NFC Week 17 in Review
NFC Week 17 In Review
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Football Team
Once again, Philadelphia got off to a slow start against Washington. Just like their first matchup two weeks ago, Washington had a 10-point lead and ending up losing. With it, Washington’s chances at the playoffs fell apart just like part of their stadium did when Jalen Hurts was going into the locker room. Philadelphia’s win and Minnesota’s loss on Sunday night clinched a playoff spot for the Eagles and leaves only one spot in the NFC playoffs unclaimed.
Despite dealing with an ankle injury, Jalen Hurts played well enough to win. His stats weren’t anything that pops out at you, but again Hurts won. Hurts threw for 65% completions and 214 yards in the air with no interceptions or touchdowns. He also totaled 44 yards on the ground with no fumbles or touchdowns.
The Eagles can thank their defense as they got three sacks and an interception. Despite giving up an early 10 point lead in the game, Washington had a chance to go win the game. Down by just four after an Eagles’ field goal, the Football Team drove down into the red zone with 30 seconds to go in the game. The comeback attempt was halted as Taylor Heinicke threw a pass that was intercepted by a diving Rodney McLeod in the end zone.
Philadelphia may not be built to make a deep run in the playoffs, but they could be dangerous for teams who are bad against the run. Their potential first round matchups could be Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, and Dallas. Most likely, they will be playing against Tampa Bay. Hopefully, they can upset them, but I don’t see the Eagles’ season lasting much longer.
New York Giants @ Chicago Bears
For yet another week, Justin Fields had to miss the game due to injury. However, he wasn’t really needed as the Giants started Mike Glennon at quarterback. If that wasn’t bad enough for New York, Glennon actually ended the game with negative passing yards.
That being said, this game was a snoozer. With a final score of 29-3 in favor of Chicago, you probably were better not watching this one.
The Giants fell to 4-12 and show little sign of life. Coach Joe Judge emphasized after the game that the Giants were not “a clown show organization’, but being at the top of the draft again says otherwise about this once proud organization.
Chicago improved to 6-10 and are stuck with a decision on what to do with Matt Nagy. Personally, I don’t think a few meaningless end of season wins shouldn’t save his job. The “Fire Nagy” chants have only gotten louder as the season has gone on, and if things go as they should, those passionate fans will soon get their wish.
Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers
A slow start for San Francisco is nothing to worry about as they beat Houston 23-7. No points were scored in this contest until Brandin Cooks caught a touchdown with two minutes to go in the first half. The 49ers were able to cut the lead to 7-3 with a field goal as the first half expired.
It wasn’t until 5:53 to go in the 3rd quarter when San Francisco took the lead with their first touchdown of the game thanks to a Trey Lance pass to Elijah Mitchell. They never looked back after that and they proved to be the better team for the rest of the game.
Houston fell to 4-12 and snapped their modest two game winning streak. It would probably be in their best interest to lose next week as well so they can ensure a top draft pick. With Tennessee on the other side of the field, it is unlikely that they’ll have to try to lose in order to lose. The Titans are simply much better than the Texans, and they have everything in front of them with a win.
The Niners’ win improved the 49ers to 9-7 and are in control of their own destiny. With a win next week, they get into the playoffs as the 6th seed. The only way they miss the playoffs is if they lose to the Rams next week and the Saints beat the Falcons. New Orleans should be able to get their revenge against Atlanta, but I’m not so sure that San Francisco could beat Los Angeles. If my first thoughts are correct, the race between New Orleans and San Francisco for the last seed could get interesting.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
Divisional rivalries are usually two teams that are fired up to beat each other, but when the road team dances of the home team’s logo pregame things get chippy. All year, New Orleans and Carolina have been known to have great defenses. The same idea applied on Sunday as the game was reminiscent of an old school SEC matchup.
New Orleans came out on top of Carolina 18-10 with the help of two Panther turnovers. Sam Darnold was sacked an astonishing seven times and half of those were to the credit of Cam Jordan. Darnold also fumbled the ball once and threw an interception on the last drive of the game.
