The Jets winning any game at all is shocking, but then when you add in the fact that they beat one of the best teams in the NFC, it becomes almost unbelievable. If you would have told me that Christmas was canceled due to a second pandemic being started by a diseased squirrel, I would have believed that before I would have believed that the Jets were going to beat the Rams.
The win wasn't just one of the biggest upsets of 2020, it was one of the five biggest upsets of the past 40 years. Here are the five biggest upsets since the NFL schedule expanded to 16 games in 1978:
1. Dolphins (+17.5) 27-24 over Patriots (2019)
2. Baltimore Colts (+17.5) 34-27 over Patriots (1978)
3. JETS (+17) 23-20 OVER RAMS (2020)
4. Washington (+17) 24-17 over Cowboys (1995)
5. Jets (+17) 24-17 over Bills (1992)
If I had bet the Jets money line, I would be halfway to Saint Lucia right now.
I could probably spend the entire newsletter talking about the Jets, but instead, we'll only spend part of it, and that's because we have plenty of other things to talk about. With that in mind, let's get to the rundown. As always, if you want to share this newsletter with everyone you know -- it's a cheap and easy Holiday gift -- just click here to grab the link and then send that link to everyone on your email list or just sign them up without telling them.
1. Today's Show: Week 15 winners and losers plus full recap
It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 15, and let me just say, it's probably for the best that you listen. We talked about the playoff picture and also how the Rams probably shouldn't show their face in public for at least two weeks.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. For our losers this week, Wilson got lazy and picked the same team from last week, Brinson gave it to someone who didn't even play on Sunday and I gave it to the Rams, because let's be honest, no one was a bigger loser on Sunday than the Rams.
- Winner: Jets. Their upset win over the Rams might have cost them a shot Trevor Lawrence, but the fact of the matter is that most of their players don't care about that. No player in the NFL wants to finish 0-16 and the Jets were able to avoid that by pulling off one of the five biggest upsets the NFL has seen over the past 40 years.
- Loser: Giants. Apparently, Wilson hates the Giants, because they're his loser for the second straight week. For the second week in a row, the Giants were in the driver's seat to win the NFC East, and for the second week in a row, they went out and crashed the car. With Washington losing on Sunday, the Giants went into their Sunday night game knowing a win would put them right back in the NFC East race, but that knowledge didn't help them as they fell flat on their face in a 20-6 loss to the Browns.
- Winner: Mitchell Trubisky. In a twist that not even I saw coming, notorious Bears hater Will Brinson is now on the Bears bandwagon. They needed a clutch performance from Trubisky on Sunday and the fourth-year quarterback delivered. Trubisksy is now 4-2 as a starter this season.
- Loser: Carson Wentz. Apparently, Wentz isn't interested in being a backup quarterback, which is unfortunate for him, because right now, he's the second-best QB on the Eagles roster. If Jalen Hurts continues to start, it's hard to see how the Wentz situation is going to fix itself. He doesn't want to be a backup, but the Eagles can't exactly get rid of him due to his monstrous cap hit in 2021. That seems like it could be a problem going forward.
- Winner: Jaguars. Sure, the Jaguars got pounded by the Ravens on Sunday, but no one is going to remember that in April when they're DRAFTING TREVOR LAWRENCE. As long as the Jags don't do something stupid like win a game over the next two weeks, they should end up earning the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft (If the Jags and Jets both end up at 1-15, it will come down to who has the weakest strength of schedule, and right now, the Jags are ahead).
- Loser: Rams. This one is self-explanatory. If you're a 9-4 team in the middle of a division title race and you lose to an 0-13 team, you're automatically the loser for the week. The Rams became the first team in NFL history with nine or more wins to lose to a winless team at home.
Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. If you want to listen -- and you definitely should -- you can click here.
2. Jets lose by winning
It's not often that you see fans get mad after their team wins a game, but that's exactly what happened after the Jets stunned the Rams. Due to the win, the Jets might have cost themselves a shot at landing Trevor Lawrence and that's because they no longer have the inside track to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jets coach Adam Gase said some words after the win, but I'm pretty sure Jets fans stopped listening to him a long time ago.
"Our job is to try and go out and win every week," Gase said to reporters after Sunday's game. "I'm happy for our guys. If you watch them work every day and see how hard they compete in games, they deserved this. They deserved it a while ago. We had a few snatched away from us and to finally close out a game against a good team says a lot about what kind of character we have in this locker room."
