"The Stack" 12-31-18

Lamar Jackson has led the Baltimore Ravens back into the playoffs. The Ravens survived a scare and a late rally from the Cleveland Browns to win 26-24 and win the AFC North.

The Stack is back and there is the NFL season is done for 20 teams and their respective fan bases. There is pain and anger in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. There is stunning disappointing in the Steel City. There are pink slips being handed to coaches left and right (more on that on Tuesday). The playoff field is set, but before we look ahead let’s look back and recap week 17 in the NFL in “the stack” for the last day of 2018, today, Monday, December 31st:

Dolphins 17 Bills 42

Amazing to think that after how bad the Bills looked through two games that they would somehow manage to win six games, but give them credit. They wanted to win that game yesterday and the Dolphins didn’t appear like they did and now Adam Gase is out of a job. Good way to go out though for Bills defensive tackle, Kyle Williams, getting a win and all.

Lions 31 Packers 0

For all of the turmoil swirling around Lions head coach Matt Patricia this week the Lions ended the season with a convincing 31-0 shutout over the Packers, giving them four wins in a row now over the Packers for the first time since the early 1990s. When Aaron Rodgers left the game being checked for a concussion, you knew that that would be the last time we’d see Rodgers for the year and that that would be it for the Packers chances of winning the game.

Jaguars 3 Texans 20

Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins were great in this one as was the Texans defense albeit against a putrid Jaguars offense. Now they are AFC South champions and will seek revenge against the Indianapolis Colts after the Colts beat them at home a couple of weeks ago. Expect major changes in Jacksonville this offseason.

Jets 3 Patriots 38

For all of the concerns about Tom Brady being injured and the passing game struggling, he helped answer those questions in the New England Patriots’ 38-3 rout of the New York Jets. The Jets will be looking for a new head coach now that Todd Bowles is fired and the Patriots will have a first round bye for the ninth consecutive year. Amazing.

Panthers 33 Saints 14

The Carolina Panthers starting quarterback in this game whom I didn’t know the name of on Friday, Kyle Allen, played much better than his counterpart, Teddy Bridgewater in this one, much to my surprise. The Panthers snapped a seven game losing streak which is nice, but don’t read too much into it considering the Saints were resting many starters including Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara.

Cowboys 36 Giants 35

The Dallas Cowboys, with nothing to play for, sure looked like they had everything on the line against the New York Giants. With the Giants up 35-28 with a little over two minutes to go, that was one impressive drive by quarterback Dak Prescott and company and an even more incredible catch by Cole Beasley. The Giants had a chance, but four straight incomplete passes denied them that opportunity to get the win. The Cowboys have some momentum headed into the playoffs.

Falcons 34 Buccaneers 32

The Atlanta Falcons looked like they had packed it in for the season in the first half against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers apparently packed everything up at halftime. Nice way to end what has been a very disappointing season for the Falcons. Another disappointing season in Tampa Bay has resulted in head coach Dirk Koetter getting fired.

Browns 24 Ravens 26

It was looking like de ja vu all over again for the Baltimore Ravens. For the second straight season, all they needed to do was win at home and they would be in the playoffs. For a while it looked like they wouldn’t have anything to worry about, but Baker Mayfield and the Browns led a furious rally and thanks to a couple of incredible catches, the Browns had a chance to win the game, but three straight incomplete passes followed by a fourth down interception, the Ravens won the AFC North and deflated Steelers players and their fans everywhere. Lamar Jackson has done an incredible job since taking over as starting quarterback. He is the main reason the Ravens are back in the playoffs.

Raiders 3 Chiefs 35

The Oakland Raiders offered very little resistance to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes had another big day through the air and the Chiefs defense came through with a defensive touchdown as the Chiefs secured the number one seed and homefield advantage throughout the entire AFC playoffs.

Bears 24 Vikings 10

The Minnesota Vikings paid quarterback Kirk Cousins $84 million last offseason for big games and to get them to the Super Bowl. Not only did Cousins come up short in the biggest game of the season yesterday, but the Vikings overall stunk up the joint and are now not in the playoffs. The defense was terrible yesterday allowing the Chicago Bears at one point to go 8-for-12 on third downs. And that offense? Didn’t get a first down until midway through the second quarter. The Vikings need to address a lot of concerns this offseason and it iss a very important offseason for them. Fixing the offensive line certainly would be high on that list.

Bengals 13 Steelers 16

The Pittsburgh Steelers did not look very impressive at all against the Cincinnati Bengals. Yes they came back and won the game, but the offense was very lethargic. They won at least and became big time Browns fans, but the Ravens beat them and now Pittsburgh will be watching the playoffs from home. As for the Bengals, Marvin Lewis is done after 16 years with the team. A new man (or woman) will be roaming the sidelines next September.

Eagles 24 Washington 0

When Washington quarterback Josh Johnson’s first pass of the day was picked off, the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans had to feel pretty good about their chances. They dominated the entire game and had to wait for the Bears to finish off the Vikings to celebrate the fact that they are back in the playoffs. The health status of quarterback Nick Foles though is uncertain. He has bruised ribs. He’ll be bruised a bit more against the Bears next week, that’s for sure.

Chargers 23 Broncos 9

It was not the best of days for Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers, but they battled through the adversity to beat the Denver Broncos. Now they face the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, a team that beat them soundly just a week and change ago. This time though, Melvin Gordon will be healthier and tight end Hunter Henry will play for the first time all season. We’ll see if that makes a difference. Head coach Vance Joseph is out now in Denver after back-to-back losing seasons.

Rams 48 49ers 32

Don’t let the final score fool you. The Los Angeles Rams were so much better in this game than the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers turned the ball over on their first two possessions and threw a pick-six later. The Rams now have a first round bye which will help Todd Gurley get his knee more healed up.

Cardinals 24 Seahawks 27

The Arizona Cardinals had the first overall pick in the NFL Draft ready right there for them, but they battled hard against the Seattle Seahawks and risked losing that number one overall pick. The Seahawks perhaps thought that the Cardinals would be a pushover. Either way, it was not a clean game for the Seahawks, but they got the win. For Arizona, they will need a new head coach now that Steve Wilks is fired after one season.

Colts 33 Titans 17

With Blain Gabbert starting at quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, you knew their chances of winning weren’t very good. That was evident by how the Titans offense looked in the first half. They were in the game through thanks to a pick-six of Andrew Luck late in the first half. They kept hanging around in the second half, but a couple of turnovers and Luck’s passing were just too much. The Colts are back in the playoffs.

Coming up Tuesday: Black Monday in the NFL plus New Year’s Day bowl game picks