Well, the Las Vegas Raiders, a team that myself and a lot of people considered dead not too long ago, have managed to take advantage of the wild AFC playoff picture and take a hold of a Wild Card spot heading into the final week of the season.
The Raiders’ 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts bumps their record up to 9-7 and moves them one win closer to clinching a postseason berth. Las Vegas is currently the eighth seed in the conference and will be in the tournament with another W next weekend against the Chargers.
But before we start looking ahead to next week and the playoffs, let’s look back at yesterday’s games and see what the AFC playoff standings look like.
Atlanta Falcons 15 Buffalo Bills 29
- Josh Allen, QB: 11/26, 120 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 15 carries, 81 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs
- Devin Singletary, RB: 23 carries, 110 yards, 2 TDs
- Stefon Diggs, WR: 5 catches, 52 yards
- Matt Milano, LB: 6 total tackles, 1 PD
Surprisingly, running the ball and playing defense is what got the job done for the Bills this week. The weather definitely played a factor as Josh Allen couldn’t get much going through the air but did have an impressive day on the ground, same goes for running back Devin Singletary.
This game didn’t affect Las Vegas too much. Buffalo stays ahead of New England in the AFC East standings and those two will square off in Western New York in two weeks if the standings hold. The Bills will host the Jets before that, though.
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs: 26/35, 259 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 carries, 25 rushing yards
- Darrell Williams, RBs, Chiefs: 17 total touches, 107 total yards, 2 TDs
- Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs: 6 catches, 40 yards
- Chris Jones, DT, Chiefs: 4 total tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, 3 QB hits
- Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals: 30/39, 446 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
- Joe Mixson, RB, Bengals: 19 total touches, 86 total yards
- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals: 11 catches, 266 yards, 3 TDs
- Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Bengals: 4 total tackles, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits
In what was the most exciting game of the early slate, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase went off in the second half to come back and beat the No. 1 seed heading into the weekend. For the first time since about the start of the season, the Cheifs’ defense looks like it has some holes to fill. It’s also worth noting that Cincinnati was able to keep Kansas City’s weapons in check as Mecole Hardman led the team in receiving yards with one catch for 53 yards in the game.
The Bengals currently hold the third spot in the conference and would host the Colts if the standings hold. They’ll head to Cleveland with the AFC North crown in hand to finish the season.
The Chiefs take on the Broncos in Denver next week and will be playing for a chance at the one seed and first-round bye in the playoffs if the Titans lose their Week 18 game. Otherwise, they’ll likely be the two-seed and host either the Colts or Chargers.
- Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins: 18/38, 205 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
- Duke Johnson, RB, Dolphins: 9 total touches, 65 total yards
- Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins: 4 catches, 51 yards
- Christian Wilkins, DT, Dolphins: 11 total tackles, 1 TFL
- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans: 12/18, 120 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
- D’Onta Foreman, RB, Titans: 26 carries, 132 yards, 1 TD
- Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Titans: 11 total touches, 76 total yards 1 TD
- Kristian Fulton, CB, Titans: 3 total tackles, 2 PDs
This one pretty much spoils the Dolphins' seven-game winning streak. Partially, because that run came against a lot of bad teams or teams playing short-handed and the Titans have been one of the better squads in the conference this season. So, Miami’s legitimacy as a playoff contender was questionable and they’re officially eliminated from contention, with New England coming to town next week.
For the Titans, the win and Chiefs’ loss moves them back into first place in the conference which comes with that coveted first-round bye. Tennessee will head to Houston for the final game of the regular season.
- Mac Jones, QB: 22/30, 227 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
- Rhamondre Stevenson, RB: 19 carries, 107 yards, 2 TDs
- Jakobi Meyers, WR: 8 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD
- Jalen Mills, CB: 4 total tackles, 2 PD
This one didn’t impact the Raiders much and was rather unnoteworthy. The Pats dominated and the Jags continue to struggle but Trevor Lawrence did throw his second touchdown pass since October!
New England heads into Week 18 as the five seed and hosts Miami next weekend.
- Tyler Huntley, QB: 20/32, 197 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 6 carries, 54 rushing yards
- Devonta Freeman, RB: 14 carries, 76 yards
- Mark Andrews, TE: 6 catches, 89 yards
- Chuch Clark, S: 7 total tackles, 3 PDs, 1 TD
A one-point loss to one of the best teams in the NFC and the Bengals win will all but eliminate the Ravens from the playoffs this season. You have to give them a lot of credit though. No team has had to overcome more key injuries than Baltimore, even going back to Week 1 when Marcus Peters tore an ACL a few days before the season opener.
The Ravens are currently 8-8 and 11th in the AFC standings and will host the Steelers to round out the year.
Denver Broncos 13 Los Angeles Chargers 34
- Justin Herbert, QB: 22/31, 237 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
- Austin Ekeler, RB: 20 total touches, 112 total yards 1 TD
- Mike Williams, WR: 3 catches, 63 yards, 1 TD
- Joey Bosa, EDGE: 6 total tackles 1 TFL
Los Angeles just dominated start to finish and officially eliminated Denver from postseason contention. The final scoreboard was lopsided but still didn’t do the blowout justice. The Chargers held a 34-6 lead before Drew Lock was able to put his first touchdown drive of the game together about midway through the fourth quarter.
In the big picture, this game doesn’t really mean much. Yes, it does put the Chargers in seventh place and the Raiders in eighth heading into Week 18, but next week’s matchup is still a “winner take all” game and would have been even if the Broncos pulled off the upset.
Yet to play: Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1, ninth in AFC), Cleveland Browns (7-8, 12th in AFC)
In other Raiders Links:
- 5 things we learned from the Raiders’ win: check out Williamson’s takeaways from the Silver and Black’s huge victory.
- Team honors John Madden: every Raiders player had a JM sticker with a black shield on the back of their helmets for yesterday’s game.
- Tape Don’t Lie instant reaction: Marcus and I gave our initial thoughts on the Raiders’ outstanding performance.
- Full game highlights: the team posted a highlight reel of their Week 17 performance on their website.