The playoff picture is set and Black Monday is looming

The good, bad and ugly of NFL week 17

Mahomes for MVP? Jim Berry, Chiefs website

Just when you thought the NFL couldn't get any more exciting, week 17 said "hold my beer" and proceeded to wow us. Here's how I saw it play out:

The Good

- Chiefs' quarterback Pat Mahomes secured only the third 50 passing touchdown season in NFL history in their 35-3 dismantling of the Raiders. He's only in his first full season as the starting quarterback and is widely considered the frontrunner for league MVP.

-Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield broke the rookie passing touchdown record in a losing effort. He threw his 27th touchdown pass of the season as they tried to keep the Ravens out of the playoffs. Mind you, he didn't start the season. He had to "Wally Pip" Tyrod Taylor to get the starting job.

-In the "Loser Leaves Town" match, the Colts beat the Titans 33-17 to get the final playoff spot in the AFC. Props to the NFL for adjusting the schedule to allow for games this important to take place between division rivals and allowing it to be flexed into the Sunday night time slot.

The Bad

- Jags executive vice president Tom Coughlin called running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon's behavior on the sideline "disrespectful, selfish, and was unbecoming of a professional football player." Fournette and Yeldon sat on the bench the entire game and generally seemed uninterested in the game as one was inactive and the other didn't play. Is this Coughlin being an old, or the players being millenials, or both?

-The Steelers barely edged out the Bengals 16-13 and missed the playoffs. One can point to their horrible loss to the Raiders a couple weeks ago, or the come from ahead loss to the Saints, or even their tying of the Browns on opening week. No matter how you slice it, this is completely on them.

-Rumor has it that the Dolphins may get rid of head coach Adam Gase. It would be a terrible decision considering what Gase has done for all the quarterbacks he worked with. If Ryan Tannehill had been healthy, their season may have turned out differently. I know of a certain quarterback and head coach combo that could use a guy like Gase.

The Ugly

-Without a shot at a playoff spot and only a little more than pride on the line, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers started the final game of the season against the Lions. He did not finish however because he was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion. What a terrible way to start your offseason when you're also looking for a new head coach.

-The Skins were blanked by the Eagles 24-0. If that wasn't bad enough, they only put up 89 yards of offense! Their 68 yards passing was only nine more than Eagles leading receiver Alshon Jeffrey had. Their 21 yards rushing was three less than Eagles third leading rusher Darren Sproles totaled.

-Black Monday is already upon us. The Jets fired Todd Bowles and the Bucs fired Dirk Koetter. Several other coaches are expected to be let go. Among them are Cardinals coach Steve Wilks, who was only given one year to work with an inferior roster, Broncos' Vance Joseph and previously mentioned Gase in Miami.

The playoffs are set and will be exciting to see. The road to the Super Bowl goes through New Orleans in the NFC and Kansas City in the AFC. Number one seeds have been nine of the last ten Super Bowl participants, but this season feels different. Guess that's why Herm Edwards gave us his famous line.

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Houston stays hot at the plate

Astros overpower White Sox in series opener

Abraham Toro made a loud return to the Astros' lineup on Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a two-game sweep of the struggling Rangers behind them, the Astros welcomed in a much fiercer opponent in the Chicago White Sox, owners of the best record in the AL, for an exciting four-game set. It was all Astros in this one, as their offense would once again propel them to a lopsided win.

Final Score: Astros 10, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 40-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (5-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dylan Cease (5-3)

Houston builds a big lead

Houston wasted no time in the bottom of the first, getting two on base on a single and an error to set up a three-run home run for Michael Brantley, putting them ahead 3-0 before Chicago and Dylan Cease could record an out. They extended the lead in the bottom of the fourth, putting two on base on a walk and hit batter before an RBI ground-rule double by Carlos Correa brought in one. That left runners on second and third, and Abraham Toro took advantage by scoring both on a two-RBI single, then with one out, Jose Altuve hit a sac fly to make it a 7-0 lead.

Urquidy brings the good stuff

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was cruising through Chicago's lineup. He allowed just one hit through the first five scoreless innings but would let the White sox get on the board in the top of the sixth after a leadoff double and two-out RBI single. They added one more on another single, making it 7-2 before Urquidy could get out of the inning.

Jose Altuve got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, hitting his fourth home run in three games to make it a six-run game at 8-2. Urquidy returned to the mound in the top of the seventh, getting a quick 1-2-3 frame to end his successful night. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 93 P.

Astros take the opener

In the bottom of the seventh, Houston pushed the lead to eight runs with a leadoff single, setting up a two-out two-run homer by Toro, bringing him to four RBI on the night. With Urquidy's night over, Brandon Bielak came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen, sitting down Chicago in order. Ralph Garza Jr. came in to get an inning of work to finish off the game with Houston's large lead. He made it a quick one, with Chicago going down in order one more time as the Astros took the opener and notched their fourth-straight win.

Up Next: Game two of this entertaining series will be another 7:10 PM Central Start on Friday. Carlos Rodon (6-2, 1.89 ERA) will try to help Chicago even the series, while Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.98 ERA) will try to put Houston up 2-0.

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