So for 20 teams in the NFL the season has well and truly finished. Time to reflect, recruit and rebuild for the next one.
But for the final 12 teams standing we have reached the wild card stages of the playoffs. For the first and second seeds of both the AFC and NFC conferences they receive a bye for this week, which means the Patriots, Chiefs, Cowboys and Falcons all have a week to recover and prepare for the road to Super Bowl LI.
But for the others the season goes on another week and potentially longer as they grab their last chance to go for glory.
In the AFC the Dolphins travel to the Steelers having grabbed hold of a wildcard when all looked lost. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered knee ligament damage a few weeks back and has missed a number of games but thanks to back up Matt Moore and Jay Ajayi, their running back with a handing 1,272 yards they won two out of three games and secured a wildcard spot. It’ll be tough going against Pittsburgh as they have a top flight offense and Miami’s defence is not as strong even if Tannehill is fit to return. But hey, it’s playoffs, anything can happen!
Division champions they may be but many have called the Texans to have struggled with inspiring many this season. Tom Savage was elevated to starting quarterback after the benching of Brock Osweiler, but he left the game against Tennessee with concussion fuelling thought as to who will step up come Saturday. However, the visiting Raiders have their own share of injury woes, having lost Derek Carr to a broken leg in week 16 and Matt McCloin to a shoulder injury in Week 17 and as a result saw their ranking slip massively down the AFC. If there was a chance to take advantage it would be now.
Over in the NFC Saturday’s game sees two sides who’ve had different fortunes at opposite ends of the season. Early in the season the Seahawks lost Earl Thomas to a season ending injury and quickly slipped to be 2-2, with the two victories only against the Rams and the 49ers. However the Lions have had a recent collapse, losing their last three games blowing a big lead they had over the Green Bay Packers. It could go either way this weekend.
On Sunday there is quite a juicy tie between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. The Packers are red hot at the moment having won their last six games but the superstitious amongst the Giants fans will know that the last two times they played the Packers on the road in the playoffs they not only won, they won the Super Bowl too. Could 2017 be another lucky year for them?
The season just got serious, who will be still in the hunt this time next week? We’ll just have to wait and see how the road to the Super Bowl rumbles.