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Mike White, Jordan Love take flight; Bucs, Ravens falter: NFL notes and evaluation

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One other wild and wacky football weekend is within the books with upsets and surprising performances doting the headlines. The so-called heavyweights (Ravens, Titans and Buccaneers) suffered through dismal performances while a set of upstarts (Dolphins and Jets) made statements with resounding victories. 

After reviewing the tape and examining the box scores, listed below are my thoughts on an interesting weekend of ball.

Three things I liked

1. Mike White is the Jets’ QB1 

Credit Robert Saleh and the Jets’ front office for sitting down former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson in favor of a longtime backup with swagger and moxie. White not only upgraded the performance of the offense together with his efficiency from the pocket, but he found a approach to incorporate the Jets’ young playmakers (Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore) into the sport plan so as to add some juice to a unit that has struggled to maneuver the ball consistently. 

Should Jets proceed to start out Mike White over Zach Wilson?

Should Jets continue to start Mike White over Zach Wilson?

Mike White began after Zack Wilson was benched and finished 22-of-28 for 315 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-10 win over the Bears. Colin Cowherd explains why the Jets must proceed to start out White.

With White on the controls against the Bears, the Jets rolled up 466 yards of total offense, including a 315-yard effort through the air on 22 of 28 attempts with three scores. The efficiency and effectiveness of the passing game unlocked the potential of an offense that completely complemented a stingy defense that dominated the motion.

Because the Jets inch closer to a playoff berth, the choice handy the ball to a backup quarterback with the intangibles and tools to win over the locker room could pay huge dividends down the stretch. 

2. Josh Jacobs puts on a show

The Raiders might regret nixing Jacobs’ fifth-year option after watching him placed on a show against the Seattle Seahawks. The fourth-year running back totaled 300-plus scrimmage yards and two touchdowns, including an 86-yard walk-off rating to seal the win. 

The impressive effort not only showcased Jacobs’ skills as a runner but gave the football world a reminder of his potential to deliver splash plays as a pass-catcher on the perimeter. With 74 receiving yards on six catches, Jacobs provided Derek Carr with an explosive option to focus on on check-downs and underneath routes. 

As a rugged runner with just a little “shake and bake,” the veteran is the entire package. Furthermore, he’s a flexible workhorse with big-play potential as a runner or receiver. Considering how Jacobs has re-emerged as an elite playmaker, he is certainly the straw that stirs the Raiders’ drink. 

3. It’s Jordan Love time 

It is tough to drag the plug on a quarterback with 4 MVP trophies on the mantle, however the Packers needed to get their QB of the long run reps to see if he’s able to take over the position in 2023 or 2024. Despite serving a three-year apprenticeship behind Aaron Rodgers, Love hadn’t proven yet that he possessed the talent and skill to play winning football. 

After catching a glimpse of Love against the Eagles, the young passer actually looks like he’s able to tackle the job. The third-year pro accomplished 6 of 9 passes for 113 yards with a touchdown on a 63-yard catch-and-run toss to Christian Watson. Although the late-game motion is a small sample size, it is clear that Love is more confident and cozy directing the offense. 

Aaron Rodgers replaced by Jordan Love in loss to Eagles

Aaron Rodgers replaced by Jordan Love in loss to Eagles

Aaron Rodgers left Sunday’s game with a rib injury. Jordan Love got here on in relief and immediately led the Packers on a scoring drive. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe talk concerning the way forward for each QBs.

From his improved decisiveness to his pinpoint accuracy, Love looks latest and improved as a playmaker from the pocket. He looks ready for his opportunity to guide the offense, and the team should give him loads of reps as Green Bay closes out the 2022 campaign constructing a foundation for the long run. 

Three things I didn’t like

1. What’s up with the Ravens? 

The Ravens have the talent to make it to the AFC title game, but I never know which version of this team goes show up each week. Despite John Harbaugh’s masterful coaching and motivational tactics, the Ravens routinely play up or all the way down to their level of competition. 

Although an NFL regular season is routinely filled with ups and downs as a consequence of the length of the campaign, the Ravens’ inconsistent performance and production, particularly against bad teams, is a serious concern. The team’s red-zone woes, particularly, suggest that the offense lacks the playmakers or schematics to get it kept away from Lamar Jackson’s performing magic tricks with the ball. The previous MVP seemingly has to make all of the plays for this team to place points on the board, and the over-reliance on Jackson makes it easier for opponents to suffocate the Ravens offense in key moments. 

Against the Jaguars, the Ravens’ repeated failures within the red zone ultimately cost the team a winnable game on the road. The Ravens converted just two of 5 red-zone attempts and the field-goal fest enabled the Jaguars to loaf around despite being outplayed for a lot of the game. Considering that the failures are a part of a season-long trend wherein the Ravens have squeaked out close wins or suffered surprising losses to inferior opponents, Harbaugh must quickly determine the personality of his squad or watch it suffer a fast exit within the postseason. 

2. Russell Wilson‘s slump continues 

Despite being thought to be a top-five quarterback for many of his profession, Wilson is not any longer an elite playmaker on the position. He’s completing just 58.9% of his passes with an 8-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio through 10 games. Furthermore, the Broncos‘ marquee acquisition has didn’t spark an offense that was expected to light up scoreboards across the league. 

