This article is part of our NFL Observations series.
Week 16 worked out okay for me, and that was a surprise given the way Saturday started – 0-2-1 ATS and Deshaun Watson going at QB. But Myles Gaskin, Ryan Fitzpatrick and a 4-0 ATS afternoon slate put me back in the holiday spirit forthwith.
• The Chiefs look more dangerous than they did last year because the defense is good. I thought for a minute it's too bad they'll probably have to go to New England, but actually that's a good thing. The Pats at home are a Goliath worthy of slaying, and it adds a third contender in the AFC, the representative from which seems likely to be the favorite in the Super Bowl this year.
• Damien Williams looked pretty good – he's an upgrade over the carcasses the Chiefs were running out there the last half season.
• There's nothing to say about the Bears that hasn't already been said.
• The Cowboys looked so good beating a strong Rams team last week, but you just knew not to lay the wood in Philly with them. The Clapper always gets it done, and by that I mean abjectly fails.
• I wouldn't be shocked if the Eagles lost to the Giants in Week 17. Carson Wentz looked good, but his leading receivers are a couple of tight ends and a running back. And Philly needed overtime to beat the Giants in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago – with Eli Manning under center.
• The Seahawks could still win the division if they beat the Niners next week, but this was a bad loss as they're unlikely to get a first-round bye even if they do. It also looks like maybe Travis Homer will be their running back as Chris Carson is out for the year with a hip injury, and C.J. Prosise also got hurt.
• Kenyan Drake looks like a top-five talent at running back. It'll be interesting to see where he gets drafted (second round?) next year. After the multi-season David Johnson debacle, I could see people being nervous to draft the lead AZ ball carrier, though.
• I'm glad the Broncos were able to cover.
• One of the under-emphasized stories in the NFL is the Chargers not having a home field. With all the Raider fans, the Chargers had use silent snap counts.
Typically, home field advantage is worth a couple points, and to the extent it's explained by crowd noise and its subtle referee influence, the Chargers have roughly 12 road games and four neutral field games (ones against teams where fans don't travel as well.) That's a team playing on an uphill field, and all because San Diego called a greedy owner's bluff and told him to take a hike.
I suspect the public is growing increasingly tired of socialism for the rich, and at the very least the Chargers should serve an example the next time an owner tries the blackmail-the-city-for-public-funds maneuver.
• The Raiders could still make the playoffs if they win at Denver, the Steelers lose to the Ravens and the Titans lose to the Texans. The problem is both the Texans and Ravens have nothing for which to play.
• Julio Jones is the fastest receiver to 12,000 yards (125 games.) Another way of putting that is he has the most YPG of any receiver in NFL history. He's a top-five all-time wideout.
• I made the Ravens minus 10 my best bet, and it was dicey for a while. The Browns converted three fourth downs on penalties, two of which were ticky-tack, and the Ravens offense did nothing for 28 minutes.
But Lamar Jackson capped off his MVP season (no chance he doesn't get it now that the Seahawks lost, and the Ravens are the No. 1 seed) with another three TD passes and 100 rushing yards.
Jackson has 36 TDs, six picks, 1206 rushing yards and seven rushing TDs in 15 games – it was the greatest fantasy QB season of all time, though he'll probably sit out most, if not all, of the Week 17 game against the Steelers.
• Mark Ingram left with a calf injury, the severity of which isn't immediately clear. I expected Gus Edwards to get the work in Week 17 anyway, but now I could see the Ravens even taking it easier on him.
• I have no idea what next year's Browns will look like, but it probably can't be worse.
• The Titans had a chance to cut the Saints lead to three (and push ATS) when Kalif Raymond fumbled after taking a hit that seemed to knock him unconscious. While teams no doubt need to emphasize ball security while unconscious, it seems unfair to cost the team a possession when something like that happens.
• It'll be interesting to see where Ryan Tannehill gets drafted next year, my guess is around QB12.
• Alvin Kamara came back to life with two TDs and 110 YFS. He'll be an early first-round pick again next year if he looks good in the playoffs.
• Michael Thomas had 12 more catches to break Marvin Harrison's single-season record. The Saints still need next week's game in Carolina for home field advantage, so Thomas might get close to 160. A lot of league winners had Thomas on their rosters this year.
• Will Grier probably won't be starting for the Panthers next year.
• Christian McCaffrey had a whopping 15 catches, breaking his own RB catch record from last year with one game to go. He also has 2,294 yards from scrimmage, good for 11th all time. He'd need 215 YFS to catch Chris Johnson for first, but with 136 he'd pass Marshall Faulk for second. He also needs only 67 more receiving yards to get to 1,000 on the year.
• Marlon Mack was an easy start against the CAR run defense, but the Colts gave a sneak TD to Jacoby Brissett, and Jordan Wilkins got a TD of his own. Mack did fine, but it could have been so much better, especially had Nyheim Hines not cost the team two possessions and a lot urgency by returning two punts to the house.
• What a great stacking game in DFS Dolphins-Bengals was. All the obvious plays – both QBs, Tyler Boyd, DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Albert Wilson, John Ross and Tyler Eifert all delivered. Only Joe Mixon fell short, and you were warned pre-game that he was sick.
• I was lucky the two overtime games (Giants/Dolphins) both went my way ATS after both teams blew large leads late in their respective games.
• The Steelers deserve credit for doing a lot with a little, but they have no business being in the playoffs. The Titans (who with Derrick Henry are good) or the Raiders (just for the laugh) would be better six seeds.
• Daniel Jones had five TD passes, no picks and no fumbles lost. He'll return to a loaded receiving corps – Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley, Golden Tate, Evan Engram, Darius Slayton and a surprisingly useful Kaden Smith. They just need to call decent plays and learn to block. It was encouraging to see Jones target Barkley more in the passing game too.
• Barkley is healthy now, and it's obvious how great he is, making moves and breaking tackles like no one else in the league. He finished with 279 YFS, tied for 24th all time.
• Dwayne Haskins looked okay before leaving with an ankle injury. I'm still dubious he's able to become anything more than a backup in the NFL, but QBs are hard to evaluate. Assuming he gets another shot next year, he's lucky to have one of the best young receivers in the league in Terry McLaurin.
• I've been wrong about the Rams for the last month, thinking they were dead against the Cardinals in Arizona after getting pummeled by the Ravens on Monday night (they killed the Cardinals) and thinking they'd crush the Cowboys in Dallas (they got crushed.) Naturally, I thought the 49ers would annihilate them, but the game went down to the last second.
• Todd Gurley got more work in the season's second half, but he looks like he's missing a gear to me. Tyler Higbee was a monster down the stretch, but he might only be the second-best pass-catching TE on the roster when Gerald Everett is completely healthy.
• The Patriots offense was a joke for more than a month, but it looked pretty good against the Bills last week, right on time. And mock Bill Belichick at your own risk for drafting Mr. January (Sony Michel) in the first round last year.
• Julian Edelman faked a concussion to try to get away with a pick play, but then the Patriots were forced to send him to the tent to carry through with the bluff. The look on Edelman's face when they forced him to the locker room was basically: "Are you kidding me? I've been concussed for the better part of the decade." Of course, he returned to catch a key pass on the game-sealing TD drive.
• I missed most of what seemed like an insane ref-show in Houston. Both Jameis Winston and Deshaun Watson left their fantasy teams in a hole after the weekend's first game. After four more picks, Winston might be plying his trade elsewhere in 2020.