From House Enterprise, and inspired by Rich Eisen, I’m introducing “Overreaction Tuesday.” Every Tuesday throughout the NFL season, I will overreact to what I deem the biggest storyline to come from the prior weekend’s games across the league, that includes Thursday, Sunday, and Monday.
In the NFL, the stories and narratives change every single week. The bottom line is that it’s a long season (five months from Week 1 to the Super Bowl to be exact) and we don’t know how it’s going to end. All we can do is overreact to the most recent data, so let’s do that.
Week 12 - November 23 - November 27, 2023
Green Bay Packers 29 (5-6) @ Detroit Lions 22 (8-3)
Overreaction: The Green Bay Packers are going to make the playoffs. Quarterback Jordan Love looked as good as he’s looked as an NFL starting QB in the Thanksgiving win over Detroit. He threw for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns without turning the ball over in a 29-22 victory that wasn’t that close. Over the past month, Green Bay has won three of four games with the one loss coming on the road against Pittsburgh in a 23-19 defeat that could’ve gone either way. Looking ahead, the Packers host KC on Sunday night followed by games against New York, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Minnesota, and Chicago to close out the season. If they win four of their last six, that puts them at 9-8 with a realistic chance to sneak into the postseason.
Washington Commanders 10 (4-8) @ Dallas Cowboys 45 (8-3)
Overreaction: The Cowboys are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. There’s a narrative about Dallas that they lose to good teams and beat bad teams. Well, there may be evidence to support this claim, with Dallas’ record against teams over .500 at 0-2, but that is about to change. Over the final six games of the regular season, the Cowboys play five teams that are currently .500 or better; Seattle, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Miami, and Detroit. Not only is the NFC East title still attainable, the NFC’s top overall seed is still in play for the Cowboys to snatch from the Eagles. You can only play the teams in front of you and, so far, the Cowboys have flopped in their two biggest games. Now, they have an opportunity to change the narrative against some of the NFL’s best teams.
San Francisco 49ers 31 (8-3) @ Seattle Seahawks 13 (6-5)
Overreaction: For the third straight week, I’ll say it again: Seattle is going to miss the playoffs. Going into last weekend’s game against the Rams, the Seahawks were in play for the NFC West title at 6-3, but with a gauntlet of a schedule on the horizon. Well, we’re now two weeks into that gauntlet and Seattle is 0-2…and it’s only going to get worse. After back-to-back losses to the Rams and 49ers, the Seahawks now have back-to-back road games against Dallas and San Francisco before they return home to face the Eagles. I’ll be surprised if they don’t lose all three of those games, which would leave them at 6-8 with three games to play against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, and Arizona, needing to win all three to at least have a shot at the playoffs. With six games to go, I don’t see a path forward for Pete Carroll’s team to get into the postseason.
Miami Dolphins 34 (8-3) @ New York Jets 13 (4-7)
Overreaction: The Jets are toast and cannot put Aaron Rodgers back on the field this season. New York has now lost four games in a row. In those four games, their point totals were six, twelve, six, and 13, respectively. The team that once seemed like they might overcome the absence of Aaron Rodgers just in time for him to miraculously return from his Week 1 achilles injury is now in free fall. Today, the 39-year old QB is still saying he’s coming back this year, but for what? Rodgers is targeting a Christmas Eve return against Washington, which is four games away. Over that stretch, the Jets play Atlanta, Houston, and Miami. Even if they win one of those games, they’ll be 5-9 and could be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. If they lose all three, they certainly will be. So, what exactly is he coming back for? All of this to say, I will be absolutely shocked if Aaron Rodgers steps foot on a football field again in 2023. We’ll see the Jets that we should have seen this year in 2024.
