Jan. 03, 2017
Random thoughts from week 17 of the NFL Season
So the 2016 NFL Regular comes to a close on the first day of 2017. After another wild run with many twists and turns, the 12 playoff teams have been revealed. The AFC sees NE and KC get the first round byes as the top 2 seeds. Miami will go to Pittsburgh and Houston will host the Raiders in the wild card round. The NFC has Dallas and Atlanta at the top of the conference. Seattle will host Detroit, while the reds hot Packers, who just won the NFC North about an hour ago will host the almost as hot NY Giants, who crushed the dreams of the Washington Redskins. Before we get to the playoffs, let's recap what we saw today as the regular season came to a close.
The Bills embarrassed themselves in a meaningless game against what had been the hapless and QB starved Jets, that us unless they are playing the Bills. The Jets are 2-0 against Buffalo this season, and 3-11 against everybody else. The decision to fire Rex Ryan was puzzling. The decision to play EJ Manuel was equally, if not more puzzling. He was totally ineffective against what had been a poor Jets defense, going 9-20 for 86 yards, before being benched for, get this, Cardale Jones! Add to that a play late in the game where the Bills never fielded a kickoff and simply gave the Jets a TD, and you get the idea.
The Redskins were the big losers on the day. All they had to do was win, and they were in, a home game against a good Giants team with nothing to play for. Instead, they played uninspired football, and Kurt Cousins, looking for that huge contract, threw 2 crucial picks to Dominique Rogers Cromartie, and their season is over.
Steve Smith Sr retired in the Ravens 27-10 loss today in Cincinnati, and what a 16 year career he had. A surefire HOF, this little guy was as tough and as fiery as it comes, and often carried his team to victories with his no back down attitude. The 37 year old has 51 games of 100 yards receiving, tied for 4th most in NFL history, and played in a Super Bowl for the Panthers in early 2000's. He will be missed as much for his on field play, as his charismatic and sometimes controversial ways off the field. No more icing up, son!
QB problems continued to be a theme for playoff bound teams. Tom Savage left for a concussion, and after strangely reentering for a kneel down at the end of the half, left for the day. Matt Mcgloin injured his shoulder, and was replaced by rookie Connor Cook. It is quite unfortunate what has happened to an otherwise really good team at QB the last few weeks. Meanwhile Tony Romo came in for one drive and threw a TD for nothing, proving their QB situation is in incredibly good hands, while Mark Sanchez showed he was still Mark Sanchez with 2 bad picks. And Aaron Rodgers continued to show he has not slipped one bit with a masterful 4 TD performance to win the NFC North in Detroit.
Andrew Luck and Chuck Pagano celebrated like they won the Super Bowl after a last second TD drive to defeat the 3 win Jaguars at home. After another extremely disappointing season, heads should roll in Indy tomorrow. Is there a more overrated player in the league the Luck? me thinks not.
The Browns flirted with messing up their top pick, but they are so inept, even they can't win when the Steelers try and give it to you with Landry Jones starting at QB. If not for a late Isaiah Crowell fumble, who was otherwise brilliant, things could have gotten interesting with the Niners game with the Seahawks surprisingly close. No matter, Cleveland will most likely find a way to screw the pick up.
Matt Ryan had another great day in a shootout win against the Saints to lock up the 2 seed. He finished 27-36 for 331 yards, 4 TD's, and an awesome 97.8 QBR, as his MVP march took no hit at all. The Falcons offense will be a problem someone has to deal with in the very near future.
Tyreek Hill is still the fastest man in the NFL, if there were any doubts. He added to his incredible rookie year with a 95 yard punt return TD for his 12th score of the year. The Chiefs will go as far as Hill and star TE Travis Kelce take them on the offensive side of the ball.