Well, the day has come. The NFL regular season has officially come to a close. The playoff picture is set, and 14 teams still have a shot of winning the Lombardi Trophy. Do 10 of those teams have a chance? Probably not, but that's what makes the NFL the best league in the world. Anyone can win at any given time and date.
Let's get into how the playoff picture was set with my takeaways from week 17.
TANK, EAGLES TANK
Let's start with the most controversial game of the week.
I'm going to start this by addressing Giants fans. Was that game a gut-punch? Absolutely. Should they be upset they didn't get into the playoffs? No. The team went 6-10 at the end of the day. 6-10, not even 7-9, should never be enough to win a division title. It sucks, but there's a lot to look forward to with this team. Despite losing their best player in week 2, they showed promise of becoming a good team for years to come.
Now let's talk Doug Pederson. I mean, an all-time tank job.
Although teams bench their starters in week 17 all the time, no one does it quite like how Doug Pederson did it. For me, it's not even putting in Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter. It's electing to go for it on 4th and 4 when he had a chance to tie. How do you look your team in the eyes and say you were trying to win?
Nate Sudfeld should've never been in the game. If you had any plans to play him, start him and bench Hurts. Hurts was slowly getting in a groove after a pitiful start. Anyone watching that game can also agree that the Eagles were starting to outplay the Washington Football Team until Pederson made the move for Sudfeld.
Regardless, congrats to the Washington Football Team. A great story considering all that happened to the franchise. From the team name change and head coach getting cancer to Alex Smith coming back from what seemed to be a career ending injury, this was a roller coaster of a season. Despite what happens next Saturday against the Bucs, things are finally moving in the right direction in DC.
KING HENRY GETS 2K
I feel like this didn't get as much attention as it should've yesterday. Maybe it's because anything Derrick Henry does on the football field doesn't surprise us anymore. In my opinion, 2,000 yards is the most impressive milestone to hit as an NFL player. Especially in today's game when everyone is throwing the ball 50 times a game.
Also, looking at Derrick Henry's stats vs. the Texans the last three games is unreal.
It's like he treats Houston like they're Mizzou.
Henry becomes just the eighth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards. He's so good that I wouldn't be surprised if he goes back to back next year.
I don't think I've ever been happier for a group of people than I am for Cleveland Browns fans. For the first time since 2002, the Cleveland Browns are going to the playoffs!!!
To see a group of people experience happiness after decades of misery makes my heart happy.
The Browns weren't one of those bad teams that snuck into the playoffs due to circumstances *cough Bears cough* they're actually a good team that can compete.
The question is whether or not Baker Mayfield will rise to the occasion. They have all the pieces in place. If Baker can take another step forward, they will be a dangerous team. They might not win the Super Bowl this year, but something special is brewing in Cleveland.
BILLS MURDER THE DOLPHINS
It's always tough to see a 10 win team left out of the playoffs. Especially when there's a 7-9 division champ and 8-8 wild card team in the NFC. On the bright side, the Dolphins will at least be picking third in the draft thanks to the incompetence of the Houston Texans.
The story of the game is going to be Tua. Should the Dolphins pull a Cardinals and draft another QB with the third pick? He obviously hasn't played the best when the team needed most. If you're vouching to get rid of Tua, stop it. If QBs like Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, and Mitch Trubisky got a shot in year two, so should Tua.
Getting the third overall pick after winning 10 games is an absolute blessing. Go draft Jamar Chase/Devonta Smith or Penei Sewell to support Tua. Let's be real. The Dolphins need help on offense one way or another.
It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins handle the offseason, but I fully expect Tua to be their starter in 2021.
WORST CALL EVER?
To end the takeaways, I had to bring this play up.
The NFL needs to find some way to fix the roughing the passer rule. I know they're trying to protect the QB, but I'm not sure what else the defender was supposed to do.
You know what though? The NFL is never going to stop protecting QBs, so I'm not going to even get too upset about this. They gotta protect their moneymakers.
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