nfl week 17 grades around league

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Week 17 proved to be an enormous weekend for groups aspiring to say a No. 7 seed. The Packers dismantled the Vikings to maneuver nearer to one more 49ers playoff matchup, whereas the Patriots changed the Dolphins within the AFC’s No. 7 slot. The Commanders fell from sole possession of the NFC’s lowest seed to out of the playoffs altogether. Whereas the ultimate acts are on faucet, listed here are the Week 17 grades from across the NFL.

 

1 of 30

Kenny Pickett slowly gaining momentum

Kenny Pickett slowly gaining momentum

Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports activities

The Steelers’ rookie quarterback will probably end his season with a destructive TD-INT ratio, and this offense shouldn’t be confused with potent. However Pickett’s second game-winning drive in two weeks eclipsed his first. The No. 20 general choose made season-saving throws from inside and outdoors the pocket towards a Ravens protection flooded with veteran expertise. The third-down Najee Harris connection solely bumped Pickett to 168 passing yards, however he’s displaying progress on pretty large phases. Pittsburgh (8-8) began 3-7. Just one workforce has ever rallied again from that mark to make the playoffs: Washington in 2020. Like final yr, the Steelers could also be a tricky watch within the playoffs. However they’re mainly a Dolphins loss away. 

STEELERS GRADE: B-plus | NEXT: vs. Browns (Solar.)

 

2 of 30

Closeout points defining Ravens’ season

Closeout issues defining Ravens' season

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports activities

Baltimore’s hassle sustaining drives needs to be anticipated. The playoff-bound workforce is down each its prime two receivers — from an already-shaky receiving corps — and is with out Lamar Jackson. Their solely landing coming after the shaky Cam Heyward roughness name epitomizes a workforce caught till (if?) Jackson returns. However the Ravens’ protection — albeit one lacking Marcus Peters and Calais Campbell — blowing a fifth two-score lead units up a bleak playoff outlook. The third-ranked Ravens run protection gave up 198 yards, serving to the Steelers dangle round. Baltimore (10-6) is limping to a different end line, and although the workforce can’t be judged till Jackson returns, it’s robust to see it matching up with the AFC’s true powers.

RAVENS GRADE: C | NEXT: at Bengals (Solar.)

 

3 of 30

O-line accidents result in one other big-stage Cousins no-show

O-line injuries lead to another big-stage Cousins no-show

Tork Mason-USA TODAY Sports activities

The one-score win kingpins haven’t any one-score losses. When the Vikings go down, it typically will get ugly. Minnesota, which has been largely wholesome on offense this season, has been down heart Garrett Bradbury for a number of weeks; a automobile accident has extended his absence. The Vikings (12-4) additionally misplaced proper deal with Brian O’Neill and backup heart Austin Schlottmann in Inexperienced Bay. Most groups cope with O-line accidents. This four-turnover Kirk Cousins recreation was inexcusable, and it unmasked the Vikings — who had been taking part in to maintain the NFC’s No. 2 seed — to a level. They now have a minus-19 level differential and are poised to be one of many least threatening 13-win groups (assuming the Bears lay down in Week 18) in playoff historical past. 

VIKINGS GRADE: F | NEXT: at Bears (Solar.)

 

4 of 30

Packers protection surging at excellent time

Packers defense surging at ideal time

Tork Mason-USA TODAY Sports activities

Beset by some high-profile accidents, Inexperienced Bay’s costly protection is taking part in as much as its value. After a three-INT day in Miami, the Packers pressured 4 turnovers and embarrassed the NFC North champs — almost 4 months after the Vikings set the tone in Week 1. Kenny Clark dominated towards a all of the sudden injured Vikes O-line, totaling a season-high seven pressures. The veteran D-lineman accomplished a sack-strip-recovery sequence and has now pressured a league-leading six turnovers from strain, per Subsequent Gen Stats. Jaire Alexander received towards Justin Jefferson after a tough September loss, and Darnell Savage added a pick-six. The Packers (8-8) are near turning into the second 4-8 workforce to rally to the playoffs. The 49ers, who’ve in some way confronted the Pack in 9 playoff video games since 1995, probably await.

