This game was a lot closer than all the talking heads predicted. Washington played a solid game, taking Tampa Bay to the limit. This was a successful season for a Washington team that according to most analysts was supposed to be at the bottom of the Division.
In his first game as a starter for Washington, Taylor Heinicke was incredible — throwing for over 300 yards with 46 yards on the ground and a gutsy rushing touchdown. He cemented himself as a legit threat for a starting spot in Washington next season. At the very least, he is a reliable number 2 QB next season.
Establishing a starting Quarterback should be priority numero uno for Washington in the offseason. A healthy Alex Smith would be ideal; however, we know that is highly unlikely. Smith has been struggling to remain healthy for most of the season. Even his mobility has been compromised due to his injury. If he is completely healthy, he should stay on the roster; if not, then it is time for Alex to retire and maybe join the front-office.
Antonio Gibson was still hurt and limped throughout most of this playoff game. A late season injury diminished his effectiveness to be the dynamic back he has proven to be. Next season, urgency should be placed on providing a complementary running back to Gibson. J.D. McKissic is a good option to keep around, but we need a more explosive option in this position. Bryce Love was supposed to be the answer but has not remained healthy for multiple seasons now.
This was possibly Ryan Kerrigan’s last game in Washington. I would love for him to stay, and hopefully, they can figure out a contract that doesn’t jeopardize signing other younger free agents and extending some key defensive weapons.
We should be testing the free agent Quarterback market, but we should be careful not to overspend on aging players, like in years past. This Washington team is attractive for free agents who want to be part of something special. Matthew Stafford is a great option if we intend to win now, but Detroit will probably ask for way too much. Deshaun Watson will be very expensive; mortgaging our future Draft picks to get Watson will be too costly. Cam Newton seems just about done unless he finds ways to return to form in the offseason, but I doubt it.
Mitchell Trubisky and Dak Prescott might both be available, but I don’t want them here. Hard pass on Carson Wentz, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Foles, and Jimmy G.
I’m curious to see what we could do with Sam Darnold, Gardner Minshew, Rod Taylor, or Jacoby Brissett.
I believe that this team will be extremely competitive next season and for many seasons to come. We are now a legit playoff team and we have the makings of a Super Bowl team. We should all expect more wins and many memorable moments for years to come.
WFT 23 — BUCCANEERS 31:
And for the rest of the league…..
BUFFALO 27 — COLTS 24:
The Bills are a dangerous and dynamic team, but Indianapolis kept things close. Josh Allen lived up to the hype and delivered an excellent game. Next round of the playoffs, Buffalo takes on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.
The Colts seem to have found a short-term replacement for Andrew Luck in Philip Rivers. Indianapolis is only a few pieces away from making another deep playoff run like they did a few years ago under Chuck Pagano.
RAMS 30 — SEAHAWKS 20:
The LA Rams Came to this game with some questions on offense, mostly regarding the Quarterback position. John Wolford got the start for this game but was injured in the 1st quarter, prompting Jared Goff back into the lineup. Goff had been shaky and unreliable all season long, and he wasn’t very impressive here also. The Rams have many offensive weapons, but Goff is the weakest link here. LA visits Green bay for a challenging Divisional playoff game. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.
Seattle needs to make some upgrades on offense and defense. Russell Wilson does way too much for this offense. The Seahawks need to find more options at running back and another receiving threat to complement DK Metcalf. They will be back in the playoffs next season.
SAINTS 21 — BEARS 9:
The Saints were supposed to blow out Chicago but struggled to put them away until the 4th quarter. Next for New Orleans is Tampa Bay and Tom Brady for the 3rd time this season. They swept the series and should be favorites to win again. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.
The Bears limped to the post-season and were the most unimpressive team in the playoffs. Next season, Chicago needs to move on from Trubisky and find a Quarterback to build this team around.
BROWNS 48 — STEELERS 37:
The Browns rocked Pittsburgh from the first play of the game and never looked back. Baker Mayfield played a great game, throwing for over 300 yards and 3 TDs. Kareem Hum and Nick Chubb are the best two-punch running back combo in the NFL, and Pittsburgh could not slow them down. Cleveland goes to Arrowhead and takes on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs for what should be an excellent game. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.
After Pittsburgh got exposed on a Monday Night game loss to Washington, they went on a losing streak and struggled to finish up the season strong. There are lots of holes in Pittsburgh, and those need to be addressed urgently. Cleveland, Baltimore, and even Cincinnati should be divisional contenders next season. The Steelers have to figure out a way to keep up with the rest of the Division. Big Ben might be close to calling it a career, and the need to find his replacement should be a top priority in 2021.
RAVENS 20 — TITANS 13:
The Ravens found a way to neutralize Derrick Henry, making the most significant difference in the outcome. Next week, Baltimore takes on the red hot Bills and Josh Allen. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.
Tennessee is very close to becoming a legit contender; they need to make some slight upgrades on both sides of the ball, and they’ll be right back in the playoffs.