NFL 7 months ago

NFL: Headlines from Week 16

  • NFL: Headlines from Week 16

    (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The AFC and NFC playoff bracket almost reached complete clarity this past weekend as a number of franchises secured their place in the postseason. Here are the main headlines coming out of Week 16:

Gurley for MVP

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Injuries to Carson Wentz and Antonio Brown have catapulted Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley to the forefront of MVP discussions.

The third-year back has enjoyed a successful comeback campaign under rookie head coach Sean McVay and has repaid the faith alongside sophomore quarterback Jared Goff.

The Goff-Gurley combination was in full effect against the Tennessee Titans as Gurley routinely found space all over the field, posting 118 yards off 22 carries along with 10 receptions, 158 yards and two touchdowns in a solid 27-23 win.

Gurley now has over 2,000 yards from scrimmage on the season and is in direct competition for the game's most coveted individual prize, one that a running back has not won since 2012 following Adrian Peterson's historic 2,000+ rushing-yard season.

Should the former Georgia Bulldog fall short of the prize, a playoff debut and first-team All-Pro honours will be sufficient consolation.

Bye bye Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys' unpredictable season came to a definitive end after the Seattle Seahawks came and conquered 21-12 in what was Ezekiel Elliott's first game back from suspension.

Seattle weren't perfect, but they did enough to get the job done, forcing the Cowboys into several errors and allowing Russell Wilson perfect field position to exploit.

Dak Prescott (21/34, 182 YDS, 2 INT) and Elliott (24 CAR, 97 YDS) struggled under the pressure, despite holding a 9-7 lead at half-time.

Dez Bryant's fumble minutes before the break was a significant turning point in the match and came as the latest example in which the star receiver has failed to make a key play when it matters most.

Nevertheless, the loss leaves the Cowboys 8-7 on the season, unable to break into the Wildcard spots and heaps a considerable amount of pressure on head coach Jason Garrett's future after failing to make January for the fifth time in seven seasons at the helm.

Falcons at last chance saloon

Atlanta needed a win against New Orleans to further solidify their grip on the NFC's final Wildcard spot.

And while they failed to get the job done, losing out 23-13 to a Saints side impenetrable on defence and efficient in attack, they have one last chance to nab the coveted 10-6 record and eliminate the Seahawks in the process.

Fierce division rivals Carolina stand in their way at making the postseason, having already booked their passage to the playoffs with a crucial 22-19 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Though the Panthers lie 11-4, they will undoubtedly relish the opportunity to prevent the Falcons from avenging their heartbreaking Super Bowl loss to the Patriots last season.

While the Seahawks will need a win over the Arizona Cardinals to maintain pressure on the matter, the future of the Falcons' season rests entirely in their hands courtesy of a favourable head-to-head tiebreaker after their 34-31 win over Pete Carroll's side earlier this season.

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