PACKERS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: vs. Lions (Solar.)

 

5 of 30

Protection meltdown could shut e-book on Steve Wilks

Coverage meltdown may close book on Steve Wilks

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports activities

Lured again to the NFL from the faculty ranks to be Matt Rhule’s secondary coach, Carolina’s interim HC had generated momentum to turn out to be a full-time rent. His place group bombing the best way it did Sunday could shut that case. A Buccaneers workforce that has nosedived offensively lit up the Panthers, with Tom Brady turning again the clock for 432 yards. Mike Evans burned C.J. Henderson and second-year man Keith Taylor throughout his three-TD binge, and the Panthers (6-10) couldn’t decelerate Chris Godwin (9/120) both. Sam Darnold dedicated three turnovers, failing to reply Brady’s surge as soon as the 14-point lead evaporated. The chances are all the time towards interim hires, and Carolina’s run ending factors to a brand new coach coming in quickly.

PANTHERS GRADE: D | NEXT: at Saints (Solar.)

 

6 of 30

Brady-to-Evans connection awakens, restores NFC South order

Brady-to-Evans connection awakens, restores NFC South order

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports activities

NFL execs eager on seeing Brady vs. Dallas in a marquee slot, regardless of the Buccaneers’ disappointing season, breathed a sigh of aid after the very best receiver in Bucs historical past got here by. The Bucs (8-8) erased a 14-0 deficit due to the Brady-Evans connection — an out-of-sync mess all through — re-emerging. The second 200-yard recreation of Evans’ profession concerned Brady topping his season’s deep-throw TD rely in sooner or later, and the 45-year-old icon managed a 31-for-38, 382-yard line towards zone protection, doubling as Subsequent Gen Stats’ fifth-best measured day towards zone protection since 2018. Evans saved his fantasy GMs, the Bucs’ season, and he’s now over 1,000 yards. No different wideout has began a profession with 9 straight 1,000-yard slates. 

BUCCANEERS GRADE: A | NEXT: at Falcons (Solar.)

 

7 of 30

Saints’ defensive pillars shine in Philly

Saints' defensive pillars shine in Philly

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports activities

The 2 gamers most chargeable for the Saints turning from an incompetent protection within the mid-2010s to a dependable unit within the years since led the best way in one of many greater upsets in franchise historical past. Cam Jordan beating Lane Johnson’s substitute throughout a three-sack day gave him 115.5 for his profession, breaking Corridor of Famer Rickey Jackson’s franchise report. Taking part in in his first recreation since Week 3, Marshon Lattimore displayed his worth to the workforce by pick-sixing Gardner Minshew to shut out the Eagles. Lattimore’s absence has wounded the Saints (7-9) this season. Had he not been injured, the Saints are in all probability the NFC South champs. With the Bucs successful, this turned a bittersweet day for a veteran-laden New Orleans squad.

SAINTS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: vs. Panthers (Solar.)

 

8 of 30

Jalen Hurts deserves renewed MVP consideration

Jalen Hurts deserves renewed MVP consideration

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports activities

Per week after it regarded like Minshew may steer this all-terrain car, the Eagles (13-3) not solely did not safe home-field benefit however managed 10 factors towards a sub-.500 workforce. Minshew threw that crushing pick-six and in addition was stopped on Philly’s beforehand indefensible fourth-and-1 rugby QB sneak. The Eagles’ first 4 drives ended with three-and-outs. Hurts has accounted for 35 TDs in 14 video games; he may have approached Cam Newton’s 45 from 2015 had he been out there. Carson Wentz had an enormous MVP lead 5 years in the past however was penalized due to three missed video games. With not one of the AFC QBs presenting open-and-shut circumstances, voters want to contemplate that and Sunday’s borderline-shocking Eagles loss re: Hurts’ worth this time round. 

EAGLES GRADE: F | NEXT: vs. Giants (Solar.)

