NFL Week 18 Review- It’s Over For The Packers, The Jags Make It, and J.J’s Last Game

NFL Week 18 Review- It's Over For The Packers, The Jags Make It, and J.J's Last Game
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Updated: Jan 13, 2023

Last week, the NFL experienced one of its darkest days. During the Monday night game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, Bills player Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest while on the field. In the past week, everyone has come together to support Hamlin and everyone who was affected by the incident. While the game was cancelled and there was no winner, life won, as Hamlin has now been discharged from the hospital and has returned to Buffalo.

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The NFL community came together this week to honor Hamlin during the week 18 games.

So, what happened on the field in the final week of the regular season?

An Emotional Game

It has been a very long week in Buffalo. The whole team has been shaken by the events of Monday night, and the condition of their teammate took precedence over anything else. In front of the Bills Mafia, The Bills faced the New England Patriots, for what would be a very emotional game.

You could not write the opening play of this game. Off the kickoff, Bills player Nyheem Hines returned the ball for a 96-yard touchdown to give the Bills the lead before either quarterback had even touched the ball. The Patriots would get on the board a few drives into the game. A 2-yard pass from Patriots quarterback Mac Jones to Jakobi Meyers found the endzone and the game were tied.

The tie did not last long. On the next drive, Bills quarterback Josh Allen drove the ball down to the Patriots 4 yard line. Then, Allen threw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox to give the lead back to the Bills. The Patriots then responded with another 2 yard touchdown pass, this time from Jones to DeVante Parker to tie the scores again.

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In the final drive before halftime, Josh Allen was looking like he was going to score another touchdown. But then, a problem that has phased him all season raised its ugly head. On the New England 15-yard line, Allen was intercepted. That was the 14th interception that Allen has thrown this year, which is nearly one interception a game. This interception meant that at halftime, the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots were tied at 14-14.

There were more issues with ball security at the beginning of the second half. The first half ended with a Josh Allen interception. The second half began with a Mac Jones interception on the Bills 2 yard line. It seems like the Bills were not keen on having the ball, as 2 plays into their drive, Buffalo fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Patriots defense. Could Mac Jones redeem himself for his prior mistake?

On a drive that started on the bills 11 yard line, the Patriots struggled to move the ball, and had to rely on a 24 yard Nick Folk field goal to give the Patriots the lead.

A lead that lasted 15 seconds. This game opened with a Nyheim Hines kick return touchdown. This happened again in the second half, as Hines would return the ball into the endzone for a 101 yard touchdown return. The last time there was a game with 2 touchdown returns by the same player was in 2010, when Seahawks player Leon Washington did so.

The Bills would increase their lead soon after. A 42-yard pass from Allen to John Brow would go for a touchdown to give the Bills an 11 point lead. The Patriots would quickly reply to this, as Mac Jones would throw a 26 yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker. However, their two point conversion attempt would be unsuccessful. After this drive, the Bills would score again, through a 49 yard touchdown pass from Allen to Stefon Diggs, a QB/WR receiver partnership that will have to deliver in the playoffs.

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Mac Jones would be intercepted twice in the last few drives of the game, and no points would be scored. The Buffalo Bills had returned from hell to beat the New England Patriots 35-23.

With this win, the Bills end the season with a 13-3 record and are the number two seed in the AFC. As for the Patriots, they end the season with a 8-9 record and miss out on the playoffs.

Green Bay Lose More Than The Game

I have been writing about the green Bay Packers a lot this season. What a season it has been for them. At one point, they were on a 5 game-losing streak after coming to the UK and collapsing against the Giants. But, a miracle seemed to have happened in Wisconsin, and the Green Bay Packers are not only in playoff contention but were in a win and you’re in the situation. The problem was that this game was against the Detroit Lions, a team that is high scoring and has surprised many people this season. So, could the Packers make the Postseason?

The Packers opening drive was fine. In a drive that was mostly aided by a large gain for the Packers due to a defensive pass interference penalty against the Lions, they quickly found the redzone. However, when they arrived there, they could not move the ball and had to rely on a 22 yard Mason Crosby field goal to give them the points.

