Week 17 has come and gone and in dramatic fashion, the NFL playoff race is going to come down to the final week to decide who gets to the postseason. I break down the biggest overreactions from the second to last week of the NFL season and explain which might not be overreactions at all.
Not an overreaction: Skip Bayless should not have a job
Love him or hate him the renowned sports columnist and sports television show host crossed the line when speaking about last night’s tragedy on Monday Night Football. Bayless took to Twitter to voice his disproval of the NFL postponing the rest of MNF’s contest between the Bills and Bengals.
The game was suspended due to Bills Safety Damar Hamlin collapsing and going into cardiac arrest on the field. Hamlin was given CPR for 8 minutes by personnel on the field and was taken to a nearby Cincinnati hospital where he is in critical condition.
Football is a dangerous sport and people do die from playing it, but the focus when these unfortunate events occur should not be whether the game will continue or if it will be rescheduled. The focus must be on the man fighting for his life and thoughts and prayers should be with him and his family. Bayless completely dismissed and dehumanized the pain of Hamlin’s family and disregarded the young man’s life.
after immediate backlash and outrage from the entire sports world, Bayless tweeted an apology “Nothing is more important than that young man’s health. That was the point of my last tweet. I’m sorry if that was misunderstood but his health is all that matters,” Bayless has had controversial takes for years on FS1’s Undisputed and even beforehand at ESPN on First Take. Only after scrutiny did Bayless apologize and more than likely was done to save face.
Overreaction: The Eagles will choke away the division
In the absence of MVP-caliber quarterback Jalen Hurts the Eagles have struggled to hold on to their lead for the NFC East. The Eagles have dropped their last two games without Hurts and may need him for the season finale to win the division as Dallas has crept up to their lead and is one win away from taking the division if the Eagles cannot put the Giants away on Sunday.
The Eagles started the season red hot winning their first eight games before losing on MNF to the Washington Commanders. The Eagles sit at 13-3 and the highly competitive NFC will produce three playoff teams, one of which is the Dallas Cowboys which are 12-4 and are fighting Philly for the top spot in the East.
Hurts is said to be ready for next week, but the Eagles will face the New York Giants for the season finale. The Giants are a playoff team but were smacked by the Eagles 48-22 when last they played in week 14. Dallas may have already penciled in their win for their season finale against Washington as the Cowboys had no trouble with the Commanders back in October when they beat them 25-10. Philly finds itself in another hard position after not taking care of business against a weaker Saints team and will have to give their A-game to sure up the division.
Not an Overreaction Brian Daboll is the NFL Coach of the Year.
Daboll has done the unthinkable and made the Giants a playoff team in his first year as head coach. The Giants are 9-6-1 and are one week away from their first playoff appearance since 2017. A season ago the Giants were 4-13 with no culture and no direction. Daniel Jones was on the verge of being the scapegoat and there was no light at the end of the tunnel for the franchise.
In just a year Daboll has completely changed the attitude of the team, the organization, and the fan base. He has created a culture of winning, grit, and toughness that has been evident the entire season for the G-men, winning or being within one score of winning in every game this season but three. Their three blowout losses were to the Seahawks, Cowboys, and Eagles.
However the future is bright for Daboll, he has figured out how to keep star running back Saquan Barkley healthy and contributing. The defense has transformed in a season and Daniel Jones looks like a real NFL quarterback. Time will tell if Daboll and the Giants will work in the long run, but no one can argue he is this year’s NFL Coach of the Year.
Overreaction: The Viking’s loss means nothing for their post-season goals.
After another astonishingly underwhelming performance, the Minnesota Vikings got manhandled by the Green Bay Packers 41-17 in a game where many questioned if the reign of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the NFC North had finally come to a close. In true Vikings and Kirk Cousins fashion they folded under the pressure of the bright lights of NFL primetime.
Cousins was 18/31 for 205 yards a touchdown and three interceptions. The Vikings could not get anything going on offense and managed only three points through the first 3 quarters of play. While they struggled to score the Packers scored seemingly at will, scoring on special teams, defense, and offense to put the Vikings away early in the third quarter. Green Bay capitalized on all of Minnesota’s mistakes and with a win against Detroit will be back in the postseason.
Where does this put Minnesota? Are they destined to underachieve when the pressure is on? Cousins has had great games and he has had awful games, with the pressure of a Superbowl window closing the Vikings may look at a similar situation to the Chiefs, where they have a team capable of going the distance but because of limitations at the quarterback play they may need to consider an upgrade before the window closes on them
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