 

9 of 30

Colts freefall is not going to entice prime HC candidates

Colts freefall will not attract top HC candidates

IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports activities

Jeff Saturday doing an sudden favor for a buddy has now led to 6 straight losses. For the reason that second half of the Vikings recreation, the Colts have plunged into one of many deepest valleys in franchise historical past. Jim Irsay has made a spectacular mess. His fingerprints are everywhere in the Colts’ QB choices, and the proprietor believing Saturday may extract one thing from the workforce Frank Reich couldn’t is the form of judgment that ought to scare Colts followers. The Irsay household has one 10-win season (in 51 years of Colts possession) with out Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, or Bert Jones working the present; Reich delivered that in 2020. To see how far the Colts (4-11-1) have sunk since their season-ending collapse final yr stays astounding. 

COLTS GRADE: F | NEXT: vs. Texans (Solar.)

 

10 of 30

Giants turnaround a tribute to sound teaching

Giants turnaround a tribute to sound coaching

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports activities

Maybe Dave Gettleman deserves some semblance of vindication. His cornerstone investments — Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Andrew Thomas, Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams — have pushed a shocking turnaround. However the since-departed GM didn’t have a coach in place like Brian Daboll, whose employees has coaxed continued competence from the earlier regime’s staples. Jones totaling 4 TDs and pushing his dual-threat season previous 700 speeding yards, through the 91 he amassed Sunday, furthers a career-changing marketing campaign. A yr faraway from the notorious QB-sneak name, the Giants (9-6-1) are within the playoffs for the primary time since 2016. They’re prone to face the weak Vikings. Daboll, OC Mike Kafka, and DC Don Martindale can take a victory lap (as they hopefully sit Barkley in a now-meaningless Week 18 recreation).

GIANTS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: at Eagles (Solar.)

 

11 of 30

So, Christian McCaffrey was unworthy of these Professional Bowl Video games?

So, Christian McCaffrey was unworthy of those Pro Bowl Games?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports activities

A flat-looking 49ers protection almost wasted a long-awaited likelihood to maneuver into the NFC’s No. 2 spot, however Brock Purdy stored main scoring drives. McCaffrey was largely accountable, compiling probably the greatest video games of his profession. The commerce acquisition posted 193 scrimmage yards and a landing. The 49ers are 9-0 when CMC begins, and he has stored a workforce down its prime two QBs and greatest wideout going. The ex-Panther now has 1,801 scrimmage yards — third within the league — but was not voted to hold with the Mannings at this new-age Professional Bowl. It’s laborious to overstate how a lot worth the 49ers (12-4) have gotten from a place that so usually proves fungible. The 49ers displaying this type of efficiency with out Samuel ought to make them the NFC favourite, assuming their protection reawakens.

49ERS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: vs. Cardinals (Solar.)

 

12 of 30

Stidham stunner ends unusual Raiders week

Stidham stunner ends strange Raiders week

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports activities

The Raiders at the moment are the one workforce in NFL historical past to blow 5 10-plus-point leads within the second half. However this now-Jarrett Stidham-quarterbacked workforce being in place to blow a 10-point edge towards the NFL’s greatest protection is a good tribute to the workforce’s non permanent QB. He of zero begins by Week 17 of his fourth season, the ex-Patriots third-stringer doused the 49ers for 365 yards and three TDs. Aided by Davante Adams’ brilliance, Stidham joins Mike White (2021) as the one QBs to drop a 350-3 recreation of their first begin. The Raiders (6-10) giving Derek Carr this early boot makes for a bitter finish to a nine-year partnership — the longest QB1 alliance in Raiders historical past — and the workforce has large inquiries to reply. However Stidham ought to at the least have a roster spot subsequent season.

RAIDERS GRADE: B-plus | NEXT: vs. Chiefs (Sat.)

