The coldest NFL weekend in years featured some defensive success, and it spilled over into Miami on Sunday. The Packers’ upset of the Dolphins provides drama to the No. 7 seed pursuits in each conferences, whereas the Cowboys’ shootout win over the Eagles ensures neither No. 1 seed is locked in. Here are the Week 16 grades from across the league.
1 of 30
Turnovers foil Eagles’ clinching alternative
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Although productive within the Eagles’ machinelike offense this season, Sanders making the Pro Bowl over Christian McCaffrey was a shock. Rather than present the choice was justified, the contract-year Eagles again misplaced a fumble in a second straight sport. It took one other four-turnover sport to pin a second loss on Philly (13-2) after the crew’s miscue-laden outing in opposition to Washington. It continues to be pretty spectacular it took this many Eagle giveaways to energy the Cowboys to a win in a sport with out Jalen Hurts. Gardner Minshew totaling 355 yards in all probability works in opposition to Hurts’ MVP case. This will seemingly be a blip, because the Eagles have winnable video games to shut the present. But two fumbles and two INTs price them a shot on the NFL’s first 16-1 common season.
EAGLES GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: vs. Saints (Sun.)
2 of 30
Third-and-30 connection highlights Prescott rebound
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Eagles led 10-0 after Josh Sweat’s pick-six, however Prescott’s rebound on this highlight matchup might show seminal. The oft-criticized quarterback delivered a multidimensional, season-best efficiency, totaling practically 400 yards in opposition to a top-five protection. He was not matched with Hurts — each Cowboys-Eagles matchups featured a backup quarterback this season — however Philly’s protection couldn’t comprise a starter criticized for big-game shortcomings. And T.Y. Hilton‘s 52-yard seize on a third-and-30, extending a game-tying drive, might also strengthen Jerry Jones’ Odell Beckham Jr. negotiating place. Cowboys-Bucs in Round 1 could also be inevitable, however the NFC East squad displaying it will probably topple this Eagles version is vital for a possible divisional-round showdown.
COWBOYS GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: at Titans (Thu.)
3 of 30
Undead Packers prolong Dolphins’ skid
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Late-season Miami matchups have supplied misstep alternatives, however the coldest Dolphins residence sport since 1989 stored the Packers of their consolation zone. Jaire Alexander, De’Vondre Campbell, and Rasul Douglas accepted the Christmas items Tua Tagovailoa supplied and stayed within the playoff race. Multiple Aaron Rodgers dimes — throughout a sport by which the downtrodden nice didn’t obtain a lot assist from his working backs and misplaced Christian Watson — boosted Green Bay’s trigger as properly. The NFC will as soon as once more produce a mediocre No. 7 seed, going 3-for-3 right here because the playoffs expanded in 2020. FiveThirtyEight provides Green Bay (7-8) a 27% likelihood to qualify for the postseason. This could be a a lot scarier 7 seed than the 2020 Bears or ’21 Eagles.
PACKERS GRADE: B-plus | NEXT: vs. Vikings (Sun.)
4 of 30
Relentless stretch-run Tua scrutiny justified
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Explosive strikes to Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill did happen, however the Dolphins (8-7) blowing a 10-point lead en path to a fourth straight loss clearly invitations questions on their postseason viability and their quarterback’s standing. After beginning 8-0 in video games he completed and practically matching Josh Allen in Buffalo, Tagovailoa throwing INTs on the Dolphins’ closing three drives burned his crew’s probabilities in a winnable sport. Miami’s closing two opponents — the Patriots and Jets — carry extra formidable defenses. This is instantly the one crew left for the eight-loss AFC contingent to focus on relating to a late sneak assault. Eight groups have began 8-3 and missed the playoffs since 1990’s growth to 6 groups per convention.
DOLPHINS GRADE: D-plus | NEXT: at Patriots (Sun.)
5 of 30
Fournette dusts off ‘Playoff Lenny’ type to avoid wasting Bucs
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Even Cris Collinsworth began to activate Tom Brady this week, with the legendary passer persevering with to supply listless performances. With their famed passer’s timing with Mike Evans lengthy misplaced and his capacity to finish downfield passes sketchy in Arizona, the Buccaneers (7-8) leaned on Fournette. The up-and-down bruiser was insistent on displaying his LSU shoulder pads delivered, totaling a season-best 162 scrimmage yards by being a continuing outlet for a QB that had little for the Cardinals past dump-offs and screens. The Bucs actually ought to take into account deploying their no-huddle, the place they’re much less abominable, any further. It shouldn’t be like they’ve a lot to lose, aesthetically talking. They proceed to get away with this comeback routine.
