NFL News and Notes – Thursday December 6th 2018

December 6, 2018 by Ryan Knuppel

National Football LeagueWeek 14 is upon us, kicking off with the Jaguars @ Titans matchup tonight. With the Playoffs just around the corner, the NFL season is really heating up and the contenders are separating themselves from the pretenders.

Veteran receiver Kelvin Benjamin was released by the Buffalo Bills Tuesday, along with fellow receiver Andre Holmes. The move may signal a shift in the Bills organization, realizing they have not adequately surrounded their rookie quarterback Josh Allen with the playmakers he needs to succeed.

Benjamin was productive as a young receiver with the Panthers, but eventually had a falling out with the organization and his quarterback Cam Newton, leading him to a new start in Buffalo last season.

In his time with Buffalo, Benjamin accumulated just 39 catches for 571 yards and 2 TDs.

Wochit News

 

Redskins Sign Vet QB

With the Redskins on their 3rd QB of the season in Mark Sanchez after losing Alex Smith and Colt McCoy to season ending injuries, it was highly expected that the Redskins would pursue another veteran QB to be Sanchez’s backup. One name that picked up a lot of steam was Colin Kaepernick.

With the team in such dire straits, it was believed Kaepernick had a real shot at the job, but instead the Redskins opted to go with Josh Johnson, a veteran journeyman who will be on his 11th different NFL team in 10 years. Johnson, like Kaepernick, is a strong armed mobile quarterback who creates opportunities with his legs.

Defense For MVP?

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald made history this offseason by becoming the highest paid defensive player in NFL history before being passed up by Khalil Mack. Donald is earning every bit of that paycheck this season with his play, leading the league in sacks through 13 weeks with 16.5. With 4 games remaining, Donald is just 6 sacks away from tying Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5, and what is more impressive is that Donald didn’t have a sack for the first 4 weeks of the season.

Obviously the most important position on the football field is QB, and the MVP award has been dominated by quarterbacks for the last 30 some years, but Donald should at least be in consideration behind front runners Pat Mahomes and Drew Brees. The impact of Donald goes beyond his league leading sack total, as he leads the league in QB hurries with 52 and tackles for loss with 20 as well as forcing 4 fumbles.

Playoff Picture

(x) – clinched playoffs (y) – clinched division (z) – clinched first round bye

Remaining opponents in parentheses following record

NFC

  1. (x,y) Los Angeles Rams (11-1) : (@ CHI, vs. PHI, @ ARI, vs. SF)
  2. New Orleans Saints (10-2) : (@ TB, @ CAR, vs. PIT, vs. CAR)
  3. Chicago Bears (8-4) : (vs. LAR, vs. GB, @ SF, @ MIN)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (7-5) : (vs. PHI, @ IND, vs. TB, @ NYG)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (7-5) : (vs. MIN, @ SF, vs. KC, vs. ARI)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1) : (@SEA, vs. MIA, @ DET, vs. CHI)

In The Hunt: CAR (6-6), PHI (6-6), WAS (6-6), TB (5-7)

Projected Matchups

Wild Card

#5 SEA @ #4 DAL
#6 MIN @ #3 CHI

Divisional

Lowest Remaining Seed @ #2 NO
Highest Remaining Seed @ #1 LAR

AFC

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-2) : (vs. BAL, vs. LAC, @ SEA, vs. OAK)
  2. New England Patriots (9-3) : (@ MIA, @ PIT, vs. BUF, vs. NYJ)
  3. Houston Texans (9-3) : (vs. IND, @ NYJ, @ PHI, vs. JAX)
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1) : (@ OAK, vs. NE, @ NO, vs. CIN)
  5. Los Angeles Chargers (9-3) : ( vs. CIN, @ KC, vs. BAL, @ DEN)
  6. Baltimore Ravens (7-5) : (@ KC, vs. TB, @ LAC, vs. CLE)

In The Hunt: MIA (6-6), IND (6-6), DEN (6-6),TEN (6-6)

Projected Matchups

Wild Card

#5 LAC @ #4 PIT
#6 BAL @ #3 HOU

Divisional Lowest Remaining Seed @ #2 NE
Highest Remaining Seed @ #1 KC

Injury Report

ARI WR Christian Kirk (foot) – placed on IR
ATL WR Julio Jones (foot) – questionable
BAL RB Alex Collins (foot) – placed on IR
CAR TE Greg Olsen (foot) – placed on IR
CAR QB Cam Newton (shoulder) – questionable
CHI QB Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) – questionable
CIN WR A.J. Green (foot) – placed on IR
CLE CB Denzel Ward (concussion) – questionable
DAL OT Tyron Smith (neck) – questionable
DEN WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) – placed on IR
DEN CB Chris Harris (leg) – out
DET QB Matt Stafford (back) – questionable
DET RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) – questionable
GB TE Jimmy Graham (thumb) – questionable
GB OT Bryan Bulaga (knee) – questionable
HOU QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) – questionable
IND WR T.Y Hilton (shoulder) – questionable
KC S Eric Berry (foot) – questionable
LAC RB Melvin Gordon (knee) – questionable
NO WR Michael Thomas (ankle) – questionable
NO T Terron Armstead (chest) – questionable
NYG S Landon Collins (shoulder) – placed on IR
PHI OT Jason Peters (ankle) – questionable
PIT RB James Conner (ankle) – out
SF RB Matt Breida (ankle) – out
WAS CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) – placed on IR

Week 14 features some interesting matchups that have a lot of bearing on playoff seeding. Keep your eye on [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] Good luck on any action you may have on the weekend games and enjoy the contests. Cheers!