Week 12 has come and gone, and I break down the biggest overreactions from another week of NFL football.
Overreaction: The Raiders can let Josh Jacobs walk.
The one-time NFL Pro Bowl running back is in the final year of his contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, who made this a “prove it” year for Jacobs if he wanted an extension with the Silver and Black. Amid a sad season, the Raiders Jacobs has been one of the few bright spots this year for Las Vegas. Jacobs is leading the NFL in rushing with 1159 yards and has the longest run of any running back this season with an 86-yard sprint that sealed the Raiders’ overtime win on Sunday.
Jacobs set a franchise record of 303 total yards and set a Raiders record of 229 rushing yards in Sunday’s OT thriller. Jacob’s record-setting afternoon was the best rushing performance by a Raiders running back in 25 years. The previous record holder was Napoleon Kaufman who has not played since 2,000
Jacobs is sure to have another Pro Bowl bid this year with his stellar performance and will be coveted by several teams in the offseason who are looking for a running back of his caliber. The Bills, Rams, Falcons, Ravens, and others would be in the mix as suiters for Jacobs as well as other teams looking to improve their backfield.
Not an Overreaction: Ravens need to hit the panic button
Before jumping too far off the deep end, the Ravens do not need to hit the panic button on Lamar Jackson, but the rest of the team needs a wake-up call. Trevor Lawrence carved up the Ravens’ defense like Thanksgiving turkey on the Jaguars’ final drive Sunday. Scoring a touchdown and a two-point conversion and forcing the Ravens to take a 67-yard field goal to win that Justin Tucker missed as time expired. Not only was this the best drive of Lawrence’s career but it was another glaring example of the Ravens letting games slip away in the clutch.
Jackson scored a touchdown with 2:02 left on the clock and put Baltimore up 27-20. The Jaguars needed to go 75 yards with no timeouts against a Ravens defense that is number 2 in the NFL in 3rd down defense, allowing a 32.56% conversion percentage. However, Lawrence and the Jags did the improbable and made the Ravens’ defense look like swiss cheese.
This is the 4th game the Ravens have lost this season and the 3rd game where the Ravens have held the lead late and failed to hold onto it in the final minutes. This is where they need to hit the panic button and need to find a fix fast or it can end another sour ending to a promising season in Baltimore.
Not an Overreaction: The Cardinals season is over.
Arizona has been a swirl of headlines all season long and the losses are starting to pile up. Losing Hopkins for the first six games has proved to be a much larger impact on the Cardinals’ season than originally thought. Then losing Hollywood Brown to injured reserve and then losing Zach Ertz to IR as well took away Kyler Murray’s biggest weapons for most of the season.
The Cardinals are 4-8 in a division that is a runaway for the 49ers right now and the Seahawks are two games ahead of the Cardinals for second place and the playoff bubble. Even if they were to finish the season undefeated they would be 8-8, not good enough to sneak in when the entire NFC East could make the playoffs.
So who is to blame for the Cards’ lackluster season? The Cardinals had one of the tougher schedules in the NFL, but missing key offensive pieces have left them limited to focus on Murray’s ability to create with his feet more often than not to finish games. This could have led to the development of Murray’s hamstring injury.
Will Kliff Kingsbury return as head coach of the cardinals? Who will be the scapegoat for this underachieving Arizona squad that had such a promising 11-6 season a year ago where they started a blistering 7-0 to start 2021?
Not an Overreaction: Pickett to Pickens will be a generational duo for Pittsburg.
Though the Steelers are a lowly 4-7 the optimism surrounding Pittsburg’s’ young quarterback and wide receiver is enough to have fans excited for next season already. Kenny Pickett was taken with the 20th pick in the 2022 NFL draft and was the first quarterback taken in the draft and the only one to go in the first round. George Pickens was taken in the second round at pick 52 and was the 11th receiver taken at that time.
Before Pickett was made the starting in Pittsburg, Pickens struggled to produce. Averaging just 1.5 catches per game and 21 yards per game. Pickett took over the starting role from Mitchell Trubisky in week four and Pickens immediately had an impact having his best game of the season with 6 catches for 102 yards. Pickens more than doubled his first three-week averages and showed real promise as an NFL receiver. Pickens already has a highlight reel catch of the year contender and the sky is the limit as far as a ceiling for his talent.
Since his NFL debut, Pickett has had a tough time getting acclimated to the NFL in his first eight games. Pickett has won three games in his first eight starts but is dealing with a Steelers passing attack that is last in the NFL in yards per pass with an average of 5.6. Once Pickett and Pickens put together the deep ball they are going to be exciting to watch.
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