Titans 24, Texans 17— Houston QB Savage left with concussion, Osweiler wound up throwing 40 passes; Titans scored a defensive TD 5:03 into the game, never looked back. Texans will be a home underdog in playoffs next week. Tennessee has to have mixed emotions; they improved a lot this year, but Mariota’s broken leg and Week 16 loss to Jacksonville prevented a happy ending. Good news for Titans: they have a lot of draft picks from the Rams, as a result of LA trading up to draft Jared Goff.
Jets 30, Bills 10— Buffalo owner Terry Pagula changed history when he bought the Bills; the person he beat out for the franchise? Donald Trump.
Now Bills have to hire a coach, have to decide if Tyrod Taylor is their QB of future. Lot of work for them, since other teams with coaching openings are seen as more attractive jobs. Jets’ last TD scored when Buffalo neglected to field a kickoff and the Jets recovered the free ball in the end zone- they finish 5-11, but swept the Bills.
Bengals 27, Ravens 10— Putrid effort by Baltimore; Flacco threw a horrendous end zone INT when game was 17-3 and still in doubt. Flacco targeted Dennis Pitta 16 times in this game, including the fateful end zone pick- he plays like Pitta is on his fantasy team.
Why is Chris Simms a network TV analyst? Because his dad is? I’ll give you two guys who do college games who are better and more qualified: Andre Ware (ESPN) and Sherdrick Bonner, who does Mountain West games on ROOT Sports— he played Arenaball for the Arizona Rattlers. Ware is soft-spoken and a good listen. Bonner is very smart.
Colts 24, Jaguars 20— Jacksonville led 17-0 20:45 into game, led 17-3 at the half- hopefully they’ll hire Josh McDaniels as coach so the Rams can’t. Think Jaguars are closer to being good than you’d expect; they only trailed one of their last seven games at halftime. Colts finish 7-1 vs spread this year in the game following a loss.
Question for Colts’ owner Jim Irsay is: Do you fire your coach after an 8-8 season? I’m not saying you don’t, I’m just asking.
Eagles 27, Cowboys 13— Philly finishes 7-9 after a 3-0 start with the ill-timed Week 4 bye. Still think Eagles had a pretty good year; they established Wentz as their starting QB, now they need to build around him.
Dallas has next week off and will be favored to win the NFC; I remember 1999, when the Rams lost a meaningless Week 17 game in Philly, then won the Super Bowl. Cowboys hope history repeats itself there.
Vikings 38, Bears 10— Minnesota finishes 8-8 after a 5-0 start and they don’t have their #1 draft pick in April, because they dealt it for Sam Bradford. Good news for Vikings; their new stadium is real nice. Good news for the Bears is that their dismal 3-13 season is over. Now they have to decide who they want their QB to be going forward.
Chances are it won’t be Matt Barkley; Bears turned ball over 14 times in their last three games. 14 times. In. three. games.
Buccaneers 17, Panthers 16— Carolina scored TD with 0:17 left, went for two points and the win but failed. 8th year in a row this series was swept. Panthers went 2-6 on the road this season. Tampa Bay was down 7-3 until Newton threw a pick-6; he didn’t have a good season.
Steelers 27, Browns 24 OT— Cleveland’s team bus broke down on their way to the stadium Sunday morning, which pretty much sums up their whole franchise. Steelers’ top guys on offense didn’t play, but they won anyway, scoring a TD in overtime after Cleveland kicked a FG.
Browns clinched 1st pick in April’s draft.
Patriots 35, Dolphins 14— New England won its 7th straight game, snapped a 3-game losing streak in Miami. Dolphins are in playoffs for first time in 2008, but go to playoffs with backup QB Moore playing- he’s one of the better backups. Seeing how so many AFC playoffs teams have QB injury issues, hard to imagine the Patriots not playing in the Super Bowl.
Cardinals 44, Rams 6— Merciful end to a horrendous season for the Rams, one of the worst offenses I’ve ever seen…..’76 Buccaneers level of bad. Time to take a big broom to coaching staff; keeping special teams coach Fassel would be a good move- everyone else needs to go and I do mean everyone else. LA was outscored 78-21 in second half of their last four games, a sign the players gave up. Lot of them need to go, too.
Chiefs 37, Chargers 27— Andy Reid is this generation’s version of Chuck Knox; wins a lot of games, sound coach but when January and playoffs roll around, his teams will lose. Win here and Oakland’s loss in Denver gives Chiefs #2 seed in AFC and next week off, which is really important, but does anyone think they can go to Foxboro in three weeks and win?
Chargers finish their last season in San Diego 5-11; this is a ridiculous situation where no one likes the owner, but they do avidly support the team in this stadium. Why can’t the Chargers just stay in San Diego? Does every NFL team have to play in a new stadium? Does the NFL want cities like St Louis and San Diego to hate the NFL?
Falcons 38, Saints 32— Over/under on Atlanta’s points in this game was 32; they had 35 at the half. Falcons get #2 seed in NFC and next week off; Over was 13-3 in Atlanta games this year.
Interesting situation if Rams are really interested in Sean Payton as their next coach; would he re-unite with Gregg Williams (they won a Super Bowl together with Saints)? Saints have had a terrible defense for several years now (since Williams left).
Giants 19, Redskins 10— Rooting for a team that finishes 4-12 is not fun, but not half as bad as rooting for a team that has to win one of its last two home games to make playoffs, but loses both of them.
Losing to a team that had nothing to play for is just intolerable. Giants are now 8-3 in last 11 games here; seven of their last eight games overall stayed under total- they have a road playoff game next week.
Seahawks 25, 49ers 23— Something is wrong with Seattle; they had to fight to win this game, against a 2-14 team that fired its GM before kickoff. Seahawks will play at home next week- they split last six games.
No idea what direction the 49ers will go in; sounds like they’re firing Chip Kelly, too. NFC West is going to look a lot different next year.
Broncos 24, Raiders 6— Things turned ugly quickly for Oakland; backup QB McGloin hurt his shoulder, they lost the NFC West title, now have to go to Houston for a rematch of the Monday night game in Mexico City that Oakland won 27-20. it is possible that Michigan St rookie QB Connor Cook (14-21/150) might be under center for that game. Oy.
As for Denver, looks like Gary Kubiak is going to resign for health reasons, a year after he won the Super Bowl. Coaching is very stressful and not necessarily healthy- we wish him well. The next coach is going to have to spruce up the offense. Will Siemian, Lynch or someone else be the Denver QB next year?
Packers 31, Lions 24— Detroit will play in Seattle Saturday, Green Bay will host the Giants in the late game Sunday. Lions still haven’t won a division title since 1993; they’ve won one playoff game since 1957. But hey, the Cubs won the World Series this year, so there is hope.