A few drives later (which included a failed 4th down attempt by the Packers in their own territory) the Lions put some points on to the scoreboard. However, like the Packers, they struggled the move the ball as they reached the redzone, so had to rely on a 37-yard field goal to tie things up at 3-3.

The story of the Packers next two drives would be somewhat identical. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers would move the ball around the Lions 20 yard line. Then, on third down, Rodgers would be sacked moving the Packers back to the 30 yard line. Crosby would then kick the field goal.

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The Lions would again have a field goal attempt to end their drive, but this time, Badgley’s 46 yard attempt missed. On the next drive, Green Bay would fumble the ball, which would be scooped up by Detroit. The last drive of the first half ending in another field goal, this time from 33 yards. This meant that halftime, the green Bay Packers had a 9-6 lead over the Detroit Lions. This was not a game of football, this was a Festival of Kicking. Let’s hope that the second half would be better(or at least involve a touchdown)

The first attempt at points in the second half came from Green Bay, who would missed a 53 yard field goal. But then, something amazing happened. On the Lions next drive, quarterback Jared Goff threw a 43 yard pass, which took the Lions down to the one yard line. It was then Jamaal Williams who would run the ball in for a 1 yard rushing touchdown to give the Lions the lead.

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But touchdowns are like buses. You wait forever for one and then two come at once. On the next drive of the game, Rodgers and company moved the ball into the Lions redzone. Then, a 13 yard pass from 4 time MVP found Akken Lazard and the endzone to return the lead back to the Packers.

Late in the fourth quarter, what the Packers did not want the happen happened. Jamall Williams scored another rushing touchdown, giving the Lions the lead and kicking the packers out of the playoffs as things stood. With 6 minutes left on the clock, Aaron Rodgers had to prove that he is a great quarterback.

The drive was short. Not due to some magic by Rodgers, but due to him being intercepted by the Lions defense. This was the end of their season, as the Detroit Lions would hold on to beat the Green Bay Packers 20-16.

With this win, the Lions end their season with a 9-8 record, while the Packers finish with a 8-9 record. Both teams have not made the playoffs. The Lions have overperformed this year, while the Packers have disappointed many people. At least they’ll have the first half of the London game.

Houston Win And Lose

What can be said about the seasons of the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts? They have both been awful, but in recent weeks, the Texans have seen a revival and have been playing well, while the Colts have just come off a battering by the New York Giants. While this game has zero playoff permutations, the first pick in the draft would be long to Houston if they lose the game.

Depending on what kind of fan you are, Houston started the game well/bad. On their opening drive, Texans quarterback Davis Mills drove the ball down to the Colts 11 yard line. Then, Mills threw a 11 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Cooks to give the Texans the lead that they want/ do not want.

The Texans extended their lead soon after. Unlike the Bills which had massive success with their kick returns, the Colts fumbled their kick return, which was scooped up by the Texans. From this, the Texans failed to move the ball but were deep enough into Colts territory to kick a 11 yard field goal.

The Colts would come back and score on their next drive. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger would bring the ball down to the one yard line, and would then throw a one-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman Jr to reduce the Texans lead.

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Things would become better for the tolds soon after, after Houston fumbled the ball on their drive, which was scooped up by the Colts defense. However, they would not have the ball for long as on the first play of their drive, they were intercepted and Texans defender Johnathan Greenard would run the ball in for a pick 6. Ehlinger would be intercepted again on the Colts last drive before halftime, meaning that the Houston Texans had a 17-7 lead over them at halftime.

Indianapolis would be the first to score in the second half, as Zach Moss would find the endzone with a 15 yard rushing touchdown. However, The Texans would quickly reply to this score with a score of their own. Davis Mils threw a 19 yard touchdown pass to Jordan Akins to keep the Texans lead at 10 points.

