The NFL started out the year right with a memorable week 17. From Matt Flynn’s explosion onto the scene to the Broncos and Bengals backing into the playoffs, there was plenty of movements and action. Each and every team has a definite direction after the final week of the 2011-2012 regular season and in the rest of this article we’ll break down where each team is headed.
The final scores are listed with the results for both the winning and losing team. After that you can find the schedule for the NFL Playoffs this coming weekend with game-times and the TV Network that will carry the games. At the very bottom of the article are the top 20 in the NFL draft which are now set (except for coin flips) and locked in. Those teams jump into draft prep, while the other 12 get ready for the playoffs. We’ll have a preview of all the playoff games throughout this week, so come back later this week and check out our previews, picks, and analysis.
Here’s your week 17 analysis.
Final Scores and Results
Patriots 49, Bills 21
Patriots clinch #1 seed throughout the AFC playoffs. Bills finish 6-10 and pick 10th overall. Early mocks project DE/LB Courtney Upshaw from Alabama as a possible target for Buffalo.
Packers 45, Lions 41
The Packers already had the #1 seen in the NFC playoffs secured, but Matt Flynn made himself some serious money in free agency by shredding the Lions secondary for 6 TDs and 480 yards. Depending on where he lands, he could be a valuable fantasy QB next year. The Lions, meanwhile, fall to the #6 seed and instead of visiting the Giants in NYC they have to re-visit New Orleans where they were beaten in week 13, 31-17. How many points can Drew Brees hang on these guys?
49ers 34, Rams 27
The Niners wrapped up the #2 seed in the NFC and will host one of the winners from Wild Card Weekend. The Rams secured the #2 seed by losing and the word is that Coach Steve Spaguola and their GM are on their way out. There will definitely be trade potential as many teams will be looking to trade up and get Robert Griffin III. The Rams, if they keep the pick, could go with WR Justin Blackmon from Ok St. to give Sam Bradford a major weapon opposite Brandon Lloyd.
Dolphins 19, Jets 17
The Jets were eliminated from the playoffs with this loss and will pick 16th in the draft this coming April. Early mocks have linebackers like Vontaze Burfict or Zack Brown headed to Rex Ryan’s D. The Dolphins win gives them the 8th or 9th pick and it’ll be interesting to see what direction they go. If they like Landry Jones, QB from Oklahoma, they could grab him here or they could try and shore up the right side of the O-line with a pick like Johnathon Martin from Stanford.
Bears 17, Vikings 13
The Vikings secured the 3 pick with the loss and all signs point to them taking Matt Kalil, the OT from USC. The Bears finish 8-8 with this win and will pick 19th. They could target a receiver like Alshon Jeffrey-South Carolina, Dwight Jones-UNC, or Michael Floyd-Notre Dame.
Saints 45, Panthers 17
The Saints went all out in an attempt to get the #2 seed, but since the 9ers won, they’ll be the #3 hosting the Lions next week. The Panthers will be picking either 8th or 9th (decided by coin flip with the Dolphins) and could be looking for defensive help like Dre Kirkpaptrick (CB-Alabama) or Quinton Coples (DE-UNC).
Eagles 34, Redskins 10
Both these NFC East teams are headed home earlier than they wanted to this year. In the draft, the Eagles will select 15th and the Redskins 6th. Washington desperately needs a QB and could try to go get RG3 or go with Landry Jones. The Eagles may go defensive with an LB like Luke Kuechly of BC or Zack Brown of UNC.
Jaguars 19, Colts 13
The Colts clinches the #1 overall pick with this loss and everyone agrees at this point that Andrew Luck is the pick. Tony Dungy said he would take RG3 over Luck, but the Colts will go with conventional wisdom and get Peyton Manning’s successor. The Jags dropped to the 7th pick with this win and will most likely target a WR to help Blaine Gabbert out. They could go Michael Floyd or Dwight Jones depending on who is left and who does the best in the pre-draft process.
Titans 23, Texans 22
The Titans kept their playoff hopes alive with this win, but they didn’t get the help they needed so will not make the playoffs this year. They’re the only 9-7 team on the outside, and as a result will pick 20th. They’ll most likely try to bolster either their offensive or defensive line with the best available player in the trenches at this point. This game was meaningless to the Texans as they had the 3 seed locked up before the game. Houston will host the Bengals next week in a rematch of the week 14 20-19 thriller in Cincinnati.
