Green Bay vs. Detroit
It was a rough last week for Hundley. He didn’t play well and his o-line did him no favors. The Packer offense was largely anemic the whole game and their defense despite the occasional sack was nowhere to be found in the secondary in particular. The Lions came away with a definitive win and though they were playing for nothing finished the season very strong. It is a surprise to me that they fire the guy that has offered them the most success in the past decade or so. Caldwell has had them in the playoffs and has taken them to back to back winning seasons. The Lions need a few pieces to be consistent contenders but I’m not sold that the HC was their issue.
Jacksonville vs. Tennessee
I sure hope this up and coming Jags team has the makeup to coast like they have been doing these last couple weeks. With nothing to play for since they are in the playoffs, the Jags have been playing laxidasical. We’ll see if that momentum carries over into the playoffs. Tennessee faced a must-win situation this week if they were going to secure a wild-card spot. They did just that. Things started slow but eventually, the Titan offense got going with Derrick Henry and Ryan Succop. I don’t think the Titans get out of the first round but their defense did play very well this game. They make have a chance if they can match this effort and Mariota takes a step forward.
Los Angeles (Chargers) vs. Oakland
I was really rooting for the Chargers to make it in somehow. Rivers had been playing well - same goes for Gordon. Their defense has played well also and Keenan Allen has been healthy. Their road was just too long to conquer in the AFC. I'm not sure just how much longer Rivers is going to play but I wouldn't be shocked if the Chargers invested in a guy like Rudolph or Falk later in the draft. They have some really good pieces that team just needs to stay healthy to make some noise in the AFC. The Raiders went out with a whimper and at the time of this writing if rumors are to be believed Jack Del Rio has been fired and their chips are all in with Jon Gruden. I’m not sure how Jon Gruden is going to fix Carr’s woes but we’ll see.
Houston vs. Indianapolis
By now we should know the Houston offense has no juice without Deshaun Watson. Their defense was worn down by a surprisingly effective Colt running game. I wonder if the defense will get better or worse if/when Mike Vrabel leaves for a coaching job. These are two really bad teams, that are not that fun to watch. If Luck returns I wonder if they will keep Brissett as the backup or try and ship him off for something of value?
Dallas vs. Philadelphia
SNOOZER. Also, Nate Sudfeld really sucks.
Chicago vs. Minnesota
Minnesota continues their roll using their running game to wear down defenses and their defense to stifle opposing offenses. It worked well on the Bears. I’m really not sure what to make of Trubisky - simply put the Kid has shown no flashes. In 12 games started he has 2193 yards 7 TDs and 7 INTs has a 59% completion rate and an unimpressive 77 QB rating. John Fox is out so GM Ryan Pace is the sole owner of that pick now in the organization. Where do you guys see Trubiskys career going after his first year?
Washington vs. New York (Giants)
Laughably bad. I really do not want the team to start from 0 at the QB position but I fear the organization and Kirk have made a reconciliation a too far gone proposition. The team should be focusing on the DL, S, ILB, RB positions in the first round - instead, I fear we will be looking at QBs.
Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh
I got to give the Browns brownie points for trying. 0-16 is not a good look for the entire organization. With 2 picks in the top 5, I’m almost upset the Browns are a near lock to ruin top talent. Hue Jackson pressers are laughable.
New York (Jets) vs. New England
Yet another dominant performance from the Patriots. What if they get into the QB market this year now that both their young guys are gone (Brissett, Garrapolo)? The most interesting news to come from the Jets is their extension of Todd Bowles and a report that says they might part ways with both Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.
Buffalo vs. Miami
The Bills needed to win to have any shot at the postseason and they took care of Miami easily. Jay Cutler looks to have (finally?) played his last NFL game as it was the David Fales show (remember that guy?) for most of the game. It looks like the Dolphins are content with Tannehill - at least Adam Gase says so. I wonder what moved they will make in the offseason there to bolster their team. The Bills are in the playoffs because of a massive choke by Baltimore but I can’t help but think how lucky that team is esp upper management who just a few weeks ago seemed to be willing to throw the season in favor of Nathan Peterman at QB.
Cincinnati vs. Baltimore
What a finish and a crushing defeat for Baltimore. They have been a below average team all year so they might not have made a great playoff team. Their below average nature came back to bite them in the 4th quarter when their defense couldn't contain Tyler Boyd. What hurts more is that Eric Weddle had an interception that was overruled because of a silly hold by rookie Marlon Humprey. I don't know what the cards hold for John Harbaugh but that team needs help on the secondary and on offense.
San Francisco vs. Los Angeles (Rams)
I’ll echo the same concern I have with the Jags for the Rams here. I’m not sure that these teams who have been away from the playoffs for so long or have new coaches can afford to go on these year-end losing streaks. Sure it makes a bit more sense for the Rams as they rested their top stars but we’ll see how the guys react going from lax play to win or you’re out scenarios. Can you believe this is the same 49ers team that started the year 0-9? What a difference a QB makes!
Arizona vs. Seattle
Its a tough ending to the season for them (Seattle) where several of their key stars were injured throughout the season. There is a rumor that Pete Carroll might retire but I don't really buy it as the man debunked it himself.
People talking about retirement... I ain’t old enough to think about retiring!— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) December 31, 2017
A coach who really is retiring is Bruce Arians - Arians is giving up coaching to spend time with his family. His tweet regarding how much time being an NFL coach takes up really puts things in perspective.
Bruce Arians choking up when he realized his son was turning 40 this year - "it hit me like a ton of bricks" - and recognizing how much time he's lost shows the very real human cost of this job. All the best to BA. https://t.co/hqARiISYRn— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) January 1, 2018
Kansas City vs. Denver
If I were the Chiefs I’d hold onto Alex Smith a bit longer - In his first career start, Pat Mahommes looked very much like a rookie and still needs some time in the over if you ask me. Shockingly Paxton Lynch fared better in this game. I know Elway has QB as his top priority so it wouldn't shock me if he lured Cousins with a mid-term deal (2-3 years) while he waits on Lynch and tries to build the team around the position.
New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
I read a tweet the other day that said Jamies Winston was the highest variance QB in the league - I’ll have to agree. When Jamies is on he plays absolutely great - when he is off he looks like crap. This game he was on a sliding scale leaning more towards crap but had a few great plays. New Orleans came out strong with Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara but they lost momentum at the very end. It looks like the Bucs are keeping their coach so we’ll see how they improve if any in the offseason. Peyton Barber has been a feel good story for them in particular as he has taken over the rushing duties and performed decently as the lead guy the past few weeks. For the Saints, Michael Thomas is so quietly the most productive receiver in receptions in NFL history his first two years.
Carolina vs. Atlanta
Atlanta scored early and was firmly in control all game. I want to talk a little about what a force Grady Jarret is for the Falcons I loved him coming out of Clemson a few years ago and did a profile on him when a was doing fan posts years ago. He has been a diamond in the rough and collectively I’m sure has made more than 1 NFL sorry that they passed on him and that he slid all the way down to the 5th round. He is one of the best interior DLs in the NFL imo. Cam Newton was inconsistent all night. One play he would hit a guy in stride - the next he was overthrowing them by 10 yards - I wouldn't bet any money on Carolina in the playoffs.