Cowboys 36, Giants 35— Not sure why Dallas played QB Prescott whole game, but they did and WR Beasley made a great catch with 1:12 left to win this game. Cowboys host Seattle next week; they’re in playoffs for only third time in last nine years.
Giants split their last eight games, scoring 27+ points in four of last five; six of those eight games were decided by four of fewer points. Big Blue lost nine of its last 11 games with Dallas.
Ravens 26, Browns 24— Baltimore was 4-5 and everyone assumed John Harbaugh was history, but they started rookie QB Jackson after their bye week and went on a 6-1 run that won them a division title. Ravens led this game 20-7 at halftime, then hung on for dear life; Browns had ball on their 40-yard line in last 1:20, but couldn’t get in field goal range.
Cleveland finished 7-8-1, their best record in 11 years; Mayfield is entrenched as their QB, and if you watched Hard Knocks this past summer, that probably surprises you. Good for them, but it sounds like Cleveland is going hire Mike McCarthy as head coach, instead of Gregg Williams.
Ravens host Chargers in playoffs next week; they upset Bolts 22-10 in Carson last week.
There was huge call in Ravens’ favor in last 2:00 of first half; Jackson fumbled near goal line, but whistle blew while Browns were running ball back for TD. That call may have kept Steelers out of the playoffs.
Colts 33, Titans 17— Colts bounced back from 1-5 start to make playoffs for first time in four years. Indy visits Houston next week; they split a pair of 3-point decisions with the Texans this season. In second half of season, Colts were 4-0 in games decided by 3 or fewer points.
Mariota didn’t play, Titans didn’t win; Tennessee finished 9-7 for third year in row; they fired Mike Mularkey after he made playoffs LY, but Vrabel didn’t make playoffs this year, despite winning four of last five games.
Patriots 38, Jets 3— Bill Belichick has been the Patriots’ coach since 2000; Jets fired Todd Bowles after the game. Patriots are #2 seed in AFC; as for rest of AFC East since 2000……..
— Buffalo coaches: Phillips, Williams, Mularkey, Jauron, Gailey, Marrone, Ryan, McDermott
— Miami coaches: Wannstedt, Saban, Cameron, Sparano, Philbin, Gase.
— Jets coaches: Groh, Edwards, Mangini, Ryan, Bowles.
Eagles 24, Redskins 0— Philly outgained Redskins 360-89, held Washington to 8 first downs, 0-9 on third down plays. Eagles made playoffs when the Bears won in Minnesota; they visit Chicago in first round game next week. Foles re-injured his ribs, didn’t finish this game, but defending Super Bowl champs won five of their last six games.
Redskins started season 5-2, but were ravaged by injuries; they scored 16 or fewer points in their last five games, starting four QB’s in their last seven games.
Bears 24, Vikings 10— Chicago won/covered nine of last ten games; in their last four games, they allowed only two offensive TD’s on 41 drives. Bears host Philly in playoffs next week.
Since 2004, Minnesota has had 11 different QB’s; Zimmer fired his OC during the season this year. Vikings are 47-32-1 under Zimmer, but he needs to get his offense in order next year.
Texans 20, Jaguars 3— Houston won 11 of last 13 games; they host Colts in playoffs next week. Texans are in playoffs for fifth time in last eight years.
Jacksonville went 10-6 LY and made playoffs for first time in decade; they lost 3-9 in last 12 games, scoring 17 or fewer points in last five games. Kyler Murray would look very good in a Jacksonville uniform next fall.
Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32— Atlanta swept the Bucs this year, scoring 34 points in both games; Falcons showed some grit, winning last three games after a 4-9 start. Average total in last six games in this series is 59.2.
Tampa Bay fired Dirk Koetter after the game; kind of unfair to keep the GM and fire the coach when the QB is the guy who got suspended for off-field hijinx which threw the Bucs’ offense into disarray. Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs since 2007- they were -18 in turnovers TY.
Bills 42, Dolphins 17— Miami went 4-9 after starting season 3-0; they lost their last seven road games, and were 2-6 as road underdogs this year. Dolphins converted 10 of last 50 plays on third down; I’m really not sure why they’re so committed to Tannehill as their QB.
Buffalo is 8-4 in its last dozen games with Miami, winning six of last seven series games played here; they outgained Dolphins 796-400 in two meetings this season, but split the games.
Steelers 16, Bengals 13— Pittsburgh misses playoff for first time in five years; they lost four of their last six games- four of their last five games were decided by exactly three points.
Bengals were one of six teams not to score an offensive TD this week; Cincy lost nine of its last 11 games, missing playoffs for third year in row. Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1991.
Chargers 23, Broncos 9— 12-4 Chargers didn’t win AFC West, so they’re going to Baltimore for first-round playoff game this week; they were upset 22-10 at home by Ravens in Week 16. LA won five of its last six games overall. Chargers are 7-0 outside of LA this season.
Denver finishes with consecutive losing season for first time since 70’s; have to think they’re going to be changing head coaches this winter.
Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24— Seahawks won six of last seven games, will visit Dallas in most interesting of the four playoff games next week; their last seven games with Arizona were all decided by 6 or fewer points. Cardinals had won their last three visits to Seattle.
There are rumors that Arizona will fire HC Wilks after only one year; would be second year in row that the coach QB Josh Rosen played for got fired— his coach at UCLA (Jim Mora) got the boot after last season. Redbirds should hire a QB guru to tutor young Rosen.
Arizona gets the #1 pick in drat for first time since 1958, when they were based in Chicago; that year, Redbirds took QB King Hill with first pick- he started only 29 games in 12 years, and most of those were for the Eagles.
Rams 48, 49ers 32— 49ers turned ball over on their first three drives; on their first two drives, Rams started on SF 7 and SF 13-yard line, scoring TD’s both times. 49ers went 0-8 on road this year for first time since 1979, the year the Rams made Super Bowl for the first time.
LA gets a first-round bye and will host a playoff game on January 12th, a Saturday night.
Lions 31, Packers 0— Six highest-paid QB’s in the NFL missed playoffs this year:
— Aaron Rodgers: $33.5M
— Matt Ryan: $30M
— Kirk Cousins: $28M
— Jimmy Garoppolo: $27.5M
— Matthew Stafford: $27M
— Derek Carr: $25M
Chiefs 35, Raiders 3— Oakland was 12-4 only two years ago, but things change quickly in the NFL- they went 10-22 the last two seasons. If I was paying a coach $100M over ten years, I’d have expected more than a 4-12 first season. Here is the draft order for April’s draft:
Panthers 33, Saints 14— The game meant nothing for New Orleans and it showed, since Drew Brees was in street clothes. Teddy Bridgewater is a free agent this winter, so the game meant a lot to him; have feeling he’ll be a starter somewhere in NFL next season.
Carolina snapped a 7-game skid here; Ron Rivera will return as coach next season. Had they lost this game, Panthers would’ve been first team ever to finish season 6-10 after having been 6-2.