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NFL Week 16 Review-Carolina Lose Perfect Record

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Week 16 of the NFL was a bit of a shocker, with five of the playoff sides losing. New England, Cincinnati, Carolina, Green Bay and Seattle all recorded an L in the penultimate week of the 2015 regular season. With a game to go, the NFC playoff places are all wrapped up, with just some possible changes amongst the six qualified teams, while in the AFC, there are still four teams vying for two playoff spots.

The major talking points from Week 16:

  • Carolina lose their perfect record
  • Washington clinch NFC East
  • NFC North goes to Week 17 when Green Bay host Minnesota
  • Brandon Marshall becomes first WR to 100 reception in 6 different seasons
  • Broncos move to #2 in the AFC after beating Cincinnati

Thursday Night Football:

San Diego Chargers 20 – 23 Oakland Raiders

Stephen Janikowski scored a FG in OT as the Raiders won what could be their last ever game in Oakland. It was also Charles Woodson’s last game in Oakland, and a fitting finale. They went behind, however, through a Donald Brown rushing score. Latavius Murray then levelled the game, running in from 22. The Chargers then went in front again, when Dontrelle Inman caught a pass from Philip Rivers for a TD. Rivers was then sacked in the end zone for a Raiders SFTY.  A Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree score put the Raiders in front, before Josh Lambo levelled the game, taking it into overtime. Stephen Janikowski then scored the vital FG to seal the win for the Raiders.


Saturday Night Football:

Washington Redskins 38 – 24 Philadelphia Eagles

4 TDs from Kirk Cousins took the Washington Redskins to the NFC East division title on Saturday night. It started badly for the ‘Skins, who went behind through a Ryan Mathews rushing TD for the Eagles. Two TD passes from Cousins to Jordan Reed put Washington into the lead before a FG apiece made the score 16-10 at the half. In the second half, Cousins hit Chris Thompson and Pierre Garcon for TDs, while the Skins defence also scored six, with DeAngelo Hall returning a fumble. The Eagles went in twice, through DeMarco Murray on the ground, before Sam Bradford threw a TD pass to Jordan Matthews but it was only a consolation at that stage. The Redskins were deserved winners, and have secured the #4 seed in the NFC by winning the NFC East for just the second time this century.


Sunday Evening Games:

Carolina Panthers 13 – 20 Atlanta Falcons

The biggest shock of the weekend came in Atlanta, where the Panthers were defeated for the first time in the regular season since November 2014. They scored on their opening driver though, as the main man, Cam Newton, ran in from 8yds out. The Falcons levelled the game in the 2nd when Devont’a Freeman ran in from 4yds. It was a 3rd quarter strike that would be the defining one, as Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for a 70yd TD pass, which put the Falcons into a lead they did not look like surrendering. Carolina could only score two FGs in the second half as they fell to their first defeat. The Falcons did what they had to do to stay in the hunt for a Wild Card spot in the NFC, now hoping that the Giants would beat the Vikings on Sunday Night Football.


Pittsburgh Steelers 17 – 20 Baltimore Ravens

Ryan Mallett’s first start for Baltimore shocked the Steelers, as the Ravens do the double over their divisional rivals. Mallett started well, giving the Ravens the lead, when he found Chris Matthews in the end zone early in the first quarter. The Steelers got their first TD score in the third quarter, when DeAngelo Williams ran in from a yard. The fourth quarter saw the Ravens extend their lead, when rookie Javorius Allen ran in from 3 to make it 20-10. A late DeAngelo Williams TD wasn’t enough for the Steelers, who will now need other results to go their way in Week 17 if they are to get into the playoffs.


Dallas Cowboys 6 – 16 Buffalo Bills

The Bills won this match-up in a game where both sides were playing for pride. They restricted the Cowboys to just two FGs from Dan Bailey, and scored twice on the ground. The first came in the opening period when Karlos Williams ran in from a yard, before rookie Mike Gillislee went in from the halfway like in the final quarter to seal the victory. The Bills move to 7-8, but will still be looking forward to next season, while the Cowboys cannot wait to have Tony Romo back.


