Here are five things to love about the NFL from Week 13:
One. Aaron Rodgers. And not just because of what he did on Sunday, although that four-passes-for-68- yards-in-55-seconds drive to the Packers’ game-winning field goal as time expired against the Giants was more than enough to warrant this selection. But we go back to last week, when the Packers’ QB was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month – for the third time in the three-month season. Rodgers now has nine games with at least three TD passes this season. Nine. As former NFL QB Kurt Warner said on the NFL Network, “If he stays anywhere close to where he is right now, I will say it is the best quarterback season ever. … I’ve never seen anybody play the quarterback position this consistently.”
Two. The playing-for-pride posse. The four-win Cardinals were the leader of the pack on Sunday, when they beat the seven-win Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. Also in line were the three-win Dolphins, who upset the seven-win Raiders 34-14; the four-win Chiefs, who handed the seven-win Bears a 10-3 loss; and the still-winless Colts, who gave the eight-win Patriots a run before falling 31-24. Playing for a better draft position? Forget about it. You play to win the games.
Three. Tight ends. They were making plays all over the place on Sunday. The Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez continued to pad his Hall-of-Fame statistics with a seven-catch, 100-yard performance in a loss to the Texans. The Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski caught two more TD passes against the Colts, giving him a league-high 13 – not for tight ends, but all receivers. The Saints’ Jimmy Graham caught eight passes for 89 yards. The Redskins’ Fred Davis had six catches for 99 yards. The Packers’ Jermichael Finley caught six passes for 87 yards and a TD, and should have had more because he dropped a couple of balls. But the tight ends have been getting it done all season, as Graham is second in the league in receptions (75) because Patriots’ phenom-in-the-slot Wes Welker (93) and Gonzalez (66) and Gronkowski (65) also rank in the Top 10.
Four. The Packers and 49ers. On the first weekend of December, with four more games to play, the 12-0 Packers and 10-2 49ers clinched their division titles – and the playoff berths that go with them.
Five. Marshawn Lynch. Out of sight yesterday, but not out of mind. In the Seahawks’ 31-14 victory over the Eagles on Thursday night to kickoff Week 13, Lynch kicked it into an even more productive gear by running for a season-high 148 yards and scoring twice in a game for the first time in his past 15 regular-season games. And he did it while playing with an upset stomach. And he did it while munching Skittles on the sideline. And he did in emphatic fashion with the diversity of his two TD runs.