NFL Week 16 Recap
Playoff Picture Becoming Clearer
Week 16 of the NFL regular season is in the books. With two to weeks to go the playoff picture is becoming clearer and clearer. See how all the action went down in week 16 right here!
49ers: 17 (8-7), Titans: 20 (10-5)
Final Line: SF -3.5 Jake's Pick: SF
I guess Mike Vrabel's squad knew that people were beginning to write them off as the Titans rallied from a ten-point halftime deficit to edge out the Niners on Thursday. As time expired, Randy Bullock nailed a 44-yard field goal to give the Titans their tenth win of the season. A.J. Brown had a solid outing in his return to the gridiron. The wide receiver caught 11 catches for 145 yards and one touchdown. The Titans were shut out in the first half as they couldn't get any offense going, but the offense came alive in the third quarter as the defense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs late in the third quarter to help turn the tide of the game. Even without Derek Henry, the Titans prove they can still get the job done as they inch closer to clinching a playoff spot.
The Niners had a chance to add to their lead in the first half but couldn't muster up anything on offense. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 322 yards and a TD but also threw two INTs and struggled mightily in the second half. Deebo Samuel led the team with 159 yards, including a 56-yard catch-and-run late in the fourth quarter. The Niners certainly had their chances to win this game, but they just let the game slip away from their fingers. With the Niners losing, the Dallas Cowboys clinch a playoff spot. The Niners now have to win their remaining games if they want a shot in the playoffs.
Tennessee's next challenge is with Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins.
The Niners head back home to take on the Houston Texans.
Browns: 22 (7-8), Packers: 24 (12-3)
Final Line: GB -7.5 Jake's Pick: GB
Aaron Rodgers finds more ways to add himself into the record books. In this case, he broke Brett Farve's franchise record for touchdown passes with his 11-yard TD pass to Allen Lazard in the first quarter. Rodgers finished 24 of 34 with 202 yards and three TDs. Head Coach Matt LaFleur also became the first head coach in NFL history to have 12-win seasons in each of his first three seasons as head coach. I guess that's what happens when Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback!
The Browns had a chance to win this game, but turnovers ended up being the difference-maker as Baker Mayfield threw four interceptions. Mayfield came back to the field getting reinstated from the COVID list; it was his first game back since missing last week's 16-14 loss at the hands of the Raiders. RB Nick Chubb provided a lot of spark with 126 yards and a TD on 17 carries, but Mayfield's miscues were too much. Despite the setbacks, the Browns are still committed to Mayfield, who finished with just 222 yards and two TDs to go along with his four INTs. Moving forward, the Browns (7-8) have little room for error as they continue to fight for a playoff spot.
The Packers have a divisional matchup with the Minnesota Vikings on SNF.
The Browns will head to Pittsburgh for a high-stakes matchup on MNF.
Colts: 22 (9-6), Cardinals: 16
Final Line: ARI-3.0 Jake's Pick: IND
Don't look now, but the Indianapolis Colts are making a lot of noise. Despite not having Darius Leonard and Quentin Nelson (COVID), the Colts showed plenty of toughness en route to their 22-16 win over a struggling Arizona Cardinals team. Although Jonathan Taylor failed to find the end zone, ending his streak of consecutive games with a TD at 11, he produced his third-straight game with at least a hundred rushing yards. Carson Wentz rebounded after a sluggish outing last week and added a lot of clutch moments. The QB finished 18 of 28 with 225 yards and two TDs. With the win, the Colts find themselves atop the Wildcard race and are keeping pace with the Titans in the AFC South.
The Arizona Cardinals continue to trend in the wrong direction as they dropped their third game in a row. Miscues were the theme again as the Cardinals were responsible for 11 penalties. Kicker Matt Prater left seven points on the field last night with his two missed field goals and a missed extra point; the team also committed a safety and turned the ball over on downs. Kyler Murray looks like a different QB without DeAndre Hopkins on the outside, and they were already without RB James Connor for Saturday's game. Hopkins got put on the IR leading up to last week's embarrassing loss to the Lions. Moving forward, the Cardinals have to fix things if they want to stick around for the postseason.
The Colts head home for a matchup with Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Cardinals will look to end their losing skid next week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Lions: 16 (2-12-1), Falcons: 20 (7-8)
Final Line: ATL -7.5 Pick: ATL
The Falcons love to make it enjoyable, don't they? With two minutes left in the game, all the Falcons needed to do was keep the football; that wasn't the case. Atlanta coughed it up and gave the ball back to Tim Boyle and the Lions with a chance to win the game. On the next play, Boyle found Atlanta's Foye Olyokun, and the rest is history. Rookie Kyle Pitts adds to his impressive Pro Bowl season as the tight end racked up 102 yards on six catches. As of right now, the Falcons are still alive in the Playoff race, but that could change next week when they take on Josh Allen and the Bills. To sum it up, I wouldn't say I like our chances.
