The Patriots locked up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a 35-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins, who are settled into the AFC’s No. 6 seed.
New England appeared to be well in control throughout the first half against the Dolphins, leading 20-7 at halftime. The Dolphins rallied to make it 20-14 to start the second half, but the Patriots answered with a long catch-and-run by Julian Edelman to push the score back to 27-14. Tom Brady, an MVP candidate despite playing in just 12 games following a four-game suspension for is role in the Deflategate scandal, had three touchdown passes on the day.
The Raiders needed a win to maintain their grip on the AFC’s No. 2 seed. Instead, they received a 27-6 drubbing at the hands of the Denver Broncos and lost backup quarterback Matt McGloin, who was starting in place of the injured Derek Carr. That result, coupled with the Chiefs’ 37-27 victory over the San Diego Chargers, drops Oakland to the fifth seed and takes away a first-round bye. Their prospects as they enter the AFC playoffs don’t look bright — although a first-round matchup with the Houston Texans, who also lost its latest starting quarterback to injury, should give their fans some relief.
Tony Romo took his first snaps of the regular season in the second quarter of the Dallas Cowboys’ game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and promptly threw his first touchdown. Romo capped a six-play, 81-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring pass to Terrance Williams. That one drive was the action Romo saw, replaced by Mark Sanchez on Dallas’s subsequent possession and finished out the Cowboys’ 27-13 loss that does not affect their standing as the NFC’s top seed.
Romo had been the face of the Cowboys for years, but lost his job after rookie Dak Prescott performed superbly after Romo broke his back during the preseason. With Romo sidelined for much of the regular season, Prescott seized upon the opportunity and has not relinquished his grip on the starting job. The situation between Prescott and Romo produced quarterback controversy story lines all season long until the Cowboys definitively said they would stuck with Prescott for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. Dallas’s desire to avoid rekindling that controversy may have prompted the hook for Romo following just his one drive.
The Falcons locked themselves into the No. 2 spot in the NFC with a 38-32 win over the New Orleans Saints, while the Seahawks (10-5-1) claimed the No. 3 position by fending off the San Francisco 49ers, who put up a surprising effort in a 25-23 loss at home.
In the night game, Aaron Rodgers continued his late-season tear, ripping the Lions for four touchdowns and 300 yards passing in Green Bay’s 31-24 victory. That secures the Packers the fourth seed in the playoffs; they will host the Giants in the first round. Detroit, meanwhile, will now head to Seattle to start the postseason.
For the 20 teams that failed to reach the playoffs this season, the offseason starts Monday. For some of those teams, the offseason will begin with a bit of housecleaning.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported early Sunday that the San Francisco 49ers, coming off a season with only two wins entering Week 17, will conduct an overhaul of their organization that will include the firing of Coach Chip Kelly and GM Trent Baalke. (Baalke confirmed he had been fired just before the Niners kicked off their season finale against the Seahawks.
With Kelly following him out the door, the NFL’s coaching vacancies now stands at six, with the Chargers firing Coach Mike McCoy on Sunday night and Broncos Coach Gary Kubiak officially stepping down due to health reasons. Kubiak helped lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl just last season. The Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams have already parted ways with their head coaches.
In one other bit of key NFL offseason news, by losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime — despite several good chances to win the game late and in OT, and despite the fact the Steelers rested all of their key offensive starters — the Cleveland Browns have locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft thanks to their inglorious one-win season.
The coordinator’s name has been highly regarded as a potential head coaching candidate for some of the NFL’s open top jobs. (Read More)
Change is in the air for the franchise after a 44-6 loss to Cardinals. (Read More)
The former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 overall pick ends the season with a dubious piece of league history. (Read More)
Finally back from a broken back, Romo relieved Dak Prescott and shook off the rust in a hurry. Though it would be a brief, if successful, appearance. (Read More)
Two men unfurled a banner from the rafters in protest of U.S. Bank’s investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Read More)
He helped Denver win a Super Bowl last season, but has battled health issues in the past. (Read More)
They could have won a few different times. But, Browns … (Read More)
It’s been a tale of two units in Atlanta this season. (Read More)
Aaron Rodgers boldly predicted Green Bay could go 6-0 to close the season. Now the Packers are one win away from doing exactly that. (Read More)
New York’s QB has been miserable for most of the year, but he’s turned his poor play around before when it counted most. (Read More)
Players said discipline was an issue under Ryan’s regime. (Read More)
The impulse to pull the trigger on coaches disrupts continuity, which is one of the cornerstones of New England’s success. (Read More)
Latest updates: 9:26 a.m.
By Week 17, the injury report is not a short one. So to expedite the process, here is a rundown of the players in some measure of doubt for Sunday’s action:
RB Jeremy Hill (knee)
WR Allen Hurns (hamstring)
WR Marqise Lee (hip)
TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
QB Tom Brady (thigh)
RB Jay Ajayi (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)
WR Robby Anderson (hamstring)
WR Brandon Marshall (hip)
RB Bilal Powell (knee)
RB Darren McFadden (illness)
WR Jordan Matthews (ankle)
QB Cam Newton (shoulder)
TE Greg Olsen (elbow)
RB Jonathan Stewart (foot)
RB Robert Kelley (knee)
TE Jordan Reed (foot)
WR Amari Cooper (shoulder)
WR Michael Crabtree (ankle)
WR John Brown (illness)
RB Spencer Ware (ribs)
WR Randall Cobb (ankle)
WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
WR Stefon Diggs (hip)
WR Kenny Britt (shoulder)
Should your league still be playing (and really, we’re asking, should your league still be playing?) or are looking for some strong DFS advice, here are the Post’s top tips to help you set your lineup this week.
The offseason is a time for learning. (Read More)
Tom Savage actually may be a good play. And no one will see it coming. (Read More)
A number of stars will sit, some no-names will start. Who should you trust? (Read More)
With some stars expected to sit out, a lot of these games will become unpredictable. (Read More)
How the numbers say Week 17 should play out. (Read More)