A quick look ahead to NFL Week 17

Five quick takes looking ahead to Week 17 in the NFL:

1. The final day of the NFL season is difficult to handicap because some teams who are locked into their playoff positions, like New Orleans and Dallas, have nothing at stake. And teams like Tampa Bay and Arizona, who are likely to fire their coaches, don’t have much motivation. And a team like the Bears can get a first round bye only if they beat the Vikings and the Rams lose to Oakland. The Bears may not have much motivation in the second half if the Rams are winning big. The best game, Indianapolis at Tennessee, has been flexed to Sunday night for the final regular season game of the year as both teams will be fighting for a playoff spot. This is like a play in game for the playoffs. A total of 11 games have playoff implications.

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A quick look back at NFL Week 16

Five quick takes looking back on Week 16 in the NFL:

1. Going into the final Sunday of the season, 16 of the 32 teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. Two playoff teams are set. The Saints will be the top seed In the NFC and their seeding can’t change. And the Cowboys are locked in fourth seed. Three other NFC teams – Rams, Chicago and Seattle – are in playoffs, but their seedings could change. Either Minnesota or Philadelphia will get the other slot. In the AFC, New England, Houston, Chiefs and Chargers are in the playoffs but their seedings could change. The Ravens win the AFC North with a win over Cleveland and the Colts and Titans meet in the final game with the winner getting in. Pittsburgh needs a win over the Bengals and a Ravens loss to win the division.

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A quick look ahead at NFL Week 16

Five quick takes looking ahead to Week 16 in the NFL:
1. With just two weeks left in the regular season, the NFL has no more Thursday games which most teams will welcome because they are not popular with the players. Instead, the league has two Saturday games and 13 games plus the final Monday night game of the year this weekend. In the final week all 16 games will be played on Sundays so it is an even playing field for the playoffs the following week. Three teams, the Rams, Saints and Bears, have clinched division titles and two more, the Chiefs and Chargers, have clinched playoffs berths. Continue reading “A quick look ahead at NFL Week 16”

A quick look back at NFL Week 15

Five quick takes looking back on Week 15 in the NFL:
1. Wouldn’t be the story of the year if Nick Foles comes off the bench to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl again? It seems a fantasy and even if the Eagles win their final two, they have to get help to even make the playoffs. Still, Foles gave them hope when he led the Eagles to a 30-23 win over the Rams. But it can’t happen again, can it? Continue reading “A quick look back at NFL Week 15”

A quick look at NFL Week 15

Five quick takes looking ahead to Week 15 in the NFL:
1. There are only 12 games being played Sunday along with a Monday night game because there were two games played Saturday. The NFL plays Saturday games once the college football regular season ends. In the two Saturday games, the Texans beat the Jets 29-22 and the Browns beat the Broncos 17-16. The Texans win all but wrapped up the AFC South Division title with a 10-4 record. They can clinch Sunday if both the Colts and Titans lose. The Browns win surprisingly kept their faint playoff hopes alive at 6-7-1a remarkable record for a team that won one game the last two years. And the Broncos are still alive at 6-8 but are likely to miss the playoffs and that will put more heat on general manager John Elway. This will likely be the third consecutive year the Broncos have missed the playoffs since last winning the Super Bowl. They are 20-26 in that span, and while Elway is an icon in Denver, his acumen as a GM is starting to get questioned.
2. After losing the Miracle in Miami game last Sunday, the Patriots are in danger of not getting a first round bye if they don’t beat the Steelers. The Patriots are 9-4, the first time they’ve lost four games since 2015. But with home games against the Jets and Bills in  their final two games, the Patriots figure to finish 12-4 and get a first round bye if they win this one. The Steelers are reeling with three consecutive losses and have a history of struggling against the Patriots. They’ve lost the last five to the Patriots, including a playoff game. The Steelers at 7-5-1 are only a half game in front of the 7-6 Ravens, who host Tampa Bay. The Steelers play at New Orleans next week so they could lose five in a row and miss the playoffs if they don’t beat the Patriots.
3. The Packers are still alive in the NFC wild card chase at 5-7-1 after beating Atlanta last week in Joe Philbin’s first game as interim coach. And they play a Bears team they have a history of dominating. They’ve won the last five and 15 of last 17 against the Bears, including a playoff game. And they beat the Bears 24-23 in the opener. But the Bears are 9-4 and are likely to end the Packerschances of a winning season.
4. The 8-5 Cowboys play at the 7-6 Colts and despite the similar records, the Cowboys are in a much better playoff position with the lead in the NFC East. The Colts, meanwhile, have to win just to stay within two games of the 10-4 Texans and are likely fighting for a wild card spot. But the Colts can only think of what might have been. They lost to the Teans earlier this year in overtime after coach Frank Reich went for it on fourth down instead of punting and probably getting a tie. And he kept going for it on 4th and 1 against the Jaguars instead of kicking field goals and lost 6-0. If he’d taken the tie against the Texans and had taken the field goals against the Jaguars and won that one, the Colts would be 8-4-1 and would be playing to tie the Texans for the AFC South Division lead.
5. Can Nick Foles do it again?. Just as he did last year, he’s being called on to save the Eagles season now that Carson Wentz is out of the Rams game with a back ailment. The defending champion Eagles are struggling at 6-7 while the Rams are 11-2 although the Bears beat them 15-6 last week. The Eagles must win their final three games to have a winning record after winning the Super Bowl last year. It’s now or never for them.