NFC Week 17 Hot Takes

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Dallas finishes the season with the number one seed in the NFC and a heavy favorite to be playing in Houston in February. The Cowboys more than likely will have to beat either Atlanta or Green Bay and possibly both to get there. Both teams are the type of team that can really give Dallas fits with their ability to score in the blink of an eye. – Randy Haines

New York Giants: I’ll start by saying thank you. The Giants did me a solid down the stretch by first beating the Lions and then the Redskins to ensure that the Packers make the playoffs. Very kind of you all. Now, though, you have to come to Green Bay, like you’ve done twice in the past, for the playoffs. History will remember that on both occasions you won a Super Bowl. I’d prefer there wasn’t a third. So, while I speak for every Packer fan when I say we are very appreciative, I also feel no guilt in encouraging the Giants’ receivers to keep on partying in Miami for the next five days. – Jordan Curet

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles finished off the season on a high note with two straight wins against rival playoff teams. Now the victory over Dallas was against mostly backups for the majority of the game, but the Eagles did take the Cowboys to overtime early in the season. If they can add a couple offensive weapons this offseason, they have to feel like they are right on the same level as their rivals. – RH

Washington Redskins: LOLOLOLOLOLskins. The Giants had nothing to play for in Week 17, yet Washington couldn’t find a way to beat them to get into the playoffs. It was a quintessential finish for a Snyder Era Redskins’ team. I had the honor to be in attendance at this game on Sunday, and let me tell you, I have never seen a more cranky, annoyed, pessimistic fan base in my life. Although if you are a Skins fan, why would you expect anything other than disappointment? Speaking of dsappointment, good luck overpaying Kirk Cousins this offseason. – Nick Bair

NFC North

Chicago Bears: The Bears have some good pieces to build on going into next season. Their defense looks like it could be something special if everyone stays healthy. Also, Jordan Howard emerged as a stud at running back. Similar to other bad teams, they have to figure out what to do at QB. They should be moving on from Jay Cutler, so look for the Bears to address this issue in the draft. They have the #3 pick in the draft, so look for Mitch Trubisky or DeShaun Watson to be the future in Chicago. – NB

Detroit Lions: As I’ve predicted the last few weeks, the Lions did everything in their power to choke away their playoff spot down the stretch. They lost the NFC North, but thanks to the LOLskins, they still clinched the last Wild Card spot in the NFC. Good for Detroit, but all that means is a loss in Seattle this Saturday. I can’t picture a scenario where the Lions can pull that upset. – NB

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers is a really, really good football player. Not much more needs to be said beyond that. The Packers ran the table, they took care of all their division rivals, and the players even make Mike McCarthy look good. Just don’t flame out of the playoffs in an unbelievably heartbreaking way, okay? Okay? OKAY!? – JC

Minnesota Vikings: Sam Bradford set the single season completion percentage record and it still wasn’t good enough to get the Vikings back to the playoffs. This team really fell apart down the stretch and it makes you wonder which team is the real Vikings. The dominant force from the first half of the season or the team that couldn’t get out of their own way in the second half. If I’m a Vikings fan, I am really worried about this year’s first round pick Laquon Treadwell who spent most of the season as a healthy inactive. – RH

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: A real Falcons fan told me this is the first year he can remember not only being happy about the team making the playoffs, but that he has real hope they can actually compete, too. If you break that man’s heart, Atlanta, you deserve to hang your head in shame. – JC

Carolina Panthers: I think this may just be a season to forget about. Nothing went right, Cam Newton couldn’t get a call to go his way, Benjamin was clearly hurt, and the defense needs some work. Everything there is fixable in one offseason. Really, the only bad news is that the whole division is suddenly competitive. – JC

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees passed for over 5,000 yards once again, New Orleans seems to have struck gold with Michael Thomas,  and the Saints’ defense wasn’t the worst defense of all time. Still, the Saints lost too many winnable games and probably should have been in the playoffs. Also, it seems like it’s time to move on Sean Payton as a head coach, which will leave a pretty large hole to fill. I don’t see the Saints improving their roster mightily this offseason, so finding the right head coach will be the key to a resurgence in the Big Easy. – NB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are already getting buzz about being next season’s Raiders after their 9-7 finish. If Tampa can add another playmaker opposite of superstar Mike Evans, they could potentially be a better version of this years Oakland team as they already have the better defense. The future is bright in Tampa Bay. – RH

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: Wow the Cardinals got lucky that David Johnson didn’t blow his knee out yesterday. It looks like it was just a minor injury. Thank goodness because he is the future in Arizona. The Cardinals might have to move on from Carson Palmer and who knows what that will mean for the rest of the passing game. Arizona put a lot of their eggs in the 2016 basket, so it might get worse before it gets better in the desert. Which is a shame because this team was both talented and fun to watch. – NB

Los Angeles Rams: Thank God that’s over. Even in a meaningless game, Jared Goff still failed to accomplish much of anything. There are rumors circling that Sean Payton could be in play to be the next Rams head coach and if anyone can fix Goff, Payton is it. The real question is would Payton even want Goff to be his guy? – RH

San Francisco 49ers: This franchise was already a bit laughable the past two years, but firing Chip Kelly after one season is Browns’ level of incompetence. What exactly did ownership think was going to happen with a poorly constructed roster? Kelly may or may not be an NFL-caliber coach but a single season with SanFran’s collection of talent says almost nothing one way or the other. This was a doomed season before it started and now there is no quick fix. You chased Harbaugh out of town and whatever curse he left behind isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. – JC

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are up there with Houston and the Dolphins as the least scary playoff teams. They’ve been dramatically up and down all season, are seriously hobbled by injuries, and never really had an offensive line to begin with. Now they’ll face a decent-to-good Detroit team that may end up being a match-up nightmare. Good luck! – JC

-Nick Bair, Jordan Curet, and Randy Haines

Photo Credit: USA Today

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