What a crazy and wacky week it was in the NFL. The Dolphins show that they’re not ready for prime-time. Derrick Henry goes over 2,000 yards rushing, and Justin Jefferson of Minnesota sets a new rookie receiving record:
Browns 24 – Steelers 22
Let’s start with the Cleveland Browns, who punched their ticket to the playoffs by beating their arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers 24-22 in Cleveland. The Browns are in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Baker Mayfield joins Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck as the only players in NFL history to record at least 3,500 passing yards with at least 20 touchdown passes in each of their first three seasons.
The Browns will play at Pittsburgh next Sunday night to wrap up wildcard weekend. In 2002, the Browns also played the Steelers in the playoffs in Pittsburgh. The Browns had a 24-14 lead after three quarters and in typical Browns gave up 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Steelers won 36-33.
Buccaneers 44 – Falcons 27
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers locked up the fifth seed in the NFC beating Atlanta 44-27. Mike Evans become the first player in NFL history to start his career with seven straight seasons of 1,000 receiving yards. On the very next play after breaking the receiving record, Evans hyperextended his knee and needed assistance walking off the field. After the game, Bruce Arians said they would know more about the seriousness of the injury tomorrow.
Antonio Brown had his best game as Buccaneer with 138 receiving yards, and Chris Godwin added 133 yards. It will be a massive blow to this Buccaneer team if Evans is unable to play. The Bucs will play at Washington next Saturday night.
Bills 56 – Dolphins 26
The Buffalo Bills secured the number two seed in the AFC playoffs as they destroyed the Miami Dolphins 56-26. The Bills got it going in the second quarter scoring 28 points, and never looked back. Tua Tagavailoa was not sharp, passing for 361 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Xavien Howard of Miami had his 10th interception of the season. He’s the first player with ten interceptions in a season since Antonio Cromartie in 2007. The Bills will host the Indianapolis Colts next Saturday at 1:05 PM.
Titans 41 – Texans 38
Derrick Henry proved once again why he is the best running back in the NFL and should merit MVP consideration. Henry ran for 246 yards to finish with 2,022 yards in the season. There was no quit in this Texans team today as DeShaun Watson passed for 365 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Sam Sloman kicked a 37-yard field goal as time ran out to give the Titans the win. The Titans will host the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday at 1:05.
Rams 18 – Cardinals 7
The Rams defense came to play as they locked up the number six seed in the playoffs. Quarterback John Wolford playing for the injured Jared Goff, passed for 231 yards as the Rams beat the Cardinals 18-7. Wolford also led the Rams in rushing with 56 yards on six carries in his NFL debut. Kyler Murray passed for 87 yards, most of those in the fourth quarter on a bad ankle. Chris Streveler played most of the game at quarterback for the Cardinal passing for 105 yards and one touchdown. Arizona misses the playoffs for the fifth straight season. The Rams will play at Seattle Saturday at 4:40
Seahawks 26 – 49ers 23
The Seahawks locked up the third seed in the NFC playoffs as the Seahawks rallied to beat the 49ers 26-23. The Seahawks offense sputtered through three quarters before Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for two touchdowns as the Seahawks slipped by the 49ers. The playoff matchup with the Rams next week should be outstanding as the teams split the season series with each team winning at home.
Ravens 38 – Bengals 3
The Baltimore Ravens appear to be peaking at just the right time. The Ravens are averaging 38 points a game over the last four games, and they hit that number Sunday in their 38-3 win. The Ravens put up 525 yards of offense while holding the Bengals to 195 yards. JK Dobbins ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
There is a rumor that Zac Taylor could be out in Cincinnati after two seasons. Taylor is 6-25-1 as a head coach.
The Ravens will play in Nashville against the Titans next Sunday. This will be a rematch of their November 22nd matchup, won by the Titans 30-24 in overtime.
Packers 35 – Bears 16
The Green Bay Packers locked up the number one seed throughout the playoffs beating the Chicago Bears 35-16 in Chicago. MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers completed 19/24 passes for 240 with four touchdown passes and no interceptions. This has been the best season of Rodger’s career. He has passed for 4.059 yards with 44 touchdowns and five interceptions. Rodgers will win the MVP. The Packers have two weeks to rest up and get ready for the Tampa Bay Washington Match-up winner.
