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Recap Of NFL’s Last Regular Season Week

The NFL teams gear up for the playoffs, securing their spots with many exciting wins.
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Photo by Lucas Andrade, Unsplash

The 2023-2024 NFL regular season came to an end this past weekend. Here are the scores, highlights and injuries going into the playoffs.

The final week of the regular season started on Saturday, Jan. 6 when the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Baltimore Ravens. The downpour of rain caused players to slip up on small plays, but both teams were still able to score. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson sat out this game because the team already gained a playoff spot, allowing more playing time for second string quarterback Tyler Huntley. Hutley threw for 146 yards as well as a 27-yard touchdown pass to tight-end Isaiah Likely. Steelers Quarterback Mason Rudolph threw for 152 yards, and passed a 71 yard touchdown to wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Steelers linebacker T.J Watt suffered a knee injury in the second half of the game, making him ruled out for the remainder of the game. Although this injury was a big hit to the Steelers defense, they were still able to win 17-10. The Ravens are still the number one seed for the AFC, meaning they still get a bye in the wild card round. The Steelers are the seventh seed in the AFC, and will play at the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Jan. 14 at 12 p.m.

Later that night, the Indianapolis Colts faced the Houston Texans. Texans rookie quarterback CJ Stroud threw for 264 yards and passed for two touchdowns. Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew only threw for 141 yards, and frequently had to punt on fourth down because of incomplete plays. In the fourth quarter, kicker Matt Gay made a field goal for the Colts in an attempt to add more points to the scoreboard, but that was shortly outlived when Texans running back Devin Singletary rushed for a 3-yard touchdown. The final score was 23-19 as the Texans dominated another game at home. The Texans will get home field advantage next week as the Cleveland Browns travel to Houston for their wildcard matchup on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 3:30 p.m. The Colts were unable to claim a playoff spot.

Sunday, Jan. 7 brought many scenarios to the table as the games continued. The day started when the North Carolina Panthers hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield suffered an injury to his ribs the previous week, but that didn’t stop him from playing. Unfortunately, Mayfield was sacked and suffered an ankle injury in the first half of the game. Again, Mayfield continued to play and scramble for yards while limping on and off the field. Mayfield and the offense were unable to score touchdowns, but kicker Chase McLauglin kicked three field goals throughout the game. The Panthers were not able to score at all in this game. The score ended 9-0 as Tampa Bay secured their playoff spot as the fourth seed in the NFC. The Buccaneers will have home field advantage as they host the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. The Panthers didn’t make it to the playoffs.

The Cincinnati Bengals dominated the Cleveland Browns 31-14. Although the Browns lost, they still kept their fifth seed spot in the AFC, and the Bengals lost their position in the playoffs. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was still out with a wrist injury, so Jake Browning subbed in for Burrow. Browning threw for 156 yards, passed three touchdowns and intercepted the ball once. Browns quarterback Joe Flaco was also sitting out this game for the playoffs, so Jeff Driskel subbed in. Driskel threw for 166 yards, passed for two touchdowns and intercepted the ball twice. The Browns scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough for them to win. The Browns will play the Houston Texans Saturday, Jan. 13 at 3:30 p.m.

The Detroit Lions clinched their third seed position in the NFC by taking on another win against the Minnesota Vikings. Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw for 320 yards and passed two touchdowns. Lions head coach Dan Campbell kept his starting players in for this game, but by doing that, rookie tight end Sam LaPorta suffered a knee injury. This hurt the Lions as LaPorta ended his first season with 10 touchdowns, 889 yards and 86 receptions. Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens threw 396 yards, passed two touchdowns and intercepted the ball twice. Although both quarterbacks had similar statistics to strive for a victory, Minnesota wasn’t able to pull through for a playoff spot. The Lions will host their first playoff game since 1993, welcoming the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.

