April 17, 2024
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NFL Playoffs Ahead: Here’s What Happened In The Most Important Fixtures Of Week 18

The NFL playoffs are here again following an exciting final week of regular season action that set up postseason fields for both conferences.

There was still a lot to play for in Week 18, with several teams hoping to sneak into the Wild Card Round, which is set for this weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched a spot after the Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Tennessee Titans, while the Houston Texans won the AFC South for the first time in five years.

The Buffalo Bills won the AFC East with a victory over the Miami Dolphins, despite Josh Allen’s three interceptions. 

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 13-12 in an inconsequential fixture, with Andy Reid’s side going into the game locked in as the third seed in the ACF. The Chargers were also out of playoff contention but are expected to be one of the busiest teams in the offseason. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers, securing an ugly 9-0 win to lock up the NFC South for the third straight year, this time with Baker Mayfield under center. The Panthers were particularly disappointing this season as they gave up plenty to get the No. 1 overall pick and draft Bryce Young just so they could end the season with a 2-15 record.  

Although the Panthers did not make the running this year, Sportsbook promotions in NC will be all the more interesting next season as there are several sensational college prospects set to enter the draft this year. For now, fans will wait for operators to roll their platforms out.

Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers got the job done with a win against the Chicago Bears that guaranteed them a berth while the Dallas Cowboys dominated the Washington Commanders to win the NFC East and lock up the second spot in the conference.

The Philadelphia Eagles dropped yet another game, losing to the Giants 27-10. Thankfully, they secured a playoff spot several weeks ago but would have preferred not having to go through the postseason via the Wild Card route.

Setting up a very intriguing matchup, the Los Angeles Rams earned a marginal win over the San Francisco 49ers that will see Matthew Stafford return to Detroit for a game against his old Lions team. The Lions, who won the NFC North, are hosting a playoff game for the first time in 30 years.

The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks played out to what was a meaningless game for the Cardinals but a crushing one for the Seahawks as the latter missed out on the playoffs.

The loss has had even deeper implications for the Seahawks as Pete Carroll has stepped down as the team’s head coach this Tuesday and is headed for an advisory role. The Seahawks’ owner, Jody Allen made the announcement.

“Pete is the winningest coach in Seahawks history, brought the city its first Super Bowl title, and created a tremendous impact over the past 14 years on the field and in the community,” he said. “His expertise in leadership and building a championship culture will continue as an integral part of our organization moving forward.”

The Tennessee Titans also opted to fire Mike Vrabel after Week 18’s results, though they won vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he likely won’t be out of a job for too long.

NFL postseason action is scheduled to kick off this Saturday, with the Texans to play the Cleveland Browns at 5:30 PM ET. 

The second game is the biggest of the round. The Chiefs and Dolphins will square off at 9:00 PM ET, marking Tyreek Hill’s first game at Arrowhead Stadium since he was traded in 2022. These two teams played in the regular season, but the game was hosted in Frankfurt Germany. Unfortunately, however, the rematch will only be available to Peacock subscribers.

The Steelers and Bills will lock horns in Sunday’s first game, which kicks off at 2:00 PM ET. That will be followed up by Packers vs. Cowboys at 5:30 PM ET and Rams vs. Lions at 9:00 PM ET. 

The Bucs and Eagles will round things up on Monday at 9:00 PM ET.

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will get some well-deserved rest.

As far as predictions go, we’ve got the Browns, Chiefs, Bills, Cowboys, Lions, and Eagles moving on.

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