After many weeks of study, I have finally ascertained that apart from Philly and Atlanta, no one wants to actually WIN a division or even make a solid run to the playoffs. The only team other than Philly that is really scary (I don’t think Atlanta scares too many people with the unpredictability of Vick) right now is Carolina. They have won 5 straight, and are simply playing the type of inspired football a team should be playing in December. I am looking forward to the game in the Georgia Dome this week. It should be a great one, and I am especially looking forward to see if Julius Peppers can actually run down Michael Vick or not. One thing is for sure, John Fox will have the Cats ready for this game, and they can make a major statement with a win. In my opinion, this is a major trap game for Atlanta. They are coming off their first division title since their Super Bowl season of 1998, and barring a major collapse by Philly or themselves they have a first round bye and the number two seed locked. Carolina is one team that no one wants to play right now, especially when they don’t have much to play for.
I Left My Heart in San Francisco
Speaking of not having much to play for, I bet the 49ers wish the Cardinals were on their schedule about 10 times a year. They picked up another win against the Cards in overtime; despite blowing a 28-3 lead in the desert. Too bad they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs last week. Think about how sad that is — that they were technically still capable of reaching the playoffs. With SF’s cap problems, it will still be another year before it gets any better. At least you don’t have that pesky MVP candidate Terrell Owens catching passes for you anymore; he sure isn’t doing anything for the Eagles that might have helped.
Jonesin’ for a Team
For the life of me I cannot figure out the Cowboys. They pull off an emotional victory by scoring 14 points in the last 1:30 against the Seahawks to win in Seattle, and then go home and get pounded by the number 32 defense in the league. I have never seen a Parcells-coached team this bad, and this nonchalant about losing. I imagine there will be a great deal of free agent Cowboys next season.
Jake the Joke
Is Jake Plummer just going to leave an open checkbook in the league office from now on? Why in the heck would you flip the bird to a fan at home on television? He says that he is an emotional guy and sometimes that gets the better of him. Really? Maybe that’s why you’ve thrown no TDs and six picks in the last two games, and given away the division title to San Diego. If Jason Elam didn’t hit a 50-yard field goal, you might’ve lost to a 2-10 Dolphins team in Denver. By the way, even if you finish winning two of three (against KC, Tennessee and Indianapolis I might add), you might be left out of the playoffs. Guess Shannon Sharpe had you pretty well pegged after all.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week:
DET vs. GB – This game was just plain embarrassing for the Packers, especially at Lambeau in December. I think you could hear the words of Vince Lombardi saying, “What the hell is going on here?” The two quarterbacks were a combined 7 of 29 in the first half, and Brett did not complete a pass until 8:23 left in the second quarter. Harrington only completed 2 passes in the second half, and ended up 5/22 for a blazing 47 yards. Franchise quarterback? Yeah, maybe if McDonalds is the franchise. He could make it as the Hamburgler if he wasn’t 6-4. Sheesh.
On the subject of dismal quarterback performances, Eli Manning and his growing pains continue. Given, it was against the Ravens but the Giants gained less than 200 net yards on offense, and Manning was 4/18 for 27 yards and two INTs. That performance translated to a zero quarterback rating. That’s right, ZERO. All things considered, I have to say I am glad. He made his bed by throwing the pre-draft temper tantrum and going to New York instead of San Diego. At least San Diego isn’t doing anything noteworthy this year either. Oh, they are? Oh crap, there goes that theory.
Matchups are key in the playoffs if your roster is slightly inferior. Play to the strengths of your team to try and advance. Look at what Dominick Davis did this week against the awful Colts defense. It could mean the difference between advancing and elimination.
The Vikings collapse continues, as an option play on first down for Randy Moss was the best they could come up with when the game was on the line with two minutes to go. Don’t worry, Mike Tice, at least the Rams won’t be taking your playoff spot but someone might be taking your job.
December is finally here, and we are starting to see what teams are truly made of. I have the feeling that every game in the AFC will be some must watch TV.
Have you seen the commercial where the dog chases down the girl for the pair of Levi’s? The guy has a girl that looks like that, standing half naked in his doorway and all he can think about is getting his pants on? Not a chance.
Thanks for reading, on to next week…