After a raucous NFL Week 17, we know the name of the NFC’s 1-seed. The AFC, though, remains a mess. Only one team has secured a wild card in the AFC, and we don’t know if that’s Buffalo or New England. Heading into Week 18, a lot remains up in the air. Before handicapping Week 18 games, check out a Week 17 recap.
2021 NFL Week 17 Recap
READ MORE: 2021 NFL Week 18 Preview, Odds and Picks
Green Bay secures the NFC’s 1-seed
Late last week, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins tested positive for Covid, which required Minny to start Sean Mannion. What happened in the Vikings’ game versus rival Green Bay is exactly what you might expect. The Packers blasted Minnesota 37-10, ensuring Green Bay the 1-seed in the NFC. Matt LaFleur’s group can now rest easy versus the lowly Lions before preparing for their first playoff game.
Don’t be surprised if Aaron Rodgers plays at least a quarter, or maybe even a half, versus Detroit. After skipping the entire preseason, Rodgers played awful in Week 1 against the Saints. Two weeks without action could be too much for Rodgers. So LaFleur may insist Rodgers stays sharp with at least a half of action against the Lions.
Dallas falls to the Cardinals and Cincinnati beats Kansas City
The Arizona Cardinals kept their NFC West division hopes alive, and broke a 3-game losing streak, with a terrific 25-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys in no way resembled the same team that dropped 56 onto the Washington Football Team in Week 16. The offense, again, appeared stuck in quicksand while the defense didn’t step it up in any meaningful way.
After the game, the Boys complained about the refs. But Dallas should look in the mirror. After dominating the WFT, many of their players may have started to believe the hype, which is never a good thing heading into the playoffs.
Joe Burrow proved that he’s legit by absolutely destroying Kansas City’s defense. The Cincinnati quarterback lit up a good Chiefs’ D with a 30-of-39, 446 yards, and 4 touchdowns performance. In Week 16, Burrow threw for 525 yards and tossed 4 TDs in a 41-21 win against the Ravens. The Bengals take on the lowly Browns with at least the 2-seed hanging in the balance. Expect Cincinnati to roll.
Titans knockout Miami and leap to the AFC’s 1-seed
Only the Houston Texans stand in the way of the Tennessee Titans clinching the top seed in the AFC after the Titans ended the Miami Dolphins’ playoff dreams. The Titans didn’t just beat Miami. They dominated the Fins 34-3. Tennessee running back D’Onta Foreman rushed for 132 yards and a TD. Foreman’s performance should scare the Texans because there’s a chance Derrick Henry returns to the field. With Henry and Foreman, the Titans’ rushing attack could be unstoppable.
New England ends 2-game losing streak with 50-10 win over Jacksonville
Bill Belichick’s team ended a 2-game losing streak with a 50-10 win against the lowly Jaguars. The Patriots have a shot to win the AFC East. Buffalo must lose to the Jets and New England must beat the Dolphins. So the Pats don’t have a great shot, but the shot remains. More interesting is what Jacksonville does. Owner Shad Kahn has a short list of people he’d like to hire as his head coach. The problem Kahn might have is finding anyone willing to take the plunge.
If you’re someone like Byron Leftwich at Tampa Bay, why go through the process of rebuilding with an owner who doesn’t have a clue how to run an NFL franchise when you can keep calling plays for Tom Brady? Kahn has much bigger issue than finding a coach. He requires a complete overhaul of the franchise. So Kahn should probably decide on a new front office before looking for a coach.
Eagles secure a playoff spot
The Philadelphia Eagles are back in the playoffs. Philly will be either the 6-seed or 7-seed. So expect the Birds to ground starting quarterback Jalen Hurts in their home finale against the Dallas Cowboys. There’s no reason to take a chance on Hurts when Philadelphia must travel for their first playoff game no matter what.
Once the playoffs start, we shouldn’t write off the Eagles. Even though the four victories during the streak were against the Giants, WFT, and Jets, Philadelphia has a good defensive line and Hurts has gotten better and better with every passing week. Philadelphia could surprise a couple of teams. Keep them on your radar as a possible moneyline dog.
Heading into NFL Week 18, 49ers, Colts, Steelers, Ravens, Saints, Chargers and Raiders remain alive
If the 49ers beat the Rams, they make the playoffs. If the Niners lose to the Rams and the Saints beat the Falcons, the Saints make the postseason. If the Colts beat the Jaguars, which seems like a lock, Indianapolis makes the playoffs. If the Colts lose and the Ravens beat the Steelers, the Ravens are in. If the Colts lose and the Steelers beat the Ravens, Pittsburgh notches their postseason ticket.
Whichever team wins in the Chargers versus Raiders game on Sunday night heads to the AFC Playoffs. The Bolts are -3 favorites over Las Vegas. But the Raiders are at home. So expect a fantastic game to end the NFL Regular Season.
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