What We Learned: 33 Expert Takeaways From Week 13

On an NFL Sunday that had a barrage of injuries, including to some major quarterbacks, there were a number of surprising performances and interesting developments. The 33rd Team’s experts weighed in with 33 takeaways from the day’s games:

Eagles 35, Titans 10

1.)  “Although it’s only one game, A.J. Brown’s performance has to make Tennessee question their decision to trade him. Brown is clearly a difference-maker. Just look at his eight catches for 119 yards and two TDs in a dominating performance. Meanwhile, Tennessee held Philly to 67 yards rushing. Brown and Devonta Smith still overwhelmed Tennessee’s secondary. While Tennessee used some of the resources on trading Brown on defense (Harold Landry, among others), Treylon Burks will need to develop for the Brown trade to make sense for the Titans.” —  T.J. McCreight

2.) “Good offensive teams have the ability to shift gears. What do I mean by that? Well, look at the Philadelphia Eagles. Last week they put up 40 points, and they had over 500 yards of offense, 363 of them coming on the ground, including 157 from the quarterback Jalen Hurts. So what do you suppose they do against the Tennessee Titans defense that came in giving up just 84 yards per game on the ground (they were third against the run)? [The Eagles] shifted gears. They threw the football. They took opportunities to work the ball down the field, and it all started with some great throws from Jalen Hurts.” — Gannon

3.) “The Eagles, as a whole, looked like a playoff team. They’re hitting on all cylinders. The additions of Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh have only made the front-seven deep and scary. With Jordan Davis back from IR, the unit completely smothered Derrick Henry on 11 carries for only 30 yards. There shouldn’t be any more questions on their run defense. It looks like, as the old saying goes, the only team who can beat Philadelphia… is Philadelphia.” — T.J. McCreight

Packers 28, Bears 19

4.) “When I look at Christian Watson and the difference that I see, it’s simply confidence. You go back to Week 1, and we all talked about the drop on that first play of the possession for the Green Bay Packers. I truly believe if he had gotten thrown to immediately – if Aaron Rodgers would have gone right back to him and kind of encouraged him in the sense of, ‘you know what, that’s a drop, don’t worry about it, we need you this year,’ then I think we would have seen a lot more of what we see now, earlier.” — Greg Jennings

5.) “[The Bears] have a decision to make moving forward. Is this season just going to be about, ‘how can we continue to maintain and progress as an offense and gain rhythm?’ Or are [the Bears] going to start to focus on ‘what we look like with Justin Fields both in the run game – we know who he is – but keeping him in the pocket so next season he is more comfortable in the pocket.” — Greg Jennings

Lions 40, Jaguars 14

6.) “Jared Goff is playing his way into the Lions’ 2023 quarterback conversation. He had another strong performance today, going 31/41 for 340 yards. On top of that, Amon-Ra St. Brown was incredible with 11 catches on 12 targets for 114 and 2 TDs.” —  T.J. McCreight

7.)  “One of the things I really like about this Detroit football team is they are going to fight and scrap until the end. And so, when you think about who they have left on their schedule – the Vikings, the Jets, obviously the Packers once again (and it’s crazy that you even mention that they have the Packers on their schedule as a game that they can possibly win) – [the Lions] are a team that you know they’re never going to be completely out of it.” —  Greg Jennings

Browns 27, Texans 14

8.) “It has become quite apparent that Houston’s quarterback of the future isn’t on this team. They certainly need to draft well this spring, they need some help on both sides of the ball.” — T.J. McCreight

9.) “I wasn’t surprised to see [Watson] struggle. Remember, it had been 700 days since he last played in an NFL game. That’s almost two years. You think about the rust; you think about the inactivity. He hasn’t been with the football team taking starting reps… I think it was just too much for Deshaun Watson today, he looked really rusty.” — Rich Gannon 

10.) “You know I didn’t believe Russell Wilson could play the way Russell Wilson’s played, and if the Browns have another situation like that with Deshaun Watson and him underperforming anywhere near what we’ve seen with Wilson, this could cripple the franchise for a long time.” — Eric Mangini

11.) “Overall, I think Browns’ fans should be excited because they got a chance to see what type of offense they could have with Deshaun Watson. And they saw what type of team this team could be when they offense, defense and special teams all clicking together.” — Joe Thomas

