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Volume 22, #261 -- Sunday Night, January 3rd, 2021
256 Games In The Books - News And Notes From Around The League

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Howdy Folks,

Wow. 256 games in the books without a single cancelation. That's pretty amazing. Well done, NFL.

Now we're on to the playoffs which is the best time of the year.

Make sure to check out the Footballguys Playoff Challenge below. It's hands down the way to play postseason football. We sold out early last year so don't miss your shot.

Now let's get to the News and Notes.

J


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1. SEA - S Jamal Adams dings up his shoulder

Source: Seahawks.com - John Boyle

Seattle Seahawks S Jamal Adams (shoulder) left the Week 17 game against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half due to a shoulder injury and he is questionable to return.

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The Seahawks had a chance to move up as high as the #1 seed, so it was justifiable to have the starters in. We'll be watching the practice reports closely as the Seahawks face the Rams in round three of the rivalry next week.

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2. DET - Detroit's offense strong in loss

Source: NFL.com

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford went 20-for-31 for 293 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17. RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 63 yards and one touchdown on seven carries, while RB D'Andre Swift rushed for 54 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. WR Marvin Jones caught eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets, while WR Quintez Cephus caught two passes for 51 yards and one touchdown on three targets.

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Stafford looked great despite playing with a myriad of injuries. He should be on the trade market as the Lions look to the future in a rebuilding moment. They'll hire a new head coach and general manager this offseason and Stafford is probably at the very end of his prime. Jones will also be a free agent and can still start elsewhere.

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3. TB - Tampa picks up victory in Week 17

Source: NFL.com

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady went 26-for-41 for 399 yards, four touchdowns and one interception against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17. RB Ronald Jones rushed for 78 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries during the game. WR Antonio Brown caught 11 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets, WR Chris Godwin caught five passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets and WR Mike Evans (knee) caught three passes for 46 yards on four targets before suffering a knee injury.

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Godwin and Brown showed the potential for receivers in this offense when the production isn't split three ways. The Bucs will travel to Washington or East Rutherford next week, and probably without Evans.

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4. PIT - Pittsburgh suffers loss in finale

Source: NFL.com

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph went 22-for-39 for 315 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Cleveland Browns in Week 17. RB James Conner rushed for 37 yards on nine carries and caught five passes for 25 yards during the game. WR Chase Claypool caught five passes for 101 yards and one touchdown on 11 targets, WR Diontae Johnson caught three passes for 96 yards on four targets and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster caught six passes for 65 yards and one touchdown on eight targets.

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Rudolph wasn't that efficient, but he made some big downfield throws. The Steelers may have to consider him as one of the options to start next year if Ben Roethlisberger retires. Claypool finishes with nine scores to cap a rookie regular season that couldn't have gone much better. The Steelers will face the Browns again in the divisional round next week.

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5. BUF - Buffalo finishes strong in Week 17

Source: ESPN

QB Josh Allen completed 18-of-25 passes for 224 yards, three touchdowns and an interception before giving way to QB Matt Barkley in the second half. The latter had 164 pass yards and a touchdown. RB Antonio Williams led the way with 63 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while RBs Zack Moss and Devin Singletary had three runs and less than 10 yards apiece, mostly resting. WR Gabriel Davis ended up with two snags of 50-plus yards, ending up with 107 yards and a touchdown on his two catches. WR Stefon Diggs finished with seven receptions for 76 yards on eight targets, WR John Brown posted four catches for 72 yards and a score, while WR Isaiah McKenzie posted six receptions, 65 yards and two scores on a team-high nine targets. TE Dawson Knox also chipped in with two grabs for 29 yards on eight targets.

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Most expected the Bills to open play Allen long enough to set the team record for passing yards in a season, but he played the whole first half, which was too much for Miami to overcome. Diggs will lead the NFL in receptions and yards with the help of this effort and Brown looked good in his return from injury with Cole Beasley uncertain for next week's game against Indianapolis.

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6. NYJ - NYJ ends up season on negative note

Source: ESPN

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold completed 23-of-34 passes for 266 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in Week 17 against the New England Patriots. RB Josh Adams led the way with 11 runs for 47 yards and a score, while RB Ty Johnson ran 11 times for 45 yards. WR Breshad Perriman led the way with 84 yards on three receptions, while WR Jamison Crowder ended up with four receptions for 31 yards on his four targets. WR Braxton Berrios rushed twice for 16 yards and had three catches for 20 yards. WR Denzel Mims had just one grab for 15 yards on two targets. S Marcus Maye ended his season with 10 tackles, including one for loss.