 

13 of 30

Dolphins, once more, unable to surmount QB absence(s)

Dolphins, again, unable to surmount QB absence(s)

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports activities

Lengthy-term considerations about Tua Tagovailoa’s well being will abound till subsequent season, at the least, and Teddy Bridgewater’s lack of ability to remain on the sector is drowning the Dolphins (8-8). Miami has misplaced 5 straight, however Mike McDaniel’s workforce would probably be within the playoffs absent Tagovailoa’s concussion hassle. The Dolphins dropped to 0-4 in video games Tua doesn’t end, and Bridgewater (damaged finger) has not completed both of his begins. Skylar Thompson’s cameo gave the Patriots a layup, although it was not the prettiest basket, however the Dolphins have a transparent avenue to salvage this mess of a stretch run. With the Pats dealing with the Payments, the Fins probably have a win-and-in likelihood. However they are going to in all probability want Tua. Can they redeploy the starter who has suffered as many as three concussions this season?

DOLPHINS GRADE: C-minus | NEXT: vs. Jets (Solar.)

 

14 of 30

Patriots protection nonetheless offering backboard

Patriots defense still providing backboard

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports activities

The Patriots are about to complete with a top-10 scoring protection for the 18th time in 20 years. Though consideration is understandably fixated on New England’s ill-conceived offense, Invoice Belichick’s unit did its job towards Miami. Christian Barmore matched his profession excessive with six pressures, and Kyle Dugger took an interception again for a rating. Dugger is quietly having an influence season. The previous Division II security has scored three of the Pats’ six defensive touchdowns. There are nonetheless locations the place the Pats (8-8) are in good condition, however contemplating how secure a wager it’s for Belichick to subject dependable defenses, their future hinges on how he handles the opposite facet of the ball.

PATRIOTS GRADE: B | NEXT: at Payments (Solar.)

 

15 of 30

Cross interference name places Broncos again on script

Pass interference call puts Broncos back on script

David Eulitt/Getty Photographs

As they did within the rivals’ Denver matchup final month, the Broncos capitalized on Chiefs turnovers to scare the AFC West champs. They led 17-13 late within the third quarter, and Courtland Sutton beat a Chiefs double-team for a 44-yard seize on third-and-11. As a substitute of a possible scoring march, an iffy offensive move interference name put the Broncos (4-12) on their typical monitor. The now-Jerry Rosburg-coached workforce surrendered TDs on the following two Chiefs drives, and though Russell Wilson fared decently given the now-crazy criticism blitz he has obtained, the Broncos reverted to type with a ninth one-score loss. This Nathaniel Hackett-orchestrated season ties 2010’s Josh McDaniels-fueled catastrophe for probably the most losses in franchise historical past. Can Walmart {dollars} lure a high-profile coach?

BRONCOS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: vs. Chargers (Solar.)

 

16 of 30

Chiefs near stealing AFC’s No. 1 seed

Chiefs close to stealing AFC's No. 1 seed

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports activities

The Chiefs (13-3) are using an easier-than-expected schedule to a possible heist of the AFC’s prime seed. They’ve misplaced to the Payments and Bengals and will have dipped additional under their AFC rivals within the weeks since these video games, however a slate affected by disappointing or injury-riddled opposition has produced an opportunity at a cozier Tremendous Bowl path. Jerick McKinnon once more scored two TDs towards the Broncos, compensating for the Chiefs’ two-turnover recreation and inconsistent wideouts. The 30-year-old again has been a revelation on a league-minimum deal, however Kansas Metropolis needing him this a lot is a little bit of a pink flag. Nonetheless, a flawed Chiefs workforce having the possibility to play solely one of many Payments-Bengals duo in January is a significant alternative.

CHIEFS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: at Raiders (Sat.)

 

17 of 30

Jets can be open for enterprise at quarterback

Jets will be open for business at quarterback

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports activities

Mike White’s 23-for-46 day included two INTs and a misplaced fumble, and after the Jets (7-9) waited on their widespread passer to avoid wasting the day, his return sank them. This wayward season will prolong the Jets’ playoff drought to 12 years — passing the late-Joe Namath/early-Richard Todd years for the longest in workforce historical past — and White crashlanding in Seattle will entice the workforce to hop on what needs to be one other frenzied QB carousel. White, who generated momentum towards dangerous Bears and Vikings defenses, is due at no cost company. The Jets can have a choice to make in February: push for a Derek Carr commerce or wait till March for Jimmy Garoppolo. However the workforce can be intently linked to each, as White and Zach Wilson couldn’t assist this refueled protection to the playoffs.