BUCCANEERS GRADE: C | NEXT: vs. Panthers (Sun.)
6 of 30
Kliff Kingsbury’s Arizona days seem numbered
Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
The Cardinals in all probability stop the Bucs from forcing additional time with Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy on the helm, however Trace McSorley’s presence allowed Tampa Bay’s tightrope season to provide one other escape. Circumstances apart, the Cards (4-11) can stand toe-to-toe with the Bucs, Broncos and Rams within the race for the NFL’s most disappointing crew. Michael Bidwill shocked most by extending Kingsbury and GM Steve Keim by way of 2027 this offseason, and it’s trying just like the proprietor will quickly pull an embarrassing about-face. With Keim unlikely to be again, the Cards preserving Kingsbury after this mess — and regular reviews of Murray clashing — appears unrealistic. Even although veteran expertise exists on a roster largely answerable for a 2021 playoff berth, this franchise is misplaced.
CARDINALS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: at Falcons (Sun.)
7 of 30
Daniel Jones presents extra indicators he can stick as Giants QB
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings had persistent hassle stopping the likes of Isaiah Hodgins and Richie James in Week 16, and if this matchup recurs in a 2-7 or 3-6 wild-card sport, it won’t carry a excessive level unfold. While the Giants (8-6-1) misplaced on a 3rd walk-off 60-plus-yard discipline purpose prior to now six seasons, their quarterback retains displaying type that ought to carry a skeptical entrance workplace to the negotiating desk. Jones threw for 334 yards, with Minnesota’s leaky protection unable to discourage even New York’s backup-caliber wideouts. Jones and Saquon Barkley being free brokers ought to result in a Barkley franchise tag and complicated Jones talks, however the once-bust-bound QB ought to have an opportunity at a second season — with higher move catchers — in Brian Daboll’s offense.
GIANTS GRADE: B | NEXT: vs. Colts (Sun.)
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Every week after K.J. Osborn‘s profession day helped the Vikings to an NFL-record comeback, Kirk Cousins stored discovering his hired-gun tight finish. A Giants crew lacking three of its 5 secondary starters couldn’t comprise Hockenson, who caught a career-high 13 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. This marked by far the previous Lions’ top-10 choose’s greatest day as a Viking, together with his contributions serving to the crew keep away from its odd white-on-white (feat. white finish zones) determination backfiring. With Adam Thielen set to show 33 subsequent yr, the Vikings (12-3) have been sensible to accumulate a top quality tight finish signed by way of 2023. Given the form of their protection, the Vikes — a staggering plus-5 on the season, because of being 11-0 in one-score video games — want all their receiving palms on deck.
VIKINGS GRADE: B | NEXT: at Packers (Sun.)
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Other elements contributed, however Wentz quarterbacked the Commanders to a 1-4 gap — to the purpose they have been contemplating vendor’s trades forward of the deadline. The crew’s second Taylor Heinicke experiment, nevertheless, is deteriorating. The scrappy starter turned the newest QB to show no match for the relentless 49ers protection, throwing an interception and dropping a fumble in a sport he didn’t end. Wentz is in Washington as a result of he bombed with the Colts down the stretch final yr. The one-time MVP frontrunner receiving one other likelihood — with a wholesome Brian Robinson and Jahan Dotson — is a higher-upside play for Washington (7-7-1). This rebound alternative provides a enjoyable subplot to the NFC’s race for the No. 7 seed.
COMMANDERS GRADE: C | NEXT: vs. Browns (Sun.)
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers allowed some sudden Commanders developments, with Wentz having the chance to create a one-score sport late within the fourth quarter. Bosa didn’t obtain credit score for his two-point conversion sack, however his de facto third sack stopped Washington from mounting a respectable rally. He added two official sacks, together with a game-turning strip of Heinicke, to his ledger Saturday and exited Week 16 with an NFL-most 17.5. Considering his significance to what seems to be the NFL’s scariest protection in seven years, Bosa must be coasting to his first Defensive Player of the Year award. The 49ers (11-4) must be grateful Josh Rosen busted with the Cardinals. Otherwise, Bosa — 2019’s No. 2 general choose — could be in Arizona.
