Week 18 was both kind and cruel to former Las Vegas Raiders Derek Carr and Darren Waller as they each took home ‘W’s’ but will remain at home during the playoffs next week. While Waller and the New York Giants were eliminated from postseason contention several weeks ago, Carr and the Saints didn’t get the help they needed to punch their ticket.
- Game result: 48-17, Saints win
- Stats: 22/28, 264 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
Carr played pretty well on Sunday, throwing almost as many incompletions as touchdown passes. New Orleans and Atlanta were tied 17-17 at halftime until he tossed three of his four scores and engineered a 92-yard field goal drive to turn the contest into a blowout.
Things got even worse when backup quarterback Jameis Winston and the offense went against Dennis Allen’s decision to take a knee, electing to run up the score. That didn’t go over well with Arthur Smith—who was also fired on Monday—for a noteworthy post-game handshake between the two head coaches.
Final NFC South Standings
- Tampa Bay 9-8
- New Orleans 9-8
- Atlanta 7-10 (2 GB)
- Carolina 2-15 (7 GB)
The Buccaneers had to lose to the Panthers for Carr and the Saints to win the division as they dug themselves into too deep of a hole earlier in the season. New Orleans also held the same record as the Green Bay Packers, however, the Week 3 matchup where Carr suffered an injury and didn’t finish the game proved to be costly. The Saints blew a 17-0 fourth-quarter lead in that contest which ended up being the deciding factor between the two teams as the Packers are headed to the playoffs at 9-8.
This also marks just the third time the 10-year veteran has finished above .500 during his career, and he and Dennis Allen are now 9-12 together. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Allen is expected to be retained as head coach so the former Raiders duo will likely run it back for another year.
- Game result: 27-10, Giants win
- Stats: 5 catches 45 yards
Waller had another solid individual performance as New York pulled off the upset and helped ensure Philadelphia didn’t win the division. The Giants jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first half, triggering the Eagles to pull their starters and insert another former Raider into the game, Marcus Mariota. Mariota went 13 of 20 on his passing attempts for 148 yards, one touchdown and an interception while also contributing on the ground with 46 yards on six carries.
For the season, Waller logged 52 receptions for 552 yards and one touchdown in 12 games. Those figures rank 17th, 16th and tied for 42nd, respectively, among tight ends as missing time caused him to slide down the rankings. Now, New York’s front office has a decision to make as they could save about $6.6 million by releasing or trading Waller in the offseason, per Spotrac.
Tyrod Taylor connected with Darren Waller for 23 yards on 2nd & 11.— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) January 8, 2024
What a beautiful pass from Tyrod, great touch...the #Giants have tried this concept in the RZ with DW a hitch & go
Bradberry does a solid job staying in phase, but the throw and contested catch ability was pic.twitter.com/4DNvZ4loXd
Final NFC East Standings
- Dallas 12-5
- Philadelphia 11-6 (1 GB)
- New York 6-11 (6 GB)
- Washington 4-13 (8 GB)
Again, the Giants were nowhere close to making the playoffs this season so they were just playing for pride on Sunday. As far as the NFL Draft goes, the win puts them in the sixth spot for the first round.