NFL Recap Week 16

The season has flown by, but we are at the finish line and there is some more football betting to be had. The playoff picture has been set in one conference, but not fully set. The other conference still needs a lot of deciding in the final day of the season. Did the Colts stay perfect? To the recap….

Buffalo 3, Atlanta 31- Matt Ryan went 18-35 for 250 yards and three touchdowns (two to Roddy White), and the Atlanta Falcons made short work of the Buffalo Bills in a 31-3 victory. Atlanta scored on its opening drive when Ryan found White for a 42 yard pass, and the defense just never let up on the Bills, forcing them into 41 yards rushing, and 179 for the game. Ryan also hooked up with Marty Booker for a 12 yard pass, and rookie defensive end Lawrence Sidbury ran a fumble back for 11 yards, and gave the Falcons a 24-0 lead and led to a 24-3 halftime after Rian Lindell’s field goal gave Buffalo its only points of the game. Brian Brohm was the starting quarterback for Buffalo, since Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards both sat out with ankle injuries. He went 17-29 for 146 yards and two interceptions. The Bills long season is almost over, and the Falcons have a chance to post back to back winning seasons for the first time in their 44 year franchise history, which would be great for the organization and its fans. Bills (5-10), Falcons (8-7)

Kansas City 10, Cincinnati 17- Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Chad Ochocinco on a 98 yard drive that gave the Cincinnati Bengals a hard-fought 17-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, and gave them the AFC North division championship and reaching the playoffs for the second time in just 19 years. They still were carrying heavin hearts from the death of fallen teammate Chris Henry, who was laid to rest five days ago in his native Louisiana. Palmer first found Laveranues Coles for a 10 yard touchdown reception, and then the pass to Ochocinco in the fourth. Cedric Benson also had a good day, with 29 carries for 133 yards, setting a franchise record with his sixth straight 100-yard game. The Chiefs bright spot was Jamaal Charles, who ran for 102 yards on 24 carries on his birthday, and Matt Cassel went 22-37 for 180 yards with a 20 yd TD pass to running back Tim Castille to tie the game at 10 early in the fourth quarter. Larry Johnson, who had this game marked personally and was looking to show out against his former team, only settled for four carries for 11 yards, but he will see the postseason, while the Chiefs are heading to another four or fewer win season for the third year in a row. Chiefs (3-12), Bengals (10-5)

Oakland 9, Cleveland 23- Jerome Harrison ran for 148 yards on 39 carries, and a touchdown and Derek Anderson threw for 121 yards and a touchdown, and the Cleveland Browns won their third straight game and quite possibly may have saved Eric Mangini’s job (or at least improved his chances) with a 23-9 home victory over the Raiders. The Browns have found a new running back in Harrison, who had 125+ yards for the second straight game following a 286 yard, franchise record effort against the Kansas City Chiefs. Anderson, starting for the first time since November 1st, was efficient, and most importantly, did now turn the ball over. On the week where it was announced that Mike Holmgren was announced as the new Browns’ president, Mangini showed why he should at least get a chance to show what he can do with this team that has finally found themselves after wins over Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and now Oakland. The Browns will seek their first four-game win streak in the expansion era when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. The Raiders still are trying to find ways to beat the bad teams just like they can beat the good ones. Raiders (5-10), Browns (4-11)

Seattle 10, Green Bay 48- Brandon Jackson had three touchdowns, Ryan Grant had two, and the Green Bay Packers’ defense intercepted Matt Hasselbeck four times, and the Green Bay Packers dismantled the Seattle Seahawks and clinched a spot in the NFC playoffs. Green Bay will be a Wild Card team, it is yet to be determined what seed they will be (either 5 or 6). Aaron Rodgers, who went 12-23 for 237 yards started the day by finding Jackson, who then complimented his receiving touchdown with two rushing touchdowns in the third. Ryan Grant scored two touchdowns in the first half, the first one from three yards out and the second one from 56 yards which helped the Pack to a 21-3 lead. Ahman Green also scored for Green Bay, who really turned things around after the Brett Favre saga, and a disappointing 6-10 record and turned it into a playoff berth. The Seahawks did get a touchdown from Hasselbeck, as he found John Carlson for a 16 yard score, but the game was 48-3 and well out of reach. The question is now: Is the Hasselbeck era over in Seattle and is it time for a change at QB? Very disappointing season for Seattle after such high hopes that it would get back to the team that made the postseason six straight years from 02-07. Seahawks (5-10), Packers (10-5)

Houston 27, Miami 20- Matt Schaub went 20-31 for 286 yards and two touchdowns, and the Houston Texans opened up a 27-0 lead before halftime, and survived the Miami Dolphins’ comeback attempt with a 27-20 victory that kept them alive, and all but eliminated Miami from the AFC playoff picture. Schaub found Andre Johnson for a 10 yard touchdown in the first quarter, and then Jacoby Jones for a 44 yard connection in the second quarter. Arian Foster ran for 97 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter, which propelled the Texans to a 27-0 lead early and a 27-3 halftime lead. Over the final 31 minutes of the game, the Dolphins mounted a comeback with 20 unanswered points, but their upset bid fell short when Houston recovered an onside kick to seal the victory.