Vikings 27, Jets 22

12.) “For some reason, and I guess I’m guilty of it too, people want to keep the Vikings down. This is a team that’s won 10 games. They’re a scrappy football team. They’re a team that has played some really good football late in games. That was the problem last year. They were 2-5 in games decided four points or less a season ago. This season they’re winning those close games.” — Rich Gannon

13.) “[Mike White] miss a number of throws behind the intended receiver. And the reason for that is that things get sped up. He didn’t have as much time as he did last week to set his feet, to take the extra hitch in the pocket. So, he looked like he was rushed early in the game. The good news for the New York Jets and Mike White: I thought he came back in the second half and played a whole lot better. He was more confident, the ball was coming out quicker, he was pushing the ball down the field more, and he looked more aggressive.” — Rich Gannon

14.) “The Jets battled but could not overcome the Vikings’ 20 first-half points. It is hard to win when you have to settle for three field goals inside the 20.” — T.J. McCreight

Steelers 19, Falcons 16

15.) “The Pittsburgh Steelers are not going to the playoffs this year, but Mike Tomlin is still one of the best coaches in football. His quarterback can retire. His GM can retire. He can deal with distraction, and his team always plays hard and are very well coached. But with all of that – when they have an issue – it gets fixed and fixed quickly. Identifying problems and fixing them fast is the sign of a great coach.” — T.J. McCreight

Ravens 10, Broncos 9

16.) “Tyler Huntley had great numbers today. You know, obviously, 27-for-32 looks really good, but, this was just a microcosm – I think – of what Lamar deals with at the skill positions around him and the help he has. [The Ravens] scored one touchdown today when they had to have it against a very good defense. The Broncos do have a very good defense, but it’s nothing there really, and I think people will be able to see what Lamar is worth to [Baltimore].” — Samari Rolle

17.) “[Russell Wilson] has to play better. You can blame it on the coach and [Broncos’ head coach] Hackett might not be ready. No, I’m not going to say ‘might not be.’ He is not ready to be a head coach.” — Samari Rolle

18.) “I’m not concerned with [Jackson] coming back from injury, that’ll be what it is. I’m concerned for Lamar. He doesn’t have an agent, he’s on the verge of getting a gigantic contract, and as you’re facing this part of the season – it’s the tail end of the season, it’s playoff time. And a player has got to make a decision to play hurt and risk the injury going longer than it should. Lamar has got to take a step back not just short-term, but long-term. ” — Eric Mangini

19.) “I think the Ravens, as an organization, are fascinating. They tried to sort of low-ball [Jackson] to start the season, and he was like, ‘I’m not taking that much less guaranteed than these other guys who I’ve done more than in my career.’ But then, you have the season. Lamar was really good early, and he’s been OK, but he hasn’t been Lamar for the latter half of this season. And now you have the scenario in which there might be big questions this off-season for Baltimore. Because if they don’t get Lamar signed to a contract they can both agree to, this team – as we know it – is going to be completely different. Because they’ve done everything they can to structure this offense around what Lamar Jackson does.” — Trey Wingo

Giants 20. Commanders 20 (OT)

20.) “Daniel Jones was excellent with his legs totaling 71 yards rushing while only throwing for 200 yards in five quarters. He left a lot of yards on the field. Jones needs to get through his reads faster in order for him to take the step in his development. On the defensive side of the ball, Julian Love was all over the field for the Giants and was outstanding in his return.” — T.J McCreight

21.) “[The Giants] went into that game against the Commanders without a single division win. They had been 0-2 in NFC East play. And even though right now they’re ahead of the Washington Commanders because the Commanders are 7-5-1 and the Giants are 7-4-1, that divisional tiebreaker is the thing that might haunt the Giants when it’s all said and done. They are now 0-2-1 in the division, and the Commanders are 1-2-1 in the division. Which means everything for the Giants and Commanders might ride on their next meeting.” — Trey Wingo

22.) “Daniel Jones had arguably his best game as a pro, but it was not enough to get the Giants a win. The offense stalled late with some questionable decisions as well.” — T.J. McCreight