We then had a repeat of what happened in the first half, but from the other team. Near the end of the third quarter, Mills was intercepted by the Colts defense, who would ran the ball in for a pick 6. Mills was again intercepted on the next drive, which Indianapolis capitalised on, scoring another touchdown to give them the lead for the first time in this match.

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This lead would be increased near the end of the fourth quarter through a 54 yard field goal, giving the Colts a 7 point lead. Houston had possession and one final drive. What would they choose to do?

Davis Mills and company drove the ball down into the Indianapolis red zone. Then, on 3rd and 10 from the 18 yard line, Mills was sacked for 10 yards. The Texans decided to go for it on fourth down. Mills pass found Jordan Akin for a 28 yard touchdwon, to put them one point from tying the game. But Houston did not want to tie the game, they wanted to win the game. They went for a two point conversion, and Mills found Atkin again in the endzone for not only the two points, but the win, as the Houston Texans defeated the Indianapolis Colts 32-31.

With this win, the Colts end their season with a 4-12-1 record. Houston end with a 3-13-1 record, and due to their victory, will not have the number one pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. That belongs to the Chicago Bears.

The Jaguars Return

Coming into this weekend, the AFC South was still up for grabs. Two teams could still win the division. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who have been experiencing a revival in the last couple of matches, and the Tennessee Titans, who were last year’s number-one seeds in the AFC, have been recently losing games for fun. These two teams met on Saturday night in a winner takes all clash. So, who would make the playoffs?

The first two drives of the game ended in punts. It would be the Titans who would be the first team to score. After a 17 play drive, the Titans stalled at the Jags 33 yard line, resulting in a 51 yard field goal. The Jags next drive would also be a long one, but have an abrupt ending, as they would fumble the ball on the edge of the redzone, which was scooped up by the Titans defense.

Tennessee would take advantage of this gain in momentum. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs would drive the ball down the Jags 21 yard line. Then, he would throw a 21 yard pass to Chigoziem Okonkwo which would find the endzone to give them a 10 point lead.

However, the Jags would quickly strike back. Jaguars quarterback and former number one pick Trevor Lawrence would throw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk. A 39 yard field goal from Tennessee would end the half, as the Titans would go into the locker room with a 13-7 lead over the Jaguars.

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The first half ended with a field goal. The second half began with two field goals , one from each team. Tennessee would then make a mistake that could cost them the game. Joshua Dobbs was intercepted by the Jaguars defense around the 50 yard line, and then return the ball to the Titans 25 yard line. This would give the Jaguars an excellent field position to score and take the lead. Luckily for the Titans, this drive stalled, and the Jags had to kick a 36 yard field goal. This made the Titans lead 3 points, with a whole fourth quarter to play.

The majority of these drives ended in punts. Then ,with 3 minutes to play, the Titans made another mistake. Dobbs was sacked at the Titans own 27 yard line. He then fumbled the ball, which was scooped up by the Jaguars defense, who would run the ball in for a touchdown, and the lead.

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Tennessee’s final drive of the game stalled and the Titans turned over the ball on down. This officially ended all hope that they could win the game, and gave the Jacksonville Jaguars a 20-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

With this win, the Jaguars win the AFC South with a 9-8 record and reach the playoff for the first time since 2017, which was a year where they were one play away from aking the Super Bowl. On the other hand, the Titans end with a 7-10 record, and finish second in the AFC South, solely due to the pure awfulness of the Colts and Texans. Tennessee, they came into this second with high expectations and failed.

And on the subject of teams failing…

Seattle Leave It Late But Make The Postseason

There are so many words to describe this season for the Los Angeles Rams. The best collection of words to describe this year is “officially the worst title defense by any team in NFL history”. Now, they were obliterated by injuries of their star talent early in the season, but to play this bad almost all year may show that the glory days for the Rams are over. This week, they faced the Seattle Seahawks, who were still in playoff contention and needed to win to remain in the hunt.

The game started awfully for the Seahawks. On the opening play of the game, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith was intercepted by Jaylen Ramsey, who would return the ball deep into Seahawks territory. However, the Ramas were unable to move the ball into the endzone, and had to kick a 22 yard field goal.