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The Jets will be in the market for a new head coach, and maybe a new quarterback since they have the #2 pick. Sam Darnold's fate will be one of the most compelling stories of the offseason.

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7. CIN - Cincinnati struggles in season finale

Source: NFL.com

Cincinnati Bengals QB Brandon Allen went 6-for-21 for 48 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17. RB Trayveon Williams rushed for 74 yards on four carries, while RB Samaje Perine rushed for 51 yards on nine carries. WR Tyler Boyd caught one pass for one yard on three targets, while WRs A.J. Green and Tee Higgins were held off the stat sheet.

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The Bengals will hope for Joe Burrow to be ready for Week 1 next year. They got a big win over the Steelers to build on after losing Burrow in Week 11.

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8. DAL - Dallas comes up just short in Week 17

Source: ESPN

Dallas Cowboys QB Andy Dalton completed 29-of-47 passes for 243 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in Week 17 against the New York Giants while posting a game-high 48 rushing yards. RB Ezekiel Elliott also added 14 runs for 42 yards, while RB Tony Pollard rushed five times for 15 yards. TE Dalton Schultz topped the charts with seven catches for 70 yards, while WR Michael Gallup contributed four receptions for 49 yards on eight targets. WR CeeDee Lamb wrapped up his rookie season with five grabs for 43 yards on seven targets, while WR Amari Cooper capped the season with six grabs for 41 yards on nine targets. DE Demarcus Lawrence posted four stops, a sack, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits.

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The Cowboys had trouble moving the ball against the Giants defense and came up short with a chance to win late in the game. Mike McCarthy will be back next year but this season has to be considered a disappointment.

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9. MIA - Miami roughed up in finale at Buffalo

Source: ESPN

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa completed 35-of-58 passes for 361 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions while running for 28 yards in a 56-26 loss at Buffalo in Week 17. RB Salvon Ahmed led the way on the ground with 29 yards and a touchdown, while RB Myles Gaskin had 20 rushing yards on seven attempts with a score. WR DeVante Parker topped the charts with seven grabs for a game-high 116 yards on 14 targets, while Gaskin had 57 receiving yards. TE Mike Gesicki added five catches for 47 yards on his 10 targets, while WR Lynn Bowden Jr. registered 44 yards on eight snags with 12 targets. WR Malcolm Perry also found the end zone with a 25-yard score on his only catch. LB Andrew Van Ginkel led the defense with five solo stops, a sack, three tackles for loss, a pass defensed and a quarterback hit.

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At the beginning of the season, making the playoffs seemed like a worthy but likely unreachable goal for the Dolphins. They were one win from making it this year, but certainly will have a playoffs or bust approach next season. Tagovailoa didn't exactly impress despite a good win-loss record and the Dolphins should at least do their due diligence on the draft quarterbacks since they are holding the #3 pick thanks to Houston and the Laremy Tunsil trade.

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10. NE - QB Cam Newton leads Pats in the finale

Source: ESPN

New England Patriots QB Cam Newton completed 21-of-30 passes for 242 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 17 against the New York Jets while running for a game-high 79 yards on 11 totes, including a game-best 49-yard scamper. WR Jakobi Meyers also hit Newton on a 19-yard pass for touchdown. RB Sony Michel rushed 16 times for 76 yards, and he added three grabs for 60 yards and a score. Meyers also posted a team-high 68 receiving yards while running for seven yards, TE Devin Asiasi had two catches for 39 yards and a touchdown, while RB James White ended up with a touchdown grab and 31 yards. WR N'Keal Harry finished with two grabs for 17 yards, while DE Chase Winovich led the way on defense with six total stops, two sacks, two tackles for loss, a pass defensed and three quarterback hits.

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Newton had his best fantasy game of the year in the last game of the year. He could re-sign with the Patriots, but there will be a better market for him in this free agent market even though it wasn't a great season for him and New England. Jakobi Meyers has secured a long term role in the offense with his performance this season.

