Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers led comeback wins and the Los Angeles Rams dominated Russell Wilson and the Broncos.
It was a triumphant Christmas for the Buccaneers, Packers and Rams as many figured it could be when the schedule was launched in Could. The NFC’s high three preseason Tremendous Bowl favorites have been anticipated to be jockeying for playoff positioning Sunday.
As an alternative, the Rams (5-10) try to keep away from essentially the most losses by a defending Tremendous Bowl champion. The Packers (7-8) need assistance simply to make the playoffs. The Buccaneers (7-8) lead the dreadful NFC South with a first-place showdown developing towards Carolina.
Whereas the NFC is the other way up, the AFC has lived as much as expectations. The Buffalo Payments (12-3) and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (12-3) entered the season as the highest two Tremendous Bowl favorites and they’re 1-2 within the race for the No. 1 seed. The defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) are third with an opportunity to maneuver up after they host the Payments subsequent Monday evening.
Brady rallied Tampa Bay from a 10-point deficit within the fourth quarter to a 19-16 extra time victory at Arizona following one other poor offensive efficiency. The 45-year-old, seven-time Tremendous Bowl champion threw two picks for the third straight recreation, the offense had no rhythm till it went into hurry-up mode late and the depleted offensive line misplaced one other key player.
The Buccaneers would clinch the division title with a win over the Panthers (6-9) on New Yr’s Day. They’d earn the No. 4 seed within the NFC and home-field benefit in a wild-card recreation with the most definitely opponent being the Dallas Cowboys (11-4).
The Bucs opened the season with a 19-3 win in Dallas. These are two totally different groups now. If Brady and the Bucs play the best way they’ve for many of the season, the Cowboys will beat them by double digits.
Brady doesn’t appear to belief his offensive line, so he’s eliminating the ball at a sooner tempo than he ever has, and he seems to lack confidence in his receivers at times.
The offense has been out of sync all season and is averaging fewer than 18 factors. However the protection has stepped up and Brady has engineered three comeback wins within the final seven video games.
The Buccaneers had a decrease seed in 2020 and needed to win three highway video games within the playoffs on their option to a Tremendous Bowl title in Brady’s first season in Tampa Bay. That offense was dynamic, averaging greater than 30 factors per recreation.
They’ll have to play much better than they’ve proven to have a shot at successful a playoff recreation.
Rodgers and the Packers have been headed towards elimination a couple of weeks in the past after a 4-8 begin. However they’ve gained three straight video games and now could make the playoffs with two extra wins plus a loss by Washington (7-7-1) or two losses by the Giants (8-6-1).
Inexperienced Bay trailed Miami 20-10 within the second quarter on Sunday earlier than outscoring the Dolphins 16-0 the remainder of the best way. The protection picked Tua Tagovailoa 3 times within the fourth quarter to assist safe the 26-20 upset on the highway.
The Packers haven’t resembled the staff that gained 13 video games in every of the three earlier seasons. However they’re beginning to come collectively down the stretch.
In 2010 when Rodgers gained his solely Tremendous Bowl, the Packers made the playoffs because the sixth and closing seed within the NFC. They host the Vikings (12-3) and Lions (7-8) within the closing two video games with an opportunity to sneak in.
The Rams have already got been knocked out of the playoff race, however Baker Mayfield has made them attention-grabbing. He was wonderful in a 51-14 win towards Denver, finishing 24 of 28 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns. Mayfield has led Los Angeles to 2 victories in three video games since he joined the staff two days earlier than main a comeback win over Las Vegas on Dec. 8.
The Rams, Buccaneers and Packers every gained in the identical week for under the second time this season and the primary since Week 2.
Regardless of their struggles, Brady and Rodgers nonetheless have a shot. Don’t rely them out till they’re eradicated.