Few NFL fans would have picked the Washington Football Team (WFT) to make it into the NFL Playoffs this year. But, they did and the rest of the NFL action this weekend offered fans a lot of excitement. It also offered sports gamblers a few nail-biting moments.
The WFT Takes A Stand
The NFC East was not exactly a hotbed of champions this year. But some team had to win it, and Washington did so by beating the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football as 6.5-point underdogs at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The 7-9 Washington team was once again led by Alex Smith on his rebuilt leg. Smith threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions for a grand total of 162 yards.
Then, a controversial benching of Jalen Hurts by Eagles head coach Doug Pederson finished Philadelphia off. Actually, the game was practically over by halftime, scoring wise, at least. Washington’s lone field goal in the fourth quarter, which catapulted the team to a 30-14 victory, was not even needed to win the game. So now, the boys from Washington will get to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week in order to move on, if they can.
It was a whirlwind finish for the 12-4 Seattle Seahawks at the 6-10 San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ, on this last Sunday of regular season NFL play, with Seattle tight end D.K. Metcalf breaking Steve Largent’s long-standing single-season receiving record . Russell Wilson looked good himself but the Seahawks offense struggled all game long before coming out with a fourth-quarter victory over the 49ers, with Beathard, not Garoppolo.
Wilson threw for two touchdowns and 183 yards putting up 20 of their 26 points in the fourth quarter to pull off the 26-23 win. Seattle finishes the regular season as the number three seed in the NFC and will next face the LA Rams in playoff competition.
Rams Make Easy Work Of The Cards
Rams backup quarterback John Wolford played in place of an injured Jared Goff and threw for 231 yards, holding on for dear life against the Cardinals who just could not buy a break. Arizona scored its only points in the first quarter and was pretty much shut down after that as the Rams cruised to an 18-7 win. So, the #6 seed Rams move on to meet the #3 seed Seahawks in the Playoffs next week.
The Los Vegas Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 32-31. Neither team makes the playoffs.
The #2 seed New Orleans Saints did a beat-down on the Carolina Panthers, 33-7, without their running backs. Drew Brees looked like Drew again and the Saints go into the playoffs looking as strong as any team in the league. They host the Chicago Bears next in the playoffs and will likely be the favorites in that game.
Derrick Henry is the undisputed MVP of the Tennessee Titans, who now enter the playoffs as the #4 seed in the AFC and will face the Baltimore Ravens next. Henry had 250 yards rushing and two touchdowns to add to Ryan Tannehill’s 216 yards passing with one touchdown and two more rushing as the Titans overcame the Texans, 41- 38.
The Browns Taste Underdog Victory
The Cleveland Browns pulled off a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers that almost no one thought possible. Their 24-22 victory gave the team its first playoff appearance since 2002, and should give Kevin Stefanski the Coach of the Year award. However, it’s too early to celebrate. These two teams face each other next week in the playoffs.
No doubt the biggest upset of the day was handed to the league leading 14-1 Kansas City Chiefs by the 6-9 LA Chargers. Patrick Mahomes was resting, with good reason. But this Justin Herbert guy playing quarterback now for the Chargers is going to be great if he holds up.
The NFL Playoffs were mostly unaffected by the game. The Chiefs still get their bye as #1 seed in the AFC and the Chargers are done for the season. Final score: Los Angeles Chargers 38- Kansas City Chiefs 21.
And finally, as expected, the Green Bay Packers beat the Bears, and did so without much trouble – 35-16 was the final score. Still, both teams go to the playoffs this year. Green Bay gets a bye week and the Bears go down to New Orleans to face the Saints.