Cam Newton, Ricardo Allen
Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) runs past Atlanta Falcons' Ricardo Allen (37) in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

NFL Week 13: Notes and observations

With NFL Week 13 mostly over after Sunday, we take a look at some key talking points from the action.

– The Steelers are going to be the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs. Pittsburgh had an opportunity to beat the Chargers on Sunday night, leading 23-7 at halftime. Instead, the Steelers threw away the game with poor play calls, penalties galore and ultimately, the inability to get a stop. At 7-4-1, Pittsburgh leads the AFC North by a half-game over the Ravens. Despite this poor result, it should be able to hold onto that edge. Still, catching the Chiefs, Patriots or Texans is almost impossible with four games left to play.

– The Packers made he right move by firing head coach Mike McCarthy after NFL Week 13. Green Bay had its worst loss of the season on Sunday — and perhaps of McCarthy’s 13-year tenure — losing 20-17 to the Arizona Cardinals at home. McCarthy did a lot of great things in Green Bay including bring home the city’s fourth Super Bowl title. However, it’s clearly time for a new voice in Titletown. It will be fascinating to see who becomes the second head coach of Aaron Rodgers at the NFL level.

 

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– Indianapolis has to be wondering what the hell happened in NFL Week 13. The Colts were rolling along over the past month. They got themselves to 6-5 and right in the thick of the playoff race. Then, almost without warning, the offense went stone dry against a Jacksonville defense that this season, has been long on talent and short on results. On Sunday, though, the Jaguars were able to step up time and again, stuffing the Colts and not allowing a single point. At 6-6, Indianapolis now has to beat the Houston Texans on NRG Stadium this upcoming weekend, or the playoff dreams are all but dead.

– Sometimes, you just have to believe a team when it shows you what it is. This can be said for the Minnesota Vikings, who fell to 6-5-1 with a somewhat lifeless loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Look, there is no shame in losing to New England, especially on the road. However, the Vikings are yet to be a single good team this year, something that shouldn’t be such a challenge with that roster. All that said, it appears Minnesota is a paper tiger in 2018.

 

Read: Packers Fire Mike McCarthy After Home Loss to Cardinals

 

– Finally, the eulogy on the Carolina Panthers can be written. Only a month ago, Carolina was 6-2 and looked to be challenging the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. Fast forward to Week 13, and the Panthers have dropped four straight and at 6-6, have little chance to reach the playoffs even if they run they table. Considering Carolina still has to play New Orleans twice, that probably isn’t happening.

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