From week to week, the NFL offers a number of surprises and highlights, and Week 16 of the season has been no exception.
It started Christmas Day when New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara tied a 91-year-old National Football League record by rushing for six touchdowns in the Saints’ 52-33 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Ernie Nevers is the only other player to run for six TDs in a game, doing so in 1929 while playing for the Chicago Cardinals.
Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced rookie Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s Miami-Las Vegas game and true to his nickname, Fitz-magic, the quarterback threw an incredible no-look pass that set up the Dolphins’ game-winning field goal and eliminated the Raiders from playoff contention.
The New York Jets, fresh off their first win of the season last week after they lost their first 13 games, beat an undermanned Cleveland Browns team. Cleveland, without four receivers due to COVID-19, will have to wait until next week to try and secure their first playoff spot since 2002.
Jacksonville lost their 14th consecutive game, dropping their record to 1-14, and thus clinched the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and will most likely take Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence.
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On the flip side, the AFC could have an unprecedented eight 11-win teams this season — Kansas City, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Miami, Baltimore, Cleveland and Indianapolis. Unfortunately, only seven teams make the playoffs this season. If you’re keeping track, the NFC could have as many as four 11-win teams in 2020.
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In addition to all the excitement on the field in the NFL this weekend, there is word the league will add a 17th game to its season starting in 2021. The league began playing a 16-game season in 1978 after adding two games to the schedule that year. The additional game would be part of a new media deal that will add more money to the pot for the owners and players.
It will take some time getting used to seeing a Week 18 on the NFL calendar, and watching the Super Bowl in mid-February as opposed to earlier in the month, but nobody should complain about having more football.
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.
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