The playoffs are right around the corner as another interesting NFL season winds down.Most of the playoff slots are taken, but a few are still up for grabs, and jockeying for seeding is in full swing.
Here’s a look at some of the top stories from this past week in NFL action.
COWBOYS’ RIDE OVER
Dallas’s rollercoaster season is finally done after a 21-12 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams were fighting for their playoff lives, but Seattle avoided the backbreaking plays. The Seahawks also became the first team in over 50 years to win a game with fewer total yards (136) than penalty yards (142). The Cowboys had high hopes after last year’s 13-3 season that featured two dazzling rookies, quarterback Dak Prescott and runningback Ezekiel Elliott, that both garnered league MVP consideration, but both players took a step back in year two. Elliott was suspended six games for an alleged domestic violence incident, and Prescott appeared to have regressed. The Cowboys will have to face a lot of tough questions going into next season, especially as pressure mounts for Jerry Jones to replace head coach Jason Garrett. The following play was indicative of the Cowboys’ day as well as the season as a whole:
Justin Coleman intercepts Dak Prescott for a TD *Please Subscribe for live game highlights and major fantasy plays on the NFL* Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/versaceboyent/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VersaceBoyEnt
Last year, the Panthers were unable to avoid the Super Bowl Hangover, the phenomena where the Super Bowl loser frequently fails even to qualify for the playoffs the following year. After falling to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, Carolina finished last season 6-10. However, the Panthers appear to be back on track and clinched a berth in the playoffs after bringing their record to 11-4 with a 22-19 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The icing on the (cup)cake occurred when quarterback Cam Newton scored the game-winning touchdown and presented the game ball to his son who was celebrating his birthday:
Cam Newton scores the o ahead TD and then gives his son the ball for his birthday. Sports are cool https://t.co/PtAXdMfbfb
PLAYOFFS BACK IN L.A.
The Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 27-23 on Sunday, which makes them division champions for the first time since 2003. But that was when the team was in St. Louis. The last time the Los Angeles Rams won a division title, Kobe Bryant was seven years old, Rocky IV was the number one movie in America, and the Nakatomi Building in Century City was three years away from being taken hostage by Hans Gruber. The year was 1985, which was also the year before current Rams head coach Sean McVay was born. Times sure have changed. It helps to have superstars like Todd Gurley:
MVP? Todd Gurley: 80 yards to the house ✌️ #LARvsTEN https://t.co/st6kb6zr46
BITTERSWEET BANNER IN JACKSONVILLE
Because the Rams defeated the Titans in an early afternoon game, the Jacksonville Jaguars became AFC South champions early in the first quarter of their matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. The division crown is Jacksonville’s first since 1999, but that was the only thing that went right for the Jaguars. Despite boasting the league’s best defense, the Jaguars were shredded by the red-hot 49ers and new Bay Area sensation, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The New England Patriots transport led the 49ers to a 44-33 win over a team that hadn’t given up that many points since 2013 (coincidentally in a 42-10 loss to the 49ers), and hadn’t surrendered a touchdown on their first defensive drive in 25 games. Since being inserted as the starter of a miserable 1-10 team, Garoppolo has engineered four straight wins and thrown for 1,268 yards. Out of several great throws “Jimmy G” made, this was probably the most memorable:
Jimmy G is passing out TDs for Christmas. 🎅 His second of the day goes to @Trent5Taylor. #JAXvsSF https://t.co/iNt9RuE4Bv
WHO DAT IN THE PLAYOFFS?
Before quarterback Drew Brees came along, the New Orleans Saints were arguably the most pitiable franchise in the NFL. Since the addition of Brees in 2006, the Saints have been regulars in the post-season, and won their lone Super Bowl in 2009-10. However, the Saints hit a bit of a rough patch and missed the playoffs for three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016. New Orleans got off to a rocky 0-2 start this year, but just notched their 11th win and clinched a playoff berth with a 23-13 victory over last year’s NFC champion, Atlanta. Brees joined exclusive company by eclipsing the 70,000 yard mark; Peyton Manning and Brett Favre are the only other two men to clear that hurdle. Brees also reached the mark 10 games faster than Manning, which puts him on pace to surpass Manning’s all-time record next season. But the most remarkable play of the day didn’t belong to Brees. It belonged to a Saints’ cornerback:
Marshon Lattimore picked off Matt Ryan with his back…WUT?! #Saints https://t.co/F52FZZZyjB