New Orleans Saints 15 (5-6) @ Atlanta Falcons 24 (5-6)
Overreaction: It might be time for the Saints to start thinking about cleaning house. Yes, the Saints are tied for first in the NFC South, but they really should have complete control of the division by now. On Sunday, Atlanta QB Desmond Ridder threw two interceptions and the Falcons offense struggled to move the ball. And yet, it was New Orleans’ QB Derek Carr who threw the most costly interception, a pick that was returned 92 yards for a touchdown by Atlanta’s Jessie Bates. Saints kicker Blake Grupe kicked five field goals in the game as New Orleans drives stalled time and again, while the New Orleans defense kept the team in the game. Watch for Head Coach Dennis Allen as a dark horse candidate to be let go if the Saints end up not winning the division. It’s not a very difficult schedule going forward, and with the weakest division in football, the pressure is on several head coaches to win it and get into the postseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers 16 (7-4) @ Cincinnati Bengals 10 (5-6)
Overreaction: The firing of former offensive coordinator Matt Canada has turned the Steelers into a legitimate AFC power. For the first time in 58 games, Pittsburgh put up more than 400 yards of offense as QB Kenny Pickett threw for 278 yards and Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren combined for 148 yards on the ground. Pittsburgh’s offense looked more dynamic than it has all season, with Pickett throwing the ball down the field to tight end Pat Freirmuth, who finished with 120 yards on 9 catches, along with George Pickens and Diontae Johnson. Turns out, getting the ball to your best players as much as you can is a recipe for success. Now, the Steelers are 7-4 with its next four games against Arizona, New England, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. It’s not crazy to think that the Steelers can win all four of those games and get to 11-4 with two games remaining. Don’t expect Baltimore to run away with the AFC North; the Steelers are coming.
Carolina Panthers 10 (1-10) @ Tennessee Titans 17 (4-7)
Overreaction: Since the Panthers couldn’t fire the owner or starting quarterback, on Monday, they fired Frank Reich after just 11 games as head coach. Owner David Tepper bought the Panthers in 2018. Since then, he’s had three head coaches, Ron Rivera, Matt Rhule and Frank Reich. Not only has he fired all of them, but he’s done so during the season, including back-to-back years, firing Rhule just six weeks into the 2022 campaign. It was rumored that when the Panthers traded with Chicago to acquire the #1 overall pick in the 2023 draft, there was some disagreement behind closed doors as to who to draft, with some of the coaches, including Reich, wanting Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, but Tepper wanting the Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young from Alabama. Of course, the Panthers took Young, who has been thoroughly outplayed by Stroud, who was taken by Houston at #2 overall. Now, Tepper will add Reich to the list of coaches he is paying to not coach his team and begin a coaching search for someone who wants to come coach a QB who they didn’t draft and is underperforming and for an owner who has fired two coaches in two years. Oh, and they don’t have a first round draft pick next year. Sounds fun.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 (4-7) @ Indianapolis Colts 27 (6-5)
Overreaction: The Colts are going to make the playoffs. Just a few weeks ago, Indy was 3-5 and just two weeks removed from a robbery of a loss at home against Cleveland. Following a loss the next week to New Orleans, the Colts have picked up wins against Carolina, New England, and now Tampa Bay. Looking ahead, they have games against Tennessee, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Houston. Nine wins might do it, ten wins for sure would get the Colts into the playoffs. It is not at all out of the realm of possibility. After all, they have Minshew Magic on their side.
New England Patriots 7 (2-9) @ New York Giants 10 (4-8)
Overreaction: The Patriots are the worst team in the NFL and have earned the #1 overall pick. It’s just sad at this point to see what New England has become under Bill Belichick. The Patriots have lost four games in a row and have not scored more than 7 points over the last two weeks. Head Coach Bill Belichick is flip flopping quarterbacks basically every week and it seems to make the team even worse. As of right now, the Pats are in line for #3 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, behind Arizona and Chicago (Carolina’s pick). I think both Carolina and Arizona would beat New England if they played today. Unfortunately, we won’t see either get their chance, but with six games to go, I like the Patriots to end up with that top pick in April’s draft.
Jacksonville Jaguars 24 (8-3) @ Houston Texans 21 (6-5)
Overreaction: The Jaguars are going to win the AFC South. Following a 1-2 start, the Jags have won 7 of 8 games and are now firmly atop the division, two games ahead of the Houston Texans. Jacksonville only has one remaining divisional game, its Week 18 matchup with Tennessee, and plays the likes of Cincinnati, Carolina, and Tampa Bay in the meantime, with tough matchups with Cleveland and Baltimore sprinkled in. At this point, it’s safe to say they’ll end up with at least 11 wins which will win them the division, baring an undefeated run by the Texans to end the year.
Cleveland Browns 12 (7-4) @ Denver Broncos 29 (6-5)
Overreaction: It’s starting to feel inevitable that Denver is going to make the playoffs. This is the team that was 1-5 and lost to the Dolphins 70-20. And yet, two months later, they’re over .500 for the first time this season and in the driver's seat to make the postseason, winning five games in row against Green Bay, Kansas City, Buffalo, Minnesota, and Cleveland. The road has been tough and it unfortunately stays that way. The Broncos now play three straight road games at Houston, LA Chargers, and Detroit. If they are going to come back and make the playoffs, winning at least two of those three would go a long way before the home stretch of games against New England, LA Chargers, and @ Las Vegas.
