Wednesday Morning QB (Week 16)

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The NFL regular season is just about over with only one week left in the season and very few playoff spots available.

The last week of the season won’t be for much aside from a few teams and for some teams, Week 16 didn’t mean a lot either.

Many had already found their way to the playoffs and they all begin to prepare for the second season.

Others had little to play for as they hoped to try to move into a better position in the playoffs rather than just fighting a playoff spot.

The nature of the last few weeks means that some teams need to make some very difficult decisions on their players.

They have to decide whether or not they should start their star players and risk injuries to try to get some better positioning.

If they don’t start their best players they could end up further down the rankings and have a worse matchup or miss out on the first round bye.

So teams debate about what they should do and in Week 16 many coaches saw the decision become a lot easier.

That is because a number of key players went down with an injury in Week 16 causing some panic in their cities.

The least important came when Marcus Mariota went down with a broken leg during Tennessee’s game against the Jaguars.

Mariota’s injury is serious as he will not play and will have to undergo surgery to repair his leg before he can play next season.

It doesn’t change things for Tennessee though as they were going to be eliminated regardless of Mariota’s injury or not.

He now has time in the off-season to get the surgery and recover in time to help him return for next year.

A more concerning injury might have been that of Tyler Lockett went up for a great catch against Arizona but came down bad on his leg.

He too suffered a broken leg and will be out for a while after surgery on Sunday which means the Seahawks have lost a key part to their offence for the playoffs.

There is no chance that Lockett comes back after the surgery and they are already in the playoffs looking for a path to the Super Bowl.

It is a bad one as Lockett is sure to be missed but there was no injury that was more devastating than the one that came to the Oakland Raiders.

Near the end of their game against Indianapolis, quarterback Derek Carr dropped back for a pass and after he threw the ball was wrapped up and brought down.

In that tackle, his right ankle twisted under the tackle and immediately the pain was evident from the hit.football-sidebar

After an examination, Carr had broken his fibula and was out indefinitely meaning that his season is likely finished.

The reason this was so devastating was the fact that the Raiders had been looking like a serious contender this season.

It was the first time in a long time that the Raiders were in the playoffs and actually had a chance to do something in the playoffs.

A big part of their success came from their young quarterback who helped the Raiders make something of themselves in his first few years in the league.

Losing him is huge for the Raiders and their playoff run as they will need to fill some serious leadership and everyone else needs to step it up in a big way.

Without Carr, most are now seeing the Raiders as a team that could have done something but will fall short without one of their best players.

That remains to be seen but it sure doesn’t make their chances any better to lose their star quarterback two weeks before the playoffs begin.

The injuries to these players this week have put the rest of the league on notice as any team trying to make up their mind about resting players has a good reason to do it.

There is never a time where resting players isn’t controversial as some believe the momentum gained from playing right through can help players and teams.

They believe that the fire needed to win in the playoffs isn’t something that can be just turned on at a moments notice.

There is some truth to this as the team that wins is usually the hottest team heading into the playoffs and when the wild card teams win it is because they have been playing playoff hockey for weeks and nothing is new.

Week 16 served as a perfect example of why to rest players though as the risk of injury is always there and losing one player could end a season for plenty of teams that won’t want to risk it if they don’t have to.

Fifth Quarter:
(Thoughts on this week in the NFL)

Out in New York
Another coach has been shown the door as Rex Ryan and his brother Rob have been fired as coaches in Buffalo in what seemed like a perfect marriage when it was first announced but what turned out to be more of the same for the Bills

In the Win Column
The Detroit Lions will remain the only team to go an entire 16-game season without a single win as the Cleveland Browns have finally won a game after going 14 weeks without one as they avoided the 0-16 season despite still being one of the worst teams in the league

Bradshaw vs. Tomlin
Steeler great Terry Bradshaw made some enemies in his former city after he claimed that current Steeler coach Mike Tomlin was not a great coach and that he was a “cheerleader guy” which did not sit well with the coach or the fans

standings-w16-fw

Key Scores:
Green Bay Packers 38-25 Minnesota Vikings
– After a great start to the season, the Vikings fell off of the map and this was the final nail in the coffin as they took another loss to eliminate them from the playoffs while the Packers continue their pursuit of the NFC North crown

Cleveland Browns 20-17 San Diego Chargers
– The Browns were preparing for the top pick in the draft and to see what life was like without a win on the season but the players weren’t ready to give in as they fought all the way to the end and with some luck from a missed field goal they took their first win

Pittsburgh Steelers 31-27 Baltimore Ravens
– It looked like the old rivalry with two great defences grinding it out until the end but that only lasted a half as the offences picked up in the second in one of the best games of the week that saw the Steelers take a win and the AFC North title

Kansas City Chiefs 33-10 Denver Broncos
– The defending champions were barely hanging on to their playoff hopes and their loss and poor showing against the Chiefs ended up being their final straw as they took the loss and were eliminated from the playoffs

Next Week:
New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins (Sunday, January 1st; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Pats have little to play for but they still want to clinch home field throughout the playoffs as a win against the Dolphins will get them there while the Dolphins try to continue their momentum into the playoffs

Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers (Sunday, January 1st; 4:25 pm ET)
– In the AFC West, the battle continues as both Oakland and Kansas City will be in the playoffs but where they end up is up for grabs as the Chiefs hope to take a win against the Chargers and hope for an Oakland loss to clinch the division

Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos (Sunday, January 1st; 4:25 pm ET)
– The Raiders have some control over their future as they simply need to win in order to win their division while a win and a New England loss clinches home field as they head into their final game without their starting quarterback

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions (Sunday, January 1st; 8:30 pm ET)
– It is pretty simple for both teams as they control their destinies in this game with a win by either team guaranteeing them a playoff spot and the NFC North title but whoever loses has a little more complicated path to the playoffs

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