With just a couple weeks left in the regular season, several teams are fighting over playoff spots. In fact, in the AFC, five playoff spots have been clinched with seven teams still alive for the final two spots.
In the NFC, there are four playoff berths that have been clinched. For the final three spots, eight teams still remain in contention.
With so much focus on the field, let’s take a look at some of the other stories from around the NFL this week.
Tagovailoa Out Again With A Concussion
Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finally put a sensational season together, but his health is starting to become a major concern. On Wednesday, head coach Mike McDaniel confirmed that he had suffered his second concussion of the season and would miss at least the upcoming week.
There was a lot of scrutiny over the first concussion as he showed symptoms in Week 3, but he wasn’t officially diagnosed with a concussion until being knocked out of his Week 4 game.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, it appears that the NFLPA and the league are again investigating how Tagovailoa was handled as the concussion-related hit was believed to have happened in the first half of Week 16’s game, but he still finished the game.
In 13 games this season, Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,548 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions. While the Dolphins exploded onto the scene, they have struggled as of late, losing four straight games. They are currently clinging on the last Wild Card spot, but this week’s game against the Patriots could have a major ripple effect on their playoff hopes.
In Tagovailoa’s absence, Teddy Bridgewater will take over under center for the Dolphins.
Watt To Call It A Career
33-year-old defensive end J.J. Watt has been in the NFL since he broke into the league in 2011 with the Houston Texans, but it appears that these last two games of the regular season will be the last of his career.
On Tuesday, Watt announced that this season would be his last. He has played in 14 games this season, amassing 33 tackles, 9.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Arguably his best season was back in 2012, when he had 81 tackles, 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries, but he has been relatively consistent as long as he has been healthy.
Health has been a bit of an issue for Watt lately, though. In his last seven seasons, he has only managed to play in double-digit games three times.
Still, Watt has proven throughout his career that he is undoubtedly a future Hall-of-Famer, and will go out in the midst of one of his best seasons in the last several years.
Hackett Doesn’t Even Make It One Year
First year head coach Nathaniel Hackett made it 15 games with his new team, the Denver Broncos, before being fired. On Monday, after an embarrassing 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Broncos have decided to move on.
This has been a disaster of a season for Denver. They currently sit 4-11 on the season, third-worst in the AFC.
Hopes were high at the beginning of the year for the Broncos after trading for quarterback Russell Wilson and bringing in the offensive-minded Hackett to run the show, but the team just never got any form of consistency this year.
On offense, they rank dead last, averaging just 15.5 points per game. Through the air, they rank 20th, averaging 209.1 passing yards per game.
With Hackett out, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that senior assistant Jerry Rosburg will take over as head coach to finish out the year.