A matchup pitched as a “Super bowl preview” was the marquee game of the week. In a contest that featured two of the best quarterbacks of the last 10 years, as well as the highest scoring offenses in the league, New England vs. Green Bay became the most hyped matchup of the 2014 NFL season to date. It’s likely this Sunday won’t be the last time these two teams meet.
The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21, giving the edge to Aaron Rogers and Green Bay. The elements were ideal for a late-season game at Lambeau Field; freezing temperatures and the visible mist of breathing created a playoff atmosphere. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shortened the Packer lead to two with a fourth quarter touchdown to Brandon LaFell, his second touchdown pass of the evening. It took a late Mason Crosby field goal and a clutch third down conversion to Randall Cobb with no New England timeouts remaining to seal a Green Bay victory.
With every team holding a 7-4 record or better, the AFC North has become the most competitive division in football. Up 30-20 on the San Diego Chargers with six minutes left, the Baltimore Ravens seemed in position to gain ground in the divisional race. San Diego’s Philip Rivers, also concerned about his team’s playoff fate, then took matters into his own hands. Rivers engineered two late game drives including the go-ahead score to Eddie Royal with 38 seconds remaining to secure the 34-33 win.
The Charger’s victory put more interest on the Kansas City Chiefs’ matchup with the Denver Broncos. A Kansas City victory would deadlock the AFC West at 8-4 amongst the three teams. Peyton Manning scoffed at this possibility, leading the Broncos to a convincing 29-16 road win. Denver’s game plan consisted of a nonstop rushing attack led by CJ Anderson to thwart the blitz-happy Chiefs. Thanks to Anderson (168 rushing yards) the Broncos held the ball for 39 of the game’s 60 minutes, and dominated the line of scrimmage.
All scores from Sunday’s games:
INDIANAPOLIS def. Washington: 49-27
HOUSTON def. Tennessee: 45-21
BUFFALO def. Cleveland: 26-10
San Diego def. BALTIMORE: 34-33
JACKSONVILLE def. New York Giants: 25-24
Cincinnati def. TAMPA BAY: 14-13
ST. LOUIS def. Oakland: 52-0
New Orleans def. PITTSBURGH: 35-32
MINNESOTA def. Carolina: 31-13
ATLANTA def. Arizona: 29-18
GREEN BAY def. New England: 26-21
Denver def. KANSAS CITY: 29-16
By Kyle Edwards
Watch the Miami Dolphins take on the New York Jets tonight at 8:30 on ESPN’s Monday Night Football