News, Notes & Rumors for week 15


 NOTE: Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday and Friday at 6 PM Eastern on or the archive of the shows on On Monday Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discuss the Browns game and the results of the weekend. On Friday Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York joins Samantha and me to preview the upcoming games.

Browns Bears NNR with Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports tonight on 6PM Tuesday Dec. 17.


As I said last week, the officiating has been abysmal. In an attempt to at least get replay calls more consistent the NFL is likely to centralize replay for all games in the New York headquarters. This has to be done to relieve overwhelmed officials from some of their duties.


Jags WR Cecil Shorts will be shut down for the rest of the season due to injury.


Browns CB Joe Haden suffered a hip pointer. He could be back for the game at the Jets this week.


Giants WR Victor Cruz and Cards WR Larry Fitzgerald both suffered concussions.


Richie Incognito will continue to receive his pay despite not being active on the Dolphins’ roster. Then NFL would like to extend the “investigation” beyond the end of the regular season and playoffs if possible. That would keep the bad news out of the media (except for NNR of course).


The Broncos are all in for 2013. The team will take a huge hit in the long term for depending on an aging Payton Manning. The loss to the Chargers shows how home game dependent the team is.



Seahawks 23 Giants 0 – The Giants O did not show up but the D played well. The Seahawks flew across the country for a 1:00 EST game and put one on the G-Men. Giants QB Eli Manning couldn’t give the ball away fast enough. He threw 5 interceptions but his receivers did him no favors. They looked like they could have cared less if the ball was picked off and made little effort to knock the ball away from Seahawk defenders. Manning now has 25 interceptions this season. QB Russell Wilson threw for a TD and was the leading rusher. His O line allowed 4 sacks and could not get RB Marshawn Lynch any room to run. He was held to 47 yards.


Packers 37 Cowboys 36 – The Boys built a 23 point lead and then the D gave it away. It was the biggest blown lead in Cowboy history. QB Tony Romo threw picks in the final two possessions when the Boys had a chance to come back for the win. The Boys gave away a chance to tie the Eagles for the top spot in the NFC Least. All four NFC East teams lost. Packer replacement QB Matt Flynn looked like a star going 26-39 for 299 yards and 4 TDs with 1 pick. There will be fall out from this loss. In the post game press conference, Coach Jason Garrett suggested that Romo changed plays from runs to passes. While the two picks contributed to the loss, the Dallas D collapsed in the second half. This is a very flawed team. To be fair to Romo, the next to last interception was a read route where the receiver and QB have to make the same read of the coverage. The receiver cut off the route and Romo threw it to the spot where he would have been had he continued the pattern.


Rams 27 Saints 16 – The Rams built a 24-3 half time lead and the Saints never recovered. The DE combination of Chris Long and Robert Quinn harassed Saint QB Drew Brees all day. The Ram D got 4 sacks and forced 2 picks. Combined with the Panthers win, the Saints now have to win the next game at Carolina to win the division. Otherwise they will be on the road as a wild card. This game proved that unless the Saints get games at home they are not a serious contender for the Super Bowl.

Ram QB Kellen Clemens played OK (14-20 158 2TDs 0 interceptions). The Rams out gained the Saints 144-61 on the ground.


Steelers 30 Bengals 20 – “The Bengals are what we thought they were.” The Steelers used 2 special teams touchdowns to build a 21 point lead and the Bengals were done. The Bengals came into the game knowing that they would move to 2nd in the AFC with a win. But the game was too big for them that they choked. While there have been questions about QB Andy Dalton’s ability to step up in big games, the problems of the Bengals run much deeper that one player. There were major breakdowns in special teams and on D as well as on the O line. Even if the Bengals get to the playoffs, I doubt they advance.


Chiefs 56 Raiders 31 – Chief RB Jamaal Charles contributed 5 TDs including 4 receiving scores. The Raiders could not cover him. The win secures the Chiefs a playoff position. This team has yet to beat a team with a winning record. They have taken full advantage of playing the schedule of the team with the worst record the previous season. But the Chiefs are limited by the arm strength of QB Alex Smith and what has become an inconsistent pass rush by the Chief D. The Chiefs will struggle to advance against a good team on the road.


Bears 38 Browns 31 – “As the Sun pulls away from the shore and the ship sinks slowly in the west, we say goodbye to the 2013 season.” The Browns have had leads in the 4th quarter of the last 3 weeks and the D, which was supposed to be the strength of the team, gave the games away. The D did score 2 TDs but when the game was on the line the Bears drove down the field and scored the winner. The Browns need a complete overhaul and based on the 2012 draft, I have no faith that Joe Banner and GM

Mike Lombardi can get the job done. The 2013 draft produced very little. The big dollar free agents on D have not produced. They started Brandon Weeden when any fan that watched him play in 2012 knew he was a bust. They put Weeden back in when Bryan Hoyer was hurt. The two good things they have done is to get a 1st for Trent Richardson and have gathered a plethora of picks in the 2014 draft. But if those picks turn out to be busts, they need to be replaced.



The return of Jay Cutler to the starting QB position indicates that he will be back in 2014. That will take one more QB out of the veteran pool for teams needing to make a change.


The signing of QB Josh Freeman by the Vikings has been a mistake. He will be a FA in 2014 and will draw some interest despite his disastrous play in purple. The fact that he will be courted indicates how desperate teams are to have any kind of production from that position.


Cowboy WR Dez Bryant will be looking for more consistent QB play in free agency. He will be a free agent in 2015. Don’t expect him to sign with Dallas again. He will be looking for a team that can win.


The NFL Competition committee will take a look at low hits like the one that ended Pats TE Rob Gronkowski’s season. The problem is that further reducing the area for a legal hit will make defending offense even more difficult.


There will be changes in Dallas. Look for owner/GM Jerry Jones to force changes on the coaching staff. The problem with an owner being the GM is that when things go south he has to blame coaching because he picked the players. The only reason he would keep HC Jason Garrett is that no decent coach would take the job with Jones as GM.


NFL Coaching changes are seasonal just like Christmas. The Vikings and Texans are already openly looking for a head coach. Look for changes by the Jets, Lions, Redskins, Raiders and perhaps the Giants.

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