NFL takeaways from Week 16
Down to the wire
Many playoff races are coming down to the last week of the season. Three of the four teams in the NFC East have a chance, even at 6-9/5-10. The NFC wild card is also very close. The Rams (9-6) and the Bears (8-7) currently hold the final two spots, while the Cardinals (8-7) are looking to win their way in. The Cardinals will play the Rams, who will be missing WR Cooper Kupp and QB Jared Goff, on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Bears will play the Packers, as Chicago tries to seal a playoff birth. Things are even more chaotic in the AFC. For starters, either Indianapolis or Tennessee could win the AFC South, yet the other could miss the playoffs entirely. Both are among the five teams with 10-5 records in the AFC. Baltimore, Miami, and Cleveland are all also looking to lock up wildcard spots. None of those teams are playing each other this weekend, so there will be a lot of scoreboard watching.
Does anyone want to win the NFC East?
By now, we all know the winner of the NFC East will have the worst record among playoff teams, possibly even at 6-10 (woof). The Washington Football Team squandered its chance to wrap up the division against Carolina and will now have to defeat Philly on Sunday night. Philly is the only team that cannot win the division. Dallas and New York will play each other with the possibility of the winner getting in, should Washington slip again,
For God's sake, someone put us out of our misery already.
This cleared up with Kansas City clinching the top spot in the AFC last weekend. The No. 1 seed in the NFC, however, is still up for grabs. Green Bay currently holds that spot, but a loss to Chicago could catapult New Orleans or Seattle to the top.
As part of the playoff races clearing up, a loss to the Dolphins eliminated the Raiders from playoff contention in the AFC. Some people are suddenly calling Gruden's return a failure, but those people need to relax. Vegas has many good things on offense, but the defense has lost it some games. Yes, it is absolutely an offensively driven league these days, but you still have to have some kind of decent defense.
The Bears and...playoffs???
Chicago looked like its season was cooked after losing six straight games, but the Bears followed that up with three wins in a row to rejoin the playoff race. Chicago has seen its offense awaken from the dead and will be in the playoffs if it can beat Green Bay on Sunday.
Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes
With the Jets upsetting Cleveland and the Jaguars losing to Chicago, the Jaguars have now clinched the No. 1 pick in April's draft, which is expected to be Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence. The ability to add a generational talent like Lawrence is sure to be appealing to any GM and head coaching candidates in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the Jets will have to settle for less again. Congrats New York, you even managed to screw up losing!