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We’re to playoff time! The season is always fun, but the final 11 games always ramp up the pressure and drama. But first, a few Week 17 notes.
The Jets controlled their destiny and missed out on the playoffs, losing to nemesis Buffalo with only revenge to play for. Feel bad for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who sort of revitalized his career this year and played solid football, but has never seen the playoffs.
Still shocked that the Patriots laid an egg against the Dolphins, and gave up the #1 seed. It’s a good thing that Brady has a BYE, because he looked severely hobbled after the game.
What a statement Peyton Manning made, saying his career isn’t over and leading a comeback against the Chargers to lock up the #1 seed. It’s cool that the Broncos are naming him the starter for the playoffs. Should he make a run at a Super Bowl, it would be one of the better stories ever in the NFL. If not, he’s at least not ending his career on the Chiefs debacle. Manning came in and scored on 4 of his first 5 possessions of the game, for 20 points.
Seattle put out a statement by absolutely dominating the Cardinals in Arizona. Seattle is the hot team, and Arizona is one of the best teams in the league. Would be awesome if this was a playoff preview between division rivals.
Still not convinced that winning the NFC North was the best choice. You don’t want to limp into the playoffs, but you also don’t want to face Seattle.
- Pretty shocking that Josh Freeman came in and not only won the game for Indy, but played solidly. He was in the minor leagues 4 months ago
- The Bills beat the Jets twice this year, both scores were 22-17
- Remember all the talk about two terrible division winners hosting games? Both the Redskins and Texans ended at 9-7, and not the 6-10 possibility we all thought.
Stat of the Week #1:
Julio Jones passed Jerry Rice’s old receiving yard record in a single season. In fact, 2 of the top 4 best seasons came this year (Antonio Brown #4).
Stat of the Week #2:
Russell Wilson led the league in passer rating, at 110.1
Stat of the Week #3:
Kickers missed 71 PATs this year. That’s still a 94.2% accuracy rate
Stat of the Week #4:
Only 7 RB’s had 1000 yards, 10 years ago there were 16
Stat of the Week #5:
Remember the people questioning if Drew Brees would be with the Saints next year? He led the league with 4870 yards, and was 6th in passer rating
Stat of the Week #6:
Cam Newton just tied Steve Young for the most TD runs by a QB in history. He’s 26…
Stat of the Week #7:
8 of the top 10 QB’s in terms of yards, missed the playoffs
Stolen Stat of the Week #8:
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t eclipsed 16 points in five of his past 10 games. Meanwhile over the last half of the season, Kirk Cousins stat line is as follows: 19 TDs, 2 INT’s, 7 of 8 games with a passer rating higher than 101
Stat of the Week #9:
In the AFC North, the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals have had a total of 3 coaches since 2008, the Browns will be hiring their 6th shortly
I think there is little doubt that Cam Newton is the MVP this year. He had 35 TD passes (1 shy of the leading Brady at 36), but also ran for 10 TD’s (1 shy of the leading RB’s ended with.
Crazy Rumor of the Week:
Bill Belichick is would consider leaving the Patriots for the Giants, which he considers his “Dream Job.”
Non-Playoff team season recap:
For 20 of the 32 teams, the season is now over. Some were utter disappointments, and while there’s no such thing as moral victories (especially when you miss the playoffs), here are some of the better stories of the year.
Rams: QB issue up in the air, but a lot of positive came out of this year. They were 3 OT losses on FG’s away from being 10-6
Jets: Despite missing the playoffs, the Jets had an exciting season ending at 10-6 after a 4-12 outing last year. Ryan Fitzpatrick was the first QB in Jets history to throw 30+ TD passes, and Brandon Marshall holds Jets’ single-season records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Colts: Injury issues abound, especially to Andrew Luck, they were surprisingly still in the hunt until Week 17. Glad to see Chuck Pagano staying
Ravens: Bit of a shocker this year, the season was out of hand even before Flacco got hurt
Raiders: This team is starting to look sharp, and the best thing is they’re young
Eagles: Disappointing season, although they seemed to get the better out of the Foles/Bradford trade. But starting over next year with a new coach
Cowboys: Tony Romo should be the MVP of the team. They had 1 win without him, and he only played in 4 games. They fell fast.
Lions: After starting 1-7, the Lions ended 8-2 with new OC. Could be a precursor to next year
Falcons: They were the surprise team that started 5-0 and looked unstoppable, but the end of the season was a huge disappointment
Buccaneers: Rookie QB Jameis Winston had a nice little season. 4042 yards, 22 TD’s, 15 INTs, 84.2 passer rating, took a 2 win team to 6 wins.
Wild Card Weekend:
Chiefs at Texans: Both teams were 2-5 at one point, and the Chiefs are on a 9 game win streak. I feel like this could be the game of the weekend even though this will probably pull in the worst ratings of the 4. These are two hot teams facing off, good defenses, underrated QB’s. The Chiefs haven’t won since 1994, and the Texans have only beat the Bengals and this is their 5th franchise playoff game. My prediction is Chiefs 31, Texans 24.
Steelers at Bengals: Awesome division rivalry game, and they split the season series 1-1, both teams winning on the road. The Bengals have been sharp since Andy Dalton went down, but this could be a make or break year for Marvin Lewis who is 0-6 in the playoffs. It could also be the 5th year in a row that Cincinnati loses in the first round. Meanwhile the Steelers are hot but will be on their 3rd RB. My guess is Pittsburgh 42, Cincinnati 17
Seahawks at Vikings: The story of this game is going to be the weather. They’re talking -2 degrees, with up to a -20 Wind Chill. Somehow there have been a handful of other bitterly cold games (Ice Bowl was -13 with -48 windchill). This could bode well for the Vikings to slow down the powerful Seattle team that beat them 38-7 five weeks ago. I’m seeing that as the equalizer, with a final score of Seattle 16, Minnesota 13.
Packers at Redskins: A tale of 2 different teams, the Packers looked unstoppable starting 6-0 but finishing 4-6 (should have been 3-7). The Redskins on the other hand had a QB controversy, started 2-4 before ending 7-3 (including a 4 game win streak). Now the team everybody wanted to play looks like they have a chance of making a run. My prediction is Redskins 27, Packers 23.
Wild Card week always seems to produce some of the better playoff games and crazier stories, and somebody from this week usually ends up in the Super Bowl. Should my predictions hold true (although I’m picking 3 road teams), Division round would see Steelers at Broncos, Chiefs at Patriots, Seahawks at Panthers, and Redskins at Cardinals.