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NFL: Cowboys Will Be Cowboys; Seattle Shuts Out New York; Jamaal Charles Runs Wild
The Seattle Seahawks
Order was restored on Sunday.
One week after dropping a razor-thin decision to their rival 49ers, the Seahawks returned to dominant form in New York, besting the overcooked New York Giants, 23-0.
It was relatively easy. But what's most impressive about the 12-2 Seahawks? They never show any signs of slowing down... fatigue doesn't exist, even when key players are injured or suspended.
Even in their two losses, they Hawks have looked more than ready to win. They'll hit the postseason rested and ready for battle.
The Pittsburgh Steelers
Oh, what could have been...
The Steelers opened their season 0-4, got a bye week, then rallied to run their record to 5-6 – well within shouting distance of the AFC's final Wild Card spot – and then lost their next two.
After Sunday's win over the (now) 9-5 Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh's 6-8 and needs a lot of help and a lot of their own fortune to stay alive in the playoff hunt, but the Steelers have spoiled a rather prolific season from several of their most trusted pros.
Antonio Brown has caught five or more passes in every game this season, Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the NFL's most consistent quarterbacks (once again), and rookie running back Le'Veon Bell has erupted into a powerful, reliable runner with touchdowns on his resume.
And don't forget, Pittsburgh started the season without tight end Heath Miller and hasn't had Maurkice Pouncey. This is a team in a weak AFC North that just hasn't had the luck or the bounces it's used to.
The Dallas Cowboys
The Philadelphia Eagles are a fine football team, sure, but it's not like anyone's putting their foot down on the NFC East. The door is still open, but – once again – we may end a regular season talking about everything the Dallas Cowboys did not do to wrap up a very attainable playoff spot.
On Sunday, the Cowboys wasted a 24-point lead and Tony Romo once again ended his game with an interception, in a 37-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
At 7-7, the Cowboys are still within striking distance of the 8-6 Eggles. They're still alive, but that doesn't mean they're worthy.
The Denver Broncos
Maybe they just weren't interested in San Diego. Maybe they just weren't ready or desperate enough.
Maybe they're still 11-3 and maybe they still have Peyton Manning, the guy who wrapped up the NFL's MVP award way back in Week 1.
But, maybe maybe isn't good enough.
The Kansas City Chiefs
More like Jamaal Charles.
Say what you will about Andy Reid or Alex Smith, who came over from the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers (respectively) to lead the Chiefs to an 11-3 record, but Charles has been the the Arrowhead in Kansas City this season.
In Week 15, he put up four receiving touchdowns on 195 yards and added a rushing touchdown to help the Chiefs sprinted to 56 points to beat the Raiders on Sunday...
Of course, Kansas City also gave up 31 points. It's hard to imagine this game going the right way in the playoffs... when it's winner-take-all and every opponent is a winner.
The Miami Dolphins
Wait... are the Dolphins really a playoff team?
Fact is, every offensive star on Miami is an Icy/Hot patch. One week, they're Pro Bowlers. The next week, they're a fantasy drop.
But receiver Mike Wallace was hot on Sunday, putting up a touchdown on six receptions on 105 yards. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill did what he was supposed to, throwing for 300-plus yards and three touchdowns (with no interceptions). And five Dolphins had multiple catches in a 24-20 win over their divisional rival New England.
The win leaves the Dolphins with a well-travelled 8-6 record, one game clear of San Diego (7-7) and a half-game up on Baltimore (7-6) for the AFC's second Wild Card spot.