The end of the NFL regular season is rapidly approaching and teams are trying to find their footing headed into the postseason. Some teams are trying to carve their spot for the postseason and others are trying their best to improve and solidify their standings in their respective conferences. With injuries and Covid running through the league, this week made up to be one of the most entertaining weeks in an exciting season.
Week 16 kicked off with the Tennesee Titans hosting the San Francisco 49ers. The Titans season has been up and down, to say the least, and in the first half it looked like San Francisco would be on the way to another victory. Tennesse battled back in the second half by scoring 10 points in both the third and fourth quarter to take the lead. Ryan Tannehill threw for 209 yards and one touchdown, with 145 of those yards going to A.J. Browns. Deebo Samuel also dominated for the 49ers, as he finished with nine receptions for 159 yards, but it wasn’t enough for the win. The final score was 20-17, as Tennesee moved on to a 10-5 record.
After going on the best start this season through the first ten weeks, the Arizona Cardinals have been struggling mightily. This week, they faced off against the Indianapolis Colts, who have had one of the best turnarounds this season. MVP candidate Johnathan Taylor led the charge for the Colts, as he finished with 108 yards on 27 carries. Carson had a stellar game, throwing for 225 yards and two touchdowns to lead Indianapolis to the big victory. For the Cardinals, this is their third loss in a row, and they have lost their lead on the NFC West.
On the other Christmas day game, the Green Bay Packers took on the Cleveland Browns. For the Browns, the running game was steller, with Nick Chubb leading the charge with 17 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown. The passing game though was the downfall for Cleveland. Baker Mayfield threw 222 yards for two touchdowns but also threw four interceptions. Aaron Rodgers’ connection with Davanta Adams was clicking on all cylinders though, as they connected ten times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The turnovers ended up biting Cleveland, as they fell short 24-22. The Packers now hold a firm grip on the #1 Seed in the NFC.
With Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley out for Baltimore, the already hobble Ravens had to start Josh Johnson at QB this week vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. With the Ravens going through a QB crisis, the Bengals could not relate, as their QB Joe Burrow threw for 525 yards and four touchdowns. The 525 yards is the 4th-most in a single game in NFL history. Alongside Joe’s breakout game, WR Tee Higgins had himself a day, as he finished with 12 receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns. The final score was 41-21 and the Bengals now hold 1st place in jampacked AFC North.
After a bad outing in their first matchup just a couple of weeks ago, the Buffalo Bills redeemed themselves against the New England Patriots. Josh Allen had another great day with 314 yards passing and three touchdowns while adding another 64 rushing yards. Despite Damien Harris’ herculean effort of 18 carries for 103 yards and three touchdowns, it just wasn’t enough to stop Buffalo, as the Bills took home a 33-21 victory.
As the Chargers look to make a playoff push, many wrote off the Houston Texans this week. For those who did, it backfired on them. Davis Mills and the Texans gave the Chargers a huge upset as they rolled to a 41-29 victory. The seasoned veteran Rex Burkhead rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns on the Chargers’ defense. This loss now sits the Chargers on the outside of the playoff picture.
The Kansas City Chief’s season got off to a rough start, and the team we once knew from the past seemed to be no longer. Well, if you haven’t noticed, the Chiefs are the #1 seed in the AFC and have been peaking at the right time. Sunday vs. the Steelers, they dominated in all phases of the game and were led by Patrick Mahomes 258 yards and three touchdowns. The defense held Pittsburgh’s offense at bay and gave up just one touchdown late in the game. The Chiefs won 36-10 and are now 11-4 on the season.
With both teams out of the playoff picture, the Atlanta Falcons faced off against the Detroit Lions. Matt Ryan led the way for Atlanta, as he threw for 215 yards and one touchdown on the day. Despite a great effort from Detroit, who has been playing well as of late, wasn’t enough as Atlanta took 20-16 win.
The Philadelphia Eagles looked to solidify their spot on the NFC playoff standings in a pivotal game vs. the New York Giants. The Giants won earlier this season, but Philadelphia came back and dominated in their second outing. Jalen Hurts led the Eagles to with 199 yards passing and two touchdowns, but it was Philadelphia’s defense that was the driving force. Philly held the Giants to under 200 yards of total offense and took the win by a score of 34-10.
After a poor showing vs. the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Bucs redeemed themselves with a dominant win over the Carolina Panthers. Tom Brady threw for 232 yards and one touchdown while missing his main targets in Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette. Antonio Brown did make a return and finished with ten receptions for 101 yards, but injured his ankle in the game. The Bucs won 32-6.
The Los Angeles Rams took on the Minnesota Vikings in a late season matchup. The Vikings defense forced Matthew Stafford in some uncomfortable spots and forced three interceptions. Sony Michel made up for a lot of the Rams mistakes with his 131 yards and one touchdown. For Minnesota, Justin Jefferson continues to prove his self among the leagues upper echelon of wideouts, as he finished with eight receptions for 116 yards. In the end though, the Rams edged out the Vikings to win 30-23, and take the #1 spot in the NFC West. Cooper Kupp (1,734) also closes in on Calvin Johnsons record of most receiving yards in a season (1,964).
The Jacksonville Jaguars took on the New York Jets this week, in a matchup between last years drafts top picks in Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. Even though Wilson didn’t have a stellar game passing, he used his legs very effectively on the few times he ran. He had a run of 52 yards, that was apart of his 91 yards rushing on the day, as well as a touchdown. On the other side, Trevor Lawrence threw for 280 yards but no touchdowns. In the end, the Jets took the victory by a score of 26-21.
The Denver Broncos were matched up against the Las Vegas Raiders in a late season divisional game. The downfall for the Broncos came from Josh Jacobs who dominated Denver’s defense. Jacobs ran for 129 yards on 27 carries and helped the Raiders comeback from a halftime deficit. The final score of the game was 17-13.
Russel Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks season continues to spin out of control with this week’s loss vs. the Chicago Bears. Despite a 135 yards rushing day from Rashaad Penny, the Seahawks fumbled a lead to the Bears in the fourth quarter. Nick Foles threw for 250 yards and one touchdown in the game to help the Bears take the win 25-24.
The Dallas Cowboys once again faced off against the Washington Football Team, but this time around, they put their foot on the necks early. Dak Prescott tossed four touchdowns for 330 yards, and most of that production came in the first half. Ezekiel Elliot scored both a rushing and receiving touchdown, and DE Demarcus Lawrence scored on a 40 yard pick-6. The Cowboys even blocked a punt that resulted in a touchdown. It was a dominant game from all facets and the Cowboys cruised to a 56-14 win, while winning the NFC East.
In the final game for the week, the Miami Dolphins kept up their great play they’ve shown over the last several weeks. Their defense kept the New Orleans Saints in check, holding them to just one field goal. Tua threw for 198 yards and one touchdown in the 20-3 win for the Dolphins, making it their 7th win in a row.