NFL Week 17 recap: Next week’s card will be far from wild

Our resident NFL expert is far from impressed with what’s on offer in the upcoming playoffs…


There’s no denying that, if you’re in the playoffs – you deserve to be here. However, this postseason may be the dullest on paper in quite some time.

Bar the odd piece of sentiment, mainly associated with Drew Brees’ swansong and the end of the drought in Buffalo, there’s not much to look forward to here. Perhaps coincidentally, in a season where there’s potential for a huge number of quarterbacks taken in the first round of the draft, we’re left with very few elite arms on display in January.

Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota, Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Nick Foles. Doesn’t quite whet the new year appetite, does it? In the AFC, it feels like a pointless countdown to the AFC Championship game which will almost certainly be New England and Pittsburgh battling it out for a Super Bowl berth.

In the NFC, maybe the Rams and Atlanta could put on a show, but the only standout game from wildcard weekend is Carolina and New Orleans. A dab artist up against a soon-to-be thirty-nine-year-old. The league that keeps producing, eh?

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But how exactly have we landed here? The Chiefs lost four in a row in midseason. The Bills lost to the Bengals and the Jets this year. The Titans put up twenty points or less in nine of their sixteen games.

Do any of the outsiders pose a threat?

Buffalo’s gameplan completely relies on LeSean McCoy, and if he’s unavailable to take on the Jaguars, they’ll be going no further. Tyrod Taylor can evade pressure and force Jacksonville’s defensive backs into longer coverage.

That’s their only hope, and it’s slim enough. The drought may be over, but they’ll be going no further. We get Blake Bortles in the Divisional round – hip-hip.

Tennessee and Kansas City can be equally as awful as each other in various stretches, so this may be the worst game of the weekend if things don’t go accordingly to plan.

Expect a low-scoring, snoozefest, with a moment of magic from Tyreek Hill separating the teams.

The Rams and the Falcons offers some hope of entertainment this weekend.

Matt Ryan up against schematics and an offence that relies on superb design to overcome better-built opponents.

There’s demons to be exorcised for Atlanta, but they probably won’t get past the biggest surprise of the season, thanks to Sean McVay’s refreshing outlook on how the game should be played.

Then there’s the game of the round. Mike Shula’s Carolina offence are exciting – mainly due to the incredible addition of Stanford all-purpose weapon Christian McCaffrey.

Although he isn’t being used as an out-and-out back, he’s a matchup nightmare and very few in the league can handle him.

However, the Saints beat the Panthers on both occasions this year.

The tie-breaker was enough to claim the NFC South. They’ll prevail on this occasion, too.

As the old saying goes, games aren’t played on paper.

The aggregate score in this round last year was 121-45. However bad it may appear, at least the games should be close.

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