Although the Lions lost the game, they've proven that they can hang with anyone. Dan Campbell's squad loves to play with a lot of grit, despite continuing to come up short. With Jared Goff out due to COVID, Tim Boyle stepped up and almost led the Lions back. Boyle finished 24 of 34 with 187 yards, one TD, and one INT. Currently, the Lions hold the number two pick in the upcoming draft, but I think Campbell's team has one more win left in them.
The Falcons have to travel to Buffalo to face Josh Allen and the Bills. In other words, it's the end for the Falcons.
The Lions head to Seattle to take on the disappointing Seahawks.
Ravens: 21 (8-7), Bengals: 41 (9-6)
Final Line: CIN -7.5 Pick: CIN
Have a day, Joe Burrow! On Sunday, the Bengals saw their second-year QB throw for 525 yards and two TDs as Cincy routed the Ravens to take control of the AFC North. Burrow was firing on all cylinders as his historic passing performance was the fourth most all-time and the 24th time in NFL history with 500 passing yards. Burrow finished 37-46 with four TDs to go along with his 500-yard performance. Cincy showed no signs of slowing down as they continued to dial up the deep ball while they were up by 20. WR Tee Higgins led the Bengals in receiving with 194 yards and two TDs. Ja'Marr Chase also had 125 yards on seven catches. Overall, a dominant offensive performance by the Cincinnati Bengals.
With Lamar Jackson out with an ankle injury and Tyler Huntley on the COVID list, Josh Johnson, who signed with the team ten days ago, started at quarterback. Johnson did throw a TD to Rashod Batemen to put them up 10-7 in the first quarter, but the injury-riddled Ravens secondary couldn't keep up with Joe Burrow and the Bengals' offense. Johnson finished 28 of 40 with 304 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The loss puts the Ravens on the bubble with two games left to go in the season, and they are hoping to get some key players back from the COVID list. With the Rams and the Steelers left on their schedule, these have to feel like must-win matchups for Jon Harbaugh's squad.
The Ravens head back home for a crucial playoff battle with the LA Rams.
The Bengals have a date with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Rams: 30 (11-4), Vikings: 23 (7-8)
Final Line: LAR -3.0 Jake's Pick: LAR
Brandon Powell's 61-yard punt return helped spark the Rams in their 30-23 victory over the Vikings on Sunday to secure a playoff spot for them and the Cardinals. Matthew Stafford seemed out of sync for most of the game, throwing for 197 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Odell Beckham caught Stafford's only TD pass, his fourth TD in five games with the Rams. Cooper Kupp had ten catches for 109 yards, becoming the first player with at least 90 receiving yards in 14 games of a single season. Although Stafford struggled for most of the day, the other Rams' stars (Kupp, Aaron Donald, and Jalen Ramsey) contributed nicely in helping the Rams clinch a playoff spot for the second-straight season.
For Minnesota, the loss puts them in a bit of a hole with two games left in the season. Kirk Cousins had 315 yards on 27 for 38 passing, including a TD to K.J. Osborn with 8:21 left that cut the lead to 27-20, but his first-quarter interception ended up being the difference in the game. Alexander Mattison filled in nicely for Dalvin Cook (COVID), as the running back had 70 total yards and a score. The Vikings failed for the fourth time this season to push their record above .500. As a result, they lost control of the third and final NFC wild-card spot.
The Rams head to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
The Vikings take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on SNF.
Bills: 33 (9-6), Patriots: 21 (9-6)
Final Line: NE -1.0 Jake's Pick: BUF
No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills! With their season on the brink and several players on the COVID-list, the Bills stepped up significantly and got help from several key players. Josh Allen threw for 314 yards and three TDs three TDs, Isiah McKenzie had 11 catches for 125 yards, and Micah Hyde had two interceptions. McKenzie, who filled in for both Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis (COVID), turned in a career-high in catches and stepped up when they needed them the most. With the win, Buffalo now holds tiebreakers over New England and Miami and is in the driver's seat to win its' second-straight AFC East title.
The Patriots have lost consecutive games to the Bills at home and have lost two straight following their seven-game winning streak. On Sunday, Mac Jones looked more like a rookie quarterback as he finished 14 of 32 with 145 yards and two INTs, struggling for most of the day as he struggled to find open receivers. RB Damien Harris had 103 yards and three TDs on 18 carries. The loss puts New England in a precarious position with two games left. Anything can happen!