The Seahawks next drive was more successful. They moved the ball down to the redzone, but then stopped. A 37 yard field goal was the best they could do from this drive. Later on, in the half, 2 more field goals were kicked, one from each team, to keep the game level.

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Then, the Rams decided to break the state of levelness. Near the end of the first half, Tutu Atwell found the endzone from a 11 yard rush to give the Los Angelse Rams a 13-6 lead over the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle would be the first team to score in the second half. Quarterback Geno Smith would throw a 36 yard pass to Tyler Lockett, which would find the endzone, and would tie the scores up again. The tie did not last long, as the next Rams drive would stall just inside the redzone and would result in a 38 yard field goal, to give the lead back to them.

The Rams had a chance to increase their lead soon after, as Smith was intercepted by the Rams defense. however, the subsequent Rams drive led to nothing.

Near the end of the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks were very close to knocking on the door of the redzone. Their drive had taken them down to the Rams one yard line, but Seattle could not convert this into what would have been a game-winning score, they had to have a game-tying 22 yard field goal.

The Seahawks would also have the final drive of the game. They moved the ball down to the Rams 28 yard line, setting up a 46 yard field goal to win the game. The Seahawks kicker would miss this, and we were going to overtime.

Seattle had the opening possession, but could not do anything with this, meaning that all the rams needed was a field goal and they would win. But Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield was intercepted, giving the Seahawks another chance. They took full advantage from this, and this time they successfully kicked a 32 yard field goal This gave the Seattle Seahawks a 19-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

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With this win, the Seahawks end their season with a 9-8 record, and due to the Packers losing, Seattle makes the playoffs. The Rams end their season with a 5-12 record. One to forget for them.

What Happened In The Other Games This Week?

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 31-13. The Chiefs ran circles over the Raiders, literally, as Kansas City became the number-one seed in the AFC.

Games between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles are normally meaningful. This week, as the Giants were locked into the 6 seed, they had nothing to play for, so the Giants rested all of their starts. The Eagles did not. Philadelphia would win the game 22-16, and the Giants backup side had a far better performance than anyone expected

in another meaningless game, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-17. As Tampa Bay won the NFC South last week, they are the 4 seed in the playoffs. They have a 8-9 record and they are the 4 seed, how should that happen?

The Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 29-13. The loss gave the Bears the number one pick, while the win gave the Vikings the 3 seed in the playoffs. What could either team do with these? Time will tell.

The Cincinnati Bengals knew that due to their understandable situation, their playoff road may be different and a bit confusing. They beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-16, to set up a Wildcard round match up against, the Baltimore Ravens. Who does not love a rematch?

In a truly boring game, the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets 11-6. From this game, the Dolphins won a spot in the playoffs. Let’s hope they do not play like this.

The Carolina Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints 10-7 in another low-scoring affair. The Panthers won this game on a last-second game-winning field goal

Coming into this game, the Pittsburgh Steelers could have still made the playoffs. They beat the Cleveland Browns 28-14, but miss out on the playoffs

After a season of too many primetime games, too much hope, massive disappointment and an incident involving high knees on the plane to London, the Denver Broncos ended their season with a 31-28 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. All they had to do to win this game was fire Nathaniel Hackett.

The legend surrounding quarterback Brock Purdy increased this weekend, as the San Francisco 49ers beat the Arizona Cardinals 38-14. However, this game was overshadowed by it being the last ever game of the distinguished career of the legend that is J.J Watt

The Dallas Cowboys struggled against the Washington Commanders. The Commanders would win this game 26-6.

The Playoff Picture

With every regular season game now played, we can officially say which teams have made the playoffs, and who will be playing who.

AFC

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs have the top seed, and will have a bye week next week.

In the wildcard round, the Buffalo Bills will host the Miami Dolphins, the Cincinnati Bengals will face the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars will play the Los Angeles Chargers.

NFC

In the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles have the number one seed.

In next week’s wildcard round we will see the Seattle Seahawks play the San Francisco 49ers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings will host the New York Giants.

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