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11. PHI - QB Carson Wentz wants offseason trade

Source: ESPN - Chris Mortensen

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz plans to ask for a trade during the offseason because his relationship with head coach Doug Pederson is reportedly fractured beyond repair, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

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Wentz contract isn't an easy one to trade because it includes a lot of guaranteed money, but the Eagles would actually save a little bit of cap room if they can move him. This offseason promises to be very interesting with a strong crop of draft quarterbacks and passers like Wentz, Matthew Stafford, and Sam Darnold on the market.

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12. NYG - NYG caps regular season with a victory

Source: ESPN

New York Giants QB Daniel Jones completed 17-of-25 passes for 229 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys. RB Wayne Gallman rushed 11 times for 65 yards, while WR Sterling Shepard had eight receptions for a game-high 112 yards with a touchdown, and he ran twice for 24 yards and a score. WR Dante Pettis added two receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown, while WR Darius Slayton closed the regular season with two catches and 22 yards on four targets. TE Evan Engram was also targeted four times, ending up with two catches and 17 yards. LB Blake Martinez ended up with 11 total stops, a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit, and DE Leonard Williams had three sacks.

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Jones looked sharp and healthy in this one and the Giants offense did enough combined with a heroic performance by the defense. Now the Giants wait to see if Philadelphia can beat Washington and punch their ticket into the playoffs. The Giants would host the Buccaneers.

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13. CLE - Cleveland earns playoff spot in Week 17

Source: NFL.com

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield went 17-for-27 for 196 yards and one touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17. He also rushed for 44 yards on six carries during the game. RB Nick Chubb rushed for 108 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries, while RB Kareem Hunt rushed for 37 yards on 10 carries. WR Rashard Higgins caught two passes for 55 yards on three targets, WR Jarvis Landry rushed for a three-yard touchdown and caught five passes for 51 yards on six targets. TE Austin Hooper caught four passes for 37 yards and one touchdown on five targets.

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The Browns took control and opened up a 15 point lead in the fourth quarter, but had to stop the Steelers on a two-point conversion to secure the win. Chubb went over 1000 yards despite missing four games. Cleveland will travel to Pittsburgh and face the Steelers again next week.

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14. BAL - Baltimore offense terrific in Week 17 win

Source: NFL.com

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson went 10-for-18 for 118 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. He also rushed for 97 yards on 11 carries during the game. RB J.K. Dobbins rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, while RB Gus Edwards rushed for 60 yards in 12 carries. WR Marquise Brown caught five passes for 41 yards and two touchdowns on eight targets.

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Jackson did not disappoint in Week 17 DFS lineups. He'll face the AFC South winner next week as the Ravens will have less pressure on them than they did last year when they lost to the Titans in the divisional round.

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15. MIN - Minnesota's offense plays well in Week 17

Source: NFL.com

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins went 28-for-40 for 405 yards and three touchdowns against the Detroit Lions in Week 17. He also recorded a rushing touchdown during the game. RB Alexander Mattison rushed for 95 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries and also caught three passes for 50 yards and one touchdown. WR Justin Jefferson caught nine passes for 133 yards on 12 targets and WR Adam Thielen caught four passes for 57 yards on five targets.

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Cousins set a career high for passing touchdowns in a season with 35 and Jefferson set the Super Bowl era rookie record for receiving yards in a season. The Vikings could have easily been a playoff team this year if it weren't a few inexplicable close losses and they should be better next season with a more settled defense than the one that went through transition during the season this year.

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16. ATL - Atlanta has solid offensive outing in Week 17

Source: NFL.com

Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan went 29-for-44 for 265 yards and two touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17. Ryan also added a rushing touchdown. RB Brian Hill rushed for 94 yards on nine carries and also caught three passes for 42 yards. WR Russell Gage Jr. caught nine passes for 91 yards and one touchdown on 11 targets, WR Calvin Ridley caught eight passes for 52 yards on 12 targets and TE Hayden Hurst caught four passes for 28 yards and one touchdown during the game.

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The Falcons got within three points in the fourth quarter to make the Bucs nervous as they needed to win to secure the #5 seed and a date with the NFC East champion. Atlanta will hire a new GM and head coach this offseason, and next season could be the last with the team for Ryan and Julio Jones.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of the Footballguys Family. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J