And then there were 19.
#NFLWeek17’s action ended the seasons of the league’s most mediocre, redirecting fans to draft websites and mock drafts across the internet. For others, the fun has just begun. The New York Giants broke a six-year playoff drought. Their rival wasn’t aware they could be eliminated. What did the NFC have in store for us this time?
Cleveland Browns 24 – Washington Commanders 10
Embarrassing yet utterly predictable is a quartet of words useful in describing much of the conference. It is epitomized by the Washington Commanders.
On the brink of elimination, head coach Ron Rivera chose his (rose) golden boy, Carson Wentz. He cited needing a spark and a feeling of optimism when questioned on his decision. He must be confused. Wentz is not lightning in a bottle. Wentz is synonymous with chaos, but not the good kind. More like the “I woke up late for work and can’t find my car keys” kind. 🔑
Needless to say it didn’t work. Wentz face planted on his way to an ugly loss and paved the way for an even uglier presser. When asked if elimination meant rookie Sam Howell was a possibility to start in Week 18, it became clear Rivera literally did not know that was a possibility.
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New York Giants 38 – Indianapolis Colts 10
New York is finally back in the playoffs. From written-off sixth overall pick to the future quarterback of the Giants, Daniel Jones will be quarterbacking a playoff team this year. Will it lead to an ill-advised contract extension for us to laugh at later? Sure, but Big Blue faithful will take that trade off. 😂
Their meticulous onslaught on Indianapolis was neither quick nor painless. Just ask Nick Foles. What it was, though, was informative. New York is hitting their stride at the right time. Putting together four quality offensive performances while the pass rush takes off is a recipe for success.
Trust me, I’m not telling you to put money on their +3000 to win the NFC. But wouldn’t this wildcat-running, Danny Dimes-throwing team be fun to watch deep into January? Their peskiness could keep them viable longer than their talent would suggest. They’ve already played the Minnesota Vikings close. The San Francisco 49ers almost lost to Jarrett Stidham. If they get either in the first round…anything is possible.
For that reason, I like the -125 odds on DraftKings for the NFC champion to come out of its eastern division. A $125 bet would return $100 if the Giants or their biggest rivals found their way to the Super Bowl. With a winning Wildcard Weekend, New York can clear the path for their big brothers within the division.
Green Bay Packers 41 – Minnesota Vikings 17
I tried telling y’all all week that the Green Bay Packers would win this game. Late-season Aaron Rodgers, a nice tip from Vegas, and a date with Kirk Cousins in a big game? There was never a doubt.
Despite their putrid start to the season, from coaching gaffes to wide receiver wreckage, they’d found their stride. Matt LaFleur has proven himself to be a wonderful coach yet again. The quarterbacking has followed. And, as if a spell had been cast upon them, the defense is playing up to the potential we saw in them before the season.
Once again, Vegas is telling us something with the Packers. Looking for odds on them to make the playoffs is difficult. Finding odds for the Detroit Lions (+900) and Seattle Seahawks (+275) is not. The Packers are in line to push themselves to the playoffs against Detroit. It may even be played on Sunday Night Football, a sin for those caring about competitive integrity.
The sportsbooks are doing everything they can to tell you the Packers are going to win in Week 18. Listen to them and heavily consider their -215 odds to win. 🧀
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 – Carolina Panthers 24
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played about one good game this season. They’ll be rewarded with a home playoff game, in all likelihood against the Dallas Cowboys. Tom Brady, facing the “washed” allegations, off-field tremors, offensive injuries, and a defunct coaching staff, waltzed his way down the field against the Carolina Panthers.
Of course they weren’t going to win the division. Of course Sam Darnold was going to turn back into a pumpkin. Of course Brady was not going to miss the playoffs.
Chalk this one up to the list of incredibly predictable things to happen during football season. Brady got lucky. Again.
Frankly, the offensive explosion from the Brady-Mike Evans connection is enough to convince me they can make this noise in a couple weeks. He’ll probably get lucky then, too. 🙄
This article largely features futures bets, which are bets that (typically) are placed on a more distant event. These include things like awards, championship winners, season win totals, and statistical leaders, among others. There are lucrative payouts to win, but beware. You are trading time for longer odds, opening the door for things to go awry.