NFL Lessons – Week 16

With this being an important week of football in the NFL this season, the NFL Lessons had to come back to break down what we learned around the league today. We will update today because of the fact that the San Francisco 49ers/Atlanta Falcons game pretty much doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. 

The Detroit Lions Need To Retool Their Organization

On Sunday night, the Lions absolutely imploded – yet again – in the 4th quarter after a Matthew Stafford interception that was returned for a touchdown & losing a game in overtime to the New York Giants – a game that had no business even getting into the overtime period. Unfortunately, someone is going to have to take the blame for this, & it will need to be Jim Schwartz. 

The team has become very undisciplined with the penalties at the most inopportune times of a game & much of that has to go back to the leadership of Schwartz. He does not publicly criticize his players & let them know publicly that they have to shape up and be better, the way many coaches did, whether directly or indirectly. 

However, the Lions’ woes can’t be blamed on Schwartz alone……Lions QB Matthew Stafford has to take some heat because of the tough passes that he was slinging around the field today. The interception that was returned for a touchdown was not thrown on the money and directly cost the Lions the division & a playoff spot, particularly with the help the team received later in the day from the Bears & Packers. 

While the team can’t replace Stafford & his $94 million dollar extension money, a new leader has to come now. No question about it. If the Lions organization is serious about winning & wanting to do it now, its time to look at new candidates. 

Peyton Manning Is The King of the Career Comeback With Setting Touchdown Record Against Houston Texans 

When Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay elected to draft #1 overall pick Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft, he probably never envisioned that the player that Luck would replace, future NFL Hall-of-Fame Quarterback Peyton Manning, would come back 2 seasons later and set the single season record for most touchdowns thrown in a season, a record that was previously set at 50 by New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady in 2007. 

Well, Peyton Manning has completed his comeback & is now the greatest single season quarterback of all time, as he broke Brady’s record on Sunday against the Houston Texans with his 51st touchdown pass, a pass that went to Julius Thomas (there you go for all you trivia buffs out there). 

Many people will say that Manning doesn’t do well in the cold, only great in the regular season, etc, etc., but the man has a SuperBowl ring, several MVP awards and has the single season touchdown record in the NFL. 

If he isn’t a Hall-of-Fame player to a voter, I can’t imagine what else he needs to do. 

New Orleans Saints Will Have Trouble On The Road In The NFL Playoffs

The New Orleans Saints had the Carolina Panthers beaten for about 90% of their game on Sunday in Charlotte. However, in the 4th quarter, Cam Newton showed his maturity and evolution as a quarterback in the NFL with his game winning touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon with 23 seconds left on the clock to clinch a playoff spot for the Panthers – their first since 2008 – as well as an opportunity to clinch the NFC South next week. 

The Saints have shown throughout the season that when they are away from the confines of the Superdome, the team doesn’t look remotely the same. If the Saints are going to advance in the playoffs, if they do not win the division, the team will have to most likely need to play a game in Seattle against the Seahawks, a team that has one of the toughest 12th Man advantages in the NFL. 

Both teams (Saints & Panthers) have drawn blood on each other at home, but momentum is everything in the NFL, & right now, Carolina is riding a high & the Saints have to reestablish their identity. 

Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East – As If We Are Surprised 

The Eagles & Cowboys – two teams who were under a ton of scrutiny coming into the season for a variety of reasons – are now in position to win the NFC East next Sunday on Sunday Night Football. 

The Philadelphia Eagles brought in a new offense, a new coach in Chip Kelly, essentially a new leader in Nick Foles, the loss of Jeremy Maclin to injury, the stupid & ignorant comments of Riley Cooper, but somehow, the Eagles have navigated the waters to get to an NFC East Championship game and a playoff spot, not to mention a home game in the wildcard weekend. The team could have imploded with Michael Vick on the sidelines, but they came together and made everything a complete positive, a testament to Kelly, the staff & the players. 

The Dallas Cowboys are always America’s favorite rollercoaster ride. Between Tony Romo not being clutch in the 4th quarter (he was awesome against Washington on Sunday though), Dez Bryant going crazy every other week, Jason Garrett always looking over his shoulder for his job security, and Jerry Jones being the Hollywood owner, it is truly amazing that the Cowboys are in a situation to win its division. 

No matter who you may root for, Sunday Night Football will bring high drama, high stakes & tons of storylines all week long leading up to the game. 

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