Against the lowly Panthers, Wilson’s slump continued as he accomplished just 19 of 35 pass attempts for 142 yards with a touchdown. The dearth of production from the star quarterback seemingly drew the ire of his teammates, as evidenced by his sideline spat with Mike Purcell. After watching Wilson struggle for your entire season despite multiple play callers and schematic tweaks, the honeymoon period is over in Denver. 

3. Tom Brady cannot save the Bucs

The “GOAT” is the last word winner in NFL history, but Brady won’t transform this version of the Buccaneers right into a title contender. He might reel off just a few wins down the stretch, but this team lacks the explosive components on all sides of the ball to win all of it. 

That is not a slight or dismissal of Todd Bowles’ coaching efforts or the magic that TB12 has worked up to now, but there is just not enough time for the Buccaneers to reverse their fortunes. This team lacks a transparent offensive direction, and the defense has didn’t play as much as the lofty standards needed to assert a title. Although most observers are scared to forged away the Buccaneers, the team has struggled for a lot of the season, and there is just not a magic wand that Brady can wave to repair the woes that plague this team. 

From the mismatched parts on offense that don’t fit the scheme that works best for Brady to the query marks within the lineup on defense, the Bucs lack the manpower to get it done in a really competitive NFC. We’ll see in the event that they can prove me fallacious, but based on their recent performance, there’s little probability that this team will get it done. 

My top 10 teams

1. Philadelphia Eagles: As the primary team to 10 wins, the Eagles have the within track on securing the NFC’s top seed and home-field advantage. With Jalen Hurts’ leading a run-centric offense that perplexes defenders with power runs, triple options and RPOs, the Eagles are the team that nobody to face within the postseason.

2. Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid’s squad keeps chalking up wins because the team finds alternative ways to win each week. Although the offense was not humming this week, the Chiefs’ opportunistic defense makes enough plays to win.

Patrick Mahomes on Chiefs’ ugly win over Rams

Patrick Mahomes on Chiefs' ugly win over Rams

FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews chats with Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes about K.C. pulling out a win despite the offense not clicking on all cylinders. “It is a team game,” he said.

3. Minnesota Vikings: After an embarrassing loss in Week 11, the Vikings bounced back with a robust performance against the Patriots that showcased the team’s talent and potential as an offensive juggernaut. 

4. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are riding a five-game winning streak behind the sizzling play of an MVP candidate. Tua Tagovailoa torched the Texans in a spectacular first half that enabled the Dolphins to cruise to a simple win. 

5. Dallas Cowboys: Because the Cowboys lean right into a blue-collar approach that prioritizes the running game and defense, they proceed to climb the charts as a title contender. With Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott playing like one of the best RB tandem in football and the defense wreaking havoc behind Micah Parsons & Co., the Cowboys actually have the pieces in place to make a title run. 

6. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen single-handedly keeps the Bills within the title hunt together with his spectacular feats from the pocket. The star quarterback dropped dime after dime within the clutch against the Lions to place the Bills within the win column this week. 

7. Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor has pushed the best buttons to assist the Bengals climb back into the hunt as a title contender. Despite missing injured RB1 Joe Mixon and WR1 Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals still have enough firepower to get it done against top teams. 

8. Tennessee Titans: The ultra-physical Titans make up for his or her talent deficiency with effort and toughness. Although their gritty playing style gives them a probability against the league’s heavyweights, the dearth of five-star playmakers also makes them prone to knockouts from lightweights. 

9. Recent York Jets: Robert Saleh might need found his long-term solution at quarterback in White. The gunslinger sparked the Jets’ dormant offense and pumped some life into the team’s playoff hopes. 

10. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have the right mixture of offense and defense to make a deep postseason run. Although Kyle Shanahan remains to be experimenting with the offensive pieces, the mere considered defending a unit that features Christian McCaffrey, Deebo SamuelGeorge Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk will keep the defensive coordinators up at night. 

Week 12 Game Balls

Most Useful Player of the Week: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Hurts is evolving into the last word dual-threat playmaker on the position, together with his arm talent and running skills creating problems for opponents. Against the Packers, the third-year pro amassed 157 rushing yards on 17 carries while putting up one other 150-plus yards through the air. With Hurts scoring twice, the Eagles’ QB1 put his stamp on a primetime performance that ought to thrust him squarely into the MVP conversation. 

Offensive Player of the Week: Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Lawrence showcased the spectacular skills that made him the simple selection because the No. 1 overall pick within the 2021 draft. The second-year pro posted a 300-yard game on a series of jaw-dropping throws to Zay Jones, Marvin JonesChristian Kirk and JaMycal Hasty that confirmed his exceptional arm talent. Furthermore, the sensational throws within the clutch validated the Jaguars’ belief of their QB1 as a star within the making. 

Defensive Player of the Week: Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers

Burns sparked the Panthers’ win over the Broncos with a two-sack effort that also included a forced fumble. The speedy edge defender wreaked havoc on Denver’s frontline and compelled Russell Wilson right into a disappointing day from the pocket. 

Unsung Hero of the Week: Brian Robinson, Washington Commanders 

It is acceptable that Robinson was spotted within the locker room wearing the “big hat” during Washington’s postgame celebration. The rookie running back carried to Commanders to their sixth win of their past seven games with 125 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 20 touches. As a big-bodied runner with an old-school game, Robinson has added some much-needed physicality and toughness to a Commanders offense that is embracing a blue-collar identity. 

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Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He commonly appears on “Speak For Yourself” and in addition breaks down the sport for NFL Network and as a cohost of the “Moving the Sticks” podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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