The Green Bay Packers were able to secure their seventh seed spot in the playoffs after beating the Chicago Bears at home. Packers quarterback Jordan Love threw for 316 yards and passed for two touchdowns, whereas Bears quarterback Justin Field only threw for 148 yards and made no touchdowns. Love was the backup quarterback for Aaron Rodgers for three years until Rodgers was traded to the New York Jets. This was Love’s first season starting as a first string quarterback and became the team’s first first-year starting quarterback to bring the Packers to the playoffs. The Bears were unsuccessful in scoring touchdowns, but kicker Cairo Santos made three field goals for the team. It wasn’t enough for the Bears to win, with the final score at 17-9. The Bears didn’t make the playoffs, but the Packers are facing the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m.

The Los Angeles Chargers hosted the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs already held a position in the playoffs before this game, and the Chargers were eliminated. In the first quarter, Chargers second string quarterback Easton Stick fumbled the ball and Chiefs safety Mike Edwards recovered the fumble and ran 97 yards for a touchdown. The rest of the game was based on field goals made by both teams’ kickers. The Chiefs won 13-12. The Chiefs will have home field advantage as they host the Miami Dolphins Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

The Philadelphia Eagles had a big upset as the New York Giants won 27-10. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was in the first half of the game until he injured his finger. Second string Marcus Mariota subbed in and threw for 148 yards, made one touchdown and threw an interception. Many key Eagles players were injured throughout the game, such as wide receiver A.J Brown, safety Reed Blankenship and safety Sydney Brown. Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 297 yards, made one touchdown and threw an interception. During the second quarter, running back Saquon Barkley rushed for two touchdowns in the span of five minutes. Soon after Barkley’s touchdowns, cornerback Darius Slayton caught a 19-yard touchdown, making the Giants in the lead. Even though the Giants had a victory, they didn’t make it to the playoffs. The Eagles play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.

The Los Angeles Rams also won their game against the San Francisco 49ers 21-20 in an unbeatable matchup. The 49ers already claimed first seed in the NFC, which results in a bye during the wild card round. The Rams secured sixth seed in the NFC after this win. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford sat out this game and Carson Wentz stepped in. In the fourth quarter, the Rams were trailing 20-13 until Wentz ran into the end zone for the touchdown. A two point conversion pass to wide receiver Tutu Atwell resulted in a Rams win. This was a big upset for the 49ers as they played at home, but their playoff position remained unaffected. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford heads back to play against his old team, the Detroit Lions, on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.

It was no surprise the Dallas Cowboys outdid themselves as they beat the Washington Commanders. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 279 yards, passed for four touchdowns and threw an interception. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb completed two touchdowns in a 10 minute period and ran for 98 yards. Commanders quarterback Sam Howell threw for 153 yards, made one touchdown and threw two interceptions to the Cowboys defense. Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey missed his first field goal in his career as it was blocked by the Commanders defense, but was able to complete the rest of his field goals and extra points. The Commanders didn’t make the playoffs. The Cowboys are hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m.

The Buffalo Bills clinched the second seed in the AFC after dominating the Miami Dolphins. Bills quarterback Josh Allen stayed in the game and threw for 359 yards, made two touchdowns and intercepted twice. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 173 yards, made one touchdown and intercepted twice. Bills wide receiver Deonte Harty made a 96-yard punt return touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Bills tight end Dawson Knox caught a 5-yard touchdown, securing a win for the Bills. The score ended in 21-14. The Dolphins are sixth seed and head to Kansas City to face the Chiefs Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. The Bills host the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Jan. 14 at 12 p.m.

The Cowboys game will be the highlight of most Dallas residents’ day on Sunday. The Cowboys are favored to win by 73.6%, according to ESPN. Although the Cowboys are favored, the Packers are 4-1 against Dallas in the last five matchups. If star players like CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard can make big plays, the Cowboys can definitely dominate Jordan Love and the Packers. If the Cowboys win, they will play the Los Angeles Rams or the Detroit Lions the following week.

About the Contributor
Isabella Navarro, Sports editor
What are your favorite TV shows/movies? 10 Things I Hate About You, The Vampire Diaries, Grey’s Anatomy, and Breaking Bad What causes are you passionate about? I am passionate about world hunger and the foster care system Who are your favorite music artists?  Lana Del Rey, Tame Impala, The 1975