Gase might be happy for his guys, but no one else is. With the Jets win, the Jaguars are now in line to get the top pick. At 1-13, the Jets are tied with the Jags for the worst record in football. If you're wondering what the tiebreaker is for the top pick, it's strength of schedule, but this tiebreaker comes with a twist and that's because the top pick goes to the team that played the easier schedule.
As of right now, that team is the Jaguars.
Jaguars strength of schedule thru 15 weeks: .549
Jets strength of schedule thru 15 weeks: .602
If both teams finish 1-15, there's no way the Jets can overtake the Jaguars for the top pick, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, which means the Jets win over the Rams is likely going to cost them a shot a Trevor Lawrence.
Only the Jets could lose by winning.
3. Monday preview: Prepping you for Steelers-Bengals
Guys, I get paid to convince you to watch football and to be honest, I'm not sure I can give you any valid reason to watch this game, and this is coming from the guy who is the resident BENGALS homer here at CBSSports.com. If you have Christmas shopping that needs to get done or a tequila bottle that needs finishing, you'll probably get much more fulfillment taking care of those things rather than watching this game.
On the other hand, you could also just do what I'm going to do: Christmas shop online and drink straight out of the tequila bottle while watching the Bengals get beat down.
With that in mind, let's take a look at a few keys for each team tonight in a game where the Steelers are favored by 14.5 points:
- Bengals: The Bengals starting QB tonight will be Ryan Finley. If you don't know who he is, just know this: He WAS the Bengals backup QB, but the team had no faith in him, so they sent him to the bench and started Brandon Allen after Joe Burrow got hurt (Allen is now also hurt). Finley has started three career games for the Bengals and in those three games, Cincinnati has averaged exactly 11 points. Now, he has to go up against a Steelers defense that has given up the fewest points in the NFL so far this season. If the Bengals can run the ball on the Steelers, they might have a chance, but I don't think they'll be able to run the ball on the Steelers.
- Steelers: After losing two straight games, the Steelers are in dire need of a get-right game and when you need one of those, there's no team you'd rather play than the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers defense alone might be able to outscore Cincinnati here and if for some reason, they can't, Ben Roethlisberger should have a field day against the Bengals defense. When these two teams played back in Week 10, the Steelers won 36-10 and that was back when the Bengals had Joe Burrow.
Breech's prediction: Steelers 31-13 over Bengals.
For a more in-depth preview of this game from Jared Dubin, be sure to click here.
4. Week 15 grades: Bears get an 'A' for keeping their playoff hopes alive
Every week, I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, I'm not sure how it happened, but the Bears got a good grade. I could have sworn we failed them out of our fake football school a few weeks ago, but apparently, they went home and studied, because their grade was way up compared to the past few weeks.
Here's a look at the grades from two games that were played Sunday, including the Bears-Vikings game:
Bears takeaway: I'm not sure who kidnapped Mitchell Trubisky and replaced him with the upgraded version of Mitchell Trubisky, but the Bears quarterback played out of his mind. The Bears actually played well in every phase of the game. Their defense made some huge stops, David Montgomery rushed for a career-high 146 yards and even their kicking game came up big as Cairo Santos hit four field goals (35, 42, 42, 48). Grade: A
Vikings takeaway: When the Vikings needed a big play from their offense in this game, they simply couldn't get it. Not only did the Vikings go 4-of-11 on third down conversions, but they were even worse on fourth down, going 0-for-2. Both fourth down attempts for the Vikings came in their own territory and after each failure, the Bears ended up getting a field goal. Those two field goals for Chicago ended up being the difference in a six-point win. Grade: D
Buccaneers takeaway: The Buccaneers fell asleep at the wheel during a first half where they put up only 60 yards of total offense, but thankfully for them, someone woke them up at halftime to let them know there was a game going on. Tom Brady threw for 320 yards during a second half where the Bucs outscored the Falcons 31-10. Grade: B-
Falcons takeaway: Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Falcons blew a giant lead to a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady. In a game where most Falcons fans probably experienced déjà vu, Atlanta jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the third quarter and then squandered it away. The good news for the Falcons is that they never have to play Tom Brady again. Wait, check that. It turns out they actually have to play him in Week 17, so I guess there's no good news at all here for the Falcons. Grade: C-
As for the other 26 grades we handed out, you can check those out by clicking here.
