The AFC is getting weaker and other things learned from NFL Week 12

Jay Asser 23:29 29/11/2017
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Here are five things we learned from week 12 of the NFL.

AFC IS SIGNIFICANTLY WEAKER

As the weeks go on, it’s becoming more and more clear that the NFC’s depth of quality teams far outweighs what the opposite conference has.

Whereas the NFC has five teams with a record of 8-3 or better, the AFC only has two in New England and Pittsburgh. After the cream of the crop in the AFC, there’s a severe drop off with Kansas City leading the AFC West with just six wins, while the wild card race could produce a winner with an 8-8 record.

Alex Smith and the Chiefs have slumped after a 5-0 start.

Alex Smith and the Chiefs have slumped after a 5-0 start.

ARIANS WORKING MAGIC WITH BLAINE

Blaine Gabbert may be in the midst of a revival after leading the Cardinals to a win over one of the best defences in the league in Jacksonville.

While he’s made his share of mistakes over his two starts (three interceptions), he’s also moved the ball through the air and looked like a capable quarterback. His 87.6 passer rating doesn’t jump off the page, but it’s impressed coach Bruce Arians enough to say he could see Gabbert as the starter in 2018 if Carson Palmer is no longer around. Arians’ system can work wonders it seems.

Blaine Gabbert is having a resurgence in Arizona.

Blaine Gabbert is having a resurgence in Arizona.

CRABTREE, TALIB SUSPENSIONS VALID

Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib were each handed a two-game suspension for fighting in Sunday’s game, which may sound too harsh, but it’s a worthwhile precedent to set.

Crabtree and Talib are taking their bad blood too far and while the latter’s chain-snatching antics are comical, the fact is both players were representing themselves in a poor light while also hurting their teams by being ejected. Both of them need to grow up, act like adults and not throw hands again when they likely meet next season.

Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree took their feud too far on Sunday.

Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree took their feud too far on Sunday.

IT’S GO TIME FOR JIMMY G

The universe forced the 49ers hand and thrust Jimmy Garoppolo into action at the end of Sunday’s game after C.J. Beathard was knocked out, but it’s time for coach Kyle Shanahan to make the switch himself.

That’s no knock on Beathard, but San Francisco need to see what they have with Garoppolo before the offseason hits and they have to decide whether or not to hand him a big long-term contract. Beathard’s injuries aren’t serious, but they may provide enough of an excuse to make the move.

Jimmy Garoppolo finally had a chance to impress in San Francisco - and took it.

Jimmy Garoppolo finally had a chance to impress in San Francisco – and took it.

EAGLES PUT ON A GOOD SHOW

And that’s not even referring to their quality of play. No team has pulled off consistently fun team celebrations after touchdowns like the Eagles this season.

After hearing players’ gripes for so long that the league was sapping all the fun out with their strict celebration rules, it’s nice to see Philadelphia take advantage of the new lax guidelines and do something seemingly every week that’s worth tuning in for, whether that’s baseball simulations or choreographed dances.

The Eagles play like they're having fun, and celebrate like it, too.

The Eagles play like they’re having fun, and celebrate like it, too.

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