Jacksonville 7, New England 35- Tom Brady went 23-26 for 267 yards and four touchdowns (three to Randy Moss), and the New England Patriots clinched the AFC East division and a playoff spot, by outplaying a Jacksonville Jaguars team that was once in the drivers seat for the AFC Wild Card, but are virtually eliminated from contention. Wes Welker caught 13 passes for 138 yards, and Moss only had four catches for 45 yards, but three of them were for touchdowns (2, 6, 17), and the Patriots jumped out to a 35-0 lead. The Jaguars only touchdown came on a David Garrard two yard run in the fourth quarter. He went 19-25 for 185 yards with two interceptions, and Maurice Jones-Drew was only held to 63 yards rushing. The buzz on Twitter happened when Mike Sims-Walker responded to many fans questions on why he does not get the ball, which will create a “controversy”. Not much should be made, but Twitter is not a good place to vent if you’re an athlete. Jaguars (7-8), Patriots (10-5)

Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 17 (F/OT)- The New Orleans Saints were on their way to a 14-1 start when Garrett Hartley kicked his field goal… that’s what the Superdome thought. They thought wrong. After blowing a 17-0 lead, The Saints gave up 17 points in regulation, and Connor Barth hit the game winning 47 yard field goal to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers an improbable 20-17 victory over the Saints at the Superdome, and raising questions on if the Saints are as unstoppable as they once were when they beat New England 38-17 in Week 12. Cadillac Williams ran for 129 yards on 24 carries, and Michael Spurlock’s 77 yard punt return tied the game at 17 that set up the drama for Hartley’s missed field goal and Barth’s game winner. Drew Brees went 32-37 for 258 yards and a touchdown to Robert Meachem. The Saints not only lost their shot at home-field advantage, but can still clinch if Minnesota loses to Chicago on Monday night, but set history as the first 13-win team to lose to a team coming into the game with two victories. Buccaneers (3-12), Saints (13-2)

Carolina 41, NY Giants 9- Jonathan Stewart ran for a franchise-record 206 yards, and Matt Moore went 15-20 for 171 yards and three touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers closed out Giants’ Stadium with a 41-9 shelling of the New York Giants, and eliminating the Giants from playoff contention. The Panthers’ defense forced the Giants into four turnovers (two fumbles, and two interceptions from Eli Manning). and held the Giants to just 60 yards rushing the whole game. The bad news for the Panthers is that Steve Smith broke his arm after scoring a touchdown, and had successful surgery Monday morning, and is effectively done for the season. The Giants, meanwhile are wondering what happened after a 5-0 start how things could have gone south. Big Blue was a Super Bowl contender, but seven losses in the past 10 games have them not going to the playoffs for the first time in five years. Panthers (7-8), Giants (8-7)

Baltimore 20, Pittsburgh 23- Ben Roethlisberger threw for 259 yards and a touchdown, Rashard Mendenhall ran for a touchdown, and Jeff Reed kicked three field goals, including the game-winning 38 yard field goal, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were almost left for dead, came back alive in the playoff hunt and further complicated the AFC playoff picture. The teams were all field goals until Rashard Mendenhall ran for four yards for a touchdown and made it 13-3. After Joe Flacco found Todd Heap for a touchdown, Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes to make it 20-10. The third quarter included another Flacco to Heap touchdown and a field goal tied it at 20. The Ravens had a golden opportunity to go up by a touchdown, but Derrick Mason dropped a wide-open pass, which led eventually to Reed’s field goal. The Ravens need to win at Oakland to clinch a playoff spot, and Pittsburgh needs to win at Miami and the Ravens would lose at Oakland or the Jets lose at home against Cincinnati to make it to the playoffs. Ravens (8-7), Steelers (8-7)

