And just like that, the NFL regular season has come to a close! What an exciting weekend of football. We saw some record breaking performances, some shocking upsets, and some teams making it into the playoffs who might not deserve to be there; That’s NFL football for ya! Let’s break down Week 18!
The weekend started with Kansas City travelling to Denver to take on the Broncos. With Denver being one of many teams who are dealing with quarterback injuries, Drew Lock took the field in hopes to spoil the Chief’s playoff seeding, and he almost succeeded! Lock ran for two first half touchdowns to give the Broncos the lead heading into halftime, and even held a 21-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter thanks to a 47 yard TD run from Melvin Gordon who finished the day with 110 yards. However, Kansas City’s defense decided to spoil all the fun by returning a fumble recovery for an 86 yard touchdown, which ended up being the deciding score. Patrick Mahomes finished the game with 270 yards and two touchdowns, adding another 54 yards on the ground. Hunt for that prized rookie Mahomes card here! KC stays at the No. 2 seed and clinches a first round bye.
The other Saturday night game was slightly more one sided to say the least, as the Cowboys traveled to Philly to take on the Eagles. Gardner Minshew tried to reignite Minshew Mania with Hurts out, but Dak Prescott said, “Not Today”. The Dallas offense was firing on all cylinders, as Dak threw for five touchdowns and absolutely dismantled the Eagle’s defense. The Cowboys nearly double the Eagle’s score and win 51-26, effectively remaining in the No. 3 seed for the playoffs.
Sunday was kicked off with an absolute snooze fest between the Bengals and Browns. With Baker Mayfield taking the meaningless game off and Joe Burrow resting for the playoffs, we saw none other than Case Keenum and Brandon Allen go toe to toe. Booooooooriiiiiingggggg. The most exciting part of the day was Ja’Marr Chase setting the rookie franchise record for receiving yards, but they quickly benched him for the playoffs as soon as he broke the record. Nevertheless, hunt for his rookie card here! Cinci falls to Cleveland 21-16, but stay in the No. 4 spot for the playoffs.
UPSET ALERT! Well, we’re unsure if you can call it an upset with Aaron Rodgers only playing a portion of the game, but still. The Packers head to Detroit to take on the Lions, and Goff did everything in his power to end this season on a high note. Allen Lazard caught two first half touchdowns from Rodgers, while Goff threw a beautiful pass to the exciting rookie, Amon-Ra St. Brown to round out the scoring for the first half. Following halftime, Jordan Love led the Green Bay backups onto the field, but the Lions starting offense/defense proved to be too much to handle. Love threw two interceptions, and the Lions capitalized with a 37-30 victory. The game was obviously meaningless as the Packers remain in the No. 1 seed for the NFC. Rodgers finished the season with the highest passer rating AGAIN. Who’s your MVP this year?
In what could potentially be the last game for Matt Nagy as a head coach, Chicago made at least half of this game very interesting vs. the Vikings. The Bear entered halftime with a 14-3 lead, but the second half was all Minnesota. The hyper talented sophomore, Justin Jefferson, finished the game with 107 yards and a touchdown, and Minnesota owned the fourth quarter to win the game 31-17. A game of pride goes to the Minnesota Vikings as both teams enter the offseason with some problems to fix. Will Nagy be in Chicago any longer? Will Cousins be in Minnesota next year? I guess we’ll find out soon!
Another meaningless game of pride goes down in the Meadowlands as Washington takes on the Giants. I have a very serious question: Is Joe Judge trying to get fired? He’s made bonehead decisions all year. Jake Fromm gets the start for the Giants, but proves he’s not ready to start in the NFL as he completed less than 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions. Bad coaching, bad QB play… and that’s about it! That’s all you need to lose a game. On the other side of the field, Antonio Gibson tore up to the tune of 146 yards and a touchdown, and the WFT beat the Giants 22-7.
Now this one’s for real: MAJOR UPSET ALERT! THIS IS THE TREVOR LAWRENCE THAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING TO SEE! Lawrence came out SLINGING the ball against the piping hot Colts team who were fighting for their spot in the playoffs. Jacksonville should be a walk in the park, right? JAX got the lead in the first quarter on a touchdown pass to Laquon Treadwell and never looked back. The defense stuffed Jonathan Taylor at the goal line, and IND did not have anything go their way. Trevor Lawrence finished the game with 223 yards and two touchdowns, as the Jaguars finished the season on a high note and effectively eliminate the Colts from the playoffs. How’s that for playing spoiler? Chase the prized Trevor Lawrence rookie card here!