The Bills take on Kyle Pitts and my Atlanta Falcons.
The Patriots will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jaguars: 21 (2-13), Jets: 26 (4-11)
Final Line: NYJ -2.5 Jake's Pick: NYJ
Who would've thought that the run of the year would belong to a quarterback, let alone Zach Wilson? That's right; the rookie QB let loose on a 52-yard TD run to help catapult the Jets over the Jags on Sunday. Not only that, but Braxton Berrios was responsible for a 103-yard kickoff return making it back-to-back weeks in which the Jags have given up a kickoff return TD.
Well, the Jags continue to trend in the wrong direction, to no one's surprise. RB James Robinson, who saw his production dwindle due to Urban Meyer's coaching, saw his season end after tearing his Achilles. If there is any, the good news is that the Jags still hold the number one pick, but they will have to figure out what to go after because they need everything.
The Jets take a former adversary in Tom Brady, but he's on Tampa this time.
The Jags take on Mac Jones and the Patriots.
Giants: 10 (4-11), Eagles: 34 (8-7)
Final Line: PHI -11.0 Jake's Pick: PHI
After a lackluster first half from both teams, the Eagles poured it on in the second half as they ran all over the Giants. Jalen Hurts plays well enough to help the Eagles win the game. Hurts finished 17 of 29 for 199 yards and two TDs, including one to big Lane Johnson. Following the TD, Johnson celebrated by trying to jump in the arms of several Eagles fans. After the win, the possibility of a playoff birth remains intact.
As for the Giants, the Jake Fromm experiment didn't work as the QB only had 25 passing yards. Mike Glennon took over and finished 17 of 27 for 93 yards with one TD and one INT. I guess the one thing to take from this is that HC Joe Judge and QB Daniel Jones are sticking around for next year, but is that a good thing?
The Eagles take on the Washington Football Team in a crucial divisional matchup.
The Giants don't have anything to play for as they take on the Chicago Bears (I probably won't preview this game).
Buccaneers: 32 (11-4), Panthers: 6 (5-9)
Final Line: TB -11.0 Jake's Pick: TB
Tom Brady threw for 232 yards and a touchdown, and Antonio Brown made an emphatic return to the field as the Bucs routed the Panthers to clinch their first NFC South title since 2007. For Brady, he's now been responsible for 18 divisional titles, including 17 with the Patriots. Antonio Brown was productive in returning from a three-game suspension, hauling in 10 catches for 101 yards. Ronald Jones and Ke'Shawn Vaughn also saw an increase in production with Fournette out with a hamstring. Moving forward, I think you have to consider the Bucs a threat in the NFC because you can't bet against Tom Brady. Trust me. As a Falcons fan, I know all too well!
It's been quite the turnaround for the Panthers, and not in a good way. Since starting the season 3-0, the Panthers have dropped 10 out of their last 12 games. Cam Newton had another poor performance and was benched in favor of Sam Darnold, who received many Boos in his return to the field. Darnold finished 15 of 32 for 190 yards.
The Bucs will take on the New York Jets next week.
The Panthers have a divisional matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
Chargers: 29 (8-7), Texans: 41 (4-11)
Final Line: LAC -13.0 Jake's Pick: LAC
Davis Mills might be the quarterback Texans fans have been waiting for; the rookie finished 21-27 for 254 yards and two TDs to help the Texans shock the Chargers on Sunday. Rex Burkhead stole the show for Houston, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Houston might not have anything to play for, but they will continue to ruin other teams' seasons if they can play like that again.
What went wrong for the Chargers? Maybe it was because they were missing some crucial parts to their defense, especially Joey Bosa. They couldn't stop the run to save their life, Justin Herbert had an off-day, and Brandon Staley was afraid to go for it on fourth down. The loss puts the Chargers in quite a deep hole with two games left to go, and they can't afford any more embarrassing losses.
The Texans will look to play spoiler again when they take on the Niners on Sunday.
The Chargers take on the Denver Broncos in a potential playoff eliminator.
Bears: 25 (5-10), Seahawks: 24 (5-10)
Final Line: SEA -7.0 Jake's Pick: SEA
In a game that had no implications whatsoever, Nick Foles showed that he still had some spark left from his Super Bowl-winning season as he led the Bears to victory in a snow-covered Seattle. Chicago had nothing to play for as Matt Nagy is most likely getting fired at the end of the year, so why not go out on top. At least Foles gave Bears fans something to get excited about in the short term.
