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NFL Week 17 Winners and Losers

The regular season is rapidly reaching its conclusion as there is only one week left. Two playoff spots remain unclaimed in the AFC with five teams fighting for them. In the NFC there is only one golden ticket left for two teams to fight over. The NFC’s top seed has been wrapped up by the Packers, but the AFC’s top seed is still very much up for grabs. Some dreams died this week while others were realized. With the pressure ramping up, some teams flourished while others wilted. So, let’s see who won and lost this week.

Winner #1 Tennessee Titans
Sunday was just about the perfect day for the Titans and their fans. First off, they beat the Dolphins to clinch the AFC South division—although the Colts losing meant they were going to clinch anyway. They then saw the Chiefs lose to the Bengals, which once again gives the Titans the number one seed in the conference. A win next week against the Texans clinches the number one seed and a first-round bye. The first-round bye is crucial for this team because it gives RB Derrick Henry an extra week of rest. A healthy Derrick Henry makes this team a legitimate contender. Taking care of business next week will go a long way towards the ultimate goal.
Loser #1 Dallas Cowboys
Everything was shaping up perfectly for the Cowboys, and then it all turned against them. Entering the day, the Cowboys had the number two seed in the conference. The Rams and the Buccaneers, the Cowboys main competitors, were both losing late in the 4th quarter. Cowboy fans then watched in horror as both teams pulled off last minute touchdowns to win. But that wouldn’t matter as long as the Cowboys beat Arizona. Dallas fans once again had to watch in horror as Arizona outplayed their favorite team. With the loss the Cowboys fell all the way down to the 4th seed. It’s far from an ideal situation as Dallas will likely get the toughest road to the Super Bowl among division winners.

Winner #2 Los Angeles Rams

The Cowboys loss is the Rams gain as they now assume the number two seed. The Rams couldn’t win the division, thanks to Arizona winning, but for now they have the two seed. If they win next week against the 49ers, the Rams win the division as well as secure the two seed. This is important because it allows the Rams to avoid the Packers for the longest period of time. It also means that as long as they don’t play the Packers, the Rams will get to play at home. With the Super Bowl being at the Rams home stadium, this could end up being a very favorable road to the Super Bowl. But once again they must beat a 49ers team that has beaten them five times in a row.
Loser #2 Indianapolis Colts
All the Colts had to do on Sunday was win and they would’ve clinched a playoff spot. Instead, a 23-20 loss to the Raiders now puts their playoff hopes in jeopardy. A win next week secures their place in the playoffs. The team standing in their way is the lowly Jaguars, but there is a bit of a trick to this. The Colts have not won in Jacksonville since 2014 and will need to get over that hump. Now, there are some scenarios that allow the Colts to get in even if they lose, but it would be best to keep destiny in their own hands. After looking strong in the back half of the season, the Colts might just be fading at the worst time possible.
Winner #3 NFL Fans
Week 17 was a wild ride with teams constantly swapping in and out of playoff positions. We saw several late game comebacks that will end up having huge ramifications for the playoffs. All that excitement and we still found ourselves in a scenario where week 18 has a lot at stake. It was just about the perfect weekend for the NFL and its fans. Week 17 produced many storylines and lots of drama. But most importantly it set the stage for week 18 to potentially be brilliant. Despite much opposition to the added game, the NFL looks poised to have an explosive finish to the season. At the end of the day, this is exactly what the NFL wanted.
Loser #3 Antonio Brown
I normally wouldn’t use a whole section on one knucklehead, but Mr. Brown left me no choice. The antics he displayed on Sunday were inexcusable. For those of you that don’t know, Antonio Brown stripped off his jersey and pads in the middle of the game. He then paraded himself in the end zone half naked before exiting down the tunnel. It’s just the latest act in what has become a circus for Brown. Let us not forget that Brown was suspended three games this season for presenting a fake vaccination card. He has become a major distraction for a team trying to defend their title. Thanks to his actions he won’t be on the Buccaneers team any longer. His antics will likely cost him money as well as a shot at winning another title.

Justin Walker

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