NFL Takeaways – Week 17


Steve Harvey announcing the wrong winner at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant was a horrible embarrassment to both the former King of Comedy and the pageant itself.

It was also great for both, because no one cared about the Miss Universe pageant before that moment, and no one was paying attention to Steve Harvey anymore, either.

Those two ideas are contradictory, but they’re both true.

Here are two more: Kirk Cousins cost himself a major contract on Sunday, and Kirk Cousins made himself a ton of money on Sunday.

For the second time in three weeks, the Redskins played a critically important home game against a team with nothing to play for, and for the second time in three weeks, the Redskins looked flat and the quarterback struggled.

On Sunday, he led the Redskins to only 10 points and threw two interceptions against the Giants – including the game-sealing turnover with Washington driving late in the fourth quarter.

Having helped the Skins get into playoff position while throwing for over 4,500 yards and leading the third highest scoring offense in the league, Cousins looked a decent bet to lock up a major, long-term deal, but after his second straight ‘big game’ dud, Washington shouldn’t make a major commitment to him.

They should franchise him for another year, and ask him to prove it again.  And while Cousins won’t be happy having lost out on his long-term deal, with a second franchise tag, he’ll be set to make over $40 million in two years.

Which isn’t half bad.

Bengals 27-10 Ravens: In a game that meant nothing, gamblers everywhere (including the one you’re reading right now) cash in on Baltimore going under 8.5 wins on the year with two straight losses in their last two games.


Titans 24-17 Texans: We are going to read a lot about the concussion protocol this week.  On Sunday, Texans’ QB Tom Savage was taken off the field to be evaluated by doctors.  He was given the all-clear to return, but was ‘re-evaluated’ at halftime and sat down for the rest of the game.  This may go without saying, but that’s not how the system is supposed to work.

Falcons 38-32 Saints: There is no pain in this world like the backdoor cover.  The Falcons were 7.5-point favorites in this game, and were covering with ease for nearly all of it – until the Saints scored a meaningless touchdown, recovered a meaningless onside kick, and scored another meaningless touchdown inside the two-minute warning for the cover. Thoughts and prayers for all those opening their 2017 with that loss.

Buccaneers 17-16 Panthers: The NFC South is going to be a lot of fun next year.  The Falcons and Saints will return with their high-scoring offenses, and both of these teams will take a step forward in 2017 – the Panthers taking a step toward where they were last year.

Colts 24-20 Jaguars: They lost, but as we’ve said all year, there’s talent all across the Jaguars roster – they just need a guiding force to take them the next step.


Patriots 35-14 Dolphins: The Patriots are great. End of story.

Vikings 38-10 Bears: After another multi-interception game, we can close the book on Matt Barkley as the Bears’ quarterback.  As if there was any real question, they’ll certainly be looking elsewhere next season.

Jets 30-10 Bills: The Bills will be quarterback hunting soon, too.  Tyrod Taylor is owed too much money next year, E.J. Manuel has done too little with his opportunities in the past, and no one is turning a franchise over to Cardale Jones. So Buffalo, whose been on the carousel since Jim Kelly retired, are getting back on again.

Eagles 27-13 Cowboys: The Cowboys are set at quarterback, but right now, they’re not playing the best one they’ve got.  At this point, they can’t sit Dak Prescott and break up what the team has built over the last 16 games, but Tony Romo is the best signal caller on that team, his touchdown drive on his first action of 2016 is just more evidence of that.

Steelers 27-24 Browns (OT): It doesn’t matter which players you play, as long as they’re not in a San Diego uniform, they’ll beat the Browns.

Giants 19-10 Redskins:  Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Giants’ defense is excellent but their offense needs work.  Lots of work.

Cardinals 44-6 Rams: Football’s return to Los Angeles was a disaster. The Rams were 1-6 at home this year, and their losses included a 42-14 stomping that got their coach fired a few weeks ago, and this 44-6 disaster to a team that’s been out of playoff contention for weeks.  They’ve improved their climate, but there’s still plenty of work to do out on the coast.

Broncos 24-6 Raiders: This season was a cruel, cruel tease for Raiders fans.  With Derek Carr, Oakland was a real AFC contender, who’d proven tough enough to go nearly anywhere and win. But without him, they’re going nowhere.  Fast.

Chiefs 37-27 Chargers: Tyreek Hill has completely changed the Chiefs. With his speed and dynamism, Kansas City now has a real, legitimate offense to go with their defense.

Seahawks 25-23 49ers: The Seahawks still have issues. On the road or not, a Seattle team with that much talent shouldn’t have to struggle to beat the 2-13 49ers, with a coach and general manager already on their way out the door.

Author: Joseph White

Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at