The NFL Playoff picture went from a little blurry to outright muddy after Week 14. Unfortunately for the Colts, the Patriots seem to be getting a great deal better, and you just don’t know what team you will get when the playoffs begin. Much like last year, you have a clear favorite (Indy) and a team nipping at their heels (Denver). There are three teams battling for the final wild card spot. In the NFC, same story. One team (Seattle) is running away with it, a few teams we’re not really sure about (Chicago, Carolina, TB) and three teams fighting for one spot. At least there is no chance that a .500 team or worse is going to make the playoffs. One interesting note, if the playoffs started today, two bitter division rivalries would open playoff weekend, with the Steelers going to Cincinnati and the Cowboys traveling to the Meadowlands. I have a sneaking suspicion that you will see some very competitive games in the first round.
Pampered Boy No More
Larry Johnson has proven there are no diapers in sight, and the Chiefs are going to have a big decision to make next year. Priest Holmes is going to be 33, and two of the last three seasons ended on injured reserve. Obviously Johnson wants to get the bulk of the carries, and I’m not sure that they can place nice together. However, Holmes is a better blocker and pass protector. Here’s my assessment: make LJ your starting tailback, use Priest on third downs (like Faulk in St. Louis) and continue to work on building that defense. They still cannot consistently stop anyone, and if you can’t do that it doesn’t matter if you have LT and Barry Sanders in the backfield you’re not going to win consistently.
New Running Game
When did it suddenly become legal for offensive lineman to push the runners forward? According to the rulebook, no player on offense may assist a runner except by blocking for him. It seems like more and more this has become the standard rather than a rule violation. We all enjoy it when it is our runner that gets stacked up and gets pushed by three offensive lineman for an extra five yards, but it sucks when it’s your defense on the goal line and your 250 lb linebacker is suddenly trying to stand up 1000 lbs of man being forced down your throat. Instead of trying to make it easier to catch a ball that they probably won’t catch anyway (I cite Roy Williams in the Detroit game) maybe they should look at enforcing the rules that are already there. Sorry to get on a rant, but that rule has been in place for about fifty years and I have never seen a flag for it. Instead, the officials decide to call a mystery holding call on Kansas City within the five yard contact zone in the final minute which ended up costing the Chiefs the game. You might say Lawrence Tynes cost them the game, but without that crap call the Chiefs fall on it and it’s over.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week: BAL vs. DEN – In a game where Kyle Boller seemed to cement his walking papers, the best the Broncos could manage was twelve points. Just to give a sample of how bad Boller was, the opening kickoff was returned to the 11 yard line, and the offense lost a yard on three plays and had to kick a field goal. Oh yeah, and Ron Dayne has returned to form with four carries for seven yards. A late touchdown by the Ravens was the only thing that kept the game reasonably close.
Houston keeps finding ways to lose. Now they know why Pittsburgh was so willing to let him go a few years ago. You simply can’t miss a 31 yarder with the game on the line, I don’t care whether you’re on the road or not.
The Eagles left their entire season on the field in Philly Sunday. Too bad they couldn’t bring more to the table.
I have to wonder when the 49ers are going to show signs of improvement. What happens next year when they are getting run over like this year? The unfortunate thing is there playing just good enough to be out of the Reggie Bush sweepstakes.
For the life of me I can’t figure out why the Cardinals can’t win games. They hold the Redskins to 231 total yards, force three turnovers and still lose. Oh yeah, they can’t run and they turned it over four times.
My condolences to the people that were riding Shaun Alexander alone into the playoffs. You probably got eliminated if that was the case.
What in the hell were the schedule makers thinking when they put GB/DET and NO/ATL in the same weekend in primetime? I think I watched about ten minutes combined in both games.
What a performance by Bettis in the Chicago game on Sunday. He broke out for a long run and you could almost hear him thinking “Someone tackle me please! I don’t know if I can make it to the end zone!”
Lamont Jordan is unhappy again, big freakin deal. When your offense gets only 43 plays on offense, and you are running for only 3.6 a carry, maybe you aren’t the impact player you thought you were.
That’s all for now, on to week fifteen….