Falcons 45, Bucs 24
The Falcons win coupled the Lions loss moved Atlanta up into the 5th seed which means they avoid playing the Saints in the first round which would have been the 3rd time this year they had to deal with Drew Brees. Instead they’ll head to the Big Apple and face-off with Eli Manning. The Buccaneers lost their 10th game in a row and will pick 5th in the coming draft. They could either go defense with Morris Claiborne, a top notch CB from LSU, or go with offense and take Trent Richardson, the RB from Alabama.
Ravens 23, Bengals 16
Both teams get into the playoffs with the results across the league. The Ravens secure the #2 with a win and get a bye in Wild Card Week. The Bengals get in despite the loss since only they and the Titans finished at 9-7 in the AFC (the Jets, Broncos, and Raiders could have with wins) and the Bengals beat the Titans head-to-head week 9. They’ll be the 6 seed and head to Houston for a rematch with the Texans who edged them out in Cincinnati 20-19.
Steelers 13, Browns 9
The Steelers win could have moved them up in the playoff seedings, but didn’t since the Ravens held on against the Bengals. They’ll be the 5 seed next week and head to Denver to face the backing-in Broncos. As far as the Browns go, they are the only member of the AFC North not in the playoffs, and they’ll be picking #4 in the draft. They will have lots of options in that spot and may try to move up for Griffin or just wait and take him at 4. If getting Griffin isn’t possible they could go defensive and grab Dre Kirkpatrick to pair with Joe Haden at corners and have a young, dynamic secondary.
Chiefs 7, Broncos 3
Tebow time never came for Tim on Sunday as he struggled all day and couldn’t find the end zone even once while connecting on only 6 of 22 pass attempts for only 60 yards. It won’t get easier for him next week as the Steelers roll into the Mile-High city to face the #4 seed 8-8 Broncos. The Chiefs get the win here, but as a result slide to the 11th or 12th pick. Most early mocks agree that they’ll take a long, hard look at a QB and may pick either Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M or Landry Jones from OU.
Chargers 38, Raiders 26
The Raiders were eliminated from the playoffs with this loss and will wonder what could have been if it wasn’t for the mental mistakes and foolish penalties that haunted them all year. Cincinnati will enjoy their #17 pick as part of an earlier trade (Carson Palmer deal) and could go a lot of different directions on this. I think they’ll look at a RB to get their big three with Andy Dalton and AJ Green complete. The Chargers won this game dropping them to the 18th pick which they will most likely lose to bulk up the D-line.
Cardinals 23, Seahawks 20
The Cardinals winning this in OT means they’ll be picking #13. Every draft I’ve seen has them going with a offensive tackle, either Jonathan Martin from Stanford or Riley Reiff from Iowa. The Seahawks meanwhile move up to 11 or 12 (coin flip) and they’ll hope that Ryan Tannehill falls to them. Since both they and the Chiefs are looking at QB Tannehill’s future could be determined by the simplest of all tie-breakers, the coin flip. I’m all for switching this final tie-breaker to rock, paper, scissors. Wouldn’t it be cool to see representatives from each team at half-time of a playoff game playing for the future of their franchises?The drama and theater would be incredible, or at least a lot better than a coin flip nobody gets to see… If all the first-round graded QB’s are gone, the Seahawks probably take the best pass rushing D-End on the board.
Giants 31, Cowboys 14
The Giants won what practically was the first game of the playoffs eliminating their rival Cowboys and claiming the NFC East. As their reward, they’ll be the #4 seed and host a hot Atlanta Falcons team in the chilly N-Y-C. The Cowboys will try to regroup and make another run at the playoffs next year. Part of their plan will include the #14 pick. You never know for sure with Jerry Jones, but the ‘Boys will probably go defensive and take either a DT/DE or the best available cornerback. I’ve seen CB/S Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska mentioned here, and that seems like a very natural fit for Dallas.
NFL Playoff Schedule
Saturday, January 7
4:30-Bengals at Texans on NBC
8:00-Lions at Saints on NBC
Sunday, January 8
1:00-Falcons at Giants on FOX
4:30-Steelers at Broncos on CBS
Teams with a bye: Patriots, Ravens, Packers, 49ers
NFL Draft Order:
1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14)
2. St. Louis Rams (2-14)
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13)
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12)
5. Tampa Bay Bucs (4-12)
6. Washington Redskins (5-11)
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)
8. Carolina Panthers (6-10) (coin flip)
8. Miami Dolphins (6-10) (coin flip)
10. Buffalo Bills (6-10)
11. Seattle Seahawks (7-9) (coin flip)
11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9) (coin flip)
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
16. New York Jets (8-8)
17. Oakland Raiders (8-8) (traded to Cincinnati)
18. San Diego Chargers (8-8)
19. Chicago Bears (8-8)
20. Tennessee Titans (9-7)