49ERS GRADE: B-plus | NEXT: at Raiders (Sun.)
11 of 30
Derek Carr commerce window gaining relevance
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Raiders developing quick in a frigid turnover bonanza ramps up questions on Carr’s Las Vegas future. The crew’s all-time passing chief threw three INTs (two of them on drop caroms) in yet one more Raiders shut loss, and he now leads the league with 14 picks. Josh McDaniels following a Vegas playoff slate into seemingly double-digit losses will give the long-sought-after play-caller a sizzling seat going into 2023. With the Raiders (6-9) having three days following Super Bowl LVII to jettison Carr — attributable to his uniquely structured contract — McDaniels will certainly take into account it. Better choices being scarce stored Carr a Raider throughout Jon Gruden’s keep, however with a brand new regime in energy, a change is in play — Davante Adams‘ emotions however.
RAIDERS GRADE: C-minus | NEXT: vs. 49ers (Sun.)
12 of 30
Steelers protection takes over ugly sport
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh climate circumstances and a regularly sputtering offense — one NBC has oddly opted to showcase this week — led to a slog on an emotional night in western Pennsylvania . Not solely did the Steelers’ secondary shine — three INTs and Adams wrapping a two-catch, 15-yard night time — however Cam Heyward’s late-career Hall of Fame push continued. The constantly disruptive defensive sort out dropped Carr twice and helped the Steelers restrict Josh Jacobs (44 yards) by tallying three tackles for loss. Heyward, whose 4 All-Pro honors have all come since his seventh season, has belatedly turn into one of many nice defenders in Steelers historical past. Pittsburgh (7-8) has been flexed, regardless of 4% playoff odds, however its protection stays value watching.
STEELERS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: at Ravens (Sun.)
13 of 30
Emerging WR4 helps present Bengals very important cushion
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
It took a late Rhamondre Stevenson fumble for the Bengals to stave off the Patriots, who have been down 22-0 late within the third quarter. Although this may be labeled as a Cincinnati escape, the crew constructed sufficient of a result in grasp on, thanks partially to the contributions of an rising contributor. Trenton Irwin snagged two Joe Burrow TD passes, upping his season whole to 4. A 2019 UDFA who caught three passes in his first three years, Irwin is now serving to an already-loaded passing assault. His TDs helped the Bengals win in Foxborough for the primary time since 1986. Not many NFL WR4’s are related, however Irwin giving the Bengals (11-4) viable assist is a bonus for a crew rolling into one of many greatest regular-season video games in crew historical past.
BENGALS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: vs. Bills (Mon.)
14 of 30
Patriots offense unsalvageable till subsequent season
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
Thanks to Marcus Jones‘ pick-six — a 3rd style of landing for the rookie DB — and a tipped Jakobi Meyers TD on a third-and-29, the Patriots practically upended the Bengals. As odd as that sentence appears, it’s emblematic of current Pats missteps. New England (7-8) totaled 70 first-half yards and didn’t cross midfield till late within the third quarter. Bill Belichick‘s determination to provide Matt Patricia the play-calling reins represents one of many weirdest choices in current teaching historical past, and it has undeniably set Mac Jones again. Be it Bill O’Brien — the crew’s Josh McDaniels placeholder as soon as upon a time — or one other veteran play-caller, Belichick should rectify this in 2023. Otherwise, sufficient smoke has emerged relating to an unthinkable teaching transaction: a Belichick ouster.
PATRIOTS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: vs. Dolphins (Sun.)
15 of 30
Seahawks would make uninspiring playoff crew
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Vacillating between permitting opponent dashing sprees and their offense failing to play to its early-season degree, the Seahawks (7-8) are venturing near “They are who we thought they were” territory. Geno Smith’s Pro Bowl — awarded for an undeniably robust first half — is extra a product of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady‘s shortcomings, and his lack of ability (sans Tyler Lockett) to threaten a beforehand struggling Chiefs protection mirrored the Seahawks’ standing. Seattle went 2 of 14 on third downs, and an unsightly Smith finish zone INT minimized a robust second half from Ken Walker. Losers in 5 of their previous six video games, the Seahawks don’t seem worthy of a playoff spot.
