Week 16 is usually a week of the have and have-nots. One of the many reasons why the NFL is successful is because teams have a chance. Many playoff teams change from year to year. But by week 16, the teams who are still playing for the possibility of a postseason are in hugely important, must-win games. And those who are already eliminated? They’re playing for pride and for draft position. By the end of the week, there were still 16 teams who were either in the postseason, or had hopes to be playing in the playoffs.
Jim Mora had this to say about the Indianapolis Colts’ playoff chances.
2. After Rex Ryan tried to talk his team up all week, his team failed to back up his talk. The Giants beat the Jets in the Battle Of New York fairly easily. The big news was after the game when Rex Ryan and Brandon Jacobs had a conversation which supposedly started with Ryan telling Jacobs to first shut the eff up and then that the Jets were still winning the Super Bowl. And then Jacobs told him he was going to punch him in the face. If I was Rex, I’d stop walking up to very athletic and strong players and telling them anything.
3. The Giants are playing in one of the bigger games in week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys where the victor wins the NFC East. The Cowboys lost Tony Romo to a hand injury early in their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, but there was no break and for Cowboys fans, hopefully Romo can be as close to full strength as possible.
4. In the AFC West, only the Oakland Raiders won, which sets up an interesting scenario for next week. The Raiders looked to be in charge, but gave up a late touchdown which tied the game and then had to block a field goal at the end of regulation. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a field goal in overtime to win the game for the Raiders. The Raiders must win next week to have a chance to win the division.
5. The Denver Broncos lost to the Buffalo Bills and now are tied atop the AFC West with the Raiders. If the Raiders lose to the San Diego Chargers in week 17, the Broncos automatically win the west based on a better record against common opponents. Of course, they can make it simple and beat the Chiefs. And hopefully, Tim Tebow won’t throw two pick sixes in a matter of 20 seconds next week.
6. After beating the Arizona Cardinals, the Cincinnati Bengals are still in control of their own destiny in the wild card race. From the Fox Sports website:
Cincinnati grabs the other AFC wild card with a victory over Baltimore, or with a loss if both the Jets and Raiders or Broncos lose.
7. Speaking of Cincinnati, the play of the week and maybe the year was Jerome Simpson’s front flip into the end zone against the Cardinals.
9. And the rest … I think Aaron Rodgers noticed that Drew Brees is about to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yardage record and decided that he wanted to stay in control of the MVP race, so he threw five touchdowns in the Green Bay Packers 35-21 victory over the Chicago Bears. The Detroit Lions clinched one of the NFC wild cards with their smacking of the San Diego Chargers. Just three years ago, they were 0-16. The Tennessee Titans kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 23-17 win over the scrappy Jacksonville Jaguars. The New England Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 27-24 in a come from behind victory that sealed them a first round bye in the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers beat bumps on the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-16. Cam Newton just about put that Rookie Of The Year award out of reach. Didn’t the Bucs win 10 games last year? The Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns to go undefeated at home and also put them within a win next week of winning their division and earning a first round bye in the playoffs.
10. It would be fantastic for me as a 49ers fan that the Atlanta Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints tonight so that the 49ers can clinch the first round bye in the playoffs. Then, the 49ers could rest all their starters next week and not have to worry about their week 17 game against the Rams. However, I don’t think it will be that easy. While I expect Atlanta to give them hell, I think the Saints win in a close game, maybe by a late 4th quarter touchdown.