2021 NFL Week Seventeen: Biggest Storylines and Takeaways
2021 NFL Week Seventeen is in the books and the regular season is slowly coming to an end. With only one more week of regular-season games, the playoff pictures in each conference are close to being set in stone. We had a number of teams pick up huge wins, suffer bad losses while others clinched their spot in the 2021 playoffs. Check out the biggest storylines and takeaways from week seventeen right here!
2021 NFL Week Seventeen- Bengals Earn A Huge Victory Over The Chiefs
Before the season I would have said the Bengals were a fourth-place team who may double their win total from 2020. Well, seventeen weeks into the 2021 season I can say that prediction could not have been more wrong as the Bengals clinched the AFC North after a massive win against the Chiefs. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase put on an absolute clinic as they torched the Chiefs’ secondary all afternoon. Chase not only set the single-season yard record for a rookie wideout but also broke the single-game yard record with a performance for the ages. Chase hauled in 11 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns and did whatever he wanted against the Chiefs. If he isn’t your OROY, then I don’t know who is.
Ja’Marr Chase was fantastic but we can’t talk about that win without mentioning the Bengals franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow. Burrow has now thrown for 400 yards and four touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and has the Bengals back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. After 2020, if you asked me who I would rather have; Joe Burrow or Justin Hebert I would have said Herbert without hesitation. Fast forward to week 17 of 2021 and I think you could make an argument for either one. Burrow isn’t the flashiest athlete, doesn’t have the strongest arm but the guy just has a swagger to him that you can’t quantify. I am excited to watch the Bengals in the postseason and for years to come, the future looks bright.
As for the Chiefs, this is a tough loss to swallow because you were up 14-0 and let the Bengals crawl their way back only for them to beat you. This loss also took you out of the number one seed so barring a stunner in week 18 between the Titans and Texans, Patrick Mahomes will play the first wild card playoff game of his career.
2021 NFL Week Seventeen- Raiders Continue To Find Ways To Win
The Las Vegas Raiders pulled off a pretty big upset this weekend as they knocked off the red-hot Indianapolis Colts. I don’t know how they keep winning games but Derek Carr and company continue to push through and have an opportunity to make the playoffs. From the Jon Gruden situation to the Henry Ruggs incident, this team has been dealt adversity seemingly every week and continues to overcome every obstacle thrown at them. Derek Carr deserves a ton of credit, Hunter Renfrow and Zay Jones have stepped up when they needed them to and Rich Bisaccia has brought stability to a franchise in constant dismay. They play the Chargers in a Week 18 matchup where if you win, you go to the playoffs but even if they don’t win the Raiders players and coaching staff deserve a ton of credit for fighting until the end.
In terms of the week 18 game with the Chargers, all the pressure is on LA. They have the superior quarterback, a more dynamic head coach, and a better roster top to bottom. If they don’t win this game and the Raiders go to the playoff instead of them, it’s going to be a tough pill to swallow for Brandon Staley and company.
2021 NFL Week Seventeen- Antonio Brown’s Meltdown
Of all the crazy shit Antonio Brown has done in the past three years, I don’t think anyone was prepared for him to rage quit in the middle of a game. If you have not seen the video, here is the link. At first, I did not know how to react to the video, I was just in complete shock. But the more I thought about and analyzed who AB has become, it seemed like just another normal AB meltdown. I think AB just punched his ticket to retirement as Bruce Arians said he was no longer a Buc in his postgame press conference. Vendetta’s own Scotty Logush compiled a power ranking of all the crazy things Antonio Brown has done and if you have a couple of minutes it is a fantastic read.
From a football standpoint, the Bucs wide receiving core just went from one of the league’s best to bleeding from the hip. They lost Chris Godwin in their recent loss to the Saints and now Antonio Brown decides he is done with football. They still have Mike Evans, Gronk, and Scotty Miller but you don’t just replace Godwin and AB. I am interested to see how this offense and Tom Brady fare in the playoffs without two of their biggest weapons.
2021 NFL Week Seventeen- All Mike Vrabel Does Is Win
If the Titans earn the number one seed we can all agree that Mike Vrabel is the coach of the year, right? I mean all the guy does is win football games and somehow he is still underrated. People have fallen in love with offensive coaches who run sophisticated schemes with motion and movement everywhere but since Vrabel is a defensive guy and doesn’t give a great sound bite, no one wants to give him his flowers. Two years ago they made a run to the AFC Championship, last year they won eleven games and made the playoffs, and baring a loss to the Texans in week 18, they are going to have the number one seed in the AFC. This year has impressed me even more because with their most dominant offensive players in Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, and Julio Jones all missing significant time, Vrabel has rallied the troops and they are on their way to twelve wins.
I do not know how far this team can go as they have limitations at quarterback but if the AFC goes through Nashville, the Titans have a shot to make a run.
2021 NFL Week Seventeen- Cardinals Get Huge Win In Dallas
Kyler Murray owns AT&T Stadium, spaning back to high school Murray has played nine games at Jerry’s World and has won all nine of them. Sunday’s win might be the biggest as the Cardinals beat the Cowboys in a must-win game. The Cardinals had been reeling losing their last three games including a bad loss to Dan Campbell and the Lions but they stepped up and beat the Cowboys. Since the tiebreaker for the division is your division record, if the Cardinals beat the Seahawks next week and the Rams lose to the 49ers, the Cardinals will win the NFC West and host a playoff game. Not bad for a team that looked like the wheels were falling off the bus.
As for the Cowboys, they already won the NFC East and will host a playoff game but this was not a great loss. The Cards were the more desperate team but they also looked like the more physical team as they took it to the Cowboys. I have two question marks when it comes to the Cowboys, can Dak go on the road and beat an elite defense, and will Mike McCarthy’s clock management come back to bite them. I know this team has eleven wins but for some reason, I just don’t trust them to win a big game.
2021 NFL Week Seventeen- Eagles Clinch Playoff Berth
Jalen Hurts, Nick Sirianni, and the Birds are headed to the playoffs. After many people, including myself, picked the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East and have a pick in the top five, they shut down the haters and will play on wild card weekend. I got to give a lot of credit to Nick Sirianni, after his opening press conference I thought he was a joke and way over his head. But he has molded this offense to the strengths of Jalen Hurts, they have a good o-line and a number of reliable running backs and will run it down your throat. Their defense is physical with some big guys on the d-line and guys like Darius Slay in the secondary. I don’t think this team can win a playoff game but I would not consider them an easy out in the wild card round. No matter what game you’re playing in, where the game is being played, or who you are playing, a strong run game and physical defense travels where ever you go.
I cannot understate how impressed I have been with Sirianni and company and look forward to watching this team compete in the future.
2021 NFL Week Seventeen- Big Ben Goes Out On High Note
In what was most likely his last game at Heinz Field, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers beat the Browns by a score of 26-14. Ben had a hilarious stat line attempting 46 passes for a whopping 123 yards and honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Ben has given his blood, sweat, and tears to the city of Pittsburgh and compiled a legendary career. I always enjoyed watching Big Ben because I had never seen anything like him. He was 6 foot 5, had a massive frame, would seemingly never get sacked, and had a hose of an arm. And when the Steelers needed a play, Big Ben would seemingly always pull something out of his ass and win the game. I have nothing but respect for Ben and was lucky enough to watch him compete.
Check out week sixteen here, come back for week eighteen!
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