The NFL’s Week 17 clarified a lot of the playoff image, though not all unfastened ends have been resolved.
There was one thread that got here up within the NFC South, the place the Carolina Panthers’ inconceivable run ended, largely due to the way in which they defended Tom Brady’s favourite goal, Mike Evans. Now, Tampa Bay has gained the NFC South title.
Elsewhere within the convention, the Inexperienced Bay Packers (through dropping leaders Washington) at the moment are answerable for their destiny within the final remaining NFC playoff spot. However this group is way more than quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Within the AFC, the Miami Dolphins continued their free fall, and the New England Patriots moved as much as the final open card spot… for now.
Listed here are the winners and losers from the penultimate week of the 2022 NFL season.
Observe each match: Newest NFL outcomes and schedules
Kenny Pickett is rising up
Dealing with a protection that hadn’t allowed a landing at dwelling over the earlier 15 quarters, Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett made a number of enormous throws with their season on the road, down 4 factors and needing a landing to maneuver ahead.
Pickett (15 of 27 passes for 168 yards with one contact) did not put up enormous numbers, however he performed moderately effectively. Nonetheless, this was the sport’s successful sequence, when it shone. Within the sequence, Pickett accomplished 5 of his six throws for 62 yards, together with a 10-yard landing run by working again Nagy Harris during which Pickett escaped strain and delivered an correct go on the transfer. He additionally transformed two speeding down conversions on the third down by sneaking up the quarterback. Now, extra importantly for the Steelers (8-8), their slim playoff hopes have been saved alive with the win. Pittsburgh must beat the Browns subsequent week and drop each the Patriots and the Dolphins of their video games.
32 issues we realized: QBs stay predictive, whether or not beginning or backup
Opinion: Do not depend on Tom Brady, however Bock wants everybody to keep away from taking part in singles within the playoffs
playoff picture: The Eagles fail to clinch the highest seed within the NFC, whereas the Packers management destiny
Even when they miss the playoffs, the Lions are rising
Winners of seven of the final 9, the Lions have an outdoor probability of constructing the postseason. Detroit (8-8) might want to beat the Packers (8-8) in Week 18 however may also want the Seahawks (8-8) to lose to the Rams (5-11). Actually, it is all most unlikely, however – both method – this season has been a smashing success for Dan Campbell and the Lions.
Though there have been nonetheless some points to work out on protection, Detroit injected velocity into their roster, with rookie star Jameson Williams nonetheless in motion after tore his anterior cruciate ligament within the Nationwide Championship sport. Jared Goff works the passing sport in Detroit with absolute precision. The offensive line was static. And Detroit is the very best protection group within the NFL, having executed simply 15 turnovers. These are all issues this younger group can take subsequent season and past.
Packets are harmful for a lot of causes
Whereas the Vikings had an unsustainable quantity of luck and Inexperienced Bay received a large break with the Browns dropping the leaders, the Packers (8-8) might be in for a successful situation subsequent weekend in opposition to the Lions (8-8). Nonetheless, it isn’t simply Aaron Rodgers who has all of a sudden made Inexperienced Bay elusive.
To be clear, Rodgers was environment friendly, finishing 15 of 24 passes for 159 yards with two landing runs. However Inexperienced Bay’s protection and particular groups set the tone with two first downs of the sport: a 105-yard kickoff return by Keisean Nixon and a 75-yard kickoff by security Darnell Savage. Throughout Inexperienced Bay’s four-game successful streak, they solely enable 17 factors per sport. Admittedly, they have not performed the strongest opponents and have confronted some groups struggling by means of accidents, however the Packers have restricted opponents to 41.5% conversions on third downs and 44.4% conversions within the purple zone. Additionally they pressured 12 turnovers in that interval.
The case of Garrett Stidham
Let’s get the terrible time beyond regulation interception out of the way in which: Stidham should not have lifted it up within the face of strain, the type of play he’ll must study from if he’ll be a strong NFL participant.
