(Photo By: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer)
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
LinkedIn: Matt Di Domenico | LinkedIn
Week #17 in the NFL was full of huge moments between fans falling out of the stands in Washington, to a Joe Burrow nameplate being ripped off, and then finally a troubled Antonio Brown walking off the football field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which looks like to be the final sight of a talented player in Brown being on an NFL team. We also saw the first team to capture the #1 seed in their conference which is the Green Bay Packers who look red-hot. Below are the 3 winners and 3 losers for week #17 in the NFL.
What a masterpiece of a game for the Cincinnati Bengals and their fans down there in the jungle. Joe Burrow once again had a huge day with his favorite target in Ja’Marr Chase who will be trouble for the rest of this league for a long time to come. This duo paired up for a total of 266 passing yards for 3 TDs. Those are numbers that will make you sick as a Kansas City Chiefs fan to see. Burrow was 30 for 39 with 446 total passing yards and had 4 TDs. Being able to win this game, granted Cincinnati the AFC North title. Obviously, we all need to get the extended word on Burrows' injury that happened at the end of this game, but this Bengals team is a dangerous team that no AFC team should want to play.
HC Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
After the tough loss to the Buffalo Bills last week, the New England Patriots and their head coach in Bill Belichick really bounced back. Sure it was against arguably the worst team in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars but we need to give Belichick the credit for the job he has done this year. Having a rookie QB and going 10-6 and possibly 11-6 if they win next week is not an easy thing to do. This defense had a bad game last week and they got to get a bounce back here. Of course, why would you want to play this New England team in the playoffs? Belichick's teams are always a challenge to beat because they will fight to the end. It certainly is going to be interesting to see who will have to take on New England in the wildcard round. A possible Bills vs Patriots game is the matchup now, but we will see by the end of next week.
RB AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
I was going to put Kyler Murray here at #3 but I wanted to mix it up and give huge credit to the player that pretty much wrapped up the #1 seed for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. Against the Minnesota Vikings, AJ Dillon did not have huge eye-popping numbers but did a ton of dirty work to put this game away. Dillon rushed 14 times for 63 yards and had 2 huge goal-line TDs to win the game. Dillon is the back and reason why if it is below 10 degrees in the playoffs, it is going to be a huge challenge for any NFC team to beat this Packers team. The amount of physicality that Dillon possesses to break down a defense in a cold game like this is hard to find. Defenders are not going to want to continuously try to hit this guy in the open field if the Packers have the lead. If Aaron Rodgers can right this ship, and the Packers play with leads heading into the late 3rd and 4th quarters, this is the closer that could finally get the Packers over the hump.
1. Dallas Cowboys
After their huge game in week #16 when they put a beatdown on the Washington Football Team, many people were saying that the Cowboys were the #1 team to beat in the NFL. That reality simply was unfair to them because we saw this week against the Arizona Cardinals that they still have some work to do. Their QB in Dak Prescott simply was not having any help with receivers and backs dropping the football throughout this game. Prescott made some mistakes as well and ultimately cost them the football game in the end. What hurts the most in this game for Dallas was losing their deep threat in Michael Gallup. That is a huge blow to this Cowboys team that has struggled in getting huge plays deep down the football field. The running game for the Cowboys is a huge up and down roller coaster that needs to find their way in the playoffs or it could be an early exit. This loss cost Dallas the #1 seed and they now will be playing in the wildcard round.
2. Kansas City Chiefs Defense
The Kansas City Chiefs defense simply got beaten by this Cincinnati Bengals offense in all assets. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase put on a show which was stated before. Giving up a total of 475 yards simply cannot happen if the Chiefs expect to get back to the Super Bowl for the 3rd straight year. The inability to create turnovers in a big-time game like this has to happen and simply it did not. We know what Chris Jones brings to the party with this Chiefs defense but others around him have to step up. Losing this game cost Kansas City the ability to be in the driver's seat for the #1 seed in the AFC. The Chiefs will have to win next week and get some help if they want to have that first-round bye.
3. WR Antonio Brown, Free Agent
What happened in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game with their now former receiver in Antonio Brown is something you just do not want to see. There is obviously something wrong with Brown and the ability to go seek help is something we all hope he does. All the stories over the years with Brown are just scary and it is a shame because the guy has so much talent. It is also scary because Brown has a family and people that look up to him. This was probably Browns last time ever on an NFL field with a team. Hopefully, the NFL had someone to reach out to him to take that next step of getting his life back on track. In the end, Brown cost himself money, a chance to win a 2nd Super Bowl, and most importantly relationships that he has built within the Buccaneers organization.