By Marc Lawrence — To say it was an unusual year is an understatement. The league worked through a season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, holding games on every day of the week for the first time in history. The Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens both experienced COVID-19 outbreaks in which more than 20 players and coaches on each team contracted the virus. But NFL Nation dug in to find out what went wrong for teams that failed to make the playoffs. Such as the Miami Dolphins, who jumped from 5-11 to 10-6 in Year 2 of their rebuild, got significant playing time for rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and emerged as one of the best NFL defenses. We can look back to the Dolphins’ back-breaking loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 11 as the game that might have kept them out of the playoffs, but Sunday’s loss to the Bills showed the Dolphins aren’t close to stacking up against AFC’s elite. To read more on the other the teams that fell short, and why, click here.
According to ESPN, Doug Pederson said he was “coaching to win” Sunday night’s regular-season finale against the Washington Football Team despite pulling quarterback Jalen Hurts in a three-point game early in the fourth quarter in favor of Nate Sudfeld. Pederson added that it was his decision alone and not influenced by the front office, which saw the Eagles’ draft postion improve as a result of the 20-14 loss. The result also delivered Washington the NFC East title. A win by Philadelphia would have handed the 6-10 NY Giants the division via a tiebreaker. Pederson said the plan going into Sunday night’s game was to get Sudfeld some playing time. “Nate has been here for four years, and I felt he deserved an opportunity to get some snaps,” Pederson said. Funny, but Sudfeld knows what he is, a backup quarterback who has seen his share of snaps. And opting to go for a TD late in the game on 4th and goal from the 4 rather than kicking a FG to knot up the game sure looked queer. Meanwhile, former starting QB Carson Wentz plans to ask for a trade because his relationship with Pederson is “fractured beyond repair”.
Grinding Out The Profits
From this week’s Playbook Midweek Alert Football Newsletter: NFL playoff teams who won 6 or fewer games last season are 5-31 SU and 10-25-1 ATS away after facing a division foe. That’s not promising news for the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.