JETS GRADE: D-minus | NEXT: at Dolphins (Solar.)

 

18 of 30

Darrell Taylor turning into dependable Seahawks rusher

Darrell Taylor becoming reliable Seahawks rusher

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports activities

Not but an everyday starter and having missed his rookie season, Taylor is nonetheless rising late in his third yr. The previous second-round choose dropped White for a career-high 2.5 sacks, beating two ex-Seahawk tackles — George Fant and former teammate Duane Brown — on velocity rushes. Taylor (8.5 sacks) now has 5.5 in his previous 5 video games, serving to to justify the Day 2 funding and support an undependable Seattle protection. The Seahawks (8-8) swapped out most of their edge rushers this offseason, however Taylor has turn out to be a robust complement to UFA pickup Uchenna Nwosu. Barring the Packers collapsing at dwelling to the Lions, the Seahawks’ string of second-half losses will maintain them out of the playoffs. However this workforce has rebuilt rapidly; its roster needs to be higher in 2023.

SEAHAWKS GRADE: A | NEXT: vs. Rams (Solar.)

 

19 of 30

Amari Cooper comes by for slumping Browns

Amari Cooper comes through for slumping Browns

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports activities

Deshaun Watson accomplished 9 passes and nonetheless is 1-for-5 in 200-yard passing video games with the Browns, ending with 169 yards in Washington. It was ok, largely due to Cooper. He accomplished a textbook turn-and-go sequence, shedding a Kendall Fuller deal with for a game-altering TD, and located himself huge open for a second rating to place away a Commanders workforce taking part in for its playoff life. Cooper and Watson will presumably have higher days, although the latter’s begin — even contemplating the traditionally uncommon circumstances — has to concern Cleveland (7-9) a bit. Sunday represented a stable building-block level. 

BROWNS GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: at Steelers (Solar.)

 

20 of 30

January Carson Wentz sinks one other workforce

January Carson Wentz sinks another team

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports activities

In a begin which will transfer him off even the bridge-QB radar for subsequent season, Wentz burned the Commanders for misguided religion. After a pleasant off-the-bench displaying in San Francisco, Wentz torched Washington’s playoff aspirations with a three-INT outing. Two of the picks got here on deep passes into double protection, each touchdown within the arms of Browns security Grant Delpit, and Denzel Ward’s first-half INT didn’t precisely require an ace effort from the Cleveland nook. The Commanders (7-8-1) traded two Day 2 picks for Wentz however can shed his Eagles-designed contract and save $26.2 million. Ron Rivera has carried out an admirable job given the circumstances, however this Wentz whiff strikes him — honest or not — again to the recent seat. 

COMMANDERS GRADE: D-minus | NEXT: vs. Cowboys (Solar.)

 

21 of 30

Can Bears’ skid transfer them previous end line?

Can Bears' skid move them past finish line?

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports activities

Justin Fields’ progress has obscured the tanking operation GM Ryan Poles enacted. The Bears (3-13) have now misplaced 9 straight. Chicago’s trade- and injury-depleted protection confirmed little resistance towards the Lions, permitting 265 speeding yards. With out his prime receivers and nonetheless growing as a passer, Fields (7-for-21, 75 yards) additionally submitted his worst recreation since September. The Bears will do what they should subsequent week, and selecting second subsequent yr would equip them with a dynamic defender. However the Texans will not be a lock to take a quarterback first general. The Bears’ path to securing their most well-liked defender could hinge on a hideous Texans-Colts matchup.

BEARS GRADE: F | NEXT: vs. Vikings (Solar.)