Taysom Hill did not have a great game, but it also wasn’t all that bad either. His QBR was only 38 out of 158.3 and he was unable to complete balls deep down the field. If New Orleans should be fortunate enough to make the playoffs, Taysom will have to expand this offense. The win improved the Saints’ record to 8-8 and are a win against Atlanta and a San Francisco loss against Los Angeles away from making it to the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
Carolina lost for the 12th time in the last 14 contests and look abysmal as per usual. The real question Carolina has to ask themselves is what to do with their top ten draft pick. Many mock
drafts have the Panthers taking a quarterback. Matt Corral and Kenny Pickett have been the two names that have been mentioned for them. However, they did just acquire Sam Darnold last offseason. He may not be as good as either of the two guys in the draft, but he hasn’t really had a chance to be successful in Carolina. Although the Panthers have nothing to look forward to for the rest of the season, their offseason moves will definitely be something to watch out for.
Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks
Like Ben Roethlisberger, this also could have been the last home game for Russell Wilson in Seattle. Wilson said earlier in the week that he hoped that Sunday won’t be his last game in Seattle. However, he also mentioned that it surely won’t be his last NFL home game either. It is clear that Wilson still has a lot left in the tank. It is unclear now that Seattle will be the place that he stays for the rest of his career. Personally, I would love it if he would make his way down to New Orleans to team up with Sean Payton. The Saints need a Drew Brees like replacement, and with Jameis Winston suffering a major knee injury during the season, Wilson may be the guy in New Orleans come this offseason. The other teams that Russell Wilson has expressed interest in are the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.
Seattle coasted to a 51-29 win over Detroit and improved to 6-10 thanks to Russell Wilson and Rashaad Penny. Wilson threw for four touchdowns and Penny also contributed with 170 yards on the ground with two scores to his name. Detroit fell to 2-13-1 and currently hold the second pick in the draft. Perhaps Aidan Hutchinson won’t have to go too far from The University of Michigan as the Lions do need a pass rusher. They also have another pick from the Rams in the first round, so maybe they can also pick a quarterback that can help turn this sad franchise around.
Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys
Arizona finally got the ship turned around as the bested the Cowboys 25-22. The Cardinals got off to a quick start taking a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. It wasn’t until Michael Gallup went up to catch a touchdown pass from Dak Prescott with a minute to go in the first half that Dallas got on the board.
To make matters worse for the Cowboys, as Gallup went up for the touchdown, he tore his ACL. At least Gallup caught the touchdown, but you have to feel bad for the guy as the injury bug has plagued Gallup for the majority of his young career.
After the injury, the Cardinals went on to score 12 straight. Arizona was not countered until the fourth quarter. Two fourth quarter touchdowns thrown by Dak Prescott were still not enough to muster a comeback.
Dallas fell to 11-5 and are still in the thick of the playoffs. They will need to win this week and have a Los Angeles loss in order to move up from the four seed. Most likely, Dallas will be playing a NFC West opponent in the first round. Both Arizona and Los Angeles are pretty good
teams, so Dallas will have to avoid playing like their normal playoff selves if they are to leave their fans happy after Super Wild Card Weekend.
Arizona improving to 11-5 means that they still have a chance to win their division. A win next week against Seattle and a Los Angeles loss against San Francisco would give Arizona the division title. More importantly, they would guarantee themselves a home playoff game. If this win is any indication of how the Cardinals will play in the playoffs, watch out NFC.
8PM Game (SNF)
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Yes, Aaron Rodgers still owns the NFC North. Earlier in the week, Kirk Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 and had to miss the game. This meant that backup quarterback Sean Mannion was granted the start.
Mannion wasn’t great, but he didn’t have much to work with. Going into Lambeau in January is already hard enough, but doing it against a hot Aaron Rodgers and without Adam Thielen makes the task near impossible.
Green Bay routed Minnesota 37-10 and ensured that the NFC will run through Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers had another fantastic game throwing for 288 and two scores, but the real star of the show was Davante Adams. Adams along with Rodgers has quickly become the best QB-WR duo in the league. The stud receiver went off again for 11 receptions, 136 yards, and a score.
The first half was dominated by Green Bay as they were up 20-0 until Minnesota kicker Greg Joseph nailed a 51 yard field goal as time expired in the first half. The field goal was pretty much the biggest highlight of the game for Minnesota as it broke the record for the longest field goal ever kicked in January at Lambeau Field. Minnesota did go on to score a touchdown later in the game to cut the Packer lead to 20, but does anyone really care about that?
Minnesota fell to 7-9 and should just start focusing on the draft because their matchup with Chicago next week is essentially meaningless. They currently possess the 13th pick in the first round, and desperately need to draft defense. Next season, how about helping your young offensive stars?