Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Week 17 Open Game Discussion

Alright, kids. Let's finish up this regular season. Who's making the wild cards from each conference? Seattle or Atlanta? Baltimore (probably) and Tennessee, or the Chargers, or maybe even Buffalo? Discuss all of Week 17's game action here.


by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 2:47pm

Jets kinda hanging around with the Patriots, even with Bryce Petty as the QB. Seems like every Jets game this year has been like this: doing better than expected against superior opposition, before eventually losing a relatively close game.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 2:48pm

Cleveland doing their best to secure that (Im)perfect season. -16 net yards to Pittsburgh's 169 and already 14-0 down.

by drillz :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 2:51pm

my word, the nyj's are terrible!

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 2:52pm

Mark Schlereth is a horrific color commentator. He starts off the broadcast by flat out body-shaming Mike McCarthy, and then he continuously gets players' names wrong, and yaps inanely during the middle of plays.

Even on his worst day, Phil Simms was never this annoying.

by drillz :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 2:53pm

never realized that cousins stinks every time he plays against the nyg

by drillz :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 3:00pm

without any key players starting pittsburgh is having no problem moving the ball against cleveland

by drillz :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 3:04pm

roughing the passer on 3rd and three while defending the redzone, cleveland is undisciplined

by drillz :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 3:13pm

cleveland should concern themselves more with securing the victory rather than choreographing touchdown celebrations

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 3:13pm

Refs taking control in Foxboro

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:23pm

Or the Jets, being 27th in penalties per game and 26th in penalty yards per game, played to form. Whichever.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 11:12pm

Of course they are, they do play the pats twice lol!

by Alternator :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 11:13am

I invoke Poe's Law: I can't tell whether this lunacy was meant in jest, or whether you're one of the conspiracy theorists who actually believes it.

by drillz :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 3:21pm

four defensive penalties in the first half while playing against new england just will not cut it!

by drillz :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 3:25pm

nice double-reverse by n.e.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 4:42pm

Jets just threw in the towel with 10-mins to go against the Pats.

Down 24-3 they kicked a FG on 4th&9 from Pats 17 to make it 24-6. It's still a three score game and they didn't even try an onside kick.

Perhaps they were hoping to capitalise on the Pats pulling their starters with HFA locked up ... except Brady's still out there.

by drillz :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 4:58pm

n.e. pulls brady, now nyj will start playing some football, J.E.T.S JETS, JETS, JETS!

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:01pm

Oh man, an absolutely terrible dropped pass on fourth and two for the Browns likely ends their hopes of a win.

by Ben :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 7:20pm

Yeah, that was a pretty brutal drop.

Appropriate, I guess, to seal 0-16.

by vrao81 :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:09pm

And the Brownies are 0-16! Hooray!

by MC2 :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:19pm

I'll take the Seahawks, Ravens and Chargers for the wildcards.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:39pm

They all appear to be saying "nah, we're good" right now

by MC2 :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:05pm

And this is why I never play pick 'em pools for money...

by RickD :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:46pm

It was impressive how you picked exactly the teams that missed out.

What are your picks for next weekend? :)

by erniecohen :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:22pm

Can someone explain why JAC is playing starters today? Is the plan to "fix" whatever bad taste was left from last week, and then take them out for the second half so that TEN can win?

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:33pm

Tanier wrote a good article about this, this week.

He pointed out that a perennial playoff team like the Steelers can afford to rest starters because the organisation know how to cope with the bye week etc.

With a team like the Jags they don't have a winning culture and you don't want to knock their confidence by realising the backups aren't good enough.

But he also points out that the Rams are in the same situation as the Jags and they're resting starters.

I suspect Jags are starting starters because Coughlin tells them to.

by erniecohen :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 4:27am

Tanier didn't realize they were locked into the 3 seed. In any event, given that they lost, I doubt this did much to boost their confidence.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:27pm

If I’m Jacksonville I’d rather play the Titans again next week than the Chargers (or possibly Bills). But I suppose if the Ravens lose then Tennessee could jump to 5 so even that wouldn’t be a sure thing.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:39pm

The Chargers I can see but I don't think the Bills are any better than the Titans.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:02pm

No I suspect they’re not. It’s stull early but the Bengals are up 7-0 in Baltimore. Buffalo is up 10-0 and LAC just made it 7-0

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:16pm

I'd rather face the Bills than the Titans for a third time. Three games in a season can lead to some wonky results, a variance factor which you want to avoid when you're the favorite.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:22pm

I wonder if there's any statistical evidence for such a phenomenon.

