone sees the Chiefs coming. They are can't miss but can you stop them? Andy Reid, Super Bowl Winning Head Coach, and master tactician. Patrick Mahomes, possibly the best QB in the League, and Travis Kelce, the greatest receiving tight end of all time. Chiefs have destroyed many teams' hopes and dreams along their path to greatness. However, The Seahawks do have the adrenaline of desperation. They need this and know it. Will fly by the Chiefs to the playoffs or be smacked out of the air by the Chiefs.
1.Packers vs. Dolphins
It Won't Be Easy
The Dolphins have been sliding back in the playoff race. They have lost three straight, and now they are the seventh seed, barely hanging onto a playoff spot. They need to win out to protect their spot or at least win two out of their last three. On paper, the Dolphins should be able to easily beat the Packers. The Dolphin's offense is high-powered, and the defense can come up big when they need to. If the Dolphins win this game, it will help them not only in the playoff race but in their minds. They will get some confidence. You know what they say? The game is 80 percent mental.
However, the game isn't played just on paper. Also, the mental game is where Aaron Rodgers thrives. He may not be the most popular guy in the NFL. I mean, even his own organization called him prickly. Regardless, he has a special ability outside of his ability to throw the ball. That is his ability to destroy an opponent when he has the mental edge. Look at the Bears and Cowboys. Talent doesn't seem to matter when Aaron Rodgers has the mental edge. He's like a dog with a bone. He seems to make every throw and get every call. No matter by luck, skill, or sheer will, everything seems to go his way until he breaks your wheels and either takes the win away from you or outpaces you. If the Dolphins are gonna win this game, they are gonna have to come to the game resolutely with no fear. This is a chance to show the world they have strong mental makeup because it will be tested.