The playoff picture isn’t much clearer than it was before the NFL finally wrapped up week 15 on Tuesday night. So far, only one team, the Green Bay Packers, have guaranteed themselves a berth in the playoffs as the season winds down.
NFL Scrambles On New Surge Of COVID-19
With the new surge of cases in the NFL’s struggle against COVID-19, league officials have recently had to postpone several games. There have been about 200 players that have tested positive since December 13, predominantly with the new omicron variant of the virus. In a recent study, the league has also discovered that overall immunity has been decreasing among staff members who haven’t had a booster shot.
At the same time, the league just began a new protocol on December 17 that doesn’t require vaccinated players to submit to weekly testing, citing that fewer tests should lead to fewer players missing games. Instead, players will now only be tested if they report symptoms. In addition, all NFL personnel have been encouraged to receive a booster shot but are not required to do so.
Buccaneers to Sign Le’Veon Bell
After Tampa Bay lost RB Leonard Fournette with a hamstring injury during their recent shutout loss to the Saints, he was placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the regular season. In addition, WR Chris Godwin was also lost for the season in the game after injuring his knee. As a result, the Bucs suddenly found themselves without two of their most important offensive weapons, so the decision was made to pursue Bell to help the offense continue to be productive.
He was added to the roster on Monday and, pending a physical on Wednesday, could join the team for this week’s game on the road against the Carolina Panthers. He will be backing up RB Ronald Jones, who will make the start. The Bucs are coming off a 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints, who have beaten Tampa Bay in six straight regular-season matchups.
Rams Win Third Straight, Tie For Division Lead
On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks to move into a tie with the Arizona Cardinals for first place in the NFC West division. The game was tied 10-10 at halftime and Los Angeles then proceeded to shut out the Seahawks for the remainder of the game.
QB Matthew Stafford threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns, with WR Cooper Kupp being his main target throughout the night. Cupp finished with 136 yards and two touchdowns and leads the NFL in receiving yards with 1,625. The Rams beat Arizona two weeks ago 30-23 giving them their first home loss of the season. The Cardinals were then dominated by Detroit 30-12 to hand them their second-straight loss.
The Rams currently lead the league with 21 players in Covid-19 protocol, while Arizona only has one player who was placed on health and safety protocol on December 16. However, the Rams were still able to get a victory in their last game and hope that the number doesn’t increase by next week’s matchup. Los Angeles will be at home next to face the Vikings, who have won two straight games. Arizona will be hosting the Colts in their next game, which features the league’s leading rusher in Jonathan Taylor.
The fight for this division won’t be an easy one for either team as their next games will be against other teams that are also hoping for a playoff berth. Week-16 should be another interesting one in the NFL as most teams are still scrambling to reach the postseason.