San Francisco 49ers 17 – 32 Detroit Lions

The Lions shut out San Francisco in the second half to take a deserved victory at Ford Field. It was the 49ers who went in front, when Blaine Gabbert found Vance McDonald in the end zone for the opening score of the game. Matt Stafford then hit T.J. Jones, who scored with his only reception of the day. Gabbert then threw another TD, this time to Torrey Smith before Joique Bell ran in for the Lions in a hectic second quarter. Matt Stafford found Calvin Johnson for his second TD throw in the final quarter, and with four Matt Prater FGs, the Lions moved to a comfortable victory. Detroit have won five of their last seven matches, while the 49ers have now lost five of their last six.


Cleveland Browns 13 – 17 Kansas City Chiefs

Despite not scoring in the second half, the Chiefs moved to 10-5 with their ninth straight victory. Alex Smith was the man for Kansas City on Sunday, throwing two TD passes. He picked out Jeremy Maclin in the end zone in the first quarter, before finding Travis Kelce in the second, giving the Chiefs a 17-3 lead at the break. The Browns looked to get back into it, with Isaiah Crowell getting into the end zone on the ground, but they ran out of steam, and clock, at the end. The Chiefs push on, knowing a win next week gives them playoff football.


Indianapolis Colts 18 – 12 Miami Dolphins

A last-minute defensive stand kept the Colts faint playoff hopes alive in the AFC South. They took the lead through a SFTY when Ryan Tannehill was sacked in the end zone, before Frank Gore ran in from 37yds to make it 8-0. Lamar Miller then ran in for the Dolphins, before Frank Gore scored his second TD of the day. It was a day where neither team scored a TD through the air, and the Colts lost Matt Hasselbeck through injury for the fourth game running, but their defence did enough at the end to preserve the win. The Colts know a win next week keeps them can give them playoff football, depending on the Houston result.


New England Patriots 20 – 26 New York Jets

A terrible decision from Bill Belichick saw the Jets take victory in OT as their push for a Wild Card spot gained momentum. The game only got going in the second quarter, when Brandon Marshall caught a 2yd pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Marshall then got his second TD just after the half, when Fitzpatrick found him again. The WR became the first man in NFL history to record 100 receptions in six seasons by the end of the game. The Patriots’ first TD score came through their defence, when Jamie Collins returned a fumble for six, before Tom Brady hit Julian White for a score to tie the game. At the coin toss for the OT period, the Patriots won the toss, but chose to defer, and then watched the Jets go the length of the field, with Fitzpatrick hitting Eric Decker for the winning score after just three minutes of play. That poor decision from Belichick almost guarantees the Jets playoff football, while it means New England will have to win next week for the #1 spot in the AFC.

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Chicago Bears 26 – 21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ka’Deem Carey scored two TDs as the Bears inched past the Bucs in this one. Doug Martin ran in to give the Buccaneers the lead in the first quarter, before Carey ran in to level the game in the second. Jameis Winston then threw a 50yd TD pass to Charles Sims to put the Bucs back in front before Carey then caught a pass from Jay Cutler in the end zone. Four FGs from Robbie Gould had put the game to bed for the Bears, so a last play Hail Mary from Winston to Austin Seferian-Jenkins was just a consolation for Tampa Bay. Neither side could reach the playoffs before this weekend, but the Bears will be happy having won only their second in six games.


Houston Texans 34 – 6 Tennessee Titans

The Texans shut out the Titans until the fourth quarter as they continue towards the AFC South title. Quintin Demps got the first score of the game, returning a fumble for a TD, before Brandon Weeden, the Texans back-up QB, ran in for his first career rushing TD. In the third quarter, Weeden threw two TDs. The first went to DeAndre Hopkins, before he found Nate Washington in the end zone. Nick Novak’s second FG of the day made it 34-0 at the end of three quarters. Zach Mettenberger then hit Tre McBride to get the Titans on the board, but that was it for them, as they fell to their 12th defeat of the campaign. The Texans now know a win next week will give them playoff football for definite.


Jacksonville Jaguars 27 – 38 New Orleans Saints

Blake Bortles threw 4 TDs but the Saints had enough to overcome the Jaguars at the Superdome. New Orleans went 24-0 in the second quarter thanks to a Tim Hightower rushing TD. Before that, Drew Brees had hit Michael Hoomanawanui and Brandin Cooks for TD scores. Either side of the half, Bortles threw his first two TDs. The first went to Marqise Lee, before Allen Hurns scored for the Jags just after the break. The Saints then got another TD, as Brees found Travaris Cadet for a 44yd passing score. Bortles got two more passing TDs, hitting Allen Robinson on a 90yd reception, before finding Hurns for his second of the day. Hightower’s second rushing TD of the day sealed the game though, as the Saints won it, moving to 6-9 on the year.


