Welcome to another installment of my weekly NFL Column. My goal is to watch everything so that you don’t have to. I will present to you the best games to watch back; the craziest moments; the best individual performances and the season-long stat leaders and records. I will also be previewing the upcoming gameweek, too.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, check in each week.
Not everybody in the UK has the ability to watch almost 20 hours of live NFL every week, but I’ll make sure you don’t miss anything you’d wish you didn’t. Without further delay…
This is what happened This Week in the NFL.
One last time, ladies and gentlemen.
It has been a wild and wonderful NFL season. Before we dive into the final week of regular season action, I just want to say thank you to each and every person who has read my column this year.
I watch a hell of a lot of football and I spend a lot of time writing, around everything else I have going on, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it because of you, the awesome people who read each week. Thank you.
Week 18 was epic.
Emotional, dramatic and wild. Let’s break this chaos down.
Game of the Week
If you can only watch one full game in its entirety, watch this one:
You must know what I’m going to say here… Surely.
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Tensions were running high. Emotions were elevated, to say the least. The world was watching. Then this happened…
The Bills said it best: ‘Chills.’
From that moment on, I knew that I was destined to put this game down as my Game of the Week.
Then it happened again.
New England Patriots 23 – 35 Buffalo Bills
I’m not sure I intend to try and break down this game as a football game, but as a few hours in NFL history, it was epic.
Hines’ opening kickoff return was unbelievable, transmitting goosebumps through screens to many millions of people worldwide. In that moment, the game was won. New England fought, but there was no way Buffalo would lose this game.
An underrated moment, overshadowed by the absolutely magical kick returns, was John Brown scoring an unbelievable touchdown, improvising with Josh Allen. After the diving catch, he handed the TD ball to Denny Kellington (the Bills trainer who administered CPR to Damar Hamlin on Monday Night). Epic.
The Bills won and they did it for Damar.
Other games to watch back
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos
Upset of the Week
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers
There are two layers to this one.
The Green Bay Packers were the favourites heading into this game. And then, about an hour before kick-off – due to Seattle’s win – the game became irrelevant for Detroit. The Lions had nothing to play for.
Well, except pride.
Detroit Lions 20 – 16 Green Bay Packers
Dan Campbell’s Lions are a special, special team. They don’t have the best roster, especially defensively, but their HC has instilled the ultimate confidence and determination in every single player. Watching Hard Knocks during their run made it clear, they don’t need any more reasons to go out and give 100%.
The Packers had the biggest incentive possible, but they couldn’t deliver. They underperformed massively, putting up less than 300 yards of total offense and coughing up just one single touchdown.
Aaron Rodgers didn’t perform particularly well and threw a costly late interception. While the Lions’ scrappy and passionate group denied him a playoff berth.
The Seattle Seahawks were relying on a Detroit team that had nothing to play for – and it worked out.
Winners and Losers
Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)
Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)
Atlanta Falcons (7-10)
Buffalo Bills (13-3)
Minnesota Vikings (13-4)
Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
Houston Texans (3-13-1)
Miami Dolphins (9-8)
Carolina Panthers (7-10)
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8)
Denver Broncos (5-12)
Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
San Francisco 49ers (13-4)
Seattle Seahawks (9-8)
Washington Commanders (8-8-1)
Detroit Lions (9-8)
Las Vegas Raiders (6-11)
Tennessee Titans (7-10)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)
New England Patriots (8-9)
Chicago Bears (3-14)
Baltimore Ravens (10-7)
Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1)
New York Jets (7-10)
New Orleans Saints (7-10)
Cleveland Browns (7-10)
Los Angeles Chargers (10-7)
New York Giants (9-7-1)
Arizona Cardinals (4-13)
Los Angeles Rams (5-12)
Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
Green Bay Packers (8-9)
Playoff Seedings 2022
1 – Kansas City Chiefs
2 – Buffalo Bills
3 – Cincinnati Bengals
4 – Jacksonville Jaguars
5 – Los Angeles Chargers
6 – Baltimore Ravens
7 – Miami Dolphins
1 – Philadelphia Eagles
2 – San Francisco 49ers
3 – Minnesota Vikings
4 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5 – Dallas Cowboys
6 – New York Giants
7 – Seattle Seahawks
NFL Draft Order 2023
- Chicago Bears
- Houston Texans
- Arizona Cardinals
- Indianapolis Colts
- Seattle Seahawks [via Denver Broncos]
- Detroit Lions [via Los Angeles Rams]
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Atlanta Falcons
- Carolina Panthers
- Philadelphia Eagles [via New Orleans Saints]
- Tennessee Titans
- Houston Texans [via Cleveland Browns]
- New York Jets
- New England Patriots
- Green Bay Packers
- Washington Commanders
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Detroit Lions
Standout Individual Performers
Nyheim Hines, Buffalo Bills
2 truly magical Kick Return TD’s, 235 Kick Return Yards.
This is one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen. After six days of held breath and emotions, the first play of the game triggered a release of it all. The fact that Nyheim Hines did it twice just makes it even more insane. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo did a great job of immortalising this one. 2 kick return TD’s, 235 kick return yards, one unforgettable game.
