NFL Week 17 Recap: The Packers Won The NFC North; The Lions Made The Playoffs
The Packers and Chiefs clinched division titles, and the Lions backed into the playoffs. Here’s a full recap of the action from Week 17 of the 2016 NFL season.:
The Packers Beat The Lions For The NFC North Crown
Aaron Rodgers threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the second half, and the Green Bay Packers clinched the NFC North title with a 31-24 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday night.
Both teams qualified for the playoffs as a result of Washington’s loss to the Giants earlier in the day. New York (11-5) won 19-10 thanks to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s two interceptions of Kirk Cousins. Washington (8-7-1) needed only to win and have the Packers and Lions not tie to make the postseason.
Green Bay (10-6) won six consecutive games to finish the season as the division champ. Detroit (9-7) ended the regular season on a three-game skid. The Packers will host the Giants in an NFC wild-card game next Sunday, while the Lions must travel to NFC West champ Seattle on Saturday.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 347 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The AFC’s Road To The Super Bowl Goes Through New England
Tom Brady passed for 276 yards and three touchdowns, and the New England Patriots clinched home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs with a 35-14 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The outcome of the game was never truly in question, as New England (14-2) took an early 20-0 lead over Miami (10-6) and held on for the win.
The Dolphins must travel to Pittsburgh next Sunday to face the Steelers in an AFC wild-card game. Making their first postseason appearance since 2008, Miami will be quarterbacked by Matt Moore, who threw for 205 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in his third start in place of injured Ryan Tannehill.
The Patriots will be off until Saturday, January 14, when they will host an AFC divisional round game.
The Raiders Lost The AFC West & Another QB
Trevor Siemian threw for two touchdowns, and the Denver Broncos kept the Oakland Raiders from winning the AFC West title with a 24-6 rout on Sunday. The result, coupled with the Chiefs’ 37-27 win over the hapless San Diego Chargers, gave the division crown to Kansas City.
Oakland (12-4) also lost quarterback Matt McGloin to a shoulder injury in the first half. It’s not been determined if McGloin, who was subbing for the injured Derek Carr, will miss next Saturday’s AFC wild-card game at Houston. Third-stringer Connor Cook subbed in on Sunday. Cook was 14 of 21 for 150 yards with a touchdown and two turnovers.
Already eliminated from playoff contention, Denver (9-7) played inspired football after head coach Gary Kubiak told the team he was retiring after the game because of health reasons.
Meanwhile in San Diego, where the Chargers might not be playing next season, Alex Smith threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score, in the Chiefs’ win. Kansas City (12-4) won the AFC West title and clinched a first-round bye. They’ll host an AFC divisional round game on Sunday, January 15.
San Diego (5-11) fired head coach Mike McCoy after the game.
Houston Lost A Game & Another QB, Too
Rishard Matthews caught nine passes for 114 yards, and the Tennessee Titans beat the Houston Texans, 24-17, on Sunday. The AFC South champs, who will host the Raiders on Saturday in an AFC wild-card game, lost quarterback Tom Savage to a concussion and had to re-insert former starter Brock Osweiler in the game.
Osweiler threw for 253 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for another score for Houston (9-7). The Texans offense does not look playoff-ready, but an Oakland offense without a real starting quarterback might not be able to outscore them.
Tennessee (9-7) never trailed in the game on Sunday. The Titans won with a backup quarterback of their own: Matt Cassel, who threw for a touchdown in place of the injured Marcus Mariota.
Black Monday Came Early
Coaches of disappointing NFL teams dread Black Monday — the first Monday after the regular season ends. It’s when many head coaches get the boot. Well, the firing started early this season.
The 49ers fired head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after Seattle beat San Francisco, 25-23, on Sunday. San Francisco (2-14) was decidedly awful this season, and Kelly and Baalke paid the price.
The coaching carnage started earlier this week when the Bills fired head coach Rex Ryan. Buffalo still looked terrible while losing its season-finale to the New York Jets, 30-10, on Sunday.
Kelly and Ryan were joined by Chargers head coach Mike McCoy late Sunday. Jacksonville (Gus Bradley) and Los Angeles (Jeff Fisher) each fired head coaches over the past three weeks.
Washington’s Jay Gruden probably won’t get a whole lot of sleep on Sunday night.
Sunday, January 1
Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 24 (OT)
Tampa Bay 17, Carolina 16
Cincinnati 27, Baltimore 10
Indianapolis 24, Jacksonville 20
Minnesota 38, Chicago 10
Philadelphia 27, Dallas 13
Atlanta 38, New Orleans 32
Arizona 44, Los Angeles 6