The Saints reasserted their hold on the prime spot among the NFL's top-shelf teams again, taking the opening drive against Atlanta down the field as if the divisional matchup with the Falcons was light fare, like a polite game of Frisbee golf among friends. Brees did hiccup enough to throw his first interception since Week 8. Let's be real: Pass interference should have been called on Atlanta on that play, anyway. Brees' touchdown-to-interception ratio (a.k.a. his wonderful-play-to-not-so-wonderful-play ratio) is now up to 29:2, with four of his touchdown passes going to guys who might not have been able to start for the University of North Texas in college. OK, so that's an exaggeration. The truth is, Brees is having the greatest passing season of modern times, surpassing Tom Brady's 2010 campaign.












The Patriots file another one in the win column with their two-touchdown victory over the Jets, a typical AFC East matchup between these two. New York was game early on, but then Gronk ate a safety on his way to hauling in a vertical strike from Tom Brady right up the seam. If there was a poster-worthy touchdown that could sum up Gronk's career, that was it. Perhaps the only shocker in the win was running back James White, who was at one point seemingly on his way to a 100-catch season, being "held" to one reception. The defense? Two hundred and sixty-four passing yards allowed, while the Jets were limited to 26 minutes in time of possession. Not bad.



この試合での唯一の驚きといえば、今季100レシーブに到達しそうな勢いでレシーブを重ねていたRBジェームズ・ホワイトが、1回のキャッチにとどまったことぐらいだろう。ディフェンス? ジェッツをパスで246ヤード、ポゼッションタイムは26分に抑えた。悪くない。



The Bears won't allow opposing quarterbacks to climb the pocket -- but they are lobbying hard to climb further up these rankings. In the win over the Lions on Thanksgiving, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio applied pressure early with his front seven against Matthew Stafford, then refused to take his foot off the gas pedal. His MVP on Thursday was safety Eddie Jackson, who produced his fifth return touchdown in the last two years -- and it beat all the others in importance, putting Chicago up a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Considering that Chase Daniel was starting on three days' notice, every score was gonna count. Jackson and that defense won the game.










When Deshaun Watson gets out of the pocket, it's mostly to throw the ball from a different platform. But when he decides not to throw, it's scarier. Watson was so effective on the move Monday night, be it rolling to his right before launching a perfect throw or taking off right up the gut of the defense for a huge gain. All of which provided a glimpse into the Texans' immediate future, and the past -- last season's game in the Seattle springs to mind. How about that Houston defense, too? Six sacks, eight QB hits and a staggering eight tackles for a loss. That's a ton. So is 97 yards on a safe run up the middle.



一方、ヒューストンのディフェンスはどうか? 6つのサック。8回のQBヒット、驚くべきは8回のロスタックルだ。これはすごい数字だ。同じことは、中央を突破したランの「97ヤード」にも言える(※)。




What an odd way for the Broncos to weave their way back into the AFC wild-card chase. Denver patched together a win Sunday over a Super Bowl contender while putting forth an exhibit of how timely plays, often hidden in the box score, can win games. The Steelers rolled up more than 500 yards of offense -- including 452 through the air from their quarterback -- held the football for 35 minutes, and still lost. The Broncos pulled ahead by converting Pittsburgh's turnovers into touchdowns, including a third-quarter drive with an exchange rate of 37 seconds from interception to score. Otherwise, the offense muddled around most of the day. Then Vance Joseph and Co. won when their nose tackle intercepted a Hall of Fame quarterback. They'll take it. Next up: at Bengals.