NFL title contenders are supposed to finish the regular season strong, but a few ended up on the losing end of Week 16 scores.
Those losers need to look themselves in the mirror and identify their weaknesses now because if they don’t, their postseason will be short. And in one team’s case, it won’t even have a postseason.
Here are three outcomes from Sunday’s games that will have teams fishing for an answer.
Will Dallas make the playoffs?
New Orleans Saints 34, Dallas Cowboys 31
The Tony Romo-to-Dez Bryant connection was nearly unstoppable in Cowboys Stadium, as the pair hooked up nine times for 224 yards and two touchdowns. But Drew Brees just got a bit more help from his defense than Romo did.
Dallas’ defense must step up because while the Saints are a difficult matchup, the Washington Redskins offense is just as potent.
Romo shouldn’t have to throw more than 416 yards and four touchdowns to win a football game.
Minnesota 23, Houston Texans 6
In a matchup that was pegged the Texans versus Adrian Peterson, Houston beat AP only to get outplayed by the rest of the Vikings.
Christian Ponder outgunned Matt Schaub/T.J. Yates, and Minnesota held the Texans’ top-notch rushing attack to just 34 yards on the ground.
If Houston continues to play like it did against the Vikings, it will be one and done in the playoffs.
Seattle Seahawks 42, San Francisco 49ers 13
Sure, Seattle is the hottest team in the NFL, but the 49ers have to compete better than that.
As Alex Smith held back a smile, Colin Kaepernick completed just 52.8 percent of his passes, while Russell Wilson completed 71.4 percent for four touchdowns. And the game still would have been close if it weren’t for two 49ers turnovers and a blocked field goal, which Richard Sherman returned for a 90-yard touchdown.
San Francisco is talented enough to beat any team in the league, but it must show more consistency on both sides of the football to string together a Super Bowl run.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.