 

22 of 30

Ex-Deion Sanders switch turning into late Lions bonus

Ex-Deion Sanders transfer becoming late Lions bonus

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports activities

After not producing a lot at Florida, James Houston transferred to Jackson State for his senior yr. He dropped a 16.5-sack season on the Division I-FCS college, and the Lions — who had already drafted edges Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal — took a sixth-round flier. The rookie now has 24.5 sacks over his previous two seasons. Solely bumped up from Detroit’s observe squad on Thanksgiving, Houston has turn out to be a gradual supply of manufacturing. He dropped Fields thrice throughout a efficiency that included a tomahawk strip. The Lions bought 5.5 sacks from their rookie D-end trio, with Paschal including the primary two of his profession. Detroit (8-8) wants some assist to achieve the postseason, however the workforce has assembled plenty of intriguing items throughout Yr 2 of its rebuild.

LIONS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: at Packers (Solar.)

 

23 of 30

Rams full inevitable plunge into historical past

Rams complete inevitable plunge into history

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports activities

Per week after rebounding towards the downtrodden Broncos, the Rams beat out Denver’s 1999 workforce for the worst report by a defending Tremendous Bowl champ (in a non-strike season). Sean McVay’s outfit dropped to 5-11, and whereas not a lot of his troops had been out there for the all-L.A. matchup, the Chargers toyed with a workforce coming off a 51-point outing. Baker Mayfield accomplished 11 passes, undercutting Cam Akers’ sturdy day within the run recreation and in move professional, and Austin Ekeler’s first-half stampede was about all of the Bolts wanted in a 21-point win. The Lions are set to carry two top-10 picks due to this Rams descent, whereas GM Les Snead can have a harder magic act to drag off in 2023.

RAMS GRADE: D-minus | NEXT: at Seahawks (Solar.)

 

24 of 30

Chargers benefiting wildly from Ekeler extension

Chargers benefiting wildly from Ekeler extension

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports activities

Ekeler’s slickly produced campaign video failed to provide a Professional Bowl nod — he in some way has zero profession invitations — however the former undrafted again has supplied extra consistency on his second contract than any of his friends. Ekeler made fast work of a battered Rams entrance, gashing it for a 72-yard TD and ending with 161 from scrimmage. The Chargers ditched Melvin Gordon for his backup in 2020, extending Ekeler on only a $6 million-per-year deal. Ekeler now has 18 TDs, main the NFL for a second straight yr. He has 38 since 2021. No again from the loaded 2017 class has outproduced him since groups doled out their respective extensions. Ekeler represents a central motive the Chargers (10-6) can be a harmful wild-card foe.

CHARGERS GRADE: A | NEXT: at Broncos (Solar.)

 

25 of 30

Josh Allen helps Jaguars roll into do-or-die recreation

Josh Allen helps Jaguars roll into do-or-die game

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports activities

Jacksonville will head into its greatest recreation in 5 years on a four-game run, and whereas Travis Etienne cruised previous the Texans’ woeful run protection, the workforce’s move rush ensured Davis Mills and Co. wouldn’t compete Sunday. The Jags pressured Mills on 54.3% of his dropbacks, marking their highest strain price since Week 1 of the 2017 season, per Subsequent Gen Stats. The “Sacksonville” debut recreation was the Jags’ earlier win over the Texans. This time, Josh Allen got here by with a TD-producing sack strip and led the best way with a career-best 9 pressures. Contemplating the state of the Titans, NBC execs can be hoping Trevor Lawrence’s workforce books the Saturday afternoon wild-card slot. 

JAGUARS GRADE: A | NEXT: vs. Titans (Sat.)

 

26 of 30

Texans have difficult process to hold onto No. 1 spot

Texans have tricky task to hang onto No. 1 spot

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports activities

Bothering little with competing towards the Jaguars, regardless of their nine-game win streak on this collection coming in, the Texans (2-13-1) nonetheless lead the Bears for the No. 1 general choose. Whereas the Bears will not be a menace to take a first-round quarterback, they’d certainly be prepared to commerce the choose to a QB-seeking workforce. The one method for the Texans to forestall this state of affairs from affecting their plans — which in all probability ought to embody a passer, with Alabama’s Bryce Younger main the best way early — can be to lose to the Colts. That recreation may spearhead a push for an NFL lottery, because the Texans will run into an opponent struggling to a level that may make defending that draft slot troublesome.

