Hey everyone, Tyler Arthur here, welcome to my weekly NFL column.
I am going to be using this space to keep all of you guys up to date with what you may have missed in the NFL, the biggest takeaways and stats, and then preview the upcoming week and what I think you need to be watching next.
Thanks for reading, now let’s get into this week’s column.
2022 is pretty awesome!!
This week in the NFL… utter insanity happens. Week 17 was the craziest, most ridiculous, exciting, dramatic week we’ve had all year.
The 6pm slate was absolutely incredible. We had insane touchdowns, amazing plays on both offense and defense, one of the most insane special teams plays of all time, and one of the most dramatic 30 minute periods of Redzone viewing I’ve ever seen. There were seeding changes, a bye was clinched, and the playoff picture shifted for the penultimate time.
2022 started off by proving that nothing beats January football.
There is just so much to talk about, so let’s not delay.
What happened this week in the NFL?
Game of the week.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals.
This is the only time that I will do this all year. But, I feel I should offer the opportunity for everyone to watch this game in its entirety.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to watch this game or at least see the highlights, consider doing so now, then come back so we can spoil everything with the content of the column.
Alright, let’s go!
Play Of the Week!
I don’t know if it would do justice to try and describe this play. Just sit back and watch one of the most miraculous football plays of all time.
Winners and Losers
Buffalo Bills (10-6)
Chicago Bears (6-10)
Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Tennessee Titans (11-5)
Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
New England Patriots (10-6)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)
Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
New Orleans Saints (8-8)
Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)
Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
New York Giants (4-12)
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
Miami Dolphins (8-8)
Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
New York Jets (4-12)
Washington Football Team (6-10)
Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
Denver Broncos (7-9)
Houston Texans (4-12)
Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
Carolina Panthers (5-11)
Detroit Lions (2-13-1)
Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
Cleveland Browns (7-9)
Here is the current playoff picture, as of Week 17, with just one final week of games to play for everyone.
AFC Playoff Spots Week 17
#1 – Tennessee Titans (11-5) ** Clinched Division
#2 – Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) ** Clinched Division
#3 – Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) ** Clinched Division
#4 – Buffalo Bills (10-6) * Clinched Playoff Berth
#5 – New England Patriots (10-6) * Clinched Playoff Berth
#6 – Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
#7 – Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
AFC Playoff Hopefuls
Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)
Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
AFC Playoff Outlook
This is the more complicated of the two conferences, so I’ll try and make it as easy to understand as possible. There are two available playoff spots in the AFC, and there are five teams fighting over them. Three of the five teams are in a ‘win and you’re in’ position, however two of them are against each other, and the other two teams both need help from others.
The Indianapolis Colts are in a very advantageous position, despite losing to the Raiders this week. They’re win and in, and their matchup with the 2-14 Jaguars makes it very very likely they can defend their playoff berth. Then there’s the big one. Ladies and gentlemen, we get a playoff game in Week 18.
The Raiders and the Chargers are meeting in Vegas this week, and whoever wins will make the playoffs. This is what January football is all about. The Raiders have a 4-4 home record and are currently on a 3-win streak. The Chargers have a 4-3 road record and won their last game directly following a surprising loss to Houston in Week 16. For those wondering, if it’s a tie, the Chargers are in.
Sunday Night Football is going to be absolutely insane. Buckle up.
In the wild scenario that the Colts somehow lose, the Raiders and Chargers could both make it with a tie, or the Steelers can make it with a win and the Colts loss. For the Ravens to make it in, they would need to win, and they also need the Colts and Chargers to both lose, and the Dolphins cannot win. It should also be noted that the Steelers and Ravens are playing against each other, at the same time as Indy’s game.
Essentially, the Colts just have to beat the Jags, and then we get the ultimate primetime regular-season finale in Las Vegas. Make sure you have a big lie-in on Sunday morning, we’re staying up late for this one.
