NFL Week 16 winners and losers: Vikings, Purdy, Nathaniel Hackett, Tua…
Nathaniel Hackett had a rough week, being fired after just 15 games. Let’s see who else had a bad Week 16 in the NFL, and who had a great one.
The playoff picture just got a whole lot more interesting after Week 16, leaving at least two battles for division crowns to happen in the last two weeks of the NFL season. The Christmas games were full of holiday cheer for some, but for others, they just couldn’t hack it.
NFL Week 16 Losers
The Dolphins’ December losing streak continues, and it was helped along greatly by Tua Tagovailoa’s three interceptions in the fourth quarter of the game against the Packers in Week 16. Those interceptions led the Packers to six points, and guess what…the Dolphins lost by six in the end.
To make matters even worse, Tagovailoa has unfortunately been placed on the concussion protocol for the third time this season, likely ruling him out for the rest of the season.
Nathaniel Hackett was fired this week after just 15 games with the Denver Broncos. It was downhill from the very beginning of the season with Hackett and it hit rock bottom when the Broncos lost 51-14 to the Rams in Week 16. During his time with Denver, they won just four games.
The New York Giants
The Giants got lucky. Despite the fact that they lost to the Vikings, they are still in the wild card race since the Seahawks, Lions, and Commanders lost. And yet, the Giants’ loss to Minnesota was ugly. There were dropped passes, interceptions, penalties, and a blocked punt. Instead of clinching a playoff spot in Week 16, the Giants lost their fifth game in the last six. They now have to win either next week against the Colts or in Week 18 against the Eagles in order to make it in the playoffs.
Deshaun Watson would be on the loser list regardless just based on the fact that he’s been accused of sexual assault by 20+ women. But on top of that, he’s not even a good quarterback anymore. In the Browns’ loss to the Saints on Saturday, Watson went 8 for 19 for a whopping 79 yards and threw an interception that ended up in the game-winning touchdown for New Orleans. He has now thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in the four games he’s played this season. Since Watson is being paid $230 million and the Browns are choosing to look the other way on the whole sexual assault thing, you’d think the least he could do is get his team more than 13 offensive points a game. I somehow do not feel bad for them.
NFL Week 16 Winners
With the 49ers’ win over the Commanders, rookie quarterback Brock Purdy became the first QB in franchise history to win his first three starts. The Niners are on fire, winning their eighth game in a row, and in the 37-20 victory in Week 16, Purdy had two touchdown passes to George Kittle. Since he took over for Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy has thrown for eight touchdowns to just two interceptions. Even considering the fact that the 49ers defense has a lot to do with their success, Purdy - a third-string quarterback - has allowed them to cruise comfortably into the playoff picture.
The Dallas Cowboys picked up T.Y. Hilton instead of Odell Beckham Jr. a few weeks ago, and it was more the fact they didn’t pick up OBJ than that they did pick up Hilton that made the headlines. Well, Hilton decided to change that narrative in Week 16. The Cowboys were playing their second game against NFC East rivals and current league leaders, the Philadelphia Eagles. In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were down by seven and sitting at a 3rd and 30 position after QB Dak Prescott took two sacks. And yet, Hilton converted and then some. His first catch as a Cowboy was a 52-yard bullet to get the first down, which led to a touchdown and tied the game. The Cowboys went on to win it and leave the Eagles to try to clinch the division another day.
The Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars suddenly find themselves in first place in the AFC South after beating the Jets on Thursday. They then saw everything else work in their favor. The Titans lost their fifth straight game to the league-worst Texans. There will now be a Week 18 showdown between the Jags and Titans for the AFC South title. The last time the Jaguars and Titans played, the Jaguars won, and at the moment, they look a lot better than Tennessee does. They have won four of their last five games and Trevor Lawrence has thrown for 13 touchdowns to just one interception in the last six weeks. Meanwhile, the Titans are working with backup rookie quarterback Malik Willis, who has yet to throw a touchdown pass.
The Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have been pulling off miracles all season and apparently cannot be written off. Just last week, they made the biggest comeback in NFL history when they overcame a 33-0 deficit to beat the Indianapolis Colts and win the NFC North. Well, the Giants have also been pulling off some ridiculous wins. So when the two met in Week 16, it came to a fourth-quarter showdown in which they traded touchdowns in the final three minutes of the game until one of them came out on top. This time, it was Greg Joseph who kicked the longest field goal in Vikings history (61 yards) to give them the clutch win over New York.