TEXANS GRADE: F | NEXT: at Colts (Solar.)

 

27 of 30

J.J. Watt took backroad to superstardom

J.J. Watt took backroad to superstardom

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports activities

Watt lower off what would have been one other free company sweepstakes by saying his retirement, wrapping his profession on a fast-sinking Cardinals workforce (4-12). The all-time nice collected one other sack within the Playing cards’ loss to the Falcons, giving him 10.5 this season and 112.5 for his profession. The latter quantity doesn’t do his profession justice; Watt’s otherworldly run from 2012-15 — which nonetheless options the highest three TFL seasons from anybody this century — can be robust to prime. Watt additionally managed to turn out to be an NFL megastar regardless of taking part in for 2 of the league’s lowest-profile groups. Whereas the 33-year-old retiring wholesome is paramount, it could have been enjoyable to see him contribute to a Tremendous Bowl contender subsequent yr.

CARDINALS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: at 49ers (Solar.)

 

28 of 30

Falcons recognized O-line cornerstone this season

Falcons identified O-line cornerstone this season

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports activities

The Falcons damage their draft place by edging the Cardinals in Week 17’s solely recreation between two no-hopers. Tyler Allgeier’s 83 yards led a Falcons floor assault that totaled 132, and Cordarrelle Patterson’s 22-yard run launched a game-winning drive highlighted by a Desmond Ridder pinpoint toss to MyCole Pruitt. The Falcons (6-10) rank third in speeding, and whereas Marcus Mariota’s presence led to a run dedication, guard Chris Lindstrom’s Professional Bowl season warrants consideration. Professional Soccer Focus has the fourth-year blocker miles forward of each different guard this season. In what could possibly be a forgotten season, the previous first-rounder probably secured a large cost to assist shepherd Arthur Smith’s rebuild.

FALCONS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: vs. Buccaneers (Solar.) 

 

29 of 30

Sans OBJ, Cowboys have good goal array

Sans OBJ, Cowboys have nice target array

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports activities

The countless back-and-forth between the Cowboys and Odell Beckham Jr. turned nauseating, and as of Monday, it appears like Dallas (12-4) will go into the playoffs with its present crew. That’s not a foul factor. After T.Y. Hilton’s catch on third-and-30 led to the Eagles being denied the No. 1 seed, Dalton Schultz got here by with a leaping landing catch to fend off a surprisingly frisky Titans workforce. Schultz flatlined through the Cooper Rush stretch however has scored 5 TDs since Dak Prescott returned. Schultz, Hilton, Tony Pollard, and Michael Gallup characterize a high-quality CeeDee Lamb complementary cadre.

COWBOYS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: at Commanders (Solar.)

 

30 of 30

Will Titans’ season relaxation in Josh Dobbs’ palms?

Will Titans' season rest in Josh Dobbs' hands?

George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Dobbs has migrated from Cleveland to Detroit to Nashville over the previous six weeks, and a former fourth-round choose who had by no means began a recreation in six NFL seasons appears like he’ll get the decision towards the Jaguars. Regardless of being with the Titans for per week, the ex-Tennessee Volunteer confirmed his oft-mentioned brainpower by greedy the playbook to the purpose the Titans had been transferring the ball by the air regardless of a backup O-line taking part in. That has not occurred beneath Malik Willis. Dobbs (17 regular-season move makes an attempt from 2017 till Thursday) can be some of the uncommon starters to get the decision in a do-or-die recreation, however the Titans — trying to go from 7-3 to 7-9 to the playoffs — look to be in higher palms with him.

TITANS GRADE: C | NEXT: at Jaguars (Sat.)

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