Key AFC Playoff Games Week 18
Colts @ Jaguars, 6pm
Steelers @ Ravens, 6pm
Chargers @ Raiders, SNF
NFC Playoff Spots Week 17
#1 – Green Bay Packers (13-3) *** Clinched Number One Seed
#2 – Los Angeles Rams (12-4) * Clinched Playoff Berth
#3 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4) ** Clinched Division
#4 – Dallas Cowboys (11-5) ** Clinched Division
#5 – Arizona Cardinals (11-5) * Clinched Playoff Berth
#6 – San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
#7 – Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) * Clinched Playoff Berth
NFC Playoff Hopefuls
New Orleans Saints (8-8)
NFC Playoff Outlook
Alright, so the NFC is pretty much locked up, but there are still two things to determine! We have to decide who wins the NFC West, between the 12-4 Rams and the 11-5 Cardinals. We also have one final playoff spot up for grabs, which will go to either the 9-7 Niners or the 8-8 Saints. Both the Rams and Niners completely control their own destiny here. If the Rams win, they lock in the 2nd seed and their division title. If the Niners win, they clinch a playoff berth and secure their 6th seed.
However, the Cardinals and Saints still need to win. If Arizona win and the Rams lose, they will switch positions and the Cardinals will win the division. If New Orleans win and the Niners lose, the Saints will make the playoffs, and the Niners will miss out.
Oh… Did I mention that the Niners and Rams are playing against each other!? That game could be pretty crazy.
Key NFC Playoff Games Week 18
Saints @ Falcons, 9:25pm
49ers @ Rams, 9:25pm
Seahawks @ Cardinals, 9:25pm
2022 Draft Order
As we approach the final week of the NFL Season, it’s important not just to focus on the playoff picture, but also to look the other way. Let’s take a look at the top 10 picks of the draft and see who might be better off losing in Week 18 than winning.
#1 – Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
#2 – Detroit Lions (2-13-1)
#3 – Houston Texans (4-12)
#4 – New York Jets (4-12)
#5 – New York Giants (4-12)
#6 – Carolina Panthers (5-11)
#7 – New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
#8 – New York Giants via Chicago Bears (6-10)
#9 – Washington Football Team (6-10)
#10 – Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
Standout Individual Performers
Joe. Burrow. Cincinnati Bengals.
77% completion rate, 446 yards and 4 TD’s. 148.0 QB Rating.
It takes a serious football player to sit atop our standout individual performers list two weeks in a row, but hey – Joe Burrow is a serious football player. The Bengals franchise QB decided that he wanted to make it into the playoffs and he made it happen over the last two weeks. Burrow said in an interview that they’d established early this year the ‘easiest’ way to make it was to win the division, and that’s just what they did.
Last week Burrow’s line of 525-4-0 was absolutely astronomical. This week, he had another incredible performance, and this time in an even more important and in a more difficult matchup. He tortured the Chiefs defense, completing 30 of his 39 passes (76.9%) for 446 yards. He also had his second week in a row with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. His QB Rating of 148.0 was a career-high, re-breaking the career-high he set last week.
If the Bengals play the way that they did over the last fortnight in the playoffs, they could be a genuine dark horse Super Bowl contender.
Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
11 receptions, 266 yards and 3 TD’s.
To quote my previous column: ‘Naturally, Joe had to have someone to throw the ball to!’ Last week the explosion game was Tee Higgins, but this week it was the other young star. Yeah, the Bengals have two. Cincinnati’s rookie wideout, Ja’Marr Chase, has been absolutely fantastic this year. He burst onto the scene with 100 yards in his debut, and has consistently shown himself to have huge potential. Well, this week he absolutely destroyed Kansas City. He was targeted 12 times, and he hauled in 11 for a staggering 266 yards and 3 TD’s. This was the best rookie wide receiver single-game performance in NFL history – as well as one of the best individual performances of the season – and without it the Bengals wouldn’t have been able to defeat the Chiefs. This WR duo of Higgins and Chase could be causing some serious damage in the playoffs.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
68% completion rate, 410 yards and 3 TD’s.
The New York Jets do not enjoy playing against Tom Brady. They thought they were getting away from him when he left New England before last season, but this week he returned. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Jets did put up a serious fight, and made TB12 work for it, but he did what he does better than any human being has ever done, he won a football game. Brady had a 410 yard, 3 TD game, which is good for one of his best performances this season. The Jets had the lead until right down to the final minute. The GOAT orchestrated a game-winning drive and helped his old enemies in New York to maintain their draft position. It also shouldn’t go unmentioned that his second-best wide receiver walked off during the middle of the game.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
69% completion rate, 236 yards and 4 TD’s.
