It’s holiday time and on week 16, some teams gave themselves (and some received) gifts in their stockings. While other teams got lumps of coal. Here are my winners and losers:
Miami Dolphins: Not only did the Dolphins come back to defeat the Buffalo Bills 24-21 in overtime, but thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Denver Broncos, the Dolphins clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2008. What a first year for head coach Adam Gase.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led his Steelers down the field with just over a minute left and his 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who had the mindset to stretch the ball over the goal line as they defeated the Baltimore Ravens 31-27 in a thriller. The Steelers win the AFC North.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns held off the San Diego Chargers 20-17. Yes, this was like the Super Bowl for the Browns, because being winless would’ve put them in the history books for all of the wrong reasons.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags played their best game of the season and played spoiler defeating the Tennessee Titans 38-17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Turnovers and the defense giving up too many plays doomed the Bucs in their loss to the New Orleans Saints 31-24. The Bucs can still get in the playoffs, but they need a miracle.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans not only lost to Jacksonville but they lost quarterback Marcus Mariota to a fractured fibula. And even worse, Houston edged Cincinnati 12-10 to clinch the AFC South.
San Diego Chargers: A blocked field goal with 43 seconds left cost the Chargers in their loss to Cleveland giving the Chargers the dubious honor of giving Cleveland their first win of the season.
Denver Broncos: Turnovers and being only 4 for 15 on third downs stalled drives in their loss to Kansas City 33-10, eliminating them from playoff contention. There will be a new Super Bowl champion.
Baltimore Ravens: They left too much time on the clock, giving the Steelers the chance to win the game and the AFC North. Thus eliminating them from the playoffs.
Storylines Going Into Week 17:
It will be NFL on New Year’s Day, and there’s still things to be sorted out.
New England beats Miami, they get the number one seed, they can also get it if Oakland loses to Denver.
Remember Oakland now has to rely on Matt McGloin under center, the Raiders can clinch the AFC West and a first-round bye if they beat Denver or if Kansas City loses to San Diego. They can get the one see if Miami beats New England.
To get the AFC West and the no. two seed, Kansas City must beat San Diego and Denver must beat Oakland
Pittsburgh has already locked in the 3 seed, meaning they’ll host either Miami or Kansas City.
Miami can go up to the 5 seed if they beat New England and Kansas City loses to San Diego.
Dallas has already clinched everything, the one seed, home field throughout, etc,.
It’s simple for Atlanta, beat New Orleans, they get the no. 2 seed and a first-round bye.
If Seattle beats San Francisco and Atlanta loses or ties New Orleans, they get the no. 2 seed and the bye.
If Washington beats the New York Giants and hope that Green Bay/Detroit doesn’t end in a tie, they’re in the playoffs.
Detroit and Green Bay battle for the North, winner obviously wins the division. Whoever loses can still get in but they need Washington to lose to the Giants.
Tampa must beat Carolina and hope a whole lot of other things happen (and it’s complicated) in order for them to get in.
Phew, they’ll be no quiz later, I promise!!
Happy 2017, everyone!!!