NFL Week 16 Short Takes
The holiday season for 2020 has ended and for some NFL teams so have playoff hopes. The next to last weekend in football was completed last Monday Night with some teams keeping their playoff lives alive and for others with just one game to go just ending the season is nothing more than a formality.
As I look back on what was in week 16, there were some upsets, expected results, close games, and some gut-check contests. Let the roundup begin.
New Orleans Saints 52, Minnesota Vikings 33. What a day for Saints running back Alvin Kamara. Six rushing touchdowns later, he ties the record for touchdowns in-game something done only once before by Hall of Famer Ernie Nevers way back in 1929. The Vikes tried to make a game of it but were simply outgunned.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 47, Detroit Lions 7. I thought the game might be closer if Tom Brady had a “Brady-like” day with 348 yards passing and four touchdowns, missing in just five passes. Remember though, this was the Detroit Lions not a playoff team like the Saints or Packers.
San Francisco 49ers 20, Arizona Cardinals 12. Arizona is one of those teams that had control of their playoff destiny and now their backs are to the wall with one game left. The 49ers continue to try to make something of a lost season.
Miami Dolphins 26, Las Vegas Raiders 25. Three in a row for the Raiders on the losing side so from 7-5 they have seen their playoff hopes wash away now at 7-8 they will need a final regular-season win to avoid a losing season again. The Dolphins may be one of the biggest surprises in 2020.
Kansas City Chiefs 17, Atlanta Falcons 14. While the. Hives have lost just one game, recent games have been closer and so they look vulnerable heading into the post-season.
New York Jets 23, Cleveland Browns 16. Just like in Cleveland Browns fashion, an opportunity to make something big happen like a long-awaited playoff appearance may have been thwarted by their undoing by losing to the one win Jets. Now they must defeat the rejuvenated Steelers to earn a wild card spot. The Jets with two wins in a row have removed themselves from the NFL basement replaced by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Indianapolis Colts 24. Down 21-7 at halftime, it appeared the Steelers were headed for a fourth straight loss to the playoff-bound Colts. In the locker room, Ben Roethlisberger who had been playing like he regressed in the last four games told his offense to go out and “have fun” in the second half. Not only did they seem looser from that point forward, but they also played as they had in The 11-0 run to start the season.
Chicago Bears 41, Jacksonville Jaguars 17. Nothing good you can say about this Jacksonville team. That is perhaps except that they now own the overall #1 draft pick for 2021. It looks like they have won the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. The Bears probably wish they could play the middle of the season over again after their 5-1 start because their path to the playoffs would have been much easier.
Baltimore Ravens 27, New York Giants 13. Baltimore might be the scariest team that could be in the AFC dance. But they need the Steelers to beat the Browns In week 17. How ironic that two years ago the Steelers needed the Browns to beat the Ravens for Pittsburgh to sneak into the postseason. Cleveland came closer but lost now the Ravens are in the same boat.
Cincinnati Bengals 37, Houston Texans 31. The Bengals turned out to be a decent team in 2020 and their future is much brighter than say the Jaguars are. It makes Cincinnati fans wonder “what if?” What if Joe Burrow was not lost for the season? For Houston, they have multiple issues in their house and a complete clean up is in order.
Los Angeles Chargers 19, Denver Broncos 16. This was a game to find out who takes sole possession of the cellar in the AFC West. That now belongs to Denver. How proud John Elway must be. This was also a showing of talent between two young quarterbacks. Chances are Justin Herbert will win Rookie of the Year with Joe Burrow sidelined.
Carolina Panthers 20, The Washington Football Team 13. Yet another team that had a chance to take control of their destiny and blew it. Later is. The week, Washington released troubled Dwayne Haskins. Week 17 in the NFL is going to be entertaining at best for the NFC East. The Panthers are another team with many question marks.
Dallas Cowboys 37, Philadelphia Eagles 17. Perhaps too little too late for Dallas with three wins in a row. Losing Dak Prescott for the season may have proven to be their Achilles heel but they still have a shot at continuing their season after week 17 depending on the results of the final week. The Eagles will spend the offseason figuring out what to do about rookie Jalen Hurts and veteran Carson Wentz. As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I would love to see a trade made with Philadelphia to bring Wentz to the Steelers as Ben Roethlisberger winds down his career.
Seattle Seahawks 20, Los Angeles Rams 9. This first-place NFC West game goes to Seattle. The Rams are still alive for the playoffs but will have to go into the final weekend to find out if they are in or out.
Green Bay Packers 40, Tennessee Titans 14. The Packers are closing in on the #1 seed in the NFC and look every bit of the team to beat on that side. The Titans can look like world-beaters one week and just another team the next.
Buffalo Bills 38, New England Patriots 9. How far the Patriots have fallen in one season comes to the delight of many Patriot haters and angst to diehard Patriots fans. Was it all because of the departure of Tom Brady or players that opted out of the season because of Covid-19? Either way, it is the Buffalo time in the AFC East and the Bills might be the second most frightful team next to Baltimore heading into the big dance in January.