The Bears sneak into the playoffs with an 8-8 record as Arizona lost to the LA Rams. The Bears will play in New Orleans Sunday at 4:40
Vikings 37 – Lions 35
Two things stood out from this game: Justin Jefferson, the rookie wide receiver, will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Just 21 years old, he looks like a man among boys out there. Jefferson broke the rookie receiving record held by Randy Moss, as he finished with 1379 yards.
For the Lions, Matt Stafford is not the problem. With the right coach, he can part of the turnaround in Detroit. Stafford passed for 293 yards, and three touchdown passes in the Lions’ loss. The Lions defense has stunk all year as they finished the season setting new franchise records for points given up 519, and yards allowed 6,716.
Saints 33 – Panthers 7
Despite missing four running backs, the Saints didn’t miss a beat as they held on to the second seed in the NFC, drubbing the Panthers 33-7. Drew Brees passed for 201 yards and three touchdowns, and Ty Montgomery ran for 105 yards in the win. The Saints will host the Bears on Sunday.
Patriots 28 – Jets 14
Bill Belichick ended the season on a winning note as Cam Newton saved his best for last, playing his best game as a Patriot. Newton passed for three touchdown passes in the 28-14 win after throwing five touchdown passes all season. The Patriots finish the season 7-9 and miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. This was the final game for Adam Gase as head coach in New York, as he is out as the Jets head coach. Gase finishes 9-23 as coach of the Jets.
Giants 23 – Cowboys 19
The New York Giants played inspired football with a possible playoff berth on the line beating the Dallas Cowboys 23-19. Dallas struggled offensively most of the first half as they had just 34 yards of offense mid-second quarter. Ezekiel Elliott had the Cowboys only touchdown, his first touchdown since he had two in the Cowboys 37-34 win against the Giants in Dallas.
Colts 28 – Jaguars 14
The Jonathan Taylor show was something special to see in Indy Sunday afternoon as Taylor ran for a career-high 253 yards with two touchdowns as the Colts clinched a wild card playoff berth beating the Jaguars 28-14. Philip Rivers passed for a touchdown, and the Colts defense rose to the occasion to shut down a scrappy Jaguars offense.
The Jaguars finish 1-15 and will have the number one pick in the NFL draft. Doug Marrone is expected to be fired as Jaguars coach. Urban Meyer is a possible candidate to replace Marrone to be the next coach in Jacksonville. The Colts will play at Buffalo on Saturday.
Raiders 32 – Broncos 31
Two teams playing out the season left it all on the field Sunday afternoon. It took a two-point conversion from Derek Carr to Darren Waller with 24 seconds to go to give the Raiders the 32-31 win. Rookie Jerry Judy of the Broncos caught a 92-yard touchdown pass with 6:29 to go to put the Broncos up 32-31, but the defense could not stop the Raiders. The big decision in Denver is whether Drew Lock is the quarterback of the future. The Broncos may also decide to move on from coach Vic Fangio.
Chargers 38 – Chiefs 21
With the number one seed through the playoffs locked up, Andy Reid rolled out the taxi squad against the Chargers, and the only thing we learned was that the Chargers A team is better than the Chiefs taxi squad. This was a risky move by Andy Reid. The Chiefs will not play for two weeks, which means that Patrick Mahomes and many other starters will have three weeks off between games.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has had a great rookie season passing for over 4300 yards, 31 touchdown passes, and ten interceptions. Who is your Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert or Justin Jefferson?
Washington 20 – Eagles 14
Washington jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never relinquished the lead as they beat the helpless Eagles 20-14. Washington wins the NFC East and will host Tampa Bay in the playoffs next weekend. Jalen Hurts again proved to be ineffective, going 7/20 with 72 yards and one interception. The Eagle’s offense was so inadequate that Nate Sudfield, the third-string quarterback, saw some time in the fourth quarter.
Hurts looks to be the guy in Philly in the future. Washington will host Tom Brady and the Buccaneers next Saturday night in DC.
Playoff matchups next weekend:
- Indianapolis at Buffalo 1:05 PM ESPN; Buffalo -6.5
- LA Rams at Seattle 4:40 PM FOX; Seattle -4.5
- Tampa Bay at Washington 8:15 PM NBC; Tampa Bay -7.0
- Baltimore at Tennessee 1:05 PM ESPN; Baltimore -3.5
- Chicago at New Orleans 4:40 PM FOX; New Orleans -9.5
- Cleveland at Pittsburgh 8:15 PM NBC; Pittsburgh -3.5