The Steelers should be sending a massive gift to Jacksonville for beating the Colts, or at least an edible arrangement. The Steelers needed a win and an IND loss to squeak into the playoffs, and the football Gods were on their side. The game itself was very slow and sloppy, but sometimes you need to win the ugly ones in order to advance. The Ravens struggled to move the ball with Huntley at QB, while Big Ben threw for 244 yards and a touchdown and proves that he’s got something left in the tank. The game went into OT, and the Steelers get sent to the playoffs off the leg of Chris Boswell. OH, this also eliminated the Ravens from the playoffs, but the Ravens have a lot of other self inflicted wounds to thank for that. Big Ben’s final ride is elongated with a 16-13 OT win against the Ravens. We should also not forget that TJ Watt tied the single season sack record, and he did it while missing a few games. Let me belly ache real quick: The Strahan sack record is a joke due to Favre falling down and Strahan touching him to break the record. In my professional opinion, Watt now owns that record.
A surprising shootout takes place as the Titans head to Houston to take on the Texans. Tannehill would not be denied as he threw for four touchdowns to four different receivers on the day. The emerging young rookie, Davis Mills, did everything in his power to spoil all of the fun, as he finished the game with 301 yards and three touchdowns (two to Danny Ammendola; thought he retired by now!). However, Tennessee effectively drained the clock on their last position to remain the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Who would have thought the Titans would be the first seed in the AFC? Especially without King Henry, but look out! The King aims to make his return for the playoffs. Tennessee takes out the Texans, 28-25.
The Saints needed a win and a SF loss to squeak into the playoffs, and they got it half right. Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian played hot potato at quarterback vs. the Falcons, but both of them played exceptional, totaling for three touchdowns on the day. Alvin Kamara did Alvin Kamara things, finishing the game with 146 yards and moving the ball with ease. The Saints defeat the struggling Falcons 30-20 to improve to 9-8, but unfortunately are eliminated from the playoffs thanks to the 49ers’ win.
Zach Wilson headed to Orchard Park to take on the Jets without his top four starting wideouts, two starting linemen, and two best defensive players. The Bills smothered Wilson as his line could not protect him vs the Bills’ defensive front, and his receivers could not get open against the (should be pro bowl) secondary. The Jets made it interesting by somehow keeping it a one score game until the fourth quarter, but Josh Allen and the Bills proved to be too much to handle. Allen finished the game with 239 yards and two touchdowns, adding another 63 yards on the ground. Diggs finished the game with 9 catches for 81 yards and a score, becoming the player with the most catches in his first two seasons with a team. The Bills handle the Jets 27-10, and remain in the no. 3 seed for the playoffs.
The 49ers remain the Ram’s kryptonite. The Niners were in a “win and you’re in” situation, but it did not look as though they were going to the playoffs in the first half. Stafford found Higbee twice in the first half, and the Rams entered halftime with a 17-3 lead. However, if there’s anything that this football season has taught us, it’s that you NEED to play a full 60 minutes of football to win the game. The second half was the Deebo Samuel show, as he ran AND threw for a touchdown in the third quarter to tie the game up. Following a Cooper Kupp touchdown, Jimmy G and the Niners responded with 26 ticks left on a touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings. We’re going to Overtime! The 49ers kicked a field goal on their opening OT drive, and Stafford proceeded to throw an INT to end the game at 27-24. This pushed the Rams down to the No. 4 seed, and allowed the 49ers’ season to stay alive. In losing fashion, Cooper Kupp received the triple crown for receiving stats as he leads in all three categories. He was only five catches away from breaking the reception record, and only 18 yards away from the yardage record. Still, an amazing feat from this year’s clear cut no. 1 receiver.
