NFL Week 17 Short Takes
It’s a wrap! The NFL 2020 regular season that is. My wild card playoff predictions have been posted on Abstract Sports but there’s still looking back at the final weekend of the regular season and what went down. Some teams were vying for a playoff spot and failed miserably, while others who have not had a taste of a playoff game in a very long time are returning to the big dance. Let’s get a look at my short takes on all 16 games that took place in week 17.
New England 28, NY Jets 14. Bill Belichick concludes a 7-9 season with a win but 2020 marks his first losing season with New England since his Patriots finished 5-11 20 years ago in 2000. In 26 years as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns and New England, Belichick’s teams have finished under .500 just five times. Four of those were in Cleveland. The Jets? They fired Adam Gase and now the search is on for the next New York coach.
Tampa Bay 44, Atlanta 27. Tom Brady is in the postseason again, his 17th appearance in 20 years and his 12th straight. This time, however, it’s with a new team and while Tampa didn’t need this win, they laid it on big. The Falcons have their work cut out for them in rebuilding for 2021 and will be having to decide on Matt Ryan’s future.
Baltimore 38, Cincinnati 3. This was not a case of whether the Ravens would win or not but by how much. Lamar Jackson put on a highlight reel as a warning to the Tennessee Titans who Baltimore faces in the wild card round. So ends another dismal season in Bengals town.
New York Giants 23, Dallas 19. This game was rendered meaningless after Washington’s victory over Philadelphia, but until that result came in the Giants were hopeful for an Eagles victory so they could claim the division title by virtue of this win over the Cowboys. Not to be. So ends an embarrassing showing by the NFC East in 2020.
Buffalo 56, Miami 26. You talk about finishing with a bang! The Bills just mauled the Dolphins in a game that meant everything to Miami. The ‘Phins left this game red-faced and Buffalo put out signals that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the postseason.
Minnesota 37, Detroit 35. Lions fans get to sit home for yet another season while other teams play for a championship. The Vikings fans are doing the same but it’s a bigger disappointment for Minnesota who was expecting more success this season.
Cleveland 24, Pittsburgh 22. Instead of risking injury to some key starters, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin sat several players and instead turned to Mason Rudolph and some other backups to see if they could defeat Cleveland’s starting set. If not for a Rudolph interception that turned into points, the job would have gotten done. The Steelers were already in the playoffs so this loss meant nothing to them. But for the Browns? A 17-year absence from the postseason comes to an end but their ride in the playoffs may be short-lived having to play the Steelers in less than a week without their head coach.
Los Angeles Rams 18, Arizona 7. Like the Dolphins and Giants, the Cardinals were hoping to sneak into the playoffs. NOT. Rams move on.
Green Bay 35, Chicago 16. A tuneup for the Packers, a thumping loss for Chicago who gets to the postseason despite losing.
Indianapolis 28, Jacksonville 14. By losing 15 in a row, the Jaguars might as well consider having lost them all. How bad are the Jags? If it’s any consolation they now get the #1 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. In other words, Trevor Lawrence is their next hopeful franchise quarterback. The Colts knew this game was a win but I expected a much larger differential. It seems the Colts went easy on the lifeless Jaguars.
Los Angeles Chargers 38, Kansas City 21. The Chiefs had nothing to play for so they just took it easy and tried to escape without any injuries. Despiting the win, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn loses his job.
Las Vegas 32, Denver 31. A disappointing campaign for both teams and for the Broncos, John Elway removes himself from the General Manager role and is getting more responsibility in the front office. Bringing in a new GM might be a positive for Denver. That remains to be seen. Jon Gruden thought he had a playoff team this season so the Raiders' efforts proved to be a failure.
New Orleans 33, Carolina 7. A lost season for the Panthers a possible Super Bowl berth for the Saints.
Seattle 26, San Francisco 23. The Rams tried to keep pace with Seattle all season but in the end, the Seahawks win their division by two games. By closing out the season with four straight wins, Seattle has some of that early-season mojo they showed back in hand. The 49ers finish dead last after winning the NFC in 2019.
Tennessee 41, Houston 38. Deshaun Watson is an unhappy camper in Houston. His team won just four games this season while the Titans head onward to the playoffs. The Titans' defense better stiffen up though if they want to get past the wild card round. Tennessee yielded an average of 27.4 points-per-game in 2020 but on the other side of the ball, they scored at a clip of 30.7 per game.
Washington 20, Philadelphia 14. The Eagles had a chance to play spoiler and they spoiled the chance. Their loss to Washington gives The Washington Football team the division crown with just seven wins and nine defeats. Now Philadelphia must deal with a quarterback controversy in the off-season. Washington? They will try to do the unthinkable...winning a Super Bowl with a losing record. It won’t happen.