Los Angeles Rams 37 (5-6) @ Arizona Cardinals 14 (2-10)
Overreaction: The Cardinals should use its 2024 first round pick to draft a quarterback. As fun as Kyler Murray can be to watch and as dynamic a player as we’ve seen him be in pivotal situations, he has a ceiling. In his lone playoff game in 2021, Murray threw for 137 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in a blowout loss to the Rams. He is constantly injured and has made headlines for negative reasons as much as he’s made them for positive reasons. At this point, the upside just isn’t high enough. If Arizona ends up in a position to draft USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye, I don’t see them passing up on that opportunity.
Kansas City Chiefs 31 (8-3) @ Las Vegas Raiders 17 (5-7)
Overreaction: Rashee Rice has solved the Chiefs’ wide receiver problems. As a Chiefs fan, I’ve been calling for Rice to get involved more and, much to my dismay, he’s been continually losing targets to the likes of Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Skyy Moore, and Justin Watson. On Sunday, with myself in the stands in Las Vegas, I witnessed the ‘Rashee Rice game.’ The rookie from SMU had his best game yet by far and was featured in the offense, finishing with a team-high 8 receptions on 10 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown from 39 yards out. It’s the first time in over a year that a Chiefs receiver has had more than 100 yards receiving in a game. Besides that, the target share for other Chiefs receivers dropped dramatically. In fact, only three other receivers had targets, combining for 7 targets for 36 yards and one touchdown. With the Chiefs now spreading the ball around a bit less and favoring Rice, Kelce, and Pacheco in the offense, they looked more dangerous than they have offensively all season.
Buffalo Bills 34 (6-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles 37 (10-1) - OT
Overreaction: The Bills are the AFC’s most dangerous team, and they might not make the playoffs. Buffalo outplayed Philadelphia for most of the game on Sunday but could not hold on to win it. The Bills led 17-7 at the half and 24-14 going to the 4th quarter before Eagles kicker Jake Elliott hit a 59 yard field goal in the driving rain to send the game into overtime. In OT, Buffalo was only able to get a field goal on its drive and the Eagles responded with a touchdown to win it. With just five games left on its schedule, Buffalo is 6-6 and plays its next two against KC on the road and home against Dallas. If the Bills don’t make the playoffs, they’ll only be able to look back at missed opportunities. Besides the heartbreaker in Philly, Buffalo lost in OT to the Jets Week 1, the Patriots on the road, and to Denver at home. However, if they do still make the postseason, they’ll be the team that nobody in the AFC wants to play.
Baltimore Ravens 20 (9-3) @ Los Angeles Chargers 10 (4-7)
Overreaction: The Ravens defense is going to carry them to the AFC’s #1 seed for the playoffs. Baltimore’s defense has given up the second fewest points per game this year (15.6), the second fewest yards per game (273.9) and has the 9th best turnover differential in the league. The offense, led by former MVP Lamar Jackson, has not had to carry the burden this season. In fact, in Baltimore’s three losses, it was undoubtedly the offense that let the team down. The Ravens have a top defense and an offense that ranks 7th in the league in total yards. The schedule is tough down the stretch, with road games against Jacksonville and San Francisco on the horizon and home games against Miami and Pittsburgh to close out the year. However, with the dynamic Jackson at QB and the defense humming, it is very possible that the AFC will run through Baltimore when it’s all said and done.
Chicago Bears 12 (4-8) @ Minnesota Vikings 10 (6-6)
Overreaction: Justin Fields is slowly starting to save his future as a Chicago Bear. Sure, Monday night’s win in Minnesota was not pretty, but it was a win, which is what the Bears QB has to do to keep his job for 2024. The Chicago Bears own two 2024 first round draft picks; their own and the one they got from Carolina for the 2023 #1 overall pick, which ultimately Carolina used on Bryce Young. It’s looking like the Bears are going to end up with, at least, two top ten draft picks in 2024, which leaves them with a decision. Do they take a top quarterback in the draft and give up on Justin Fields, or do they draft two players to build more around him? Since his return from injury, Fields played great in a loss to Detroit and led his team to victory on the road in Minnesota. He’s got a five game audition in front of him to try and prove that he’s the guy going forward.