Week 17 in the NFL brought plenty of thrilling action across the league as many teams were in win-and-in situations with Wild-Card Weekend betting right around the corner. There are 14 teams that have a shot at Super Bowl Odds while 18 are preparing for next season.
There were two divisions still up for grabs on Sunday and many of the seeds were still to be decided as well. This article will take a look at the games that matter most from around the NFL and how those teams got there. Week 17 only matters if you have competed at a high level for the previous 16 weeks.
The NFL betting season has been fantastic. Now only the best teams remain which should make for some interesting online betting. BetUS is where you’ll find all the latest betting breakdowns and major leagues sports betting news.
The (14-2) Chiefs had already locked up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and elected to rest their star players against the (7-9) Chargers, which helped Los Angeles capture a 38-21 victory. The Chiefs will have a chance to rest their entire team as they have earned the only bye in the AFC in this year’s new 14-team playoff format.
Brackets are a fan’s best friend.
What’s your ideal Super Bowl matchup? pic.twitter.com/eCWElii5UO
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) January 4, 2021
NFL Week 17 AFC Breakdown
In one game (okay maybe it was a culmination of a season) the (13-3) Buffalo Bills locked themselves into the No. 2 seed in the AFC, eliminated their division foes and made it clear that they are a real Super Bowl contender with an MVP-caliber QB. Josh Allen threw three touchdowns as the Bills destroyed the Miami Dolphins in Week 17.
Allen is a big reason that the Bills finished with 13 wins as he finished the season with 37 touchdowns through the air and another eight on the ground. He has a real case for the MVP award because there have been three previous QBs who finished a season with at least 35 TD passes and at least seven rushing touchdowns and they all went on to win the MVP that season.
Allen’s major improvements in his third season are directly linked with the Bills’ aggressive offseason moves to put pieces around their QB of the future. The addition of WR Stefon Diggs has helped shape the Bills’ offense into one of the most explosive units in the NFL. Diggs finished the regular season with 127 receptions on 166 targets for 1,535 yards which are all tops in the NFL. The combination of Diggs and Allen are a big reason the Bills are considered the Chiefs’ biggest threat in the AFC.
- (13-3) Bills wins against playoff teams: Rams, Seahawks, and Steelers
- Next game: vs No. 7 Colts – Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET – CBS
So many moments to chose from. 😁 #BillsMafia
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 4, 2021
The (12-4) Pittsburgh Steelers rested their All-Pro QB Ben Rothlisberger along with other starters against the (11-5) Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Pittsburgh had already locked up the AFC North title and the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the AFC after their huge come-from-behind victory over the Colts in a Week 16 NFL matchup.
The Steelers started the season with an 11-game winning streak which made them the last unbeaten team in the NFL. Their perfect season was ruined by the Washington Football Team which started a three-game slide for the Steelers. Roethlisberger’s vintage second-half comeback over the Colts in Week 16 helped get the Steelers back on track and lock them into the playoffs.
The Steelers’ top-ranked defense has been the main reason that they are the AFC’s No. 3 seed. The offense has struggled to get much going on the ground and has been heavily relying on the arm of Big Ben especially as the season has worn on. Roethlisberger (38), a two-time Super Bowl champion knows he does not have much more time left to win another and he has the team to do it now.
- (12-4) Steelers wins against playoff teams: Browns, Titans, Ravens x2, Colts
- Next game: vs No. 6 Browns – Sunday, Jan. 10, 8:15 p.m. ET – NBC
Players and fans will all remember the first-down for the (11-5) Browns that ended the NFL’s longest postseason drought with a close win over their division rivals. The Browns used their running game to control another game just like they have done all season – Nick Chubb rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown.
The Browns defense has played well all season which has complimented their ground-attack all season. QB Baker Mayfield will have to show flashes of greatness in the playoffs if they expect to compete in the loaded AFC.
The No. 6 seeded Browns head to Pittsburgh to take on their most hated rival in the Wild-Card-Round of the playoffs this week. It is ironic that the Browns have to face the Steelers in the first playoff game in 18 years. The Browns finished the regular season with a negative-point differential which is hard to do for a playoff team. And now they will be without Head Coach Kevin Stefanski due to NFL COVID-19 issues.
