Well I trust everyone had a great holiday. Thanks to all for checking in and saying hello. I cannot believe the blog was visited by old time/long time reader Anon G who it seems is now a Sgt in the armed forces! I have all next week off but I am already getting a bit anxious about what I will do for a whole week. Any ideas?
NFL Play Off Focus
Some things became clear, other things were muddled but I will try and put it all together tonight so we can see where the 2009/2010 NFL playoffs stand.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, New Orleans Saints 17 OT
People asked me this year "how come the Saints are so good this year?" and I would answer it is because they are not turning the ball over and they have been consistent instead of all over the place. Of course the last 2 games (both at home) have been pretty bad losses. Right now the defense is banged up and playing poorly and the offense seems bored. I think the Saints will still get the number one NFC seed, but their level of play the past 2 weeks does not bode well going forward. Uh oh.
Phoenix Cardinals 31, St. Louis Rams 10
NFC West champs for the second year, the Cardinals have been flying below the radar all year. While I think they still have issues on both sides of the ball, they will be a dangerous opponent for any team, and they are undefeated on the road this season.
Cincinnati Bengals 17, Kansas City Chiefs 10
This win clinches the AFC North for the Bengals. A surprising season out of Cincinnati as they sweep both the Steelers and Ravens en route to winning the division. This team is very young, so either they will feel pressure in the playoffs or they will have no idea to be nervous. Either way, this team is a solid unit.
New England Patriots 35, Jacksonville Jaguars 7
The Patriots looked like a totally different team today. I almost did not recognize them! Physical defense dominated one of the leagues best run teams and the offense looked smooth and in control. One game wonder or the start of a run? I don't know yet, but there will be 5 other AFC playoff teams that wish this game was a one hit wonder and not a return to form. We will see.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Baltimore Ravens 20
The Steelers keep their playoff hopes alive with plenty of help from the Ravens. Between penalties and turnovers the Ravens threw this game away and should be denied a playoff spot on principle. The Steelers have hope and would love to defend the title.
San Diego Chargers 42, Tennessee Titans 17
It is no secret I cannot stand the Chargers, but right now I make them the favorites in the AFC. Everything is going right and they are red hot going into the playoffs. Remember; San Diego has bounced the Colts from the playoffs the last 2 years in Indianapolis, so they will be unafraid.
Probably Out of It
-The Miami Dolphins get smoked by the Texans and now will need all kinds of help to make a postseason slot
-The New York Giants collapsed in spectacular fashion against the Panthers today and will be out this year. Carolina may well start thinking about giving Jake Delhomme his papers as the backup quarterback looks pretty solid.
Still In It
-The Colts took it easy on the Jets and the Jets win 29-15. Hard to argue with pulling the Colts starters, and thus the Jets still have a chance. A win next week and they are in.
-The Broncos drop another tough game in Philadelphia and now must win next week vs the Chiefs and get help in tiebreakers.
-The Texans, Ravens, Dolphins, Jaguars, still have distant chances.
At this point it is too complicated to get into all the "if..then" possibilities, so I will wait to wrap it up next week. Games that have big implications next week:
-The Jets travel to the Bengals and this is a big game. Why? because it is likely that the two teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs so while Cincinnati would like to rest their starters, I would think you do not want to lose to a team that you have to turn around and play the next week. If the seedings break this way the Bengals will have a dilemma.
-The Saints would love to rest their banged up roster, but may need to beat the Panthers to keep the number one spot from the Vikings. After two weak efforts I would advise an all out effort next week.
-The Steelers will need to beat the Dolphins next week no matter what but those pesky Dolphins tend to win games they should not and lose most they should win.
-The Cowboys do not play until tonight (vs Redskins) but they would help themselves to win tonight and next week vs the Eagles to get in the show.
I had said this season would be very competitive and it is going to come down to the final games and several tiebreakers to set up the playoff show. Exciting times.
For a little musical interlude, I came across this rocking live version of KISS "I Was Made for Loving You" that is worth a look:
Have a good night.