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 7:14pm

Good question:

Since the merger (up to 2008) a team went 2-0 vs. an opponent and faced them again in the playoffs 17 times. They went 11-6, 9-3 at home. That's a small data set, though. And it doesn't apply here, as the Titans beat the Jags badly in September. My google-fu is not working for results when division rivals face off in playoffs.


by morganja :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:20pm

How important is it for a Quarterback to complete a pass in the playoffs? Asking for a friend.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:25pm

First pass complete! 7:40 left in the second quarter. Minus two yards!

by vrao81 :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:45pm

Referring to Cam Newton?

by morganja :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:52pm

Cam has days like this when he is off all day. Of course, his receivers are whoever is left.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:24pm

At the moment all results are going the Bills way. They were the team with the longest odds of making the playoffs when the day began, but their chances have only improved since.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:46pm

Flacco is 3/15 today. Ouch.

by AHBM :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:58pm

Worse, out of Flacco's four completions, only one is a success -- a 7-yard completion to Alex Collins on 1st and 10. The other three are failed completions: 4yd on 2nd and 9, 5yd on 2nd and 10, and 6yd on 3rd and 10.

by AHBM :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 7:00pm

Then right after I wrote the comment above, Flacco throws a 6 yard TD after an 86-yard kickoff return. *shrug*

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 7:30pm

Flacco's not the problem, his receivers are. Chris Moore just went from possible hero to likely goat.

by Raiderfan :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 7:54pm

Thinking the LAR DVOA is going to take quite a hit. And Garapolo is stealing all Cousins' money.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:01pm

Jags keeping it interesting with a defensive TD. Ravens in Bengals territory. Depending on how those games end, either Bills or Chargers (or maybe both) are going to have a very crummy night after both are handling their opponents with ease.

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:11pm

Big fight in the Dolphins-Bills game, with lots of flags, punch thrown by Drake, somebody walked off the field already. Drake's being restrained from heading onto the field by Aiken. 6 personal fouls on the play. Three ejections, one for "disrespecting the official" by #14. And, of course, the refs got at least two numbers wrong.


Landry and Drake are ejected.

by Alternator :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:19pm

Guess who's leading the ref team in that clusterfluffle. Actually, you get zero guesses because this is already obvious, only Jeffy Boy is this incompetent.

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:20pm

McCoy was carted off with an ankle injury earlier. Bills definitely the easiest team to face if they make the playoffs and McCoy can't play.

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:34pm

And the Dolphins recovered the onside kick, a variation on the last one they kicked successfully... against the Bills.

It would be a lot easier for the tie to happen if the Dolphins hadn't gone for it on 4th and 3 in the first quarter on the 13 yard line.

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:36pm

And the Dolphins QB, named Fales, throws an interception straight to the safety. No 'Fin in the area.

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:51pm

And a seam pass to Boyd nails it for the Bengals. 4 point deficit, 38 seconds left, 3 TOs for the Ravens.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:54pm

The old eye test (and DVOA) tells me the Ravens and Chargers are by far the better 9-7 teams. But...tiebreakers.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:57pm

The "eye test" shows that the Ravens' offense was bottom 10 level overall and their defense was overrated. As for the Chargers, the first four games of the season matter, too.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:59pm

You don’t think the Ravens are still better than the Titans or Bills?

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:09pm

I'd say toss up at best

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:55pm

No idea what Mosley was doing there. Is it possible Harbaugh's out if the Ravens lose? For sure at least one of their coordinators will be gone.

by Al Hirt Hologram :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 8:57pm

I' in the mood for esoteric number-ing. Should a team with a TD up by 3 near the end go for 2 because of the "*need* a TD/take the FG to tie effect"?

by dbostedo :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:34pm

Huh? Why would you ever go for 2 when up by three? If you make it, what is the advantage of being up by 5, instead of up by 4?

by Al Hirt Hologram :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 5:54am

Well, nothing. But up by 3 might be better because the other team won't try very hard for a touchdown, and field goals are not guaranteed.

by Al Hirt Hologram :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:02pm

If the Ravens had won, I would have wanted to hug Forecaster Enten.

Now I want to hug Forecaster Enten.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:44pm

Anybody out there know the last time all four home teams won WC weekend? I don’t like any of the road teams in an upset but it happens so often I feel like I have to pick one. (Probably Bills because no one seems to get the weak team out of that round like the Patriots do)

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:47pm

You have to go all the way back to 2016 to find the last time it happened.

by Athelas :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:56pm

Didn't it happen last year? I could be mis-remembering.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:57pm

Lmao. Well that answers that.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:01pm

To be fair, while it did happen last year it hasn't really been the norm