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NFL Week 16 Recap:
Playoff Bound      Share

27 December 2010

Ravens QB

Week 16 was crunch time for many teams in the NFL who hoped to secure a spot in the playoffs before next week’s final regular season match-ups.  Some teams got in because of their own great play, but some even got in by losing!

Playoff Bound #1: 
Chicago Bears 38, New York Jets 34.
 The New York Jets are in the playoffs, but it wasn’t because of their performance on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.  Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler threw the ball all over the field on the Jets, tossing three touchdown passes and making the Jets’ defense look very suspect at times.  Because the Washington Redskins beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Jets were able to get a playoff spot despite their loss.  The Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez did OK in this game, but the loss really hung on the Jets’ defense and special teams which gave up big plays.

Good one-liner:  “The Jets better get their defense in gear if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs.”
Playoff Bound #2: 

New England Patriots 34, Buffalo Bills 3.  The Patriots had already secured a playoff spot coming into this game, but the victory over the hapless Bills on Sunday assured the Patriots the top seed for the AFC.  That distinction means that they will be on their home field throughout the playoffs and will get an automatic bye for the first round.  In the game, New England quarterback Tom Brady did not throw an interception, giving him an NFL record 319 straight passes without an interception.  The Patriots are playing some of the best football of any team in the league.

Good one-liner: “It’s hard to think of a team in the AFC that will be able to beat the Patriots in the playoffs.”

Playoff Bound #3: 
Baltimore Ravens 20, Cleveland Browns 10.
 This game wasn’t particularly pretty, but it got the job done for the Ravens.  With the win, they clinched a spot in the playoffs.  Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco threw a couple of nice touchdown passes to lead the Ravens to the victory.  Despite their win, the Ravens will need to find a lot more offense if they hope to go very far in the playoffs. 

Playoff Bound #4:
New Orleans Saints 17, Atlanta Falcons 14. 
This was a hard hitting ball game from start to finish.  The Saints are last year's Super Bowl champions, but the Falcons have the best record in their conference this year.  The Falcons had a crucial fumble on the one-yard line that cost them a touchdown, but their defense kept them in it despite their offensive woes. The Falcons intercepted New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees twice, but their offense couldn't do much against the Saints' defense.  The win put the Saints in the playoffs.  Next week the Falcons will have to beat the lowly Carolina Panthers in the regular season finale to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs, so it is likely these two teams will meet again in the Georgia Dome in the playoffs.

Other news and notes:

-Sunday night’s match-up between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings has been moved to Tuesday night because of the blizzard conditions in Philadelphia on Sunday.  The NFL feared for fans’ safety as they would have to drive through terrible conditions to watch their Eagles play.

-Denver Broncos’ rookie quarterback Tim Tebow is starting to make people pay attention to the hapless Broncos.  Despite the team’s terrible 4-11 record, Tebow rallied them from a 17 point deficit on Sunday against the Houston Texans, throwing for one touchdown and running for another. The Broncos’ win assured that they would not get the first pick in April’s NFL draft, an event in which pro teams select players who are coming out of college to go professional.  The worst team in the league gets to have the first pick in the draft, and next year that honor will go to the Carolina Panthers, not the Broncos.  The win may have been an act of self-preservation for Tebow.  The first player selected in the draft is likely to be Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck who would probably take Tebow’s job if the Broncos got that pick!

-Next week’s games will be critical for a few teams who have dreams of going to the playoffs—the St. Louis Rams, Indianapolis Colts, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all could advance with wins next week.  Check back to for the story on the playoff picture later in the week.

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