Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season began with future Miami Dolphins opponent Green Bay getting handled at home by the Tennessee Titans and ended with the fellow future Miami opponent San Francisco pounding the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.
The 49ers, who the Dolphins will face in Week 13, have become a pretty chic choice when it comes to Super Bowl contenders and it's difficult to argue after what we saw Monday night.
Yes, the Cardinals are a struggling team and played without starting quarterback Kyler Murray, but it doesn't change the fact that the 49ers have the necessary components to make a deep run in the NFC playoffs, starting with big-time talent and depth on both the offensive line and the defensive line.
And if you look at the team with the best record in the NFL, you'll see a Philadelphia Eagles team whose strength — with all due respect to Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown — is at the line of scrimmage.
The Dolphins will have their hands full with that 49ers defensive line Dec. 4, though they'll get a nice warmup for that game when they face the Houston Texans on Sunday.
As for the Packers, it was a stunningly bad performance against Tennessee just days after their dramatic comeback victory against the Dallas Cowboys that gave their fans hopes that perhaps they had turned the corner in what has become a nightmarish 2022 season.
As it was, the only bright spot for Green Bay was the work of rookie wide receiver Christian Watson, who has become an impact player after starting off his NFL career by dropping a sure touchdown pass on a bomb in the Packers opener.
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NOTHING CHANGES FOR CHARGERS
Stealing from Yogi Berra, it was deja vu all over again for the L.A. Chargers in their Sunday night game against the Kansas City where they played well enough to score a big victory against the best team in the AFC but just couldn't finish.
It's actually been the theme of the season for the Chargers, who stand at 5-5 and on the outside looking in in the AFC playoff picture because they just can't make plays down the stretch.
L.A. is 0-4 this season against teams that currently have a winning record, and that includes two three-point losses against the Chiefs and a six-point loss against the 49ers in the Week 10 Sunday night game.
That the Chargers could have beaten the Chiefs with one late defensive stand is impressive in itself to a certain degree considering they played without their starting left tackle, had star wide receiver Mike Williams for a grand total of six snaps before he aggravated his ankle sprain, were missing their two tight ends, and also were without several defensive linemen, including their best, Joey Bosa.
Justin Herbert had a strong outing against the Chiefs despite some stupid social media commentary pointing out his "game-losing" interception — after he had driven the Chargers to a go-ahead touchdown inside of two minutes and despite the fact he had immediate pressure on the pick and had to try to make something happen in the final seconds.
Herbert is far from the Chargers' problem. He's also the biggest reason the Dolphins will have a tough challenge at SoFi Stadium on Dec. 11, though the pattern says all Miami has to do is make it a close game and the Chargers will find a way to lose it.
WILSON AND THE JETS MESS
As we're writing this Tuesday morning, we don't know what's going to happen with the Jets quarterback situation after head coach Robert Saleh left things wide open the day after the embarrassing performance by his offense in the 10-3 loss at New England, made worse by Zach Wilson's postgame performance.
As difficult as it was, Wilson actually was worse after the game than during the game by offering a quick "No" when he was asked whether he felt like the offense let down the defense in a 10-3 game when the Jets gained a grand total of 2 yards in the second half.
Mind you, it wasn't even do you feel like YOU let the defense down; it was do you feel like THE OFFENSE let the defense down?
Nope, not us.
And that is how you lose the support of your team in an instant. And that, combined with Wilson's putrid performance (his season passer rating is 34th out of 35 qualifying NFL quarterbacks), is why Saleh almost doesn't have a choice but to make a switch and bench Wilson in favor of veteran Joe Flacco or Mike White.
The Jets have a playoff-caliber defense and don't need all that much from their offense, and they'd be crazy to let Wilson sabotage their season because he's too immature to say what needed to be said.
ARE THE BILLS BACK?
If we're going to discuss the Zach Wilson episode, then we'll start our Bills observations by pointing out how Josh Allen handled his postgame press conference after Buffalo's loss against the Jets in Week 9.
"It's tough to win when your quarterback plays like sh*t," is what Allen said after that 20-17 loss.
Oh, and if either of the two QBs has done enough for his team in the past to maybe show some arrogance after a bad performance, spoiler alert: It ain't Wilson.
The Bills stopped their two-game slide with their 31-23 victory against the Cleveland Browns, which featured a really good outing by former Dolphins QB Jacoby Brissett (324 passing yards, 3 touchdowns). The outcome might have been different if not for the Bills stuffing Brissett for no gain on a fourth-down QB sneak in the fourth quarter that was followed by a block of a short field goal attempt.
But it's what the Browns have been doing this season as they've basically put themselves out of playoff contention before Deshaun Watson can make his Cleveland debut — and that's despite Brissett doing a pretty respectable job as the replacement QB.
Back to the Bills, they're in good shape in the standings at 7-3 but just don't look like the powerhouse they were projected to be, even after the win against Cleveland.
Maybe that will change once cornerback Tre'Davious White makes his long-awaited 2022 debut after recovering all season from the torn ACL he sustained last Thanksgiving and the Bills get back other injured players.
-- Pretty crazy that after there had been only one kick return for a touchdown all season, there were two in Week 11 — Marcus Jones' game-winning punt return for New England against the Jets and Cordarrelle Patterson's kickoff return for Atlanta against Chicago. The first of the season, of course, came against the Dolphins in Week 2 courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens' Devin Duvernay.
-- Oh, and as bad as Zach Wilson was against New England, that Patriots defense is pretty impressive. And outside linebacker Matthew Judon should get consideration for NFL Defensive Player of the Year (though it sure looks as though Dallas LB Micah Parsons is the clear front-runner).
-- That the Bengals and Steelers, two teams the Dolphins already have faced this season, would engage in the biggest shootout of the week would have to be considered surprising. On one hand, you just don't see a Steelers defense, particularly with T.J. Watt back in the lineup and making a spectacular interception, giving up 37 points. On the other, it was a great day for Samaje Perine, the cousin of Dolphins practice squad running back La'Mical Perine, who had three touchdown receptions for the Bengals.
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