The Playoff Drought is Over in Buffalo
It took until the very end of Week 17, but the playoff picture is finally set. While many of the usual favourites found their way back into the postseason, a few teams are in the playoffs for the first time in a while. Most notably, the Buffalo Bills have finally ended their 17 year playoff drought, but while the playoff drought in Buffalo was the longest, it wasn’t the only drought snapped this season.
Bills Mafia finally has something worth jumping through a table about now that Buffalo is in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. For a while it looked like Nathan Peterman’s first career start would be the game that kept the Bills out of the playoffs for another year, but not even a blizzard could slow this team down on the road to the postseason.
In Week 17, it was looking unlikely that the Bills would find their way into the playoffs. They needed to beat the Dolphins and needed the Bengals to beat the Ravens. The Bills did what they needed to do, and Andy Dalton did the rest to get Buffalo back in the playoffs.
The Bills will take on the AFC South Champion Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday in the Wild Card round.
Los Angeles Rams
Just a year after finishing 4-12 and Jared Goff prematurely being considered a bust, the Rams rebounded with an 11-5 season to win the NFC West. In just one season, Sean McVay seems to have completely turned around the franchise. The Rams have gone from a league-worst 14 points per game last season, to a league-best 29.9 points per game this season. Goff went from a joke to a bright young quarterback, and Todd Gurley played like an MVP this season. The receiver trio of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins were a threat week in and week out, not to mention that Gurley also chipped in with 788 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.
Finishing with the #3 seed in the NFC, the Rams are playing host to the Falcons on Wild Card weekend. The Falcons haven’t played like the same time that went to the Super Bowl last season, so it’s a perfect chance for this young Rams team to take control of the NFC.
The Jaguars took advantage of a beat up AFC South and earned the #3 seed in the conference. Jacksonville hasn’t been in the playoffs since the Maurice Jones-Drew era, but not even a trash quarterback in Blake Bortles could keep this team out of the playoffs.
While the Colts and Texans were both dealing with injuries to their star quarterbacks this season, it was basically a two-team race in the AFC South. While Bortles wasn’t a star by any means this season, he was at least capable of running the offense. He finished the regular season averaging 230.4 yards per game, with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. While his touchdown total was the lowest since his rookie year, the 13 interceptions was also the lowest of his career. It also helped that Leonard Fournette rushed for 1040 yards and 9 touchdowns this year.
On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars defense was one of the best in the NFL this year. The addition of Calais Campbell in the offseason and the improved play of young stars Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey turned the once laughable group into the strength of this team.
The Titans also managed to end their playoff drought this season, thanks in large part to the two-headed monster in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. The two running backs combined for 1403 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, taking some pressure off of Marcus Mariota and the rest of the offense.
Tennessee’s receiving core was made up of Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews, while offseason addition Eric Decker was also able to produce as a secondary threat. Despite some big names on the offensive side of the ball, the Titans still struggled offensively at times, and the defense was unable to steal a game. Turnovers were an issue for the Titans this season, as Mariota threw 15 interceptions on the year, and their turnover ratio was -4.
The Titans finished the season at 9-7 and sit in the #5 seed in the AFC, marking the first time Mariota has taken his team to the playoffs. Tennessee is set to visit Kansas City this weekend, who despite their 6-0 start to the year, had two very forgettable games against the Giants and Bills this season. The Titans averaged 20.9 points per game this season, tied with Tampa Bay for 18th in the NFL, while the Chiefs averaged 25.9 points per game.
- Chiefs win easily against the Titans
- Rams offense is too much for the Falcons to handle
- Jaguars defense shuts down Bills
- Panthers edge out Saints in a high scoring NFC South matchup