At the end of a very unusual season for the Seahawks, they took their frustration out on the Detroit Lions. They won 51-29 and Russell Wilson looked like his normal self, dishing out 4 touchdowns on just 20 completed passes. There is a possibility that the Seahawks organisation changes direction in a pretty big way over the next 18 months, with some saying that this could have been the last home game Pete Carroll and/or Russell Wilson have with Seattle. If that does turn out to be the case, it was a very fitting end to their tenure, with a dominant performance at home.
Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
25 carries, 170 yards and 2 TD’s.
Russ did indeed throw a lot of touchdowns, but you may have noticed his yardage was a little lower, and he only attempted 29 passes this week. The reason for that is the efficiency of Rashaad Penny, who played brilliantly against a shaky Detroit defense. Penny carried the ball 25 times, and turned those opportunities into 170 yards (6.8 ypc), and scored twice. Penny has only really had a chance to shine toward the end of the season, but he really has done so. In Weeks 14, 16 and 17, Penny saw 15 or more carries, and every single time he has had 130+ yards and over 6.5 yards per carry. If the Seahawks do choose to get younger and look to the future, Penny could be a central part of the team while they’re doing so.
DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
6 receptions, 63 receiving yards, 3 TD’s.
While we’re talking Seattle, we have to shoutout DK Metcalf for very casually dominating in this game. He only caught six passes, but he scored on half of his receptions and put up a nice 63 yards to go with his 3 TD’s. Metcalf is undoubtedly one of the best young offensive players in the league and the future of the Seahawks is all the more interesting with him in it. However, it’ll be very unfortunate if the elite deep threat loses his QB, who throws some of the prettiest deep passes in the league. I hope Wilson stays and we get to see this pair stick together, but if that isn’t the case, what better way for their last home game to see them connecting three times in the end zone.
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
28 carries, 188 yards and a TD.
The Pittsburgh Steelers kept their season alive on Monday Night Football against the Browns, largely thanks to a huge rushing effort from Najee Harris. The rookie running back has taken on a serious workload this year and done a very solid job with it. He rushed 28 times, the most carries he’s had all year, and he turned them into 188 rushing yards and a TD. Harris also added another 18 yards on three receptions in the Steelers final home game.
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
23 carries, 110 yards and 2 TD’s.
The Buffalo Bills stamped their place in the playoffs this week with a victory over a recently somewhat resurgent Atlanta. Bills RB Devin Singletary put on a bit of a show in the snow. He rushed 23 times and put up 110 yards, scoring twice. The Bills are so often a pass-heavy team, with the majority of the rushing coming from Josh Allen, but when their half-backs can get it going, it often makes them an even more dangerous offense.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
8 receptions, 111 receiving yards and a TD, as well as a rushing TD.
The Detroit Lions haven’t had a particularly enjoyable year, that is probably fair to say. However, the key to staying positive is recognising some of the young talent in the team. One of the more bright spots in the team, and one of the better rookie seasons this year, Amon-Ra St. Brown had another great game. From Week 13 on, the Lions receiver has been really good. This week he broke 100 yards receiving for the first time, with 111 yards on 8 receptions. He also scored his fourth receiving touchdown of the year, all of which came in the last five weeks. Also, something that was really interesting was that he lined up as a running back a few times, and on two rush attempts, he ran for 23 yards and scored a second TD.
T.J Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
5 solo tackles, 4.0 sacks and 2 passes defended.
Now let’s talk about defense… We had some absolutely awesome defensive performances, but the number one is undoubtedly that of T.J Watt. The Steelers superstar edge rusher absolutely dominated the Browns offensive line, and spent more time in the backfield than Nick Chubb did, it feels like. Watt made five solo tackles in the game, and four of those were on Baker Mayfield. His 4 sacks catapulted him back to the top of the NFL sack list with an incredibly impressive 21.5. The all-time sack record is 22.5 courtesy of Michael Strahan in 2001. Keep an eye on Watt in Week 18, because he’s going to want to break that record.
Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints
6 solo tackles, 8 combined and 3.5 sacks.
