The NFL regular season has come and gone. Just like that, we are onto the playoffs, and are only a month removed from this season’s Super Bowl. Here are some of the top performers from the last week of the regular season, in no particular order.
Top NFL Week 17 Performances
Stats: 27/39, 300 yards, 4 touchdowns, QBR: 80.5, RTG: 126.0, 10 carries for 42 yards
Rodgers came into this game as one of, if not the, hottest quarterbacks in the NFL. He continued his strong second half of the season leading the Packers to a 31-24 defeat of the Detroit Lions, and another NFC North title. The pivot predicted the team would run the table, which they did with a six-game winning streak to end the season. During the streak , Rodgers threw for 15 touchdowns with no interceptions. The red hot Packers will roll into Wild Card Weekend looking forward to a matchup with the New York Giants.
Stats: 27/36, 331 yards, 4 touchdowns, QBR: 97.8, RTG: 139.9
Matt Ryan has had as strong a season as any quarterback in the NFL this year. He has put up MVP-type numbers, and is a really strong candidate to win this year’s NFL MVP. Ryan has led the Falcons to an NFC South title, and a first round bye for the playoffs. He finished the year with 4,944 yards and 38 TD’s. Ryan finished 2nd in the NFL in total passing yards, while throwing the 17th most passing attempts.
Stats: 27 carries, 119 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 receptions, 25 yards
Rex Burkehead has seen more and more touches at running back for the Bengals, as Jeremy Hill has been banged-up of late. Burkehead finally took advantage of the opportunity breaking out with a huge week 17. He rushed for a career high 119 yards. Rex was the driving force behind what was only the third time the Bengals scored 27+ points in a game this season. Burkehead definitely gave a little bit of an audition to NFL teams as he heads into free agency this offseason.
Stats: 23 carries, 135 rushing yards
Jordan Howard was amongst one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 season. Howard was one of the only bright spots on a depleted Chicago Bears offense. He only became the starter in week three and finished second in the league in rushing yards with 1,313, fourth in yards per attempt with 5.2 yards per carry, and third in yards per game with 87.5. The rookie out of UAB finished the final five weeks of the season rushing the ball 103 times for 547 yards and four touchdowns. His stretch was good enough to be named Offensive Rookie of the Month. Howard is one of the pieces the Bears will build around for the 2017 season.
Stats: 21 carries, 102 rushing yards
Perkins’ role has grown more and more in the Giants offense as the season has come to an end. In week 17, Perkins finally made the first start of his NFL career. The rookie out of UCLA showed the Giants a glimpse of what the future could be. He was quick, explosive, and hit all the holes. The Giants rushing attack, which was last in the NFL, has come together as of late, and Perkins could be a huge part of that heading into the playoffs. The Giants should build off of Perkins’ big Week 17 performance, and give him the start against the Packers this weekend.
Stats: 9 receptions, 114 receiving yards, 1 TD
Matthews has very quietly had a strong 2016 season in Tennessee. The fifth year receiver leads the Titans in touchdowns, receiving yards, and is tied with Delanie Walker with 65 receptions. His 945 receiving yards are the highest total among Titan receivers since Kendall Wright had a 1,000-yard season in 2013. Matthew has easily been one of Marcus Mariota’s favorite targets this season. In Week 17 without Mariota, it was much of the same from Matthews—he was responsible for 114 of Matt Cassel’s 150 passing yards. Matthews was a huge free agent signing for the Titans this offseason, and could be a big piece for them in 2017.
Stats: 10 receptions, 156 receiving yards, 1 TD
Many teams passed on Saints rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas in this year’s NFL Draft, and he made them regret that decision this season. He was without a doubt the top wide receiver taken in the Draft. Thomas leads all 2016 rookie wide receivers in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and set the Saints all-time rookie touchdown record. He capped off his solid rookie season with a monster performance in week 17 tearing up the Falcons secondary.
Stats: 13 receptions, 139 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Zach Ertz had the best finish to a regular season that any NFL tight end has ever had last season (35 catches, 450 yards). The last four games of this season, he finished strongly again, with 31 catches for 314 yards. The big tight end easily became rookie quarterback Carson Wentz’s favorite target when healthy. Ertz will look to carry this strong finish over to a full year of success in 2017.
Stats: 11 receptions, 117 receiving yards, 1 TD
Kyle Rudolph has been a huge part of Sam Bradford’s success as the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings. The record breaking performance was a career best for the sixth year man out of Notre Dame. Rudolph’s 29th career TD reception set him past Steve Jordan for the Vikings all-time career touchdown leader. His 83 receptions on the season set the Vikings single season tight end reception record. His 11 receptions on the day were not only a career high for Rudolph, but he also tied the single game reception record for tight ends set back in 1981.
Arizona Cardinals Defense
Stats: 6 points against, 123 yards allowed, 7 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 2 defensive touchdowns
The Cardinals defense has been solid this season despite the disappointing record. The Cardinals finished the 2016 season with a stellar performance against the LA Rams. Although the Rams have been a horrific team, the Cardinals performance was very impressive. The Cardinals D has been terrific despite starting free safety Tyrann Mathieu being on IR.
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