NFL Week 13 Winners & Losers
By Lee Wakefield & Peter Mann
Welcome in to the final month of the regular season! We are through 13 weeks and into the home straight. It’s a time for gearing up for the postseason, looking towards the draft or just waiting to be put out of your misery, depending on how your team is doing.
Either way, there are and will be plenty of reasons for us to anoint winners and losers the rest of the way.
Let’s get into this week’s batch…
Winners - Peter Mann
Dolphin-mania is sweeping the NFL, and they’re bringing those celebrations with them after another win, 45-15 at Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field, saw them move 9-3 in the AFC East.
Tua and the Cheetah have been as near dominant throughout, and that run continued against the Commanders as their Dolphins pulled 400+ yards in another outing which saw victory by registering thirty or more points (seven times), and the third time they’ve knocked out 40+
Tyreek Hill and Tua Tagovailoa combined for two, first-half touchdowns, Hill continuing to push himself for MVP status with 5 receptions, 157 yards, those two scores. Tua stuck 280 yards, through the first 30 minutes as the Dolphins’ offense dominated from the off.
The offense was so much so that the visiting AFC East leaders were 17-up at the end of the first quarter, and 31-7 come the end of the second; perhaps taking their foot off the accelerator in the second half, the Dolphins maybe could have pushed towards that 70-pointer they hit earlier in the season.
Instead, they had to ‘make do’ with a pair of De’Von Achane rushing TDs (he posted 17 carries, 73 yards), the 22-year-old running back closing in on Eric Dickerson’s rookie start at the Los Angeles Rams, forty years ago now.
Achane currently has nine touchdowns in his six starts for the Dolphins, the second-most registered by a rookie baller at the start of their NFL career (Dickerson had ten in his first season); so far this season the Dolphins’ future Hall of Famer has 56 rushing attempts on, 544 rushing yards, and seven rushing TDs, in addition to 101 receiving yards, two TDs
The latest celebration though; the Dolphins lined themselves up in the end zone, paid for their tickets, and rode the rollercoaster – it’s a rollercoaster that could take them all the way to the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers juggernaut keeps on rolling, and this past weekend they demolished the highly-fancied Philadelphia Eagles, in a stunning, 42-19 success on enemy turf.
San Francisco rolled into Philly, and Brock Purdy turned on the style, as did Christian McCaffrey, and Deebo Samuel, with the Eagles, now 10-2, restricted to a pair of field goals in the first quarter, a 1-yard Jalen Hurts and 2-yard DeVonta Smith TD, in the third and fourth quarters respectively.
Cornerback Ambry Thomas, Safeties Ji’Ayir Brown, and Tashaun Gipson Sr. led the Niners’ defense to restrict the Eagles to just 333 yards in total, and just 46 rushing yards; Kyle Shanahan’s side, however, were in beast mode going forward.
Brock Purdy posted 314 yards, and 4 touchdowns; Christian McCaffrey had 17 carries, 93 yards 2 scores; whilst Deebo Samuel posted 116 yards and 2 TDs as the Red and Gold, having not registered in the first quarter, went 14, 14, 14 for the next three, and restricted their hosts to just thirteen in reply.
No matter how brutal the Niners’ offense was though, their defense was just as monstrous in restricting Hurts and the Eagles’ attacking threat as well as they did to move 9-3 ahead of the visit of divisional rivals, in the NFC West, the 6-6 Seattle Seahawks, this coming Sunday, their next ‘big game’, being the visit of Baltimore Ravens, on Boxing Day.
Whether you win big or win ugly, a win is a win, and that is exactly what the Atlanta Falcons did with their 13-8 success over the New York Jets.
At the MetLife Stadium, the hosting Jets actually led on total yardage (259-194), passing yardage (197-104), and yards per play (3.9-3.0), had a handful more plays (67-64), and even had a smattering more time in possession, but it mattered not.
The only touchdown scored went the way of the visiting Falcons, Desmond Ridder with a 20-yard to MyCole Pruitt in the second quarter, as the Falcons defense closed off Tim Boyle (148 yards, 1 INT) and his offense to just a team safety, and a pair of FG scores.
The Jets, now 4-8, won’t overhaul Buffalo Bill in the AFC East, whilst the Falcons, despite being 6-6, are the favourites for an NFC South which, before this victory, saw losing records for all four franchises.
Losers - Lee Wakefield
Fans of Good Football
If you willingly watched the games in, Foxborough, Pittsburgh, or MetLife Stadium this Sunday, God help you… And I am one of those people.
These three games had a total of 61 points and 40 punts between them. Two field goals won it for the Chargers, there were almost as many penalty yards between both teams (128) as Kyler Murray threw (145) at Acrisure Stadium, and the Jets quarterback carousel carried on spinning as the Falcons overcame the Jets.
It doesn’t sound like a recipe for good football, does it?
The weather played a part in the games in Pittsburgh and New England but that is an excuse, and not a reason, for the utterly regrettable offensive football that fans endured on Sunday evening in the early slate.
To make matters worse, the game between the Steelers and Cardinals was prolonged by several suspensions in play for lightning. Perhaps it was the almighty trying to intervene and put a stop to this nonsense, and get the game abandoned so that fans could just all go home and forget about it. The Cardinals don’t really want to win, after all. A tie suited everyone!
Would Aaron Rodgers, eleven weeks removed from a ruptured Achilles tendon have fared better than the combination of Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian for the Jets? More than likely. It would have been more entertaining at least.
The season feels like it is on a knife edge for Seattle.
Thursday night football saw the Seahawks lose a shootout with Dallas 41-35 and they fell to 6-6 on the season.
Last year Seattle was a feel-good story, as was their quarterback Geno Smith. They weren’t meant to make the playoffs, Geno wasn’t meant to have a career season. However, they did, and he did, but did it just set expectations a little too high?
Nobody is calling for Pete Carroll’s head, they are still in the playoff hunt by virtue of inhabiting the weaker NFC conference, but things don’t feel great.
There have been some bright aspects of this team, none more so than the performance of DK Metcalf on Thursday night. However, the season doesn’t feel like it’s ever gathered enough momentum for them to feel like a threat in the NFC playoff race. With a remaining schedule that looks tough, the season is in danger of fizzling out into around .500 mediocrity.
Are the Titans in danger of being left behind in the AFC South?
We have talked multiple times throughout the year about the Texans on the Touchdown podcast, and C.J. Stroud has been a topic of our writing on many occasions on the site. Just last week I wrote about the Jaguars in the winners’ section of our article and Trevor Lawrence’s men are in the running for the #1 seed in the AFC.
The other AFC South team, the Indianapolis Colts, overcame the Titans in overtime on Sunday, and themselves, have found their slick offensive-minded Head Coach and quarterback combination.
However, Tennessee appears to be regressing and slipping behind their division rivals.
I’m not saying that they’ll fire Mike Vrabel, they probably won’t, but it feels like the Titans are firmly the fourth-best team in the South right now.
Their QB situation is muddy and isn’t helping their overall progression as a team. It does seem to be becoming a little clearer now that Will Levis is getting a run of games and Ryan Tannehill has been relegated to holder on vital missed field goals.
But is Levis the guy? Is the Malik Willis Project dead without ever getting off the ground? Will either of them ever be as good as the Lawrence or Stroud? Or even Richardson?
This division has become a QB gauntlet and the Titans need to catch up. Fast.
The Titans currently hold the eighth overall pick in the 2024 draft… They couldn’t, could they?
Feature Image Credit: AP Sports
NFL, CFB & NFL Draft
Lee Wakefield IS A defensive line enthusiast, Chargers Sufferer, and LONG-TIME writer and podcaster with a number of publications. @Wakefield90 on Twitter/X