St. Louis 10, Arizona 31- The Arizona Cardinals are legit, grabbing their first 10-win season in 33 years when the team was in St. Louis, and the got there by beating the team that is currently in their old city, the St. Louis Rams. Kurt Warner went 24-38 for 313 yards and threw two touchdowns, giving him 100 with Arizona and joining Fran Tarkenton as the only players w/ 100+ touchdowns for two different teams, and the Arizona Cardinals made easy work of the St. Louis Rams. Anquan Boldin finished with eight catches for 116 yards, (seven for 100 in the first half). Brandon Gibson had five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown which was ruled an incompletion but overturned after a Rams challenge. Keith Null, starting for the third straight game, going 20-31 for 171 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. The Rams loss has all but clinched them the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. Ndamukong Suh anyone? Rams (1-14), Cardinals (10-5)

Detroit 6, San Francisco 20- Frank Gore scored on a one yard touchdown run, and topped the 1000 yard mark for the fourth straight year, and Alex Smith went 20-31 for 230 yards and a touchdown to Vernon Davis, and the San Francisco 49ers made easy work of the Detroit Lions in the second half and will be looking to finish the season at .500 with a win over St. Louis next week. The Lions’ QB carousel continued as Drew Stanton went 11-21 for 130 yards, but threw three interceptions, and was replaced by Daunte Culpepper, who went 7-12 for 51 yards. Neither QB threw a touchdown. The loss for Detroit was their 20th straight on the road, and for the second year, they went winless away from Ford Field. They appear headed for the #2 pick in the NFL Draft. Lions (2-13), 49ers (7-8)

NY Jets 29, Indianapolis 15- Apparently, perfection did not matter to Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts benched their starters for most of the second half, and the Jets took advantage. Brad Smith scored on a 106 yard kickoff return, and Thomas Jones ran for 105 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown, and the Jets snapped the Colts’ 23 game regular season win streak, and ended their perfect season. The win puts the Jets in the drivers seat for the fifth seed of the AFC, and if they win at home at the Meadowlands against Cincinnati, they are in the playoffs. The Colts will close out their season at Buffalo, and prepare for home-field throughout the playoffs. Peyton Manning went 14-21 for 192 yards before being pulled from the game. Joseph Addai & Donald Brown scored the two touchdown for the Colts in this one. Jim Caldwell has taken a lot of heat for pulling the starters, but he really should not. If the coaches and players were fine with it, then the media should be too. Jets (8-7), Colts (14-1)

Denver 27, Philadelphia 30- David Akers kicked a 28 yard field goal with four seconds left, and helped the Philadelphia Eagles keep their lead in the NFC East and set up a show down in Arlington at Cowboys Stadium with Dallas for not only the NFC East Championship, but for a first round bye (if Minnesota loses both of their final games). Donovan McNabb went 20-35 for 322 yards and three touchdowns, and the Eagles set a new franchise record in total points for the season, giving them 429 after 15 games, surpassing the old mark of 416 yards set just a season ago. Kyle Orton did a good job managing the game for Denver, leading a methodical come back and throwing three touchdowns to go with his 189 yards passing (two to Jabar Gaffney), and leading the Broncos back from a 17 point deficit to tie the game at 27. It was a huge catch by rookie WR Jeremy Maclin on the sidelines for the Eagles that set up the game-winning field goal for the Eagles. The Broncos, who were in the drivers seat for the Wild Card for the past two weeks are on the outside looking in and need to win and either the Jets, Baltimore or Pittsburgh to lose to make it in the playoffs. They host Kansas City next week. Broncos (8-7), Eagles (11-4)

Dallas 17, Washington 0- The December Depression has been detained in Dallas. Tony Romo threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, Marion Barber ran for a touchdown, and Shaun Suisham stuck it to the team that cut him by kicking a field goal from the same spot that costed him his job two weeks ago in the same stadium, and the Dallas Cowboys are back in the playoffs, but could potentially host a playoff game at Cowboys Stadium if they beat the Eagles next Sunday afternoon for the NFC East crown. Dallas has not won a game in January since 2000, and the last time they won a playoff game was 1996. The Redskins are a team in turmoil. They do have a GM in Bruce Allen, and Jim Zorn’s time is already up. The off-field distractions have led to on-field disasters, and a complete overhaul is demanded. Santana Moss had eight catches for 92 yards, and Jason Campbell did not have the best of days, going 24-39 for 199 yards and an interception. He was also sacked three times including a Madden-like sack from Orlando Scandrick. Too much uncertainty going into the offseason, but the ‘Skins need a ton of work. Cowboys (10-5), Redskins (4-11)

Week 16 concludes w/ the MNF Recap: Minnesota vs. Chicago

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