Week 13 is in the books, and after next week every team will have had their bye week. That means a full slate of games are just around the corner. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we shouldn\’t forget what happened this week. It took us 13 weeks, but every team in the NFL has officially won and lost at least one game this season. Unfortunately, that was about the most exciting thing in this week\’s slate of games. Most of the games this week were a \”snooze fest,\” and the most entertaining game involved the Lions. It doesn\’t mean these games didn\’t matter, and as such, let\’s see who won and lost the most this week.
Winner #1 Detroit Lions Fans
Once the Lions won it didn\’t matter what else happened this weekend, they were going into the winner’s category. Lions fans have suffered a lot over the years with little pay off in the end. In fact, Detroit is the only franchise to go a whole season without winning, TWICE. So, for their fanbase, to avoid having that record increased by one has to be a huge relief. To do so in such dramatic fashion was wildly entertaining, and you could see what it meant to the players. An added bonus was that this win came at the expense of the Vikings, their hated division rivals. The Lions still have the worst record in the league, but at least they no longer have to worry about a winless season.
Loser #1 Minnesota Vikings
We all knew this was coming right? Losing to a team that until this past weekend hadn\’t won a single game is a surefire way to end up as one of the losers of the week. That alone is embarrassing enough, but the manner in which Minnesota lost is even worse. To let Jared Goff drive down the field so easily is inexcusable. Goff is one of the worst QBs in the league when facing a blitz. Yet for some reason the Vikings chose not to blitz one single time during that last drive. If you needed a blueprint on how to lose to the Lions, the Vikings gave you the perfect plan. This loss greatly hurts their playoff odds and might even be the game that keeps them out.
Winner #2 Los Angeles Chargers
In the only game that featured two teams in playoff spots, the Chargers came out on top. The 41-22 victory is a huge boost for a couple of reasons. First, beating a team fighting for the same playoff spot as you gives you a crucial advantage. Secondly, it gives your team confidence moving forward that they can win these types of games. This especially rings true considering at one point, they squandered a 24-0 lead. Luckily for the Chargers their defense made a game-changing play with the score at 24-22. As you can see, the Chargers never looked back.
Loser #2 Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have been featured several times in previous editions of \”Winners and Losers\” on both sides. This week they find themselves on the loser’s side. A week after beating the Cowboys and giving their season a jolt, the Raiders fell back down on their faces. Losing at home to the Washington Football team is a wasted opportunity. With a schedule full of playoff hopefuls, the Raiders need to take advantage of every winnable game that they can. The season is rapidly coming to a close and the margin for error is getting smaller. This loss means that Vegas now has to go steal a win somewhere they weren\’t expecting to. Failure to do that might mean failing to make the playoffs.
Winner #3 Pittsburgh Steelers
Somehow, some way, the Steelers find a way to stay alive. Outside of Detroit, nobody had a bigger win this past weekend than the Steelers. The Steelers outlasted their hated division rivals Baltimore after the Ravens failed at a 2-point conversion. The win keeps the Steelers firmly in the playoff picture and may give them some momentum to make a run. It will be especially interesting to see how this team handles themselves down the stretch. With rumors of this being Big Ben\’s final season, will they make a Cinderella-like run? Or will they go down without a whimper as one of their best QBs in franchise history says farewell.
Loser #3 San Francisco 49ers
The Niners run at reviving their season took a serious hit this past Sunday. Despite their best efforts not to, the Seahawks came out victorious 30-23. I say that jokingly, but Seattle really did everything in their power to throw this game away. Twice they turned the ball over right at the goal line, robbing themselves of points. Yet despite Seattle\’s mistakes, the Niners couldn\’t take advantage of them. Seattle\’s season is over, but it would appear San Francisco has allowed the Seahawks to drag them down to a similar situation. The Niners aren\’t officially dead yet, but this loss puts them firmly on the road to be. The Niners no longer have a margin for error and must be perfect the rest of the way. Easier said than done in the beast that is the NFC West.