5. NFL playoff picture heading into Monday night
Should the NFL punish the Rams for LOSING to the Jets by banning them from the playoffs this year? I think you could certainly make the argument that they should. Although the league likely won't do that, the Rams are being punished for their loss by dropping two spots in the NFC playoff picture this week (from third to fifth).
The Rams were one of only two teams -- along with the Seahawks -- that saw their spot in the playoff standings change this week.
Two key things to remember before checking out the standings below is that SEVEN teams will be getting in and that only the top seed will be getting a bye. Also, the "First team out" is being listed because that team could end up making the playoffs if the NFL ends up expanding the postseason to 16 teams. That proposal has already been approved, but the expansion to 16 will only happen if multiple regular season games that have a bearing on the playoff race get canceled over the final two weeks of the season.
Note: Teams with an asterisk next to their name have clinched a postseason berth.
It took 13 years, but the Browns have finally done it: They got to 10 wins! Although getting to double-digit wins is impressive, especially in Cleveland, the Browns better keep winning and that's because if they finish at 11-5, that might not be good enough to get into the postseason. The Browns finishing with 11 wins for the first time since 1994 and still missing the postseason would be the most Browns thing ever. The fact of the matter is that an 11-5 team missing the postseason is a very realistic possibility in the AFC and it definitely will happen if the Browns, Colts, Titans, Ravens, and Dolphins all finish with 11 wins (The Browns' worst-case scenario would be if they finish 11-5 in a situation where the Colts win the AFC South, leaving Cleveland in a four-way tie at 11-5 with Miami, Baltimore and Tennessee)
Just when you thought the Bears had been left for dead, they've somehow shot back to life. Not only are the Bears in the playoff conversation, but if they end up tied with the Cardinals at 9-7, they would currently win the playoff spot based on the common games tiebreaker. Also, the Seahawks can clinch the NFC West with a win over the Rams in Week 16.
6. Panthers fire their general manager
It's not often you see a general manager get fired twice by the same team, but that's what exactly what has happened to Marty Hurney after the Panthers decided to fire him on Monday. Hurney was also fired by the team back in 2012.
Although Hurney was responsible for the drafting of several budding stars like edge rusher Brian Burns, defensive tackle Derrick Brown and linebacker Jeremy Chinn, it sounds like his old school philosophy wasn't meshing well with new Panthers owner David Tepper, who wants his team to be taking a more analytical approach.
"Basically, with discussions, it seemed like Marty and I had a little bit of difference in philosophy," Tepper said. "He leaned toward more traditional techniques versus a more data-driven, analytical process, but I think some marrying of that would be more in line."
Another thing working against Hurney is that he was a holdover from when Jerry Richardson owned the team. By firing Hurney, Tepper can bring in someone who aligns with his point of view on how things should be run.
"I think sometimes you just need a restart, a refresh," Tepper said. "We did it last year on the coaching side. Maybe you could say it should have been done before on the GM side. Maybe it should have been. I'm sure people may say that, or otherwise, on both sides. I think it's just time, on both sides, to do that. It just seems like the right time to move forward."
The Panthers and Jaguars both having GM openings right now and if you're wondering who they might go after, our Jonathan Jones made an excellent list of 30 candidates who could be potentially targeted this season for any open general manager job. The list ranges from people you've heard like former Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff to other guys you've probably never heard of like Ed Dodds, who's currently the assistant GM in Indianapolis.
To check out Jones' full list, be sure to click here.
7. The Kicker!
Somehow, there wasn't a single game on Sunday that came down to a field goal, which means now is the perfect time to point out that two NFL kickers are on the verge of making history. With two weeks left to play in the season, Seattle's Jason Myers and Green Bay's Mason Crosby have both hit 100% of their field goals on the year, which is notable, because THAT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO PULL OFF.
In the history of the NFL, there have only been two kickers ever who have attempted 20 or more field goals in a season and made all of them (Gary Anderson and Mike Vanderjagt), and the crazy thing about that is that we could see that list double this year. Myers is already 20 for 20 on the season. All he has to do to join Anderson and Vanderjagt is make every kick down the stretch. As for Crosby, he's 16 for 16, which means he just needs to attempt at least four more field goals over the next two weeks and make all of them, which actually might not be that easy considering he'll be playing in 25-degree weather in Week 16.
Basically, "Perfect Kicker Watch 2020" is on because and any time one of these guys kick, I'm going to stop what I'm doing to watch, unless I'm feeding the baby, because she gets mad when I pull the bottle away mid-feeding.