By Marc Lawrence, Playbooksports.com — Week 17 in the NFL cleared up much of the playoff picture, though not all loose ends have been resolved. One thread that was came in the NFC South, where the improbable run of the Carolina Panthers came to an end, in large part because of the way they defended Tom Brady’s favorite target, Mike Evans. As a result, Tampa Bay has won the NFC South.
Elsewhere in the conference, the Green Bay Packers now control their destiny for the last remaining playoff spot in the NFC. But this team is much more than just quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
In the AFC, the Miami Dolphins continued their free fall and the New England Patriots climbed into the last open wild card spot … for now.
The biggest winner over the weekend may have been Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett, who didn’t post huge numbers, but he kept the Steelers (8-8) slim playoff hopes stayed alive with a late TD pass at Baltimore. Pittsburgh needs to beat the Browns next week and have both the Patriots and the Dolphins drop their games.