Week 12 Standouts, Surprises and Setbacks – Part 2
The NFL Playoffs are less than 2 months away, and the AFC and NFC races are really starting to heat up. The AFC Wild Card picture could include nearly every team at this point, while the upstart Panthers and Cardinals are looking to break into the upper echelon of the NFC elites. For teams like Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, the last few weeks of the regular season will be spent figuring out how to be next year’s upstart playoff surprise. Week 12 featured several crazy comebacks, 1 tie game and another game that almost ended in a tie. In this week’s Standouts, Surprises and Setbacks I will break down the players that had surprising performances.
New Orleans: 17
S. Jackson 19 touches, 79 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: Steven Jackson finally showed up, about 11 weeks too late for the Falcons. The season is already lost, so it might be a good idea for the Falcons to see what their young players have for the remainder of the season.
J. Gordon 14 rec, 237 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: Josh Gordon doesn’t really surprise anyone with his elite level stats, but 14 catches for 237 yards is a stat line that will surprise and astound any fantasy owner, especially against the Steelers defense.
Tampa Bay: 24
T. Underwood 3 rec, 108 yds, 2 TD
N. Burleson 7 rec, 77 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: Tiquan Underwood had a coming out party on Sunday, catching 3 passes for 108 yards and 2 TDs. Meanwhile, Nate Burleson returned from injury to put up his best numbers of the season.
Green Bay: 26
M. Flynn 242 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: Matt Flynn might not be the answer for the Packers, but it is nice to know that he can be competent for one of the 32 NFL teams. Next up for Flynn, a Thanksgiving day encounter with a suspect Lions defense.
San Diego: 41
Kansas City: 38
D. Avery 4 rec, 91 yds, 1 TD
L. Green 3 rec, 80 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: Ladarius Green has been a pleasant surprise for the Chargers over the previous 2 games, and could be a replacement for the aging Antonio Gates in the near future.
St. Louis: 42
B. Cunningham 13 carries, 109 yds, 1 TD
T. Austin 3 touches, 104 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: Tavon Austin is showing flashes of brilliance, which is likely why the Rams took him in the top 10 of the 2013 NFL draft. Can he keep this up and salvage an otherwise lackluster rookie season? I guess we will find out in the last few months.
M. Wallace 5 rec, 127 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: Mike Wallace received a monster contract from the Dolphins and has been one of the most underwhelming free agent signings of the year. However, he managed to catch 2 50+ yard passes including a touchdown, so that was a welcome sight for Dolphins fans and the front office in Miami.
New York Jets: 3
J. Jones 4 rec, 103 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: Jacoby Jones parlayed his Dancing With the Stars appearance into a touchdown dance on Sunday, catching 4 balls for over 100 yards. Yes, this game really was that awful that it spawned a DWTS reference.
D. Johnson 15 touches, 87 yds
Analysis: Ben Tate managed exactly 1 yard on 7 rushes on Sunday, while Dennis Johnson had 87 total yards. Tate is going to be the starter moving forward, but Johnson could prove to be a nice change of pace back the rest of the season. He will be the only bright spot for an otherwise dismal Texans season.
J. Hunter 6 rec, 109 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: I’ve joked about the Titans receiving carousel all season, whether it be Nate Washington, Kenny Britt’s absence or Kendall Wright, but now Wright and Justin Hunter are starting to look like they could be the receiving tandem of the future for the Titans. If Jake Locker can stay healthy, this team could surprise next year in the AFC.
M. Floyd 7 rec, 104 yds
Analysis: Carson Palmer has finally found his rhythm, and the Cardinals are making moves in the NFC playoff picture. Michael Floyd has nearly 300 yards in the last 2 weeks, and he is a definite benefactor from Palmer’s consistency.
New York Giants: 21
B. Jacobs 9 rushes, 75 yds
Analysis: Andre Brown isn’t the only Giants running back that had a strong performance on Sunday, as Brandon Jacobs rushed for over 8 YPC against a Dallas defense that can’t stop any opposing running back.
New England: 34
J. Edelman 9 rec, 110 yds, 2 TD
B. Bolden 14 carries, 69 yds, 1 TD
Analysis: The receiving carousel joke has found its way to New England, where Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins have all staked claim to the top receiver title at some point this season.
San Francisco: 27
WAS RBs 27 rushes, 100 yds
Analysis: Not much about this game was surprising, aside from Washington managing 100 total yards on the ground against San Francisco. When you only score 6 points it is hard to find anything positive to say about your team.