Overreaction and Week 14 reality checks: Dak Prescott cost the Cowboys playoff glory? Are the Lions playoffs tied?

NFL Week 14 certainly held some surprises for the league’s top teams, especially in the NFC. The Dallas Cowboys need to rally to beat Houston Texans while the Minnesota Vikings were defeated by Detroit Lionsgiving the Philadelphia Eagles a stranglehold of the conference leader. The race for the final playoff spots in the NFC is also getting interesting.

The AFC had the Kansas City Chiefs keep pace with Buffalo Tickets in the race for home-field advantage in the conference, while the Cincinnati Bengal and Baltimore Ravens continue their fight to win the AFC North.

Lots of playoff talk is unfolding as the season begins to hit the home stretch, with overreactions galore. With the Sunday afternoon games finalized, which overreactions are just that – and which are the reality.

The Eagles are going to be the No. 1 seed in the NFC

Overreaction or reality: Reality

At this rate, the Eagles should have a major implosion to lose the race for the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Thanks to the Vikings’ loss to the Lions on Sunday, the Eagles need only finish the season 3-1 to clinch the conference’s top seed. Even though the Eagles are only 2-2, the Cowboys would need to be 4-0 to pass them.

Philadelphia is two games ahead of Minnesota and two games ahead of Dallas with the tiebreaker in hand. The Eagles finish with the Bearcowboys, Saints and giants. Losing the ground – and the division – would require a major meltdown.

Dak Prescott will cost the Cowboys a lengthy playoff streak

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Quarterbacks are allowed to have bad games in this league, but there should be some concern about how Prescott played against the worst team in the NFL. Prescott was just 24 of 39 for 284 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against the Texans, including a 54.5 passer rating in the fourth quarter with an interception.

It should have been an easy win for the Cowboys, but the team is still averaging 35.7 points since returning to the lineup with a 6-1 record. Either way, there should be some concern that Prescott is throwing the ball deep as he has five touchdowns for eight interceptions on passes that have gone more than 10 aerial yards this year.

Prescott needs to be better to end the year. The Cowboys may play all of their playoff games on the road if the Eagles take care of business.

The Lions will make the playoffs

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Detroit continues to be one of the hottest teams in the NFC, winning five of its last six games since leaving 1-6 – beating two teams with a winning record and averaging 29.3 points per game in the process. Suddenly, Detroit is 6-7 and sits two games in the loss column behind the Giants (7-5-1) and Commanders (7-5-1) for the final playoff spot. The Lions also have the tiebreaker on Commanders.

Detroit has little room for error, needing to upset the New York Jets to make this closer to a reality. The Lions then close with the PanthersBear and Packers — all teams with losing records.

This team needs help getting in, but nine wins may be enough to qualify for the playoffs. A 4-0 and Detroit has a great shot thanks to the free fall of the Giants and sea ​​hawks.

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Another bad game for Watson as the Browns virtually eliminated themselves from the AFC playoffs. Watson went 26 of 42 for 276 yards with a touchdown and an interception as the Browns offense could pick up just 10 points in a loss to the Bengals.

In the two games Watson played, he completed 59.4% of his passes for 407 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions (70.3 rating). The Browns have scored just one touchdown in 23 possessions since returning to the lineup.

Sure, Watson needs to get rid of the rust, but this team is no better with him in the lineup. Unfortunately, that won’t matter for the rest of the year, so Cleveland should just let Watson figure things out for 2023.

JK Dobbins makes Ravens’ running game dangerous again

Overreaction or reality: Reality

It’s easy to forget how good Dobbins is as a running back and what he means to Baltimore’s rushing offense. Dobbins rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown averaging 8.0 yards per carry in the Ravens’ win over the Steelers. Baltimore rushed for 215 yards as Gus Edwards averaged 5.1 yards per carry — significantly higher than his pregame average of 2.9 yards per carry.

Baltimore did all of that with Lamar Jackson out and Tyler Huntley leaving early with a concussion. The Ravens can continue to wear down defenses with Dobbins and Edwards healthy until Jackson returns, making him a threat in the AFC with both on the field.

Dobbins’ return is huge for Baltimore going forward.

The Titans will win the AFC Sud… with a losing record

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Tennessee fired general manager Jon Robinson after a blistering loss to Philadelphia last week, but front office actions aren’t expected to affect performance on the field. The Titans were blown away by the jaguars Sunday, trailing 22 points in the fourth quarter in giving up their second straight game.

The Titans are 7-6 on the year and should win the division (even if they have to face the Jaguars again). Will they do it with a losing record? Tennessee ends the season against the Los Angeles ChargersTexans, Cowboys and Jaguars and should finish 1-3 to seal a losing season.

Possible, but still difficult to understand at this point.

The Buccaneers will win the NFC South… with a losing record

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Tampa Bay was eliminated by Brock Purdy and San Francisco, giving up 35 points to a third-ranked quarterback making his first career start – after entering the game with the fifth-ranked defense and the eighth-ranked defense in yards allowed.

That loss was embarrassing for a team led by Tom Brady who consistently can’t do anything on offense – and they got the Bengals the next week. Tampa Bay needs to go 3-1 to get a winning record, and the only reason the Buccaneers can get it is because they’re getting closer to the Cardinalspanthers and Falcons.

This team is not a Super Bowl contender for 14 weeks. They have the chance to play in the NFC South.

The Seahawks will miss the playoffs

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Giving up 223 rushing yards and 30 points to a Panthers team with Sam Darnold at quarterback isn’t ideal. The Seahawks defense continues to disappoint, giving up 410.5 yards per game and 28.5 points per game over the past four weeks — going 1-3 in the process and losing an NFC playoff berth.

Washington is the No. 6 seed in the NFC and New York is No. 7 at 7-5-1. The Seahawks need one of them to crash into the stretch to make the playoffs, but they need to play the 49ersChiefs and Jets in their next three games.

Someone has to succeed in the NFC and the Lions are coming. Too early to pronounce them in the playoffs, but the Seahawks appear to be continuing their freefall unless the defense tightens up. Hard to see that happening with the 49ers and Chiefs on the horizon.

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