Green Bay Packers 8 – 38 Arizona Cardinals

The clash at the tip of the NFC saw the Cardinals destroy Aaron Rodgers and the Packers as they look for the #1 seed in the conference. Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald for the first score of the game in the second quarter, before then finding John Brown in the end zone to make it 17-0 at the break. David Johnson got a rushing TD after the half to add to the Packers misery. Rodgers fumbled the ball three times in the second half, recovering one, but he saw the other two go back the other way for TDs. First, it was Cory Redding, before Jerraud Powers did the same. Rodgers did find Eddie Lacy in the end zone in the fourth quarter, but it was only ever a consolation as the Cardinals move to 13-2, while the Packers knew no matter what, it would all come down to Week 17 against the Vikings.

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St Louis Rams 23 – 17 Seattle Seahawks

The Rams completed the sweep over Seattle, who dropped down to the #6 seed in the NFC. Akeem Ayers recovered a fumble and returned it 45 yards for the first TD of the game, putting the Rams into a 10-point lead. Case Keenum then threw a TD pass to Kenny Britt to extend the lead even further. Russell Wilson then hit Doug Baldwin for the 11th time in five games, tying an NFL record, before then scoring with a throw to Jermaine Kearse. However, it would not be victory, as Todd Gurley crossed the plane from 2yds out to give the Rams the double over the Seahawks in 2015. Seattle know a win next week will give them the #5 seed in the NFC if the Packers beat the Vikings.


Sunday Night Football:

New York Giants 17 – 49 Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings thrashed the Giants, to set up a winner-takes-all clash with Green Bay in Week 17. After a slow first quarter, Teddy Bridgewater threw a TD pass to Kyle Rudolph, before Harrison Smith returned one of Eli Manning’s three INTs for a Pick6. Adrian Peterson also ran in for a score as the Vikings built up a big lead. Eli Manning threw two TDs in the second half, to Ruben Randle and Myles White, but it was never going to be enough, as Jet McKinnon scored two rushing TDs in the final quarter, including a 68yd score, to completely end the game. Blair Walsh added five FGs for Minnesota, to make the score look just that bit more resounding. The win moves the Vikings level with Green Bay at 10-5, knowing the winner of next week’s clash will win the NFC North and take the #3 seed in the NFC.


Monday Night Football:

Cincinnati Bengals 17 – 20 Denver Broncos

The Broncos maintained their lead in the AFC West with an OT victory over the Bengals on Monday night. The two A.J.’s combined to give Cincinnati the lead, as McCarron threw a TD pass to Green to make it 7-0. Mohamed Sanu then ran in from 6yds to double the Bengals lead. After the half, it was all Denver, as Brock Osweiler found Emmanuel Sanders in the end zone, before C.J. Anderson ran in for a 39yd TD. A FG for each side also came, making it 17-17, and when Brandon McManus shanked a last minute FG, the game was headed for OT. He got the necessary points in the fifth part of the game, though, as the Broncos took victory to move into the #2 seed in the AFC. The Bengals have clinched the AFC North with Pittsburgh losing this weekend, but know a victory in Week 17 could give them a first-round bye in the playoffs.


Playoff Picture (bold indicates that they are in the playoffs)


Divisional – Patriots (12-3), Broncos (11-4), Bengals (11-4), Texans (8-7)

Wild Card – Chiefs (10-5), Jets (10-5)

In the Hunt – Steelers (9-6), Colts (7-8)



Divisional – Panthers (14-1), Cardinals (13-2), Packers (10-5), Redskins (8-7)

Wild Card – Vikings (10-5), Seahawks (9-6)

In the AFC, The Steelers must win, and hope that the Jets lose to get playoff football, while a win for the Jets is enough to get them in. The Colts must hope that the Texans lose to have any chance of playoff football.

The NFC is all wrapped up, but it is all to play for in the Vikings@Packers clash in Week 17, with the winner taking the #3 seed in the playoffs.

Arizona Cardinals Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos detroit lions Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Kansas City Chiefs Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New Orleans Saints New York Giants New York Jets Oakland Raiders Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks St Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans Washington Redskins

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