J.J. Watt, Arizona Cardinals
5 combined tackles including 2 solo tackles, 2.0 Sacks.
One of the greatest defenders in NFL history exits stage right with a performance worthy of his legendary career. In 150 career games, J.J. Watt had 112.5 sacks. Well, now he’s retiring after 151 career games, with 114.5 of them. There may never be a more dominant defensive end than prime J.J. Watt.
Take a bow, sir.
Josh Allen, Jacksonville Jaguars
6 combined tackles including 4 solo tackles and the game-winning scoop-and-score TD.
Not that Josh Allen, the other Josh Allen. In an incredibly close-fought Saturday Night win-and-in game against the Tennessee Titans, the young defensive end had the last laugh. He had a good game on the whole with 4 solo tackles and 2 assists, but it was his late contribution that lands him here. With just under 3 minutes left, Allen recovered a fumble and returned it 37 yards for an epic game-winning touchdown, sealing the Jaguars’ division title and a playoff berth.
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
8 receptions on 11 targets for 102 receiving yards and 2 TD’s.
Do not ask my why Keenan Allen was playing. There is no good answer for that question. However, if he has an amazing performance, I’ve got to give him props. His 8 reception 102 yard game was impressive, as well as unnecessary. He also doubled his season TD total to 4 after his brace in what was an otherwise utterly embarrassing game for the Chargers.
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
5 receptions on 6 targets for 154 receiving yards, 3 carries for 39 rushing yards.
On the less depressing side of that weird matchup, Jerry Jeudy had a great time. He was targeted a fairly uninspiring 6 times, but hauled in 5 of them and turned those catches into 154 receiving yards. The Broncos had nothing to play for, but had one of their best games of the season. Go figure. Russell Wilson showed a glimpse of what he was expected to bring to the table and they beat a team who were trying to keep ‘momentum’ up for the playoffs.
Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts
18 carries for 114 rushing yards and a TD.
Another team with nothing to play for, the Colts ended up in a surprisingly competitive and even arguably dramatic game with the Texans. Yes, the Texans who would have locked up the 1.01 in the draft if they lost. Indianapolis didn’t oblige them, however, that was not for the lack of effort from Zack Moss. The Colts RB, in absence of an injured Jonathan Taylor, has seen some solid volume over the last month of the season. This week Moss signed off on the season with a career-high 114-yard game – his first ever time reaching triple-digits. That performance might land him a better situation for next year, you never know.
Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
7 receptions on 10 targets for 104 receiving yards and a TD.
The Buffalo Bills are America’s Team, right now. Everyone is pulling for them. If they’re not playing against your team, cheer them on. Their WR1 Stefon Diggs, who had experienced a bit of a quiet month over the previous few weeks, bounced back with a great game. #14 was targeted 10 times and he caught 7 of them for 104 receiving yards. He also caught his 11th touchdown of the season. Diggs has seemingly timed a bounceback pretty well, just in time for the playoffs.
Alex Highsmith, Pittsburgh Steelers
8 combined tackles including 6 solo tackles, 2.5 Sacks.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line is to many people T.J. Watt and friends. And while Watt is deservedly a household name, his counterpart on the opposite side had an absolutely brilliant year. Alex Highsmith finished the year on a high, with 6 solo tackles and 2 assists. He recorded 2.5 sacks, raising his total to 14.5 for the season. At just 25 years old, he has barely scratched the surface, but playing ont he same line as Watt will help him put up some real numbers as he continues to improve.
Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
5 combined tackles including 3 solo tackles, 2.5 Sacks.
As a Raiders fan it was legitimately difficult to watch. Chris Jones absolutely manhandled the Vegas offensive line. He had 5 total tackles, including 3 solo tackles. He had 2.5 sacks and he also had a knock-on effect on countless more plays. The Chiefs pass rusher is heading into the bye week on the back of an unbelievable performance, and I wouldn’t want to play against him on the other side of that week off.
Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati Bengals
2 solo tackles, 2.0 Sacks, including a strip-sack that led to a TD.
The Cincinnati Bengals had a weird week. They ignored all of the playoff scenarios and implications, and they went and played ball. When they had a game of football to play, they got straight back to it. Nobody more effectively than Trey Hendrickson. The Bengals defensive end is currently playing through a broken wrist, and he is still dominating. What a beast. This week, he had 2 solo tackles, both for sacks. One of those sacks was a strip-sack which led to a touchdown.
2022 NFL Stat Leaders – Regular Season Stat Champions
Passing Yards – Patrick Mahomes KC, 5250
Passing TD’s – Patrick Mahomes KC, 41
Rushing Yards – Josh Jacobs LVR, 1653
Rushing TD’s – Jamaal Williams DET, 17
Receiving Yards – Justin Jefferson MIN, 1809
Receiving TD’s – Davante Adams LVR, 14
Total TD’s – Austin Ekeler LAC, 18
Tackles (combined) – Foyesade Oluokun JAX, 184
Sacks – Nick Bosa SF, 18.5
Interceptions – Minkah Fitzpatrick PIT, C.J. Gardner-Johnson PHI, Justin Simmons DEN and Tariq Woolen SEA, 6
Enjoy the playoffs, people.