The NFL regular-season finale was make or break for several teams to advance to the playoffs. Some teams were fighting for playoff seeding, while others were going for draft position. Here’s a recap of the action from Week 17 of the NFL.
The Ravens came out vs. the Bengals divisional game. It was essentially a win or go home game for Baltimore, but they made light work of Cincinnati. Lamar Jackson threw three touchdowns and ran for 97 yards, making him 1st quarterback to run for 1000 yards in back to back seasons. Baltimore ran for 404 yards as a team and dominated the Bengals 38-3. Baltimore finishes the season 11-5 with the #5 seed in the AFC. The Ravens will face the Titans in the wild card and seek vengeance, as they’ve lost their last two to Tennessee.
The Bills faced division rival Miami Dolphins in the season’s finale, but it was completely one-sided. The Bills dominated on all phases of the game. They forced turnovers and put up points on defense, offense, and special teams. The Bills won 56-26 over the Dolphins, finishing 13-3 with the #2 seed in the AFC. They will face the #7 seeded Indianapolis Colts in the wild card.
To close both of their seasons, the Vikings and Lions faced off. Kirk Cousins was on fire, throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns. Justin Jefferson also broke another record for Minnesota and the NFL. Jefferson broke the record for most receiving yards for a rookie in a season (1,400). The Vikings defeated the Lions 37-35.
The Steelers and Browns faced off in week 17. Pittsburgh locked up their playoff spot, but the Browns were still trying to secure there’s. Pittsburgh played many of their reserves in place of their starters. Cleveland took advantage and clinched their first playoff spot since 2002. The Steelers and Browns will face each other again in the wild card round next week.
The Pats ended their first season post-Tom Brady on a good note vs. the Jets. Cam Newton threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another 79 yards for the Pats. They defeated the New York Jets 28-14 to finish 7-9 on the season. The Jets finished 2-14 and will likely have the #2 pick in the NFL Draft. Justin Fields??
Both the Giants and Cowboys seasons ended in dramatic fashion. Dallas couldn’t capitalize on a fourth-quarter drive and a fumble from Wayne Gallman. The Giants won 23-19, and both finished their seasons 6-10, respectfully.
Tampa Bay finishes their season against the Atlanta Falcons. The Buccaneers lost Mike Evans to injury, but the offense was still potent. Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin picked up the slack, though. Brown made 11 receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, and Godwin made five receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns, respectfully. The Bucs won 44-27 and will travel to Washington to play the Washington Football Team in the wild card round.
The Raiders and Broncos faced off in an AFC West showdown in the season’s finale, and it was a good one. Derrick Carr and Drew Lock went back and forth all game, but Carr barely edged out. Darren Waller went for 140 yards with nine receptions and a touchdown, and Josh Jackson ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders escaped with a 32-31 victory to end the season 8-8.
Aaron Rodgers had another magnificent game, possibly making him the frontrunner for NFL MVP. Rodgers threw for 240 yards and four touchdowns, with only five incompletions. The Packers secured the #1 seed and a bye week in the first round, and home-field advantage. The final score was 35-16, and the Packers finished 13-3 for the second consecutive season. Despite the loss, the Bears will face the Saints in the wild card round.
The Colts took on the Jaguars, who weren’t technically trying their best to win. Indianapolis secured their playoff spot behind a 252 yard and two touchdown effort from RB Johnathan Taylor. Indianapolis will face Bills next week in the Wild Card round. The Jaguars secured the #1 seed in the NFL Draft. Trevor Lawrence???
With the #1 seed secured, the Chiefs sat most of their starters, including MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes. The Chargers took this opportunity to go into the offseason with some good spirits. Rookie QB Justin Herbert threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Los Angeles won by a score of 38-21. The Chiefs end their regular season with a 14-2 record and go into the playoffs with a first-round bye.
The Los Angeles Rams took on the Arizona Cardinals without their starting QB Jared Goff. Kyler Murray left the game as well but returned as he dealt with an injury. John Wolford led the Rams to the 18-7 victory and clinched their playoff spot. The Rams will face NFC West division rival Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round.
The Titans escaped with the win over the Houston Texans this Sunday with a game-winning 37-yard field goal made by Sam Sloman. The final score was 41-38. Derrick Henry capped off a historic season vs. the Texans. Henry ran for 250 yards and two touchdowns in the game. The 250 yards pushed him into elite company, making him the ninth player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. He’s also only the second player in history to rush for 2,000+ yards and 15 rushing touchdowns in a season. The Titans will face the Baltimore Ravens in the wild card.
Speaking of the Seahawks, they were in an NFC West battle themselves against the San Francisco 49ers. Russell Wilson led the Seahawks past the 49ers, 26-23. Wilson threw for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Seahawks will host the Rams in the wild card.
The Saints breezed through the Panthers in the season’s finale. Drew Brees threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The final score was 33-7, and the Saints secured the #2 seed in the NFC and finished the regular season 12-4. They will host the Chicago Bears this weekend for the wild card.
In the season finale, the Washington Football secured their playoff spot with the win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Alex Smith threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Philadephia. The final score, 20-14. Washington will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild card round.
AFC Playoff Matchups
#2 Bills vs #7 Colts
#3 Steeler vs #6 Browns
#4 Titans vs #5 Ravens
NFC Playoff Matchups
#2 Saints vs #7 Bears
#3 Seahawks vs #6 Rams
# Washington vs # 5 Bucaneers