NFL Weekend Recap
A Wild Week 18 As The Playoffs Are Set
If you wanted excitement to end the season, you got it! Week 18 saw plenty of shockers, late-game thrillers. If you thought this season was crazy before week 18, make sure to get your popcorn ready because you are in for a show. With that said, let's recap what went on in the final week.
Chiefs: 28 (12-5), Broncos: 24 Final/SAT
Final Line: KC -11.5 Jake's Pick: KC
Chiefs, Mahomes Survive Denver; Secure Two Seed in AFC:
The first game of week 18 saw plenty of fireworks as Kansas City struggled for most of the game. I've got to give credit to Denver's running attack as Melvin Gordon ran all over the dominant Chiefs defense, and QB Drew Locke rushed for two TDs. However, the difference in the game was Chiefs' LB Nick Bolton, who returned an 86-yard fumble for a TD to take a 28-21 lead with 7:42 left in the game. Denver wanted to add to their one-point lead, but Melvin Ingram forced Gordon to cough up the ball, leading to Bolton's scoop and score. The win gives Kansas City the two seed in the AFC, and they will face the Steelers in the first round.
Cowboys: 51 (12-5), Eagles: 26 (9-8) Final/SAT
Final Line: DAL -6.0 Jake's Pick: DAL
Dak Throws 5 TDs, Cowboys Pummel Eagles' Backups:
Dak Prescott was firing on all cylinders as he threw four TDs in the first half to help the Cowboys pummel the Eagles on Saturday. While the Cowboys looked impressive, they were playing against the Eagles' backups, and I'm still not sold on the Cowboys moving forward. In the playoffs, they will be the three-seed, but their first matchup is quite the doozy.
Bengals: 16 (10-7), Browns: 21 (8-9)
Final Line: CLE -6.0 Jake's Pick: CIN
Case Keenum and Browns Defeat Bengals Backups:
Say what you want about the Browns, but they finished off their season strong, and Case Keenum looked better than Baker Mayfield ever did this season. The Bengals had nothing to play for and decided to sit most of their starters. We will be seeing Joe Burrow and that high-flying offense next week in the playoffs.
Colts: 11 (9-8), Jaguars: 26 (3-14)
Final Line: IND -14.0 Jake's Pick: IND
Jaguars Shock Indy; Prevent Colts From Making Playoffs:
The 2021 NFL Season will probably go down as one of the most unpredictable regular seasons of all time. The Jaguars beating the Colts on Sunday is the icing on the cake. Trevor Lawrence's last game as a rookie turned out to be his best game, as the rookie QB threw for 223 yards and two TDs to knock Indy out of playoff contention. To top it all off, the Jags also claimed the number one overall pick, with Detroit beating the Packers.
Nothing went right for the Colts on Sunday, as this season will go down as one of the greatest disappointments for any team. If this game proved anything, it proved that the Colts investing their money on Carson Wentz was a bad idea. Dark days indeed for the Indianapolis Colts. Instead of making the playoffs, they are forced to watch from their homes, wondering what might've been.
Steelers: 16 (9-7-1), Ravens: 13 (8-9) Final/OT
Final Line: BAL -3.0 Jake's Pick: PIT
The Legacy of Big Ben Lives On; Steelers Live to Fight Another Day:
In Ben Roethlisberger's final game as a Steeler, the Steelers rallied behind their QB and pulled off the improbable. Pittsburgh came into this game with a less than five percent chance to make the playoffs. However, Jacksonville's shocking win over the Colts gave the winner of this game a huge advantage. The Ravens stayed in the game but felt the presence of T.J. Watt, who tied Michael Strahan's single-season sack record at 22.5. In overtime, the Ravens failed to get anything going, so they gave the ball back Big Ben, who led the Steelers down the field's length to set up Chris Boswell for the game-winning field goal. The legacy of Big Ben lives on for at least one more week.
Titans: 28 (12-5), Texans: 25 (4-13)
Final Line: TEN -11.0 Jake's Pick: TEN
Titans Hold Off Texans to Clinch One Seed in AFC:
It wasn't easy, but the Tennessee Titans held off Davis Mills and the Texans to clinch the first-round bye in the AFC; Ryan Tannehill threw four TDs, and the Titans overcame a late charge from the Texans to win the game. After a great first half, Tennessee saw Houston rack up 18-unanswered with Mills throwing three TDs. At the end of the game, Tannehill's fourth TD helped the Titans get the much-needed win, as they now have a huge advantage heading into the postseason.
