NFL Week 17 Winners & Losers

By Lee Wakefield & Peter Mann


We’re on the final straight! Week 17 is done. Only week 18 remains in the regular season and, due to the expanded playoff system, there is still plenty to play for. Week 17 was a decisive one, with multiple things decided; the first overall pick now belongs to the Chicago Bears. Lamar Jackson should win the MVP award. And the refs are definitely still bad. All of this makes for another intriguing week of winners and losers, so let’s get into it.

Winners - Lee Wakefield

Lamar Jackson

Even prior to his masterful demolition of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Lamar should have been the MVP favourite.

After posting a perfect passer rating, and laying down a gargantuan marker, he should be absolutely nailed on.

Personally, I think it’ll be fantastic for Jackson to win the award for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, for the death of counting stats mattering as much as they do in the minds of a lot of fans…

Lamar is 14th in passing yardage at the time of writing, for example, with 3,678 yards.

Sam Howell has more. Lamar only has 24 passing touchdowns. He’s not setting career numbers for rushing either, which is the usual Lamar caveat.

Advanced metrics and the eye test, the value added, should mean more. With Lamar this season it’s shown out in those ways.

Finally, Greg Roman and Todd Monken run pretty much polar opposite offences, and Lamar has seemingly mastered them both. Therefore, I’m also really happy for Jackson; his second MVP award, in a completely different offense to the first just shows how advanced he is as a quarterback.

If he wins a Superbowl we’re talking about him being nailed on to be a Hall of Famer.

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Sean McVay

What a coach Sean McVay is.

Offensive genius. Leader of men. Motivation skills are off the charts. He’s personable, he’s a proven winner, his players love him… And now he can add team builder to his résumé.

F them picks is no longer the vibe between McVay and General Manager Les Snead. These guys are building something. A few cornerstone pieces, like Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, and Matt Stafford, that are surrounded by young talent. Some of their best draft picks in recent times have come later in the draft, done in the depth of day 3. Byron Young, Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, and Kobie Turner, to name a few!

As mentioned on the podcast this week, the Rams have made the playoffs courtesy of their victory over the Giants. A weird game but they got the result nonetheless!

The cherry on top is that McVay has Matt Stafford playing some of his best ball of his career and with that, the Rams are going to be dangerous in the playoffs.

Drew Petzing

I’ll save some of you a Google… Petzing is the Offensive Coordinator for the Cardinals. Although given his name is beginning to appear in those articles about future Head Coaches, perhaps he won’t be in Glendale for very long.

This offseason is perhaps a little too early for Petzing, but if the Cardinals add more firepower, say Marvin Harrison Jr. in the draft. And then continue to grow as a team and as an offense then Petzing’s stock will continue to grow and surely it’ll only be a matter of time.

Arizona just hung 35 on the Eagles in what turned out to be a fantastic win for the team. However, Head Coaching offers don’t come off the back of one game. The Arizona offense was 6th in offensive DVOA (Defense Value Over Adjusted) when Josh Dobbs was quarterbacking them in mid-October.

Since Kyler Murray has come back, it’s not all been plain sailing, but let’s not forget, this isn’t a super-talented team! That said, the Cardinals have won three from seven since Murray returned.

Petzing has worked wonders with the unit and this week showed it!

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Losers - Peter Mann

Miami Dolphins

Well that was an interesting weekend of action across the NFL now wasn’t it, what with the Carolina Panthers being shut out at home to Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Miami Dolphins being pulled apart by the highly-fancied Baltimore Ravens – the play-offs couldn’t be more, interesting. 

In fact, it was the Ravens-Dolphins score that was perhaps the biggest shock of the New Year fixtures, not the result, which could have gone either way, but the magnitude of the score itself, the Ravens battering the Dolphins (11-5) into a 56-19 submission. 

Yes, Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins franchise were restricted to just nineteen points, and their defense, well the second and fourth quarters will not be looked on too fondly now will they, shipping 21 points in each – and they were after the AFC East’s leaders took the lead through a Cedric Wilson Jr. TD, and led at the end of the first. 

After that, it was all Ravens and now, with the Dolphins nursing numerous injuries, need to dig deep in their regular-season finale, at home to a resurgent Buffalo Bills (10-6), in a battle for the AFC East title, could be the difference in how McDaniel et al path (to the Super Bowl) pans out. 

Injury-wise, the Dolphins had lost Jaelen Phillips in November to a season-ending, Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert didn’t don their uniforms against the Ravens, and current East leaders, they also lost Bradley Chubb to a possible torn ACL – talk about bad timing. 

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers (2-14) at the foot of the NFC South for so long now, saw their season continue to fold, buckle under the immenseness of all around them when on the end of a 26-0 shut-out loss to AFC South tie-breakers, Jacksonville Jaguars (9-6, along with Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans). 

In fact, it was still a low-scoring contest at the half, the Jags having only put ten points on the board, and they all originated from field goals courtesy of Brandon McManus; the hosts though shut up shop in the second half, crossing for two TDs, both by Travis Etienne, with the Panthers having no answer whatsoever. 

The off-season will most certainly be one of soul-searching, an interesting one really, for owner David Tepper, and, like the Las Vegas Raiders, who also have an interim HC, will be looking at whom fills the breach of interim/special teams coordinator, Chris Tabor, a position held since late November when replacing predecessor, Frank Reich (including interim, the sixth of the Tepper era). 

Philadelphia Eagles

Where to finish, let’s see, how about Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) gift-wrapping the #1 seed to the San Francisco 49ers after a seismic capitulation in recent weeks. 

Since defeating the Buffalo Bills, the Eagles’ wings have been truly clipped, winning just one of their last five outings (33-25 against New York Giants), proceeding to lose their last also, at the death, on New Year’s weekend, 31-35 at their own, Lincoln Financial Field stadium, against the visiting Arizona Cardinals. 

Leading 21-6 at the half, everything was going their way, then the Cardinals ran in two unanswered TDs in the third to tie the game at 21, eventually giving it away with 32 seconds left on the clock, James Conner with perhaps the costliest of last-minute scores to give the Cardinals (4-12) the win. 

Costly as, although the Eagles face the New York Giants in the regular season close, they’ll drop the NFC East crown to the Dallas Cowboys if they win out at Washington Commanders in theirs. 

Even more of a kicker for the Eagles is that the Cardinals HC, Jonathan Gannon, his last post before moving to Arizona was the Defensive Coordinator for the Eagles, leaving them after they lost Super Bowl LVII.

Feature Image Credit: Arizona Cardinals

Lee Wakefield

NFL, CFB & NFL Draft

Lee Wakefield IS A defensive line enthusiast, Chargers Sufferer, and LONG-TIME writer and podcaster with a number of publications. @Wakefield90 on Twitter/X