The penultimate week of the NFL season has already ended a team's dreams, and guaranteed a few playoff berths. Here's what we learned during the early set of games Sunday.
- The Saints' disastrous season hit its nadir Sunday in a home loss to the Falcons, eliminating them from contention. The defeat had so many elements to the Saints' confounding year: A backbreaking Drew Brees pick, a poor effort from Jimmy Graham, and the lack of a pass rush. The Saints' defense actually played well enough to win, but New Orleans somehow lost a fifth straight home game.
- Three divisions will be decided in head-to-head matchups next week, including Lions-Packers. Green Bay and Detroit both took care of business on Sunday, even if they didn't look pretty on the way. Matthew Stafford had two more interceptions against the Bears on Sunday, and the Lions offense continues to not look like a playoff-ready group.
- The other division that will be up for grabs next week? The AFC North when Pittsburgh and Cincinnati face off. That's because Houston handed Baltimore the most painful loss of the day on Sunday. The Ravens managed to lose to Case Keenum and the Texans despite Keenum just re-joining the team this week. Bill O'Brien has done an incredible job keeping Houston alive heading into Week 17 at 8-7, although they'd need a lot of help to get in.
- The Jets aren't nearly as bad as their 3-12 record indicates, but they find new and excruciating ways to inflict pain on their fans each week. With a chance to beat their rival Patriots in Rex Ryan's New Jersey swan song, New York narrowly lost a fine effort. They have lost by one score seven times. New England earned a bye week for a record fifth straight season.