Week 15 in the NFL erased zeroes next to the records of two teams. The 13-0 Packers lost their first game in nearly a calendar year while the Colts picked up win No. 1 on the season.
We can dub this "Upset Sunday" with some of the results we saw. Beyond the Packers losing and Colts winning the Giants were upset by the Redskins moving them a game behind the Cowboys, the Panthers dominated the AFC South champion Texans and Seattle put up 38 points on Chicago.
Here's everything that went down in Week 15, starting with, who else, Tim Tebow.
The Tim Tebow-Tom Brady Bowl. One of the most anticipated games of the year, thanks to two of the most popular quarterbacks in the league. Tom Brady's Patriots were able to overcome a strong start by Tim Tebow and the Broncos and finished with a 41-23 victory. Tebow's highlight was 12 carries for 99 yards (and a 29-yard loss on a sack), along with 194 yards passing. This loss moves Tebow's record as the Broncos QB to 7-2 on the season and gives Denver their first loss since October. The question becomes whether Tebow and Co. can revert back to their winning ways and clinch the division, moving Denver to the playoffs....or if this is the end of Tebow's winning ways. One thing we know is that this won't end the country's fascination with Tebow, win or lose.
Down goes Green Bay. The Packers are no longer undefeated as they dropped their first game since Dec. 19, 2010. The Chiefs came out and simply played better than the Packers in all areas and sealed the game, 19-14, thanks to new QB Kyle Orton's efficient 299-yard day. In the long run, this may actually end up being a good thing for the Packers because, while the undefeated season would've been nice, this takes the pressure off for the stretch run. The Packers can now focus on getting healthy, avoiding the 16-0 talk and preparing for the playoffs.
Indy finally gets a win. It took 15 weeks, but the Indianapolis Colts are on the board. The Colts beat the Titans on Sunday, 27-13, and confirmed that they won't go down as the worst team in NFL history. They may finish 1-15 but this won't be a Lions-esque season going winless. Is it enough to save Jim Caldwell's job? We don't know that yet but it's a start.
Cowboys win, Giants lose and the Eagles have a shot. The Cowboys beat the Bucs on Saturday night, the Giants lost to the Redskins and the Eagles beat the Jets. What all that means is that the NFC East is wide open right now. The Cowboys lead the division at 8-6 while the Giants trail by one game at 7-7. If the Cowboys win out, they clinch a playoff spot. If the Giants win out, they clinch a playoff spot. And, now for the stunner: If Philly wins out, the Giants lose next week, and the Giants beat the Cowboys in Week 17....then Philly wins the division. Indeed, the Eagles have a legitimate shot at the playoffs after the miserable start to the season.
Speaking of divisions that are wide open, does anyone know what will happen in the AFC West? The Broncos lead the division at 8-6, the Raiders and Chargers are behind one game at 7-7 and the Chiefs are two games back at 6-8. Anyone can win this division right now, including the Chiefs, who just fired their head coach last week. If the Chiefs win their final two games against Oakland and Denver, and if the Bills beat the Broncos next week, and the Chargers lose one of their final two, then the Chiefs clinch the division title. Yes, the Chiefs. That's how crazy this division is right now.
Seven teams have clinched playoff spots. That's nearly half the field. So far in the AFC we have the Patriots, who have clinched the AFC East, the Steelers and Ravens, who have clinched at least a wildcard spot and the Texans have clinched the division. In the NFC we have the Packers and 49ers, who have wrapped up the NFC North and NFC West, respectively, and the Saints, who have clinched at least a wildcard spot.
The Bills and Bucs have had an incredible fall since October. Rewind to the end of October and we were talking about the 5-3 Bills and 4-3 Bucs as legitimate playoff contenders. They were both somewhat surprise teams and, as we know, everyone likes the underdog. Unfortunately, the underdog role didn't last for long -- neither team has won since October.
All John Skelton does is win. Yeah, you read that right. With Kevin Kolb suffering from various injuries this year, the Cards have rolled with the backup, Skelton, in five games this year and, believe it or not, they've won four of those games. Skelton isn't particularly sharp but if coaches are serious that wins are the only stat that matters then Skelton should start over Kolb. The problem? Arizona just handed Kolb $60+ million in the offseason.
Carolina is going to be really good next year. I've been saying all year that this season isn't about wins and losses for the Panthers -- it's about getting Cam Newton comfortable. He's having a terrific rookie season and the Panthers dominating the Texans on Sunday could be a sign of what's to come. This is a good team, despite their 5-9 record. You heard it here first -- the Panthers win 10 games next year.