Sunday evening saw some crucial games in deciding playoff places and seedings, after the dust had settled on all the games it seems that no one wants to claim a division title in the NFC.
Giants @ Lions
Like so many other teams this weekend Detroit had to win out and rely on others for a bit of help. A home game against the New York Giants seemed to be a good platform, but Big Blue kept the game close all day and came away with a 23-20 overtime win that eliminates the Lions from the playoffs. Detroit have only themselves to blame in this one as they couldn’t capitalise on a New York turnover in OT. Coach Jim Schwartz reacted angrily to the fans booing as the game ended, an act that will not help his cause in any way as the axe seems likely to fall on his head very soon.
Raiders at Chargers
San Diego are one of those teams looking for lots of help, and unlike Detroit they are helping themselves. This 26-13 win over Oakland keeps them alive but they still are very much on the outside looking in. During the third quarter rookie sensation Keenan Allen hauled in a four yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to put the Chargers ahead for good. Oakland started the season quite brightly but have fallen away badly and are now 4-11 on the year.
Patriots at Ravens
Baltimore had got themselves back into the thick of things in the AFC but a visit from New England shows they still have a way to go if they are to repeat as champions. Tom Brady was not at his best but did enough to drive his team down the field for scores at crucial parts of the game. The Patriots were helped by a decent day on the ground by LeGarratte Blount (16-76, 2 TDs) and Stevan Ridley (15-54), in a 41-7 romp. Baltimore now need help from elsewhere to get in, whereas the Pats can still clinch the number one seed.
Cardinals at Seahawks
Arizona could be the best team in the league to miss out on this years playoffs, and they enhanced that view with a 17-10 win in Seattle. The Cardinals ware in that must win bracket and played with great tenacity on defence to slow down Russell Wilson into his worst performance of his pro career. Seattle still haven’t clinched the NFC West which is remarkable given how well they’ve played this year. Carson Palmer threw four interceptions, but his 31 yard touchdown to Michael Floyd with just 2.31 left proved to be the decisive blow.
Steelers at Packers
On a snowy field both teams played with playoff ferociousness knowing their postseason fate hung in the balance. Pittsburgh were winners by a score of 38-31, but it’s Green Bay who hold their destiny in their own hands, with the Steelers needing a virtual miracle to get in. The game see-sawed throughout and when Le’Veon Bell went in from a yard out, this following a Matt Flynn fumble, with just 1.28 left it looked like the Packers were done. A 71 yard kickoff return however gave the Pack a lifeline, but despite getting down to the Pittsburgh one yard line Green Bay couldn’t get the tying score.
Bears at Eagles
Chicago knew that a win would wrap up the North division, Philadelphia knew that the result of the game would not alter their playoff chase, this was not anything like how it should have played out. The Eagles tore into the Bears and towards the end of the game score at will including defensive scores late in the game. Once again it was LeSean McCoy who led the way with 18 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns, but he was helped on the ground by Bryce Brown who gained a huge 115 from just 9 touches, in a 54-11 rout. At the end the Philly fans were chanting for Dallas, in a game which will decide the East, as for Chicago they have their own do or go home match against Green Bay next Sunday.