Well, it is coming down to the last week of the regular season in the NFL, and what a week for upsets! Some were not quite as shocking as others, but it made for a fun weekend of football, that’s for sure. Let’s start out with the Vikings since that is fresh on my mind. They lost to the Bears last night in overtime, but were down 16-0 at halftime. Good effort in making a comeback but a loss is a loss and now the Vikes have 4 of those on the season making the last week a must win and hoping the Eagles lose to get a bye and a home game. A couple of weeks ago I thought the Vikings were a team to be dealt with, but they have shown some weakness especially since they’ve had some injuries late in the season. Favre can still throw the ball, but like he said in his press conference after the game last night, they must play 4 quarters of football if they are going to get anywhere in the playoffs. I’d like to see a Green Bay/Minnesota first round re-match, but i don’t know if they would even match those two up. It is really hard to beat a team 3 times in one season and the Packers have been playing well lately.
Another huge upset was the Saints. At the time of the game, they didn’t know that they would have home field advantage through out the playoffs. They were playing their starters the whole game (unlike another team we’ll talk about here in a minute)… and they still lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Really? The Bucs? I mean the Bucs have been playing better the past couple of weeks, but like the Vikes, you can’t lose to a Bears or a Bucs team this late in the season. Yeah, the Saints have home field adv. and have the tools to make a Superbowl run, but they have to play better, especially since they will be playing better opponents in the playoffs. I think the home field will be huge with the Saints and it will help them out a lot. They have been my super bowl pick since week one, and i don’t wanna back off that just yet, but they have some work to do.
And how about the Colts? Pull the starters in a “meaningless” game. It meant a lot to a lot of people. Especially the fans. I know the “What if” game. What if Manning gets hurt. What if Dallas Clark gets hurt? What if Reggie Wayne gets hurt? Ya know what, that’s the risk you take being in the NFL… And i highly doubt they would get hurt enough to miss the playoffs. You get paid so much money to rest before the playoffs? No. I’m sure the players wanted to win but they are standing behind their coach. I think if you asked them off record they would let you know they wanted to get back in there and play. And yes, the important thing is not going undefeated in the regular season, but winning the championship. But why not do both? If you’re good enough to win it all without having to rest players, why rest them? They get a week off with a bye week. Let the players play. Oh yeah, the Colts lost the game by 2 touchdowns after their star players left the game.
The other big upset of the day was the NY Giants getting destroyed in their last home game of the season at the hands of the Carolina Panthers. 41-9? Wow, that shows no heart. That loss officially took the Giants out of the playoff race, and Cowboys fans rejoice since they lost to that same Giants team twice this season and would have lost a tiebreaker to them (Which is also why I don’t see the Cowboys having a shot at a superbowl run… but i’ll save that for another post). The Giants deserve what they got and are not going to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years. Thank you Jonathan Stewart and the Panthers.
Other minor upsets included the Browns over the Raiders… but then again, that isn’t a huge upset. Either team could have won… both are pretty bad. The Raiders have more quality wins on their schedule which is why i gave it the “upset” factor. They need to draft a QB (A real QB, not a fake JaMarcus Russell type) and they could be decent. Steelers over the Ravens… some wouldn’t consider this an upset either, but i do. The Ravens were in the wild card spot holding their own destiny. Penalties killed them. I think this Ravens team is/can be very dangerous. They are a few plays away from having the best record in their division and not just being a wild card team but a division winner. Of course, the Steelers can be a dangerous team too. But i just don’t like them and i hope they miss the playoffs altogether. The AFC wildcard race could be anyone’s. The two teams I’d like to see get in as the wildcard would be the Houston Texans (on a 3 game winning streak) and the Baltimore Ravens. I’d like to see the Jets, Steelers, and Broncos miss out. The Broncos had a lucky win in week one and shouldn’t even have a winning record right now. The Jets got a lucky win over the Colts last week. And the Steelers had a losing streak that included 3 losses to the Chiefs, Raiders, and Browns. That is just horrible. On the other hand, the Texans had a couple of close losses that could have/should have been wins. Missed FG’s that could have won the game/taken it into overtime. I feel like they have had a lot of bad luck and deserve a break and make it into their first playoff appearance in franchise history. I’d also like to see the Ravens get in because like i said, they have had a few bad breaks as well and could make a run and help make for a more interesting playoