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With NFL playoff berths on the line, week 16 was absolutely critical for teams that hoped to compete in the postseason.  Some squads stepped up (Packers, Bears, Chiefs and Rams) and others fell on their face (Chargers and Jaguars).  Let’s take a look at the performances I thought were most noteworthy.

Here are the Average Guy NFL Week 16 Awards:

Most Impressive Win

Green Bay Packers – 45-17 over the New York Giants

Lambeau Field

The Packers need to beat the Bears in Lambeau next week to sew up a playoff berth.

Most Important Win

St. Louis Rams – 25-17 over their division rival San Francisco 49ers

Worst Loss

San Diego Chargers – 20-34 at Cincinnati Bengals

Biggest Surprise

Detroit Lions

Biggest Disappointment

Jacksonville Jaguars

Offensive MVP

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers – 25 completions 37 attempts 404 yards 4 TDs 139.9 QB rating 2 carries 26 yards

Defensive MVP

Chris Harris, Chicago Bears – 1 interception 1 fumble recovery 11 tackles

Special Teams MVP

Jacoby Ford, Oakland Raiders – 99-yard kickoff return for TD 5 kickoff returns 188 yards

Most Surprising Performance

Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals – 16 completions 21 attempts 269 yards 4 TDs 157.2 QB rating

Most Disappointing Performance

Eli Manning, New York Giants – 17 completions 33 attempts 301 yards 2 TDs 4 interceptions 63.6 QB rating

Offensive Rookie

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams – 28 completions 37 attempts 292 yards 1 TD 107.0 QB rating fumble lost

Defensive Rookie

Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs – 54-yard interception return for a TD 4 tackles

Most Impressive Performance in a Loss

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers – 6 receptions 122 yards 1 TD

Quick Takes

  • I watched the entire Jets-Bears game today.  It was an excellent matchup but I was surprised that it turned into shootout.  I expected much more of a defensive battle. 
  • The Bears started with a lot of momentum and took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.  The Jets owned the second quarter, scoring 24 points and taking a 24-17 lead into halftime.
  • Jay Cutler was on fire in the third quarter, throwing three touchdowns and propelling the Bears to a 38-31 lead.  But then the defenses stepped up in the fourth quarter.  The only scoring was a field goal by the Jets.  It wasn’t enough, and the Bears got a big victory over the team that just won in Pittsburgh last week.
  • Mark Sanchez looked good today.  His throws were crisp and he was making good, quick decisions.  The Jets also did a good job integrating the Wildcat into the offensive game plan.  On defense, they really struggled to generate a pass rush without major blitzes.
  • The Bears offensive line has really improved.  They did a good job of protecting Cutler and giving him time to make his throws.
  • Of course, while I was watching that game I was tracking the 49ers-Rams game on the computer.  I was psyched when the Rams got off to a good start but they let up the two big plays and made it too close.  It’s always great to beat the Niners, but especially today with everything that was on the line. 
  • I really hope the Rams can win in Seattle next weekend for the obvious reason that I’d love to see them win the division and make the playoffs but also because I think it’s important for the NFC West winner to at least have a .500 record.
  • What a strange week this will be – with the rescheduling of the Vikings-Eagles game there will be NFL games on five days in week 16 – Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
  • Couldn’t believe it when I heard on the Giants-Packers telecast that Eli Manning has 29 turnovers this season.
  • A couple of other considerations for Offensive MVP this week – Matt Cassel and Matt Forte were also very impressive – but I had to go with Rodgers.
  • Jeez, the Patriots are good enough, but when you give up seven turnovers how in the world can you expect to compete Buffalo?

One BIG Question

After the last two weeks will the Giants have anything left to give next Sunday?

Let me know what sticks out to you about week 16 by posting a comment below.

Photo source: Brian Giesen

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Week nine brought a number of surprising individual performances in the NFL.  An old, grizzled veteran showed flashes of his former self in leading his team to victory (Brett Favre).  A pounding back earned his team a shocking win over a team that had turned into a good run defender (Peyton Hillis).  Two rookie receivers came out of nowhere to help their teams score critical W’s (Seyi Ajirotutu and Jacoby Ford).  These types of stories are one of the many reasons why we love football.

Here are the Average Guy’s NFL Week Nine Awards:

Cleveland Browns Stadium

The site of a huge upset in week nine

Most Impressive Win

Cleveland Browns – 34-14 over the New England Patriots

Most Important Win

Oakland Raiders – 23-20 over the Kansas City Chiefs

Worst Loss

Houston Texans – 23-29 at home to the San Diego Chargers

Biggest Surprise

Cleveland Browns

Biggest Disappointment

Dallas Cowboys

They Are Who We Thought They Were

Baltimore Ravens

Offensive MVP

Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns – 29 carries 184 yards 2 TDs 3 receptions 36 yards

Defensive MVP

Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings – 2.5 sacks 4 tackles 6 QB Hits

Special Teams MVP

Jacoby Ford, Oakland Raiders – 94-yard kickoff return for touchdown

Most Surprising Performance

Seyi Ajirotutu, San Diego Chargers – 4 receptions 111 yards 2 TDs

Most Disappointing Performance

Thomas Jones, Kansas City Chiefs – 19 carries 32 yards

Offensive Rookie

Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns – 14 completions 19 attempts 174 yards 0 interceptions 101.6 QB rating

Defensive Rookie

Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs – 2 sacks 4 tackles 3 QB Hits

Most Impressive Performance in a Loss

Arian Foster, Houston Texans – 27 carries 127 yards 2 TDs 4 receptions 70 yards

Welcome Back Mike Williams

Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4 receptions 89 yards 1 TD

Quick Takes

  • The Dolphins-Ravens matchup was my game to watch.   Earlier in the season I saw the Ravens beat the Steelers and the Steelers beat the Dolphins so I was looking forward to closing the loop by watching Miami visit Baltimore.
  • The Dolphins offensive line is stellar.  They forced the Ravens to load up on the blitz to get to Chad Henne.  Henne officially threw three interceptions but the first (after Brian Hartline slipped and fell) and the second (a bad Brandon Marshall drop) are kind of unfair to count against him. 
  • Miami’s tackling was pretty bad. 
  • I’ve said this before – Cameron Wake is a beast.
  • Ray Rice looked like he was completely back from early season injuries.  Joe Flacco was really bailed out when Sean Smith dropped a sure interception and touchdown.
  • The Ravens defense did a good job of taking away Brandon Marshall.
  • I was able to catch the end of the Chargers-Texans game and I’ve got to say I was really shocked at the very bad drop that Andre Johnson had.  A superstar wide receiver has to make that catch.
  • I’m really impressed with Oakland’s efforts to stop Kansas City’s running game.  They held the Chiefs to 104 yards on 34 carries.  Jamaal Charles did get 53 yards on 10 carries, but most importantly they held him to a long run of 13.  I didn’t buy into the Raiders run defense before this game, but I do now.

One BIG Question

Will all of the Colts injuries result in them missing the playoffs?

What performances did you think were Sunday’s best?  Let me know by posting a comment below.

Photo source: zoonabar

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