The Patriots needed a win and a Buffalo loss to steal the AFC East divisional title, but neither of those things happened! HA! Hahahahahahah! HAHAHAHA! Oh boy, that is rich! Miami has seen enough of the Patriots owning the division for the better part of the last two decades, so they decided to spoil some fun. Following a pick six and TD from Jaylen Waddle, Miami entered halftime with a 17-7 lead and never looked back. The Patriots dwindled the lead to a 24-27 lead with less than three minutes left, but did not see the ball again until 3 seconds left on the clock. It’s only fitting that this game ended on a fumble recovery in the endzone for Miami, as they win the game 33-24, pushing NE to the No. 6 seed. BUT WAIT, there’s more 🙂 Jaylen Waddle broke the rookie reception record with an impressive 104 catches on the year; Look for his rookie card here! Miami made a nice push towards the end of the year, but sadly miss out on the playoffs. Look out for them next year!
Another shocking victory as the Cardinals continue to implode against the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson had a vintage performance, throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns (two to Lockett), and added another TD on the ground. Oh, and Rashaad Penny has been balling over the last few weeks, as he finished the game with an impressive 190 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Kyler Murray and the touchdown machine, James Conner, did all that they could to stay in this game, but some injuries to key players seem to be getting in their way. The Cardinals fall to the Seahawks 38-30, and enter the playoffs as the No. 5 seed. Do you think Russell Wilson will remain a Seahawk this offseason?
Nothing to see here; Just another absolute dismantling of the Panthers at the hands of the Bucs. The game was close at halftime with a score of 10-7, but Brady knew he was better than that and ended up winning the game 41-17. Like for real, do I even need to write about this game? Did we not see this coming? Tom Brady finished the game with 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. Gronk’s knees and elbows somehow still work as he led the Bucs in receiving yet again. I’m just sick of writing about Tom Brady, and who can blame me? The Bucs clinch a first round bye as the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
The week was concluded with an ultra important “win and you’re in” game between the Chargers and Raiders, and what a doozy it was. The Raiders got off to a hot start on a touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow in the first quarter, but the Chargers would not go down without a fight. Austin Ekeler had a rushing and receiving touchdown in the second quarter to bring halftime to a 17-14 Raider’s lead. The fourth quarter saw the Raider’s take an impressive 29-14 lead off ANOTHER touchdown to Renfrow. The Chargers fought for their lives as they crawled back to a 29-29 game off the arm of Justin Herbert with time expiring. Oh boy, ANOTHER OVERTIME GAME. This could not have worked out anymore perfectly. I should mention that Steelers fans were probably tweaking out, as a tie would eliminate them from the playoffs. Both teams managed to kick field goals on their opening drives, bringing the score to 32-32. Derek Carr decided that the Raiders have gone through way too much this season, and he led his team to field goal position to watch Daniel Carlson kick the game winning field goal as time expired. WOW, WHAT A GAME. The Chargers are eliminated in painful fashion, while the Raiders enter the playoffs as the No. 5 seed.
Wow folks, what a year it has been for football fans. We saw some record breaking performances throughout the year, some exciting rookies/sophomores beginning to emerge, and some new teams looking to claim their spot amongst the best. But let me just break down how crazy of a year this was for the quarterback position:
First of all, we saw two QBS hit the 5,000 yard mark with Brady leading and the young Justin Herbert not too far behind. Following them are 8 (!) players who reached the 4,000 yard mark. Perhaps the craziest stat is that this year saw nine quarterbacks go for 30+ touchdowns, with Brady throwing for 43. So you’re probably asking that this must have been a huge year for wideouts then too, huh? Well, exactly. The NFL saw a whopping 26 players reach the 1,000 yard mark, with the next five players knocking on the door. What an incredibly exciting year.
This obviously led to less running back production, but we still saw 7 players hit the 1,000 yard mark, with another 6 players right on the verge. Jonathan Taylor was the clear cut number one back in the league, but the craziest running back stat is the fact that King Henry was still a top ten rusher even after missing over half the season. It really makes you think: Would Henry have broken Dickerson’s record if he didn’t get hurt? I guess we’ll never know :/
It’s playoff time baby, and Wild Card Weekend is right around the corner! Next week we will see LV vs. CIN, NE vs. BUF, PHI vs. TB, SF vs.DAL, PIT vs. KC, and ARI vs. LAR on Monday Night. This should be an interesting opening weekend as we have some divisional matchups and top teams going toe to toe. What are your predictions?