The regular season of the NFL is coming to an exciting end as the battle for the seedlings of the playoffs goes to the wire.
The first game series produced some shocking results before a midday game between Seahawks and 49ers that will decide the NFC’s number one seed.
That’s where things are.
AFC: PATRIOTS SINKED BY DOLPHINS
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will play in the post season one week earlier than usual this year.
The reigning Super Bowl champions open the playoffs over the weekend with the jokers for the first time since 2009 after losing Sunday 27-24 in Miami Sunday and Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City leaders beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-21 for earn a first round bye.
“We didn’t play the way we were able to play and it cost us in the end,” said Brady. “Too many wrong mistakes.”
The Patriots (12-4) are the seed n. 3 General of the AFC and will have to fix things quickly as they will host Tennessee, Pittsburgh or Oakland next weekend.
“We have a game next week, we have to get ready to leave,” said Patriot Security Devin McCourty. “Nobody should feel sorry for us, we shouldn’t feel sorry for ourselves. Our goal is to play in the playoffs. Next week we had a shot at all of this.”
The Titans were playing in Houston on Sunday, the Steelers were in Baltimore and the Raiders were in Denver.
Tennessee has the easiest path to reach the end point: if the Titans win, they are inside. Pittsburgh must win and make the Titans lose. Oakland must win, make both Tennessee and Pittsburgh lose – and make Indianapolis win in Jacksonville, which would give the Raiders the anchoring of the playoffs based on the strength of the program.
The last time New England played on the weekend with the jokers, they lost at home to the crows. The Patriots never made it to Super Bowl with Brady and coach Bill Belichick as they played in the opening round.
The Chiefs (12-4) are the seed n. 2 and will be able to attend the opening round, together with the Baltimore Ravens with the upper suit. The Kansas City win also blocked Houston in seed number 4, and the Texans will host the Buffalo Bills (10-6) next weekend.
NFC: PACKERS GRAB TOP SEED … FOR NOW
In the NFC, Green Bay earned at least one goodbye in the first round with a 23-20 win in Detroit. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (13-3) will wait for the result on the San Francisco-Seattle matchup (12.30 pm AEDT) to see if they will have the overall seed n. 1 – and the home field advantage – in the conference. If the 49ers win, they get it. Otherwise, the packers will be in first place.
“We are thrilled,” said Rodgers after helping his team reach their fifth consecutive win. “But you have to start over in the playoffs and now they are all great football teams, so the margin of error is even smaller.”
New Orleans drove Carolina 42-10 to finish 13-3 in the regular season, but Drew Brees and Co. will also have to wait to see what their playoff path will be.
Southern NFC champions can’t get a home advantage because of Green Bay’s victory, but they can earn a goodbye in the first round if Seattle beats San Francisco.
A 49er victory would push the saints to seed no. 3 and a home game against Minnesota in the wildcard round of next weekend.
East of NFC is still up for grabs, with Philadelphia only needing a road victory against the New York Giants to conquer it. If the Eagles lose, Dallas can win the division by beating Washington at home. “The NFC is completely open,” said Rodgers. “I think the advantage of the home court can be very important.”
Results of the week 17: Jets 13 Bills 6, Bengals 33 Browns 23, Packers 23 Lions 20, Chiefs 31 Chargers 21, Bears 21 Vikings 19, Dolphins 27 Patriots 24, Falcons 28 Buccaneers 22, Saints 42 Panthers 10
Still to come: Cowboys v Redskins, Broncos v Raiders, Rams v Cardinals, Giants v Eagles, Jaguars v Colts, Ravens v Steelers, Seahawks v 49ers
Playoff week one:
AFC: 1. Ravens (hello), 2. Chiefs (hello), 3. Patriots vs 6. Titans / Steelers / Raiders, 4. Texans v 5. Bills
NFC: Vikings (6) only the currently blocked position. The packers will finish 1st or 2nd, Saints 2nd or 3rd, 49th 1st or 5th, Seahawk 2nd or 5th, while Eagles or Cowboys will finish fourth.