SEAHAWKS GRADE: D-plus | NEXT: vs. Jets (Sun.)
16 of 30
Chiefs protection rebounds after shaky stretch
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Both the Texans and this bizarro Russell Wilson version practically tagged the Chiefs with losses, however their entrance seven confirmed up in opposition to a extra confirmed offense. Chris Jones continued his typical tempo, sacking Smith as soon as and hitting him 4 occasions, and D-end George Karlaftis made well timed contributions. The first-round choose deflected a fourth-down move and zoomed by Seahawks rookie proper sort out Abraham Lucas for a sack. The Chiefs (12-3) want extra from Karlaftis (4.5 sacks) and the underwhelming Frank Clark (5) to guard a younger secondary, however their protection was the higher unit Saturday. Kansas City has benefited from a softer-than-expected schedule and could be the AFC’s third-best crew, however with the Bills heading to Cincinnati subsequent week, home-field benefit continues to be extra seemingly than not.
CHIEFS GRADE: B-plus | NEXT: vs. Broncos (Sun.)
17 of 30
Fun rebuilding story nonetheless wants extra time
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Depending on Baker Mayfield’s late-season work, the Lions are nonetheless headed towards starting a two-first-rounder draft early. Despite the crew going from 1-6 to 7-7, that is still the silver lining. Dan Campbell‘s bunch allowed the Panthers — whom the Steelers simply shut down — to amass a shocking 570 yards. That is the third-worst whole within the Lions/Portsmouth Spartans’ 93-year historical past. Detroit (7-8) let each D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard surpass 120 dashing yards and yielded 250 from Sam Darnold, whom the Panthers have proven little confidence in since his return. This momentum-squashing defeat will in all probability price the Lions a playoff spot.
LIONS GRADE: F | NEXT: vs. Bears (Sun.)
18 of 30
Rebuilt Panthers O-line powers record-setting day
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
After Foreman reached 9 yards on 10 carries in opposition to Pittsburgh, he dropped 165 on Detroit. Hubbard hit 125. They turned the primary teammates to every prime 100 on the bottom within the first half since Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew in 2006. Chunk performs abounded for the Panthers, whose 570-yard day broke a franchise document — by 32. While the Panthers (6-9) have solely been round for 28 years, the crew has each had Cam Newton and the DeAngelo Williams-Jonathan Stewart pair. Carolina added three new starters up entrance this offseason — Austin Corbett, Bradley Bozeman, Ikem Ekwonu — to its Taylor Moton-led line. That group mowed down the Lions and has made Darnold’s life simpler in comparison with his sack-filled 2021 starter run. The Bucs can have their palms full.
PANTHERS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: at Buccaneers (Sun.)
19 of 30
Holiday chilly entrance results in uncommon Bills floor surge
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
One of a number of video games impacted by this weekend’s vicious temperature drops, this mismatch — to the chagrin of thousands and thousands of fantasy GMs awaiting Josh Allen teeing off on a skinny Bears secondary — included high quality doses of their floor dimension. Devin Singletary and James Cook mixed for 205 dashing yards, and the Bills’ 254 have been their most because the LeSean McCoy-Tyrod Taylor duo eclipsed 300 in 2016. Both present Buffalo backs bedeviled Bears defenders with open-field cuts on lengthy TD scampers, serving to Allen throughout a two-INT day. This sport was shut for a bit too lengthy, and the Bills (12-3) might want to have their passing assault in excessive gear in the event that they need to safe the AFC’s bye. But their run sport has proven flashes as of late.
BILLS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: at Bengals (Mon.)
20 of 30
Overmatched Bears protection frustrates Bills
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Bears despatched out a near-comically overmatched crew to face a Super Bowl contender. Backups dotted their offensive line, receiving corps, and secondary — for a crew that already traded Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith. Still, Chicago’s protection accounted itself properly for some time. Despite their offense going 2-for-12 on third downs, the Bears have been inside one rating till late within the fourth quarter. Rookie Kyler Gordon recorded one of many crew’s three turnovers, intercepting a move for the second straight week. If the Bears keep on this mission — which doesn’t seem a secret, per the deactivations — they’ll receive the No. 1 choose. One extra Texans win, assuming the Bears lose out, would do it. Chicago has not picked first general since 1947.