Nonetheless, in his first profession begin for the Raiders (6-10), Stidham confirmed that – relying on value – he could be well worth the Pilot subsequent season as Las Vegas determines what to do within the quarterback. Stidham (23 of 34 for 365 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions) is 26 and has the very best protection within the NFL. When the Patriots recruited Stidham in 2019, New England’s offensive coordinator was Josh McDaniels. Given his familiarity with Stidham, McDaniels is sensible as a coach who can get essentially the most out of him, and Stidham is sensible as a bridge participant for a group that may definitely be in search of a brand new midfielder for the primary time because the 2014 season.
Ron Rivera’s superb ignorance
In any other case, the Chiefs coach had a strong season managing a roster poor in playoff competition. However the seventeenth week was a catastrophe. Rivera Carson Wentz began at quarterback as a result of Wentz had a great quarter the earlier week, after he relieve oneself Taylor Hynecke in an enormous loss.
Whereas Washington’s offense has stalled just lately, Heinicke’s play wasn’t the one cause. The leaders (7-8-1) dedicated reckless penalties, the occasional speeding sport disappeared and a protection that pressured the turnover all of a sudden stopped placing the offense in advantageous positions. So, in an indispensable sport, as an alternative of driving the momentum Heinicke constructed, Rivera turned to Wentz, who has confirmed observe file From imploding in essential video games late within the season. Rivera’s quick lead on Wentz (16-of-28 for 143 yards, 0 touchdowns, three interceptions) wasn’t horrible. That he didn’t know that Washington may very well be excluded from the supplementary disputes is totally untenable.
Colts’ collapse bears Irsay’s fingerprints all over the place
Colts proprietor Malik took a victory lap after interim coach Jeff Saturday gained his first sport in Week 10. Since then, Indianapolis has been in free fall. In keeping with a number of reviews, Irsay was the catalyst He succeeded the group’s first sport, Matt Ryan at quarterback, in October, when Frank Reich was nonetheless head coach.
Irsai now oversaw a sequence of strikes that did nothing however create huge instability. Irsay fired Reich largely as a result of the Indianapolis offense was ineffective. The Colts (4-11-1) have now been outscored 97-16 within the final ten quarters. The Giants have not edged anybody this season by greater than eight factors; They stifled Indy by 28. The offensive line, a place he performed Saturday and was anticipated to enhance, continued his slide as one of the vital disappointing items within the NFL. The roster is flawed, the Colts haven’t got a quarterback and if anybody deserves blame, it is the proprietor.
Karolina makes a scary resolution, not as soon as, not twice…
The Panthers constructed an 11-point lead early within the fourth quarter. Had they gained, they might have entered the season finale with an opportunity to win and clinch an inconceivable run within the NFC South Championship. As a substitute, the Panthers misplaced (6-10) to the Pirates and have been eradicated, largely as a result of they (twice) repeated a mistake that burned them earlier within the sport.
After Panthers receiver Shae Smith caught a 19-yard landing within the fourth, Carolina performed Bucs receiver Mike Evans on single protection with no security help, leading to grabs of 57 and 30 yards on back-to-back Tampa possessions that gave the Bucs the lead. that they are going to by no means give it up. It got here after Evans scored 63 yards late within the second quarter, when Carolina additionally performed him on a one-man, complicated order and defensive mismanagement at its peak. As caretaker head coach Steve Wilkes was, this was not his best second.
Dolphins in free fall
On the finish of Week 12, the Dolphins have been 8-3. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was sneaking into the MVP dialog. They have been patrons on the buying and selling deadline and a playoff berth appeared sure. Since then, Miami (8-8) has misplaced 5 in a row. They need assistance making the postseason. Tagovailoa had well being points with a concussion, and the group’s long-term quarterback questions have been unanswered.
The truth that all however one in every of Miami’s losses through the slide have been in one-pitch video games signifies how shut the Dolphins have been to an alternate actuality and the way expensive their lapses have been. Miami gave up speeding at important occasions. She usually dedicated reckless punishments in conditions that required nice leverage. Place kicker Jason Saunders turned utterly unreliable from 40 yards out. The Dolphins gave the ball away 10 occasions throughout their dropping streak. They’re battling a sequence of accidents. They’ve solely themselves accountable.