Saints: 30 (9-8), Falcons: 20 (7-10)
Final Line: NO -4.5 Jake's Pick: ATL
Saints Win but Fail to Make Playoffs:
The Saints seemed motivated in Atlanta as Trevor Siemian came in for an injured Taysom Hill to help lead the Saints past the Falcons. While the Saints picked up the win, they failed to make the playoffs, with San Francisco picking up the crazy win over the Rams. Overall, a bitter end for the New Orleans Saints.
Jets: 10 (4-13), Bills: 27 (11-6)
Final Line: BUF -16.0 Jake's Pick: BUF
Bills Clinch Back-to-Back AFC East Titles:
The Bills played sloppy football for most of the game, but two late touchdowns helped to seal the AFC East for the Bills. Now, they have the rubber match with the New England Patriots in the first round of the playoffs.
49ers: 27 (10-7), Rams: 24 (12-5) Final/OT
Final Line: LAR -3.0 Jake's Pick: LAR
Niners Rally to Beat Rams and Secure a Playoff Spot:
Like the Colts, all the Niners needed to win and make it to the playoffs. Unlike Indy, the Niners left it all on the field; Deebo Samuel ran for a TD and threw for one as well, and Jimmy Garoppolo made clutch throws when it mattered the most. The Niners overcame a 17-0 deficit early in the game only to get into overtime.
SF got the ball first and opened it up right away with a 69-yard drive to set up a Robbie Gould field goal. The Rams got the ball next, but the Niners rookie Ambry Thomas picked off Matthew Stafford to end the game and send the Niners to the promised land. Moving forward, I expect San Fran to make a lot of noise.
Patriots: 24 (10-7), Dolphins: 33 (9-8)
Final Line: NE -6.0 Jake's Pick: NE
Brian Flores Wins Third Straight Against Bill, Gets Fired in the Process:
The Patriots have already clinched a playoff spot, but losing to the Dolphins doesn't help. The main story surrounding this game is the fact that after the game, Brian Flores got fired. Yes, the Dolphins have failed to make the playoffs under Flores' three-year stint with the team, but they've beaten the Patriots three-straight times, and players seemed to be buying into his mentality. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what they do.
Seahawks: 38 (7-10), Cardinals: 30 (11-6)
Final Line: ARI -5.5 Jake's Pick: ARI
Cardinals Fail to Clinch NFC West, Play the Rams in the First Round:
The Cardinals already clinched a playoff spot, but they tried to clinch the NFC West. However, they ran into Rashad Penny, who rushed for a career-high 190 yards, and Russell Wilson threw three TDs to help the Seahawks get past the Cardinals in what might've been Wilson's last game as a Seahawk. It will be interesting to see what happens with the star QB with his future unknown. As for the Cardinals, they will look for revenge against Matthew Stafford and the Rams.
Chargers: 32 (9-8), Raiders: 35 (10-7) Final/OT
Final Line: LAC -3.0 Jake's Pick: LAC
Raiders Send the Chargers Home, but Not Without Drama:
After a dramatic Sunday, the encore saw more drama with the Chargers and the Raiders tied at 32 apiece in overtime. It looked as if Vegas would win this game in regulation, but Justin Herbert's TD in the final minutes tied the game to send it OT.
Keep in mind, if this game ended in a tie, both the Raiders and Chargers would've made the playoffs, knocking out the Steelers in the process. It looked as if it might happen, but Chargers HC Brandon Staley called a questionable timeout with just over 30 seconds left in OT. The Raiders took exception and converted on the first down to set up Daniel Carlson for the game-winning field coach, much to the delight of Steelers fans.
Now that the regular season is over, we finally know who will be in the playoffs. I can tell that we are in for more drama in the coming weeks by looking at these matchups. There isn't a clear favorite this season, and out of the 14 playoff teams, I wouldn't be surprised with any of them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the day. Here's a look at what the matchups look like; expect a preview to be dropping in the coming days. I'm also hoping to have a better week this week, as I managed to lose almost all the games I picked. Hopefully, none of you listened to me!
Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake.
Follow him on Twitter @jake_klausner
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