With the loss on Sunday, the Seahawks are officially eliminated from playoff contention for the second-straight season. It marks the first time Seattle will finish with a losing record under Pete Caroll and Russell Wilson as the quarterback. Seattle had a ten-point lead in the third quarter but saw that lead slip away when Foles scored and then converted the two-point conversion with under a minute to go. Moving forward, I'm not sure what will happen to Carroll, but I won't be shocked if he gets the boot. A lot can occur within the final two weeks.
The Bears take on the Giants in a game that doesn't mean anything.
The Seahawks take on the Lions in another game that doesn't mean anything.
Steelers: 10 (7-7-1), Chiefs: 36 (11-4)
Final Line: KC -10.0 Jake's Pick: KC (PIT to Cover)
On Sunday, Kansas City took care of business against the struggling Steelers to clinch the AFC West. Even without Travis Kelce (COVID) and Tyreek Hill limited at practice after clearing COVID protocols, the Chiefs didn't seem to miss a beat. Patrick Mahomes was firing on all cylinders, and WR Bryon Pringle hauled in two TDs. Mahomes finished 23 of 30 for 258 yards and three TDs. With the win on Sunday, Kansas City proved that they are the team to beat in the AFC, and everyone should notice.
If you are a Steelers fan, I'm sorry you had to witness that game. If you didn't think the Steelers sucked before this game, well, now it's pretty obvious. The only player worth a damn on this team is T.J. Watt, who will most likely win DPOY. Big Ben is on his death bed at the moment, and the future isn't looking too bright for Pittsburgh, a team filled with a rich history. Dark days are ahead for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Chiefs take on Joe Burrow and the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals.
The Steelers will look to rebound on Monday night against the Cleveland Browns.
Broncos: 13 (7-8), Raiders: 17 (8-7)
Final Line: EVEN Jake's Pick: LV
To be honest with you, I didn't watch this game because of how boring it was. I guess the one good thing to come out of this game was that I had Hunter Renfroe on my fantasy team, and he came through for me. Also, Raiders fans can breathe another day knowing that they are, in fact, still alive for a playoff berth.
With Teddy Bridgewater out, Drew Locke stepped up and wasn't good or bad. I don't know what to call his performance because he didn't do anything. Locke finished 15 of 22 for 153 yards with no TDs or INTs. Denver's playoff hopes took a turn for the worst with the loss, dropping its third game in the last four.
The Raiders have a date with the red-hot Indianapolis Colts next Sunday.
Next Sunday, the Denver Broncos take on Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers in a divisional matchup.
Washington: 14 (6-9), Cowboys: 56 (11-4)
Final Line: DAL -10.0 Jake's Pick: DAL
I'm going to make this write-up short and sweet. The Dallas Cowboys demolished Washington on Sunday night to help secure the NFC East. Dak Prescott was lights-out with three first-half TDs, and the defense continues to show why they are the best. Trevon Diggs also added to his interception total, bringing it to 11, and Micah Parsons added to his sack total. However, Demarcus Lawrence stole the show with his pick-six in the first half.
When you have two players on the same team fighting on the sideline, that's when you know you have a problem. In Washington's case, that's precisely what happened. After a Dallas score in the first half, teammates Jonathan Allen and Da'Ron Payne got into a heated exchange on the sideline, resulting in separation. With the score at 42-7 in favor of Dallas at halftime, they might as well have ended the game right there, but it only got worse for the Football Team as they got their asses handed to them by the Cowboys 56-14. Moving forward, Ron Rivera knows that his team has a lot of issues to address.
The Cowboys play host to the Arizona Cardinals in a matchup that will decide who potentially gets the higher seed in the NFC Playoff Race.
Washington still has a chance to get back in the hunt for a playoff spot if they can beat the stingy Philadelphia Eagles next week.
Dolphins: 20 (8-7), Saints: 3 (7-8)
Final Line: MIA -3.0 Jake's Pick: MIA
Jalen Waddle shined on Monday as the Miami Dolphins became the first team in NFL history to have both a seven-game winning streak and a seven-game losing streak in the same season. That's right, after a 1-7 start to the season, the Phins are over .500 for the first time since week one. The Dolphins took the lead on a pick-six in the first quarter and didn't look back. Jalen Waddle led the team in receiving with 92 yards and a TD. With the win, all the Dolphins need to win out and make the playoffs. The only problem is that they have to beat the Titans and the Patriots.
New Orleans was put in a challenging situation to begin the week. Both Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian had COVID, leaving Ian Book as the starting QB. Book struggled throughout the game as he finished 12 of 20 with 135 yards and two INTs, which included a pick-six at the start of the game.
The Dolphins travel to Nashville for a crucial matchup with the Tennessee Titans.
The Saints have a date with the Carolina Panthers.
Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake.
Follow him on Twitter @jake_klausner
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