NFL: Week 17 Round-Up | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

NFL: Week 17 Round-Up

American football correspondent, Sam Harrison, rounds up the results from week 17 of the NFL with the Wildcard round up next

AFC East

New England Patriots: 14-2

Miami Dolphins: 10-6

Buffalo Bills: 7-9

New York Jets: 5-11

The Patriots are the number one seed in the AFC following a fourteen-win season in which quarterback Tom Brady threw for a record 28 touchdowns to just two interceptions. They are the team to beat at the moment, and not just in the AFC. The Dolphins may have been beaten by the Patriots in week seventeen, but it was a fairly harmless loss, with a playoff spot already wrapped up. Could they move past the Wildcard round? The Bills delivered a lacklustre performance against the Jets in the final game of the season, but the most surprising revelation was that General Manager Doug Whaley was not in the loop regarding the dismissal of Head Coach Rex Ryan the previous week. The Jets finished the season with a win, but they are still a weak team, and now coach Todd Bowles will have to replace retiring offensive co-ordinator Chan Gailey.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5

Baltimore Ravens: 8-8

Cincinnati Bengals: 6-9- 1

Cleveland Browns: 1-15

The Steelers back-ups were given a run for their money by the Browns, who almost won the game before fumbling to take it to overtime. A rested trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown will scare the Dolphins defence. As for the Browns, they have taken the positive step of sticking with their current coaching staff, giving them time to turn things around. The Ravens were unable to make the playoffs this season, and it doesn’t look like things will improve on offense, as they will be without receiver Steve Smith, who has retired, capping an impressive career. The Bengals got one last win for this season, but the off-season did not get off to the greatest of starts, as cornerback Adam Jones was arrested one day after the end of the season.

AFC South

Houston Texans: 9-7

Tennessee Titans: 9-7

Indianapolis Colts: 8-8

Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-13

The Texans will be going into the playoffs, despite being beaten by the Titans in week seventeen, but they will be facing the Raiders with Brock Osweiler at the helm, as Tom Savage picked up a concussion in the last game

The Texans will be going into the playoffs, despite being beaten by the Titans in week seventeen, but they will be facing the Raiders with Brock Osweiler at the helm, as Tom Savage picked up a concussion in the last game. The Titans may have missed out this season, but they have already improved from last season, and they appear set to do so again, as they will have Marcus Mariota back, alongside the rushing attack. The Colts gave pass-rusher Robert Mathis a good send-off, beating the Jaguars to finish with an even record. As for the Jaguars, they will now focus on finding a new head coach, and they will hope that the addition of another top-five pick in the draft can leave them pushing for a playoff place next season.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs: 12-4

Oakland Raiders: 12-4

Denver Broncos: 9-7

San Diego Chargers: 5-11

It all worked out for the Chiefs in week seventeen. They beat the Chargers, as expected, and they got some help from the Broncos, who beat the Raiders, giving the Chiefs the division and the number two seed in the conference. Whoever visits Kansas will not have an easy ride. The Chargers finished a tough season in which many of their players were injured by firing coach Mike McCoy, a move which almost seemed inevitable, even if the injuries were not his fault. The Broncos will also be searching for a new head coach, as Gary Kubiak retired for health reasons. This is one of the most attractive openings, as the Broncos have a top-tier defence and some pieces on offense. The Raiders have had some really awful injury luck in the past two weeks, as Matt McGloin, the back-up for Derek Carr, got injured in week seventeen and will not play in the Wildcard round.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: 13-3

New York Giants: 11-5

Washington Redskins: 8-7- 1

Philadelphia Eagles: 7-9

The Cowboys are the top team in the NFC, with home field advantage secured throughout the playoffs should they progress

The Cowboys are the top team in the NFC, with home field advantage secured throughout the playoffs should they progress. In week seventeen, they got a glimpse of Tony Romo, as he played his first drive in over a year, leading the team to a touchdown. Ultimately, however, it was the Eagles who got the better of this matchup, and they look to be in a good position for next year, with Carson Wentz at the helm. The Giants are going to cause some trouble in the playoffs, especially if the offense can start to function close to its capability, as the defence causes problems for all opposition. The Redskins will have some big decisions to make in the coming offseason, most notably regarding Kirk Cousins, who is slated to be a free agent. It is unlikely that they let him walk, though, as he has led the offense very well this season.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers: 10-6

Detroit Lions: 9-7

Minnesota Vikings: 8-8

Chicago Bears: 3-13

The Packers ended up winning the division, despite being 4-6 after ten games, and they will now face the Giants in the Wildcard round, with many tipping them to represent the NFC in the Superbowl, given their hot streak. The Lions were unable to hold on to the division, but they still made the playoffs, with a game against the Seahawks in Seattle to come. Matthew Stafford has struggled somewhat since suffering a finger injury. It has been a season to forget for the Minnesota Vikings, as they lost many key offensive players to injury, and then fell from 5-0 to 8-8 in an epic collapse after the BYE week. On the plus side, Sam Bradford had a record 70%+ completion rate, despite the lack of supporting cast. The Bears will look to next season, when they are likely to be without Jay Cutler, who is out of contract, as is wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, so it may be a longer rebuild than anticipated, though John Fox will keep his job for at least one more year.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: 11-5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-7

New Orleans Saints: 7-9

Carolina Panthers: 6-10

The Panthers have had a shocking fall from grace, going from Superbowl runners-up to bottom of the division

The Falcons eleven wins were enough to earn them a BYE week in the playoffs, and they still possess the scariest offense in football, led by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. In the last game, a 35 point first half gave them a lead that proved insurmountable, despite the Saints fourth quarter comeback attempt. The Saints may be without coach Sean Payton, should they decide to trade him, as has been suggested is possible in the last few weeks. Drew Brees at quarterback is not showing signs of slowing down, but this team has some horrible contracts that are problematic with the salary cap. The Buccaneers have had a good season, with Jameis Winston at the helm, and they are unfortunate to miss out on the playoffs. They may have to cope without defensive co-ordinator Mike Smith, who has been targeted as a potential head coach by teams with vacancies. The Panthers have had a shocking fall from grace, going from Superbowl runners-up to bottom of the division. They will need to figure out what is wrong, and quickly, if they are to capitalize on the prime of Cam Newton’s career.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks: 10-5- 1

Arizona Cardinals: 7-8- 1

Los Angeles Rams: 4-12

San Francisco 49ers: 2-14

The Seahawks have once again won the division and made the playoffs, though it was much easier this year than it has previously been. They will be favourites in their Wildcard game against the Lions, and who knows what could happen from there. The Cardinals have had a disappointing season, at least compared with expectations, as many thought they would win the division. David Johnson has enjoyed a break-out season at running back, which is one bright spot from the season. The Rams have had a torrid time in 2016, and it will be hard for them to improve, as they are without a first round pick in this year’s draft. They will need to get an offensive line to block for Todd Gurley and Jared Goff if they want to succeed. In San Francisco, a new era is on the horizon, as both General Manager Trent Baalke and Head Coach Chip Kelly have been fired. On paper this is a very weak team, but that is what makes it such a good opening. Any coach will have their own personnel man, and they will also be able to pick the players they want, with minimal expectations for the first few years.

Sports Writer. American Football and Rugby mainly.



Published

5th January 2017 at 12:57 pm



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Jim Larrison



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