Seahawks 27, Rams 23

23.) “This is a game where you expect Seattle to go in and dominate, but it’s not easy to win in the NFL. This was a divisional foe. You know they are going to come out and give their ‘A’ game, so I don’t care if Aaron Donald is out or Matthew Stafford is out. A win is a win. And the Seahawks have shown that they can win pretty at times. They can win ugly. But the most important thing you have to do in the NFL is win. And that’s what the Seattle Seahawks and, more specifically, Geno Smith has been able to do – leading the two-minute drill at the end of the game to come back and steal that victory.” — Tank Williams

24.) “I feel a lot of times I feel we try to find reasons to hate on teams, right now I want to focus on the reason we should applaud the Seahawks. Because we shouldn’t be talking about Geno Smith leading two-minute comebacks at the end of games and putting the Seahawks in a position to be making the playoffs. We shouldn’t be talking about them having the opportunity to maybe beat the 49ers in a couple weeks and lead the NFC West. That’s a testament to not only coach Carroll and getting this team to rally around him… but also just the players stepping up and not worrying about the outside noise.” — Tank Williams


49ers 33, Dolphins 17

25.) “[The 49ers] are playing with a championship defense right now. I don’t know if there’s another defense in the NFL that’s playing as good as them. That could still carry them a long way as they try to advance through the playoffs.” -Rick Spielman

26.) “Now I understand there’s a lot of things floating around out there. You’re going to see on social media people are going to talk about bringing Ryan Fitzpatrick back off of Amazon Prime. They’re going to talk about talking Drew Brees out of retirement. Just pump your brakes. Look what Brock Purdy did today against the Miami Dolphins. This dude threw for 210 passing yards, and two TDs. He only had one interception. What Kyle Shanahan is going to do is lean on the really strong points of this team. He has a dominating defense that can probably put pressure on and take out any opposing offense. Defense still wins championships in this league.” — Tank Williams 

27.) “Purdy did a nice job today managing the offense. I know Kyle Shanahan is a brilliant offensive mind. He’ll figure out ways to help him manage the game. He’s not as experienced as Garoppolo, but maybe there are similarities in some of the things they do offensively.” — Rick Spielman 

Bengals 27, Chiefs 24

28.) “You could feel the rivalry. You could feel the intensity. It was a great game, back and forth. The Chiefs didn’t play as well as they usually do, and the Bengals played some awesome football. They came out with the victory, and I think it’s a well-earned victory. You know, obviously, I am a Chiefs guy, so I see what some of the fans are saying on Twitter. They’re frustrated with the refereeing, they’re frustrated with the defensive coordinator. I think we just got outplayed today.” — Mitchell Schwartz

29.) “I just think that with Chase back, and with Mixon coming back – boy, I tell you what – this is (and I know they’re 8-4) the team to beat now in the AFC, to me.” — Mike Martz

30.) “Really exciting to kind of see this matchup over the years. We thought for a while – Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson – that will be the rivalry. Then Patrick Mahomes against Josh Allen – that will be the rivalry. It might just be Mahomes against Burrow.” — Mitchell Schwartz

Raiders 27, Chargers 20

31.) “I’m very impressed with what the Raiders have done over the last three weeks, and they are a fun team to watch right now. Today they defeated the Chargers.. and the stars came to play. Davante Adams acted a fool out there on that field. I mean, making circus catches. And when he was open, he was wide open. Great route running by him. But the difference-maker over the last three games, I think, is the running game.” —  Golden Tate

32.) “Look, Raiders’ fans. Raiders. You’re sitting at 5-7. I know the playoff picture – you’re not in the hunt yet. But look, you got the Rams coming up, the Patriots coming up, and the Steelers coming up. All winnable games. You could sneak into the playoffs. A wild card, maybe. Who would have thought that four weeks ago?” — Golden Tate

Cowboys 54, Colts 19

33.) “The Dallas Cowboys, since Dak returned from the injury, have the highest scoring offense in the NFL, have the best third-down conversion rate in the NFL. We can pretend like quarterback doesn’t matter, but it does—massively—and we saw that tonight with another decisive victory for the  Dallas Cowboys as they put 54 on the Indianapolis Colts.” Trey Wingo

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