This was how much time was left on the clock in the Week 17 game between the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans. The Titans got the ball back at their own 25-yard line after the Texans tied the game at 38 on a field goal during the previous drive. With the Titans facing overtime, they had a critical decision to make: Do they kneel the ball and risk overtime in a game where they couldn’t stop Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, or do they go for the win with all three of their timeouts remaining?
With an AFC South title up for grabs, they decided to push the ball down the field. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill launched the ball to wide receiver A.J. Brown, who reeled it in at the Texans 22-yard line to set up kicker Sam Sloman’s game-winning 37-yard field goal. The Titans won 41-38, winning the AFC South and setting up a showdown with the Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card round. If they had lost, they would’ve played the Buffalo Bills on the road instead.
This was one of many games during Week 17 that set the bracket for the NFL postseason. The drama to set up the participants and their seeding in the playoffs are peak entertainment in sports.
From Week 14 to 17 of every NFL regular season, many teams are jockeying for not only their postseason lives, but seeding. This allows many of the games on the schedule to have some playoff implications. After each result, the playoff scenarios update, allowing for new possibilities and storylines to emerge.
With the “any given Sunday” mantra, games with playoff implications are unpredictable, prompting fans to become nervous while watching other games that could affect their team. It is incredible to see the drama unfold, treating fans to many intense battles as the season winds down with the weather getting colder. While this can happen in the NHL, NBA and MLB, what makes those fall short is the sheer amount of games played, and the lack of clinching scenarios and games on the final day of the regular season.
Another reason the NFL’s playoff race is so great is the TV channel known as NFL RedZone. When playoff races heat up, energetic host Scott Hanson constantly updates the scenarios and seedings in real time as games with implications occur simultaneously.
Watching NFL RedZone during Week 17 was an enjoyable experience for many, and a reminder of why NFL playoff races are so entertaining every year. With the unpredictability, any of the 16 games can have a major impact on the postseason, whether it’s for seeding or to reach the playoffs. This helps catalyze the best part of the sports calendar — January football.