BEARS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: at Lions (Sun.)
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mills’ second season has not gone because the Texans hoped, and he fumbled close to the purpose line Saturday. The lately reinstalled starter, nevertheless, confirmed indicators of life on a well-executed closing drive. Mills hit 4 completely different receivers — fifth-rounder Brevin Jordan, journeyman Phillip Dorsett, waiver declare Amari Rodgers and the disgruntled Brandin Cooks — on a 73-yard go-ahead march. The Texans (2-12-1) do have to safe the No. 1 choose to forestall one other QB-needy crew from buying and selling into the Bears’ slot. Even if Houston does land the draft’s prime passer, Mills ought to nonetheless issue into the equation subsequent season.
TEXANS GRADE: B-plus | NEXT: vs. Jaguars (Sun.)
22 of 30
Malik Willis now at middle of doubtless historic collapse
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Since the NFL expanded to 16 video games in 1978, just one crew — the 1994 Eagles — has began 7-3 and misplaced the remainder of its video games. Tennessee’s loss to Houston — and its preposterous run of accidents, essentially the most notable afflicting Ryan Tannehill — appears seemingly to provide that Rich Kotite-coached crew some firm. Willis confirmed his run-game chops, significantly on his landing scurry. But the third-round rookie is so distant from being a reliable NFL passer it’s arduous to see the Titans (7-8) beating the Cowboys or Jaguars. Now 0-for-2 in clearing 100 passing yards in opposition to the Texans, Willis threw two INTs and recovered his personal fumble on the crew’s last-ditch drive. This is setting as much as be one of many tamest endings to a season in trendy NFL historical past.
TITANS GRADE: D | NEXT: vs. Cowboys (Thu.)
23 of 30
Broncos GM to face monumental offseason
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
A Rams offense that totaled 156 yards Monday didn’t punt in opposition to the Broncos (4-11), whose protection lastly caved after supporting a depressing offense all season. Randy Gregory additionally got here unglued throughout and after the sport, and Brett Rypien challenged a poor O-line to dam higher for Russell Wilson. Nathaniel Hackett’s goodwill from the previous two video games is lengthy gone; he shall be a one-and-done. But George Paton, whose first season in GM chair went properly by way of a robust 2021 draft class, will face unimaginable strain quickly. His Hackett-Wilson match has been one of many NFL’s signature trendy disasters. Paton is anticipated to obtain one other likelihood, however after being a part of profitable Vikings groups that struggled to get the QB spot proper, Paton faces a defining take a look at to salvage his Wilson commerce.
BRONCOS GRADE: F | NEXT: at Chiefs (Sun.)
24 of 30
Cam Akers enjoys shock banner day in L.A.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Showing the form of burst that generated buzz two seasons in the past, Akers gashed a normally stout Broncos protection for 147 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns. Akers is probably not all the best way again from his troublesome 2021 Achilles tear, however he appeared extra explosive Sunday than he has because the July 2021 setback. This scenario bettering from an October standoff and constant commerce rumors to Akers being again because the unquestioned Rams starter represents a pleasant twist for a Rams crew (5-10) devoid of a lot excellent news this season. Akers and Baker Mayfield, every trying to regain some semblance of their former variations, accounted themselves fairly properly in a nationally televised rout.
RAMS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: vs. Chargers (Sun.)
25 of 30
Drake London closing out uneven season
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Desmond Ridder swap has meant extra quantity for this yr’s first receiver chosen, however the No. 8 general choose has additionally performed a key position within the 5-10 Falcons’ playoff elimination. London misplaced a fumble for the second consecutive week and has now misplaced three throughout his rookie season. The 6-foot-5 wideout has nonetheless racked up 261 receiving yards over the previous three weeks after failing to hit that whole over the earlier 9. So, some momentum for the USC product. But the Falcons didn’t do him any favors by throwing him into the Marcus Mariota offense for thus lengthy. This Atlanta season was not supposed to provide a contender, and London’s miscues — together with a expensive one in a detailed Chargers loss — helped see to it the ultimate video games shall be for draft positioning.
