NFL ’24 wk15: Eagles and Cowboys, defeated and happy?


Philadelphia suffers their third consecutive defeat in Seattle, while Dallas endures a tough loss in Buffalo, missing yet another test of maturity. However, both teams still manage to secure their playoff berths mathematically, along with Baltimore, victorious in Jacksonville. The 49ers comfortably triumph over the Cardinals, while the Chiefs bounce back against the Patriots, who will bid farewell to Belichick at the end of the season.

We had opened last week’s NFL post wondering if, after 5 consecutive wins, the last being an impressive one against the Eagles, it was finally time for the Dallas Cowboys to achieve consistency. The answer from Buffalo is no, considering the well-deserved defeat (31-10) suffered by the Bills, who in eight days have claimed victories over the Chiefs and Cowboys, neither of which were straightforward. The Cowboys’ performance was truly mediocre, with an offense unable to produce and a defense torn apart by Cook’s runs, tallying 221 yards and two touchdowns. Looking at the bright side, Dallas can still celebrate their mathematical qualification for the postseason. However, next week in Miami, they’ll play another significant chunk of their credibility in their title pursuit, given their poor performance this season away from Arlington (7-0 at home, 3-4 on the road).

It was also a bittersweet turn for Philadelphia, securing a playoff ticket but doing so after a 20-17 loss in Seattle, their third consecutive defeat, against a team that had lost their previous four games. The score was less severe than those against Dallas and San Francisco, but it’s worth noting that the opponent’s level was also lower. Jalen Hurts’ performance was subpar; post-game, he made less than elegant remarks about his teammates, accusing them of not putting in enough effort. The next game will see the Eagles at home against the NY Giants, a game they cannot afford to lose.

The Baltimore Ravens also soar into the playoffs, the only sure team so far in the AFC, with a clear victory in Jacksonville, a 23-7 win over the Jaguars, secured with 13 points scored in the final quarter and the customary turnovers by the Jaguars, now facing their third consecutive defeat. The Ravens are solid, built on a strong defense and a running game that thrives on Jackson and Edwards’ unpredictability. If allowed to churn yards and the clock, they pose a danger to everyone, but the scenario changes when forced to chase scores by putting the ball in the air. The Ravens’ stride is significant: four consecutive victories and eight in their last nine outings. The only hiccup comes from Baltimore’s injury list, which is growing in number (three injuries just against the Jaguars).

Among the other matches in the fifteenth round, the 49ers put on yet another show, a 45-29 win in Arizona, with the usual Purdy and McCaffrey shining, Deebo Samuel making a touchdown catch in a flash, and Ward intercepting Kyler Murray twice. For them, after last week’s mathematical qualification for the playoffs, there’s now the certainty of securing the first place in the NFC West. Next Tuesday, on St. Stephen’s Day, they face the big match against the Ravens.

Staying in the upper echelons of the standings, the Dolphins dominated the Jets, even leaving them scoreless. Detroit dispelled doubts with a magnificent 42-17 win over Denver, and the Chiefs have risen again after two consecutive losses, winning against the Patriots at Foxboro (who will close the Belichick era by changing coaches at the end of the season). Finally, a crucial overtime victory for Cincinnati against the Vikings, with the Bengals on a roll in a head-to-head battle against Cleveland (victorious over the Bears) despite Burrow’s absence.

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Gianluca Puzzo

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Gianluca Puzzo

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