By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
The best story in the NFL is Dallas. But the best team? It's not Dallas, and it's not New England. It's Seattle.
Russell Wilson is Russell Wilson again. The Legion of Boom is back. So are Kam Chancellor and Thomas Rawls. And soon the team's best pass rusher, Michael Bennett, will join them.
Then there's this: Seattle not only lost just once since Sept. 18; it beat New England a week ago in New England … on a short week … with the Patriots coming off a bye … and where Tom Brady almost never loses.
But best of all: Unlike Dallas, there are no speed bumps in the way. You heard me. Zilch. None of Seattle's six remaining opponents has a winning record. So follow the bread crumbs, people: The Seahawks are the team to beat.
I know, Dallas has the better record in the NFC, but look what's ahead. The Cowboys must go to Minnesota (Dec. 1) and the Giants (Dec. 11) in successive weeks, and there's at least one loss waiting there (the Giants beat them to open the season). Plus, every one of their remaining opponents has a record of .500 or better.
Yes, Dallas has the league's best running back and a rookie quarterback who won his last nine starts. But I know whom I trust in critical games, and, Russell Wilson, come on down. The guy labored through leg injuries much of this season, but he's healthy again … and, if you don't believe me, rewind that touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham. Vintage Russell Wilson.
Look, I love what's happening in Dallas, but I don't trust the Cowboys in the playoffs. What I do trust is experience and a rock-solid defense. And the Seahawks have both.
(Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas photo courtesy Seattle Seahawks)
- Added just in time for Black Friday: kickers gone straight. In case you missed it, there were an NFL-record 12 extra-point tries missed Sunday.
- My nominee for Defensive MVP? Giants' safety Landon Collins. He leads his team in tackles and interceptions and is second in sacks. Moreover, he keeps making crucial plays. In fact, his game-saving pick Sunday was his fifth straight game with one.
- The Giants keep winning games they would've lost a year ago, and there's a reason: Defense. This time they have one, which is why they're 6-1 in games decided by six or fewer points. Good, huh? It gets better. They play Cleveland next. So go ahead and make Big Blue 8-3 now.
- Sorry, but I still don’t trust that New England defense.
- Time for Marvin Lewis to update that resume.
- Forget "Hamilton." Donald Trump should demand an apology from the Chiefs for that performance.
- BTW, that’s Tampa Bay's third straight road win. The Bucs say it was a signature victory, and maybe they're right. But I say it must come next weekend when they play ... uh-huh, Seattle.
- If you like rugby, you'll love that Jarvis Landry touchdown. That wasn’t a run after catch; it was a scrum.
- Mike Nugent, contact your realtor.
- Somewhere in your lifetime, I promise you that Tennessee beats Indianapolis.
- The more I watch Cleveland the more Brian Billick looks like Nostradamus.
- Now you know why Seattle waived Christine Michael.
- Imagine if Philadelphia had receivers who could actually … well, catch.
- Guess that ends Pernell McPhee's career as a prophet.
- Sorry, Ray Lewis, it's not Joe Flacco's "passion" – or lack of it – that handicaps Baltimore. The Ravens just don’t have enough playmakers. Besides, Flacco had plenty of passion after Sunday's loss when he didn't hold back about the Cowboys. "We should beat this team," he said. Maybe. But you didn't.
- That does it. Arizona's window of opportunity with Carson Palmer is closed. Time to draft a successor.
- Looks as if Adam Gase was right. Ryan Tannehill is not the problem in Miami. Wait a minute ... problems? What problems? The Dolphins won their last five starts.
- Look at it this way, Bengals' fans At least you don’t have to endure another playoff choke.
- That's four straight losses for the Packers -- with each opponent scoring at least 31 or more points -- and time for Aaron Rodgers and Co. to P-A-N-I-C.
- Congratulations, Vontaze Burfict. You not only lost a game; you lost a lot of fans with that obscene gesture. And expect to lose some cash, too, courtesy of the NFL.
WHAT WE LEARNED
(Matthew Stafford photo courtesy of the Detroit Lions)
Finally, we have a meaningful Thanksgiving game in Detroit (Minnesota at the Lions) ... and in Dallas (Washington vs. the Cowboys).
Nobody is more resilient than Detroit. The Lions trailed in the fourth quarter of all 10 games.
Le' Veon Bell is who we thought he was.
Kirk Cousins is a vastly underrated quarterback.
The Giants will be a playoff factor. Guaranteed.
Arizona will not make the playoffs.
… AND WHAT WE DID NOT
What … or who … will rattle Dak Prescott.
Why anyone kicks to Cordarelle Patterson.
Why the Rams waited so long to start Jared Goff.
Why the Rams defense imploded at the finish line.
Whom to trust in the AFC North. Nobody is above .500 in a division where the combined record is 13-27-1.
When the bleeding stops for Green Bay and its Swiss-cheese defense.
SUNDAY'S HALL OF FAMER
New England QB Tom Brady. In his first return to the Bay Area in the pros, the San Mateo native put on a clinic on an afternoon when the Patriots looked beatable – taking a 13-10 lead over San Francisco into the third quarter. But Brady came to the rescue, with four touchdown passes – including a 56-yard game clincher – to send the 49ers to their ninth straight loss and provoke chants of "Bra-dy, Bra-dy" from what fans were left. Next up for Brady and the Pats: The Jets. There isn't an opponent with a winning record on New England's schedule until the Pats go to Denver on Dec. 18.
(Tom Brady photo courtesy of New England Patriots)
SUNDAY'S HALL OF SHAMER
Cincinnati PK Mike Nugent. He didn’t miss an extra point. He missed two. And they were huge, with the Bengals losing by four to a Buffalo team that was minus LeSean McCoy the second half. Nugent has been struggling lately, with missed field goals and extra points, and it's hard to imagine him with the Bengals after this. Enough is enough.