National Football League
Brock Purdy becomes 'Mr. Relevant'; Lions not done yet; Giants free falling: 3 up, 3 down
National Football League

Brock Purdy becomes 'Mr. Relevant'; Lions not done yet; Giants free falling: 3 up, 3 down

Updated Dec. 11, 2022 11:41 p.m. ET

After last weekend, where all the favorites won comfortably, Sunday was a tight day of NFL football. So many close games with big underdogs nearly winning. Did the results change anyone’s stock? Check out my thoughts after Week 14. 


Dan Campbell

I'd like to apologize to Dan Campbell. I did not believe in him. While I was not one who discredited his ability to be a head coach because of his football hardo press conferences, but rather because his team appeared to show no improvement early into his second season. The Detroit Lions were 1-6 after seven games. They were a fun, offensive-minded team that couldn't close games. The offense made too many mistakes. Health was certainly an issue. So was a young defense that needs more talent. I did not see it improving. I was wrong.


The Lions have won five of their last six games, including dominating the 10-win Vikings at home on Sunday. The offense continues to thrive with Jared Goff at quarterback, a much healthier offensive line, and group of weapons. The Lions offense is flirting with being top 10 in efficiency. However, the reason the Lions have improved so much is the defense. Campbell fired the Lions secondary coach, and since then the defense, especially the back end, has improved. The Lions allowed 30 points three times in the first seven games. They've allowed only 30 points one time in their last six. The Lions are legit. They are the best team in the NFC North. I'm sorry Dan Campbell. I should not have doubted you.

Jared Goff stopped to talk with Shannon Spake about the Detroit Lions' winning culture and Penei Sewell's impressive catch.

Brock Purdy

Sunday was a Purdy special day for the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback making his first NFL start. The Iowa State rookie, who was third string on the depth chart heading into the season, looked more than serviceable in the Niners' huge win against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday. Purdy's numbers were not special but they were what was needed to run the offense. He was 16 of 21 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Purdy's 27-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey in the second quarter was the first deep pass touchdown thrown outside the numbers for the 49ers since last season. Purdy, who was the last pick in this year's draft, was also outstanding with his pocket awareness and movement when he needed to extend plays. Now, because of the 49ers defense and run game success, we did not get to see Purdy in many high-leverage situations. That is how San Francisco wants to keep it. If Purdy does what the offense needs him to do, that is all the Niners want. 

Brock Purdy led the San Francisco 49ers to a dominant victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers tried their darnedest to Charger against the Dolphins on Sunday night, and despite their best efforts, Los Angeles dominated Miami from start to finish. There's been a building narrative within NFL media comparing Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. It's a dumb argument because Herbert is clearly more talented, and it showed in this matchup. That does not diminish how well Tua has played within the structure of the Dolphins offense, but it's clear which quarterback is better. Herbert, with less talent around him and an extremely disappointing offensive coaching staff, outplayed Tua. Herbert was 39 of 51 for 367 yards while being hounded by the Dolphins' fierce pass rush all night. He was fantastic to watch. On the other side was Tua, who was 6 of 22 for 112 yards before garbage time, with 60 of those yards on one pass to Tyreek Hill. The Chargers defense deserves credit. They had a brilliant game plan, played within themselves and were able to cause an efficient Phins offense to struggle all night. The Chargers did this with backups all over the field. It was their best win of the season. It also boosted the Bolts into the wild card and gave them a tiebreaker over the Dolphins.


New York Giants' playoff chances

The Giants have turned into the pumpkin people expected this team to be before the season. After a 6-1 start to the campaign, the Giants have only won a single game in their past six contests. The losses in themselves wouldn't be such a concern, as regression was expected. For me, it's how they've lost. Getting blown out. Double-digit defeats to the Seahawks, Lions and Eagles. An eight-point loss to the Cowboys and a tie to the Commanders round out the five games without a win. Whether it's injuries, lack of talent or just playing better teams, the Giants are not playing well. 

Now, it's worth noting when you win and lose can change the narrative. If I told Giants fans you'd be 7-6 after 13 games and firmly in the wild-card conversation, all of their fans would have taken that result. But after starting so quickly, this fading feels even worse than it might be. However, even by framing it this way, the Giants are unlikely to make the wild card. The Cowboys will likely have the first wild-card spot. The Lions are playing like they will be a wild-card team. The Commanders, Seahawks and Giants are left to battle for the other spot. I'd take the Commanders, who play the Giants next Sunday, or the Seahawks with the tiebreaker over the Giants. New York will start 6-1 and not make the playoffs.

Jalen Hurts helps the Philadelphia Eagles soar to the blow out victory against the New York Giants.

New York Jets

The Jets benched starter Zach Wilson with the hope that backup Mike White would spark the offense into at least carrying their own weight. The Jets have a playoff-caliber defense and just need an average offense to make the postseason. It seems unlikely the Jets will see that improved offense this season. White's first outing against a severely beat-up Bears defense went well. It has not gone well since. The Jets offense scored 22 in a loss to the Vikings and just 10 against the Bills on Sunday. White has attempted 101 passes in the past two games, which is probably 40 more than ideal. He's only completed 57 percent of those, with a majority of yards coming from receivers doing work after the catch. The Jets' lack of offensive production is going to cost them a playoff spot. 

Kansas City Chiefs defense

The Chiefs defense will be the reason they do not make the Super Bowl. It's not good enough. All it took for the Denver Broncos offense to break out of a season-long slump was going up against Kansas City's defense on Sunday. The Chiefs defense allowed 28 points to the Broncos, easily the best offensive output for Denver all season. The 28 points occurred while the defense forced two turnovers, including a pick-six. Normally that limits scoring. It did not here. The Chiefs pass rush does not impact the opposing quarterback in important moments. The Chiefs are horrendous at tackling. Just not a good unit right now. The hope for improvement is they are a young defense with at least four rookies contributing regularly. So more reps could equal more even play. However, I'll believe it when I see it.

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Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.

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