3 winners and 5 losers from an incomplete Week 15 in the NFL

This all feels weird. Here we are, at a time where Week 15 should be more-or-less “done,” and yet there’s four games left to play. It’s a constant reminder of what a mess the NFL has created by its stubbornness to push through, rather than just delaying the season through Christmas and reconvening at a later date.

I don’t pretend to have a good answer for this. I don’t think anybody has come up with the correct response. I do know that delaying three games, exclusively for potential playoffs teams dealing with major Covid outbreaks is not the right response. I know that letting asymptomatic Covid-positive players take the field is not the right approach. I know that so obviously putting money ahead of potential risks from long Covid, or worse, also is not the right response.

When people show you who they are, believe them. For its entire modern existence the NFL has shown time and time again that its focus is money over player safety. We saw it with CTE, we’ve seen it with extending the regular season, and Thursday Night Football. Now it’s Covid’s turn. The once hardline stance of the NFL, has now relaxed — in the middle of the worst outbreak this year, with winter and the Omicron variant leading to soaring infection rates. If that doesn’t sound like it makes sense, it’s because it doesn’t.

Happy Holidays, you all have Covid before getting to spend time with your family. If you don’t have it yet, just wait — the NFL will make sure you’re infected as quickly as possible. But hey, at least there’ll still be butts in seats and TV revenue!

Winner: The Detroit-friggin-Lions

I’ll preen a little bit, because last week I wrote about how Detroit had a really bright future because of what Dan Campbell is building with the Lions, and almost universally people said I was giving them praise too soon.

How’s that look now, eh?!

Honestly, beating the Cardinals as a 1-11-1 team is a hell of an achievement, but this means so much more than just a poor team beating one of the league’s best. It’s a culmination of everything the Lions have been building this season.

I’ll tell you, I know something big is brewing here. Detroit will have an extremely high draft pick because of their record, and are starting to find their form. It’s so nerve wracking to say “this is it” when it comes to the Lions, but I actually think this will be — so I’m calling my shot.

Winner: Yo … bravo, Colts

I’ve been pretty bullish on Indianapolis since they beat the Bills, and I wasn’t sure how deserved it was. Until now. I’m not going to pretend the Colts looked majorly convincing in their win over the Patriots, but damn I appreciate a team knowing who they are and leaning into it.

Indianapolis are aware Carson Wentz doesn’t quite have the talent at receiver needed to have a great passing attack, but instead of trying to mash a square peg into a round hole, the team is content having Jonathan Taylor carry the load and sprinkle passes in where needed.

The Patriots looked utterly lost against the Colts, not scoring until the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. This was a statement win for Indianapolis who look like a sary team to face should they get into the playoffs.

Winner: The Eagles, because of Indianapolis

With the Colts win, Carson Wentz played enough snaps on the season to officially mean Indianapolis has to send their 1st round pick to the Eagles. Considering Philly is already a decent team, having more draft capital could put them over the top and boost them to becoming a winner

Loser: The Giants “fan appreciation”

I’m obsessed with how hilariously cheap New York was with all this. So the big reward for season ticket holders sticking with the organization during the pandemic, and turning up every single week was … a medium soda.

That alone was worthy of headlines, but man they made it so much worse.

So if you gave your tickets to a friend, because I dunno, you left town the weekend before Christmas, they didn’t get a free soda.

Reminder: NFL owners are billionaires.

Loser: Everything about the Panthers

If the Lions are a bad team with a really bright future, Carolina is a middling team with a horrendous outlook. Everything about this team is bad, and it’s not about losing to the Bills, it’s how the team responded.

Matt Rhule basically threw Cam Newton under the bus in his post-game press conference, presumably because he couldn’t throw Joe Brady under the bus (because Rhule fired him) and the dumpster fire is well and truly getting lit now.

The Panthers are an utter mess and playing worse each week now. Time will tell how long pride will prevail because this was owner David Tepper’s big first pick. Conventional wisdom says Rhule will get one more year, but woof … this is looking so bad.


Loser: This dude’s ill-timed bathroom break

We have to close this week with this poor, poor man.

I’m extremely against public proposals like this, but man … I feel for this couple. Choosing to put it on the video board of an NFL game has to be expensive, and whether you chose to take a leak, or hit the concessions stand, I hate that this happened.

I really hope the couple are happy, whatever the result. If they end up getting married at least they have a heck of a story about their engagement.

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