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Silver Minings: AFC Week 16 roundup

Raiders get some help in the playoff picture

Syndication: The Enquirer
Joe Burrow
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Somehow, someway the Las Vegas Raiders are still very much in the thick of the AFC playoff picture.

The Raiders helped their cause by beating the Denver Broncos 17-13 yesterday, but Las Vegas got a lot of help from a few other teams around the league as well. The Silver and Black are now in a three-way tie for the third and final wildcard spot in the conference after a wild weekend.

Cleveland Browns 22 Green Bay Packers 24

Key Stats:

  • Baker Mayfield, QB: 21/36, 222 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs
  • Nick Chubb, RB: 20 total touches, 184 total yards, 1 TD
  • D’Earnest Johnson, RB: 5 total touches, 66 total yards
  • M.J. Stewart, S: 10 total tackles, 2 TFLs

The Browns’ playoff hopes were already on the fritz after losing to COVID and the Raiders last week, and Baker Mayfield’s four interceptions on Saturday will likely be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Cleveland now sits at 7-8 and 12th in the AFC’s standings, essentially eliminating them from the tournament.

They’ll head to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers on Monday Night Football next week.

Indianapolis Colts 22 Arizona Cardinals 16

Key Stats:

  • Carson Wentz, QB: 18/28, 225 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs,
  • Johnathan Taylor, RB: 27 carries, 108 yards
  • Michael Pittman Jr, WR: 8 carries, 82 yards
  • George Odom, S: 9 total tackles, 1 PD

Had it not been for a 1-4 start, we’d probably be talking about the Colts as one of the best teams in the NFL and a potential Super Bowl favorite. They’ve gone 8-2 since then, including Saturday’s impressive short-handed win against an NFC playoff team in the Cardinals. Indianapolis is playing great defense and Johnathan Taylor has emerged as a dark horse MVP candidate.

The Colts currently hold the five spot in the conference and are just a game back of the Titans for the AFC South lead. They’ll head to Las Vegas next week in what could be a postseason preview.

Baltimore Ravens 21 Cincinatti Bengals 41

Key Stats:

  • Josh Johnson, QB, Ravens: 28/40, 304 yards 2 TDs, 1 INT
  • Devonta Freeman, RB, Ravens: 8 total touches, 20 total yards, 1 TD
  • Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens: 8 catches, 125 yards, 1 TD
  • Tony Jefferson, S, Ravens: 10 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 PD, 1 QB hit
  • Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals: 37/46, 525 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: 24 total touches, 135 total yards, 2 total TDs
  • Tee Higgings, WR, Bengals: 12 catches, 194 yards, 2 TDs
  • Mike Hilton, CB, Bengals: 6 total tackles, 2 TFLs

This was career day for Joe Burrow as he and the Bengals clearly have the the Ravens’ number this season. They scored on the opening possession of the game and never looked back to take control of the NFC North.

As for the Ravens, the injuries are really just mounting up and become too hard for them to overcome. Josh Johnson played admirably and Mark Andrews did his thing, but Baltimore’s depleted secondary continues to be their Achilie’s heel as they’ve now lost four in a row.

Cincinatti is currently the three-seed in the AFC and will host the Chiefs next weekend. The Ravens are one of the three teams tied with the Raiders and are currently the third wild card with a home game against the Rams upcoming.

Buffalo Bills 33 New England Patriots 21

Key Stats:

  • Josh Allen, QB, Bills: 30/47, 314 yards, 3 TDs
  • Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Bills: 11 catches, 125 yards, 1 TD
  • Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills: 7 catches, 85 yards, 1 TD
  • Micah Hyde, S, Bills: 6 total tackles, 2 PD
  • Mac Jones, QB, Patriots: 14/32, 145 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs
  • Damien Harris, RB, Patriots: 18 carries, 103 yards, 3 TDs
  • Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots: 6 catches, 59 yards
  • Kyle Van Noy, LB, Patriots: 7 total tackles, 1 QB hit

Another matchup with between divisional rivals for control of the division. The Bills were able to get their retribution in a game that wasn’t played in tornado like winds. That proved to be beneficial as Josh Allen and the offense were clicking to the tune of 428 total yards and 33 points, as opposed to 230 and 10 last time around.

It wasn’t too long ago that the Patriots were the top dog in the conference. Now, they’ve lost two in a row and hold the six spot in the playoff picture. Mac Jones has had a couple of rough outings in those contests and their defense has allowed 60 points in them.

Buffalo will play host to Atlanta as the four seed in the conference, while New England has a chance to get back on track with a home game against the Jacksonville.

Los Angeles Chargers 29 Houston Texans 41

Key Stats:

  • Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers: 27/35, 336 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
  • Justin Jackson, RB, Chargers: 19 total touches, 162 total yards, 2 TDs
  • Joshua Palmer, WR, Chargers: 5 catches, 43 yards, 1 TD
  • Drue Tranquill, LB, Chargers: 5 total tackles, 1 TFL

This game was probably the biggest surprise of the weekend and the one that gave the Raiders the most help. The Chargers run defense continues to be a big problem as Rex Burkhead ran for 149 yards, 6.8 yards per carry and two touchdowns. The loss drops Los Angels into the three-way tie with Las Vegas for the last Wild Card spot and they have a date upcoming in the last week of the regular season.

Before that, the Chargers will host the Broncos on Sunday.

Pittsburgh Steelers 10 Kansas City Chiefs 36

Key Stats:

  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: 22/35, 159 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Najee Harris, RB, Steelers: 23 total touches, 110 total yards
  • Dionte Johnson, WR, Steelers: 6 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Steelers, 12 total tackles, 1 PD
  • Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs: 23/30, 258 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT
  • Darrell Williams, RB, Chiefs: 14 total touches, 85 total yards,
  • Byron Pringle, WR, Chiefs: 6 catches, 75 yards, 2 TDs
  • L’Jarius Snead, CB, Chiefs: 6 total tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD

We’ve reached the point of the year where sometimes as a fan you have to root for your most hated rival and that’s exactly what Raider Nation had to do yesterday. While this win keeps Chiefs in first place for the conference and officially clinches a playoff berth for them, it also pushes the Raiders ahead of the Steelers in the standings.

Kansas City’s defense continues to thrive while Pittsburgh’s offense continues to struggle. To make things more dangerous, Patrick Mahomes and the offense had a good showing too, so the Chiefs are starting to hit their stride at the right time - or wrong time depending on your perspective/fandom.

The Steelers take on the Browns next Monday, while the Chiefs hit the road and play the Bengals.

Yet to play: Miami Dolphins (7-7, 11 seed)

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