- (11-5) Browns wins against playoff teams: Washington, Colts, Titans, Steelers
- Next game: at No. 3 Steelers – Sunday, 8:15 p.m. ET – NBC
— BlitzburghVideos ✨ (@BlitzVideos) January 5, 2021
It took a last-second field goal to bounce off the upright and go in for the (11-5) Tennessee Titans to beat the (4-12) Houston Texans and capture their first AFC South title since 2008. The Titans also captured the AFC’s No. 4 seed with a sweep of the Texans who were the defending AFC South champs.
For the second year in a row Derrick Henry is the NFL’s RB triple crown winner. Henry has 378 carries, 2027 rushing yards, and 17 rushing touchdowns. He needed 223 yards to reach 2,000 and he rushed for a career-high 250 yards and two TDs in the close win. His 17 rushing TDs on the season trail only Hall of Famer Terrell Davis (21 in 1998) for most in a 2,000-yard season. Davis went on to win MVP and the Super Bowl in ‘98.
Henry has been a highlight machine all season. He is either shoving defenders to the ground or making defenders miss as he breaks into the second level of the defense -his 16 runs of 20+ yards and 4 of 40+ led the NFL. The Titans offense runs through Henry and if he is able to get things going early he seems impossible to stop late.
QB Ryan Tannehill has been able to pick apart defenses that stack the box to try to stop Henry which has helped Tennessee score the second most (62) TDs this season. The Titans defense hasn’t stopped anyone this season, so the offense is going to have to be perfect to beat the AFC’s best.
- (12-4) Titans wins against playoff teams: Bills, Bears, Ravens, Colts
- Next game:vs Ravens – Sunday, Jan. 10, 1:05 p.m. ET – ABC
Over Derrick Henry’s last 20 games (including playoffs) he has rushed for 2,684 yards.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 4, 2021
The (11-5) Baltimore Ravens set a franchise-record with 404 rushing yards as they ran over the (4-11) Cincinnati Bengals on their way to the No. 5 seed in the AFC. The Ravens are playing as well as anyone right now, having won their last five games. QB Lamar Jackson rushed for 97 yards which pushed his season total to 1,005. That gives him his second straight season with more than 1,000 yards on the ground. Jackson now is responsible for two of the three 1,000-yard seasons by a QB in NFL history.
Rookie RB J.K Dobbins had a career-high 160 rushing yards and a pair of TDs in Week 17. It marked Dobbins’ sixth consecutive game with 50-plus rushing yards and at least one rushing touchdown. Dobbins joined Hall of Famer Franco Harris and Eric Dickerson for the longest such streak by a rookie since the 1970 merger. There is no coincidence between Dobbins success and the Ravens winning streak
The Ravens are going to beat teams on the ground and with the playmaking ability of Jackson. Baltimore’s defense has been solid all year especially at forcing fumbles. Their 25 FF is eight more than the team directly behind them in the category. If the Ravens defense can make plays and force turnovers, then they will be hard to beat with how well they are moving the ball on the ground. Their 191.9 rushing yards per game lead the NFL heading into the playoffs.
- (11-5) Ravens wins against playoff teams: Browns x2, Washington, Colts
- Next game:at Titans – Sunday, Jan. 10, 1:05 p.m. ET
😈 210 total yards + 3 TDs
😈 Become 1st QB in history with back-to-back 1K rushing yard seasons
😈 Clinch a spot in #SuperWildCard Weekend
— NFL (@NFL) January 4, 2021
The (11-5) Indianapolis Colts needed one of three teams to lose if their win over the (1-15) Jacksonville Jaguars was going to lift them into the playoffs. The Dolphins lost to the Bills pushed the Colts right into the postseason.
Rookie RB Jonathan Taylor rushed for a franchise-record 253 yards and two scores on 30 carries. Taylors’ 253 rushing yards were second-most in a game by a rookie. And, the second most in a season finale by anyone. Taylor finished the season with the third-most rushing yards this season (1,169). The Colts have been led by their defense all year, but they are much better now that Taylor has found his groove in the NFL.
The Colts have allowed the second-least rushing yards (1,448) and second in turnover differential (10). QB Philip Rivers has not been bad this year but he has not been that good either. This team will need Rivers to be able to sling it to keep up with the Bills
- (11-5) Colts wins over playoff teams: Bears, Titans, Packers
- Next game: at Bills – Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Good company to be in. pic.twitter.com/fesxFMSRnD
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) January 4, 2021