We gave props to Joe Burrow for topping our list twice in a row, but let’s take a minute to recognise Cam Jordan’s current form. The Saints defensive end has had the three-game stretch of a lifetime. In Week 15 he topped our defensive performers with a 2 sack performance while shutting out the Buccaneers, then he got another two-sack performance last week against Miami. This week he nearly doubled up, as he had yet another great game, recording 8 combined tackles and 3.5 sacks against Carolina. That means that of Jordan’s 11.5 total sacks this year, 7.5 have come in the space of three games. He’s on fire, and if the Saints can sneak into the playoffs – which is still a very distinct possibility due to the Niners’ tough matchup – it’ll be largely on the shoulders of an incredible late-season effort from Jordan.
Chuck Clark, Baltimore Ravens
7 combined tackles, 2 interceptions including a pick-six.
The LA Rams managed to pull out a narrow victory over a Lamar Jackson-less Ravens this week with a 20-19 win, but they really had to work for it. Matthew Stafford had a pretty rough start early on, and the person who troubled him most was safety Chuck Clark. The Ravens defensive back made 7 combined tackles in the game and intercepted Stafford twice, as well as one more pass defense. He returned one of his interceptions for a touchdown, which seriously piled the pressure on the Rams, but unfortunately, they couldn’t quite do enough for the win.
Games to watch back
Chiefs @ Bengals x100
Raiders @ Colts
Buccaneers @ Jets
Cardinals @ Cowboys
Stat Leaders Through Week 17
Passing Yards – Tom Brady, 4990
Passing TD’s – Tom Brady, 40
Rushing Yards – Jonathan Taylor, 1734
Rushing TD’s – Jonathan Taylor, 18
Receiving Yards – Cooper Kupp, 1829
Receiving TD’s – Cooper Kupp, 15
Total TD’s – Jonathan Taylor, 20
Tackles (combined) – Foyesade Oluokun, 179
Sacks – T.J Watt, 21.5
Interceptions – Trevon Diggs, 11
Week 18 – What to Watch – The Final Week.
It’s time for our final preview of the year. This is the one. Week 18 – the first in history, is set up to be a very exciting week, with playoff implications, draft order reshuffling and the opportunity to break records!
Week 18 Best Games – Ultimate Edition
These two games are absolutely non-negotiable must-watch NFL football games. Don’t miss these.
49ers @ Rams, 9:25pm
Chargers @ Raiders, SNF
Week 18 Storylines and what to watch
Who will win in the first playoff game of the season – win and you’re in. Chargers @ Raiders, SNF.
Can San Francisco win on the road in LA to make the playoffs, despite the Rams needing to win for the 2-seed? 49ers @ Rams, 9:25pm
Will the Jaguars take a hit to their draft position to cause some Week 18 playoff chaos? Colts @ Jaguars, 6pm
Cooper Kupp: 135 yards shy of single-season receiving record (1,964). 11 receptions shy of receptions record (149). Kupp could also be the first receiver in NFL history to break 2,000 yards if he goes for 171 yards – which is no small feat, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Kupp, who averages 114 yards per game. He has gone over 171 yards one time before, so you never know.
T.J Watt: 1 sack shy of single-season sack record (22.5). As I mentioned earlier, T.J Watt is having an absolutely incredible season. Many of the records that are being broken this season, people can argue that they were broken because of the longer 17-game season. That does not apply to this one – in fact, quite the opposite. Watt has missed two games this year due to injury, so he has actually got the ability to break Strahan’s record in one game less than the Giants star rusher initially set it in 2001. The Ravens’ offensive line better beware.
Tom Brady: 11 completions shy of the single-season pass completions record (471). This one is as much of a guarantee as any of these records that could be broken this week. The GOAT is going to break yet another record (and another one that was previously owned by Drew Brees). Also, although a bit less of a prestigious record, he is 45 pass attempts shy of the single-season pass attempts record (727).
Trevon Diggs: This one is less likely, but definitely not impossible. Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs is just two interceptions shy of the modern (Super Bowl era) INT record (13). The Cowboys are facing the Eagles this week and with Philadelphia and Dallas both happily enjoying guaranteed playoff berths, it’s hard to tell what to expect from this game, but it’s definitely possible.
Thank you so much for reading! This has officially been our final week preview of the season. This year has been an absolute blast, I hope this extra-special edition of the preview helps to heighten your viewing experience this week.
Enjoy Week 18, and bring on the postseason!!