As the NFL divisional playoffs get closer and speculation about which teams will eventually reach the Super Bowl this year runs high, there were some tight battles coming out of the NFL this Sunday. Week 16 is almost over and the final lineup for the postseason battle is about to be completely clear.
Cowboys Could Still Survive
Against all odds, the Dallas Cowboys, who struggled mightily early in the season, just might have a shot of making it into the playoffs this year after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles by a final score of 37-17. Quarterback Andy Dalton, stepping in for the injured Dak Prescott, threw for 377 yards, completing 22 of 30 passes and scoring three touchdowns in the process. Rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts for the Eagles also had an impressive day in a losing effort, completing 21 of 39 passes for 342 yards and one touchdown, although he did throw 2 interceptions as well. Final score: Cowboys 37 and the Eagles 17.
Big Ben Roethlisberger led his Pittsburgh Steelers squad to an improbable comeback victory to lock up the AFC North title after being down 21-7 to the Indianapolis Colts at halftime. The Steelers scored 21 points of their own in the second half, holding Phillip Rivers and the Colts to one field goal in the third quarter. Roethlisberger finished with 342 yards passing, while throwing the ball 49 times and completing 34 passes and scoring 3 touchdowns. Final score: Steelers 28 and the Colts 24.
Chiefs Show Signs Of Weakness
The Kansas City Chiefs are generally acknowledged as being the most complete, best-balanced team in the NFL this season. They took on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon and almost were defeated by the 11-point underdogs led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who completed 27 of 35 passes for an even 300 yards and two touchdowns. MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs completed only 24 of 44 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown, tacking on one interception, as well. With this victory, the Chiefs have clinched the number-one seed in the AFC and will get a bye week and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. But only a missed late field goal by kicker Younghoe Koo saved the Chiefs from a scary overtime. Final score: Chiefs 17 and the Falcons 14.
The Seattle Seahawks hosted the LA Rams as the home underdogs on Sunday afternoon in a game between the top two NFC West teams. The game was never spectacular in terms of passing and long plays, but in the end the experience of veteran Seahawk Russell Wilson was just too much for the younger Rams team. Wilson passed for 225 yards total on 20 of 32 passes and one touchdown passing and another one rushing while the Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw for 234 yards completing 24 of 43 passes but no touchdowns. Seattle has now clinched the NFC West division title and has made the playoffs once again. Final Score: Seattle Seahawks 20 and the LA Rams 9.
Too Little, Too Late For Jets
The New York Jets started the season by racking up 13 straight losses and setting themselves up to take the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Since then, though, they have played like a different team and, in a move that will deny them of that pick, have now one two in a row. Taking on the 10-5 Cleveland Browns yesterday, the Jets put on a performance that allowed to capture a 23-16 victory – at a time when they would have been better off losing.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers took one bigger step toward winning the number-one seed in the NFC by defeating the Tennessee Titans in the snow at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football. Rodgers threw for an efficient 21 of 25 for 231 total passing yards and 4 touchdowns while throwing only one pick. The Titans Ryan Tannehill only managed 121 yards in the air and was picked off twice. The Packers must still defeat the Bears next week to clinch the bye week and home field advantage, which would mean the NFC playoffs coming to us from Lambeau Field, probably in the snow. The Packers controlled the game throughout and defeated the Titans by a final score of 40-14.