FALCONS GRADE: C | NEXT: vs. Cardinals (Sun.)
26 of 30
Roquan Smith thriving forward of key profession level
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
With Lamar Jackson and nearly each related receiver out, the Ravens (10-5) are doing properly to remain within the AFC North race. The now-playoff-bound crew has wanted huge efforts from its run sport and protection. Both delivered in one among Saturday’s chillier atmospheres. Continuing to type an elite off-ball linebacking tandem with Patrick Queen, Smith compiled 15 tackles — his most as a Raven. The ex-Bear has 10-plus stops in three of his previous 4 video games. While Smith shall be very important to a playoff journey that won’t contain a lot offensive assist, he’ll have to be prolonged to stick with the crew past this season. The Jackson saga is barreling towards a tag, which means the Ravens — who didn’t re-sign C.J. Mosley — should attain a take care of Smith earlier than free company to keep away from a bidding warfare.
RAVENS GRADE: B | NEXT: vs. Steelers (Sun.)
27 of 30
Saints receiving early returns from Alontae Taylor
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
As evidenced by the Browns’ upper-deck attendance, Cleveland didn’t current best Christmas Eve passing circumstances. But Taylor smothered the Browns’ efforts directed at him. The second-round rookie allowed simply two receptions for 15 yards on 5 targets. He deflected a Deshaun Watson move that led to a Daniel Sorensen INT — which arrange the 6-9 Saints’ go-ahead rating — and deterred a Donovan Peoples-Jones look on a Browns potential game-tying drive. Taylor’s current emergence has been essential, as Marshon Lattimore has not performed since Week 5. The Saints’ protection did properly as an entire to carry the Browns to 10 factors within the third-coldest sport the Browns have ever performed in Cleveland.
SAINTS GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: at Eagles (Sun.)
28 of 30
Deshaun Watson 4 video games into depressing begin
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Watson wanted to be handed an outrageous $230 million assured to decide on Cleveland, with Atlanta and New Orleans pursuing the polarizing QB till the top. The reluctant cold-weather passer has been dangerous each out and in of Ohio since coming back from his 11-game suspension. He submitted a career-worst 47.1 QB ranking in opposition to the Saints. Though Amari Cooper and David Njoku’s finish zone drops damage, Watson — the 2020 passing yards chief — has cleared 165 yards as soon as in 4 video games. The Browns’ offensive line additionally afforded their prized acquisition appreciable time Saturday. The Browns (6-9) have record-setting cap expenses of $54.9 million connected to Watson from 2023-26. Will Watson’s now-concerning on-field points pressure out Kevin Stefanski?
BROWNS GRADE: D-plus | NEXT: at Commanders (Sun.)
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Only six groups — one among them the 1996 Jaguars — have gone from 3-6 to the playoffs. With the Titans evidently within the means of gift-wrapping the AFC South to this Jags iteration, FiveThirtyEight pegs Doug Pederson’s squad at a 77% playoff shot. Jacksonville might have supplied the Zach Wilson dagger, doing Jets followers a favor on a wet night time. Given Tennessee’s type, NBC execs — saddled with the Saturday afternoon wild-card sport that can undoubtedly contain the AFC South champ — definitely have a vested curiosity in seeing the Jags (7-8) finalize this climb. The Jags, nevertheless, haven’t crushed the Texans since 2017 — three coaches and some QB1s in the past.
JAGUARS GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: at Texans (Sun.)
30 of 30
Zach Wilson gamble an indictment on draft course of
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Wilson was not locked in as BYU’s starter to open the 2020 season, and the Cougars’ COVID-altered schedule — that includes seven opponents from Conference USA, the Sun Belt or Division I-FCS — propelled a flawed passer right into a draft slot he didn’t warrant. The Jets fell for exercise bait, as different groups have. It continues to be too early to place Wilson on the JaMarcus Russell-Ryan Leaf bust tier, however nearly nothing he has carried out up to now suggests he’ll come near justifying that No. 2 draft slot. The frequency of the Jets followers’ booing spurts (and Wilson being benched for a apply squad call-up) marks the purpose of no return. The Wilson funding has seemingly price the crew an opportunity to finish its NFL-leading playoff drought.
JETS GRADE: F | NEXT: at Seahawks (Sun.)