Never in league history has the NFL reached Week 15 with 21 teams that had at least six wins. And, for the first time since 1990, there is no team making the playoffs at this point in the season.
There are things, however, that seem to never change. Like the fact that the New England Patriots are at the top of the Eastern Division of the American Conference, hand in hand with a seven-game winning streak.
Now, coach Bill Belichick will play his good moment in a new edition of the rivalry that marked much of the last two decades. On Saturday, the Pats visit the Indianapolis Colts (7-6).
Equipped with a new weapon after 20 years of dominance in the AFC with Tom Brady at the controls, it is rookie passer Mac Jones who is leading New England’s offense against a Colts who boast an extremely balanced team.
Indianapolis, winner of four of its last five games to enter the playoff scene after a 1-4 start, has its best weapon in running back Jonathan Taylor (1,348 yards and 16 touchdowns).
But the Colts’ success goes beyond a powerful running game. Quarterback Carson Wentz has 22 touchdown passes for just five interceptions, the defense has conceded fewer than 20 points in three of its last four games, and his 29 steals – including at least one in every game this season – represent the most. amount throughout the NFL.
Maybe they need more of that against a Patriots who catapulted to the top of the AFC with the best defense in the entire NFL, a unit that concedes just 15.4 points per game and less than 14 in each of their games. last five commitments.
That has made the task easier for the young Jones, whose main job has been to stay clear of mistakes, convert when necessary (7th ERA at third down) and rely on a versatile running game.
The Patriots have won the last six series games against Indianapolis, but they were all with Brady.
“No matter how we get into the dance, we just want to get in, and the way to do it is to win every week,” said Cornerback Kenny Moore II.
SAINTS (6-7) at TAMPA BAY (10-3)
Much has changed since the New Orleans Saints handed Brady the worst loss of his career, 38-3 in Week 9 last season.
For starters, the Buccaneers eliminated the Saints in the divisional round of last postseason that marked the end of Drew Brees’ career and steered Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl title.
Now, the Saints have a chance to curb a four-game win streak by the Buccaneers and prevent the reigning NFL champions from securing their postseason ticket in the process. Of course that is much easier said than done.
The Saints are coming off a five-game losing streak thanks to a 30-9 win over the Jets the previous Sunday. But these Bucs are a long way from being the Jets. Suffice it to note that Brady and Tampa Bay have the most productive attack in the NFL at 31.5 points per game.
Brady, who again has MVP credentials, is also the leader in passing yards (4,134) and touchdown passes (36) this season. And up front he will have a few Saints who have conceded at least 27 points in five of their last seven games.
But since Brady joined Tampa Bay at the start of the previous season, he’s 0-3 in the regular season against the Saints, including a 36-27 loss in Week 8. But this isn’t the same team as New. Orleans.
On that occasion Jameis Winston threw a touchdown pass against his former team before injuring his knee in the second quarter and missing the rest of the season. Now the responsibility for the attack rests in the hands of the versatile, and equally insecure, Taysom Hill.
Week 15 began Thursday with Kansas City’s 34-28 overtime win over the Chargers.
Travis Kelce caught a short pass from Patrick Mahones and caused several opponents to miss for a 34-yard drive to the end zone, which gave the Chiefs (10-4) their seventh straight victory.
The Chargers were 8-5, also in the AL West.
The action continues Saturday with the Raiders (6-7), who have lost five of their last six games, in a visit to Cleveland (7-6), which has 18 players on the COVID-19 roster.
The day continues Sunday with the following matches: Panthers (5-8) at Buffalo (7-6); Cardinals (10-3) at Detroit (1-11-1); Texans (2-11) at Jacksonville (2-11); Jets (3-10) at Miami (6-7); Cowboys (9-4) at NY Giants (4-9); Washington (6-7) in Philadelphia (6-7); Titans (9-4) at Pittsburgh (6-6-1); Bengals (7-6) at Denver (7-6); Falcons (6-7) at San Francisco (7-6); Packers (10-3) at Baltimore (8-5); Seahawks (5-8) at LA Rams (9-4).
The week concludes on Monday with the Vikings (6-7) visit Chicago (4-9) in a duel between rivals from the AFC North desperate to remain in the postseason landscape.
HEADING TO PLAYOFFS
This week Arizona, Green Bay and Tampa Bay can seal their playoff berth with a win.
The Patriots, Titans, Cowboys and Rams could also secure their postseason spots this week, though they require a win and a combination of results.
Associated Press reporter Michael Marot contributed to this report from Indianapolis.
We would like to thank the writer of this write-up for this amazing web content
Colts and Patriots write another chapter in their rivalry