Lamar Jackson is Everything
In last night’s Ravens’ 42-21 win over the New York Jets, Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson set the record for most rushing yards for a quarterback in a single season. He currently has 1,103 and is the first quarterback ever to rush for over 1,100. Michael Vick’s record of 1,039 had held strong for 13 years.
Beyond the record, Jackson finished the night 15-of-23 with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He is the league-leader in touchdown passes with 33 and has rushed for seven. How do you spell MVP? Lamar Jackson.
Show Them the Money
It was a good week to be a Major League Baseball star, with Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, and Anthony Rendon all signing major deals.
World Series MVP Strasburg will stay in our Nation’s Capital, where the pitcher and the Washington Nationals agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract. That was a record until…
A day later when former Houston Astros’ pitcher Gerrit Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million deal with the New York Yankees.
To round out the millions, third baseman Anthony Rendon will be leaving DC and heading to Cali, where he will play for the Anaheim Angels to the tune of a seven-year, $245 million deal.
Fangirls, I am in the wrong business. Batter up!
The Wild NFC North
With three weeks left in the regular season, one of the NFC Wild Card teams will come out of the North.
The 7-6 Chicago Bears head to Lambeau Field on Sunday to face the division leading Green Bay Packers, who are 10-3. As a reminder, the Bears opened the season with a loss to Green Bay at Soldier Field. Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky came alive last week against the Dallas Cowboys, and the Bears have won three in a row. But I think we know it’s just a little too late.
For their part, the Packers are going to want to take care of business against the surging Bears, in order to keep both their NFC North lead over the 9-4 Minnesota Vikings, and the number two seed in the NFC.
The Vikings will be in LA taking on the 5-8 Chargers, so unless things go terribly wrong, which the Packers know they can, Lizzo’s new man (whoever he may be) and the rest of the purple and yellow should come out with a firm grasp on a Wild Card spot.
Speaking of Wild Cards
How about those Los Angeles Rams? Coming off a Sunday Night win over the Seattle Seahawks, the Rams sit at 8-5 and are all of a sudden in the Wild Card hunt. Lucky for them, they’re playing a Cowboys’ team that seems to be hunting for a way to end their season as quickly as possible.
The Rams will be on the road, but the Cowboys are skidding faster than a, I don’t know, something that skids. The prolific offense of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, and Amari Cooper has scored only five touchdowns over the last three games, all losses.
The Rams’ seventh-ranked defense comes into the game with 43 sacks, 30 of which have come over their last seven games. The Cowboys’ defense forced its first turnover in a decade (exaggerating but not by much) last week, but will be facing Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff, whose play has been inconsistent at best. He does, however, have 717 yards passing and four touchdowns in his last two games. He’s also thrown 14 interceptions this season. Will the real Jared Goff please stand up?
The matchup has playoff implications for both teams. A Rams’ loss would pretty much end all hopes of a playoff run, while the 6-7 Cowboys are a hair ahead of the Eagles for the NFC East and, in theory, would like to keep it that way.
Key AFC Matchups
Texans vs. Titans
Our first matchup starts in the AFC South, where the revitalized Tennessee Titans, who have won four in a row, and the DeShaun Watson-led Houston Texans are fighting for the division. The Texans currently hold the tie-breaker but these teams play each other twice over the next three weeks, so that could change on a dime.
The 24th-ranked Texans defense has to contend with Titans’ QB Ryan Tannehill, who has single-handedly led his team into the playoff race. Tannehill took over as QB1 in mid-October and has 1,993 pass yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Titans’ defense is holding teams to under 20 points a game, but with Watson and his 24 touchdowns coming to town, they will have their work cut out for them.
Bills vs. Steelers
Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the 9-4 Buffalo Bills and the 8-5 Steelers will be fighting to hold onto their respective Wild Card spots. Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen is having a great season, but he will be up against a Steelers’ defense that leads the league in both sacks, with 48, and takeaways with 33. For his part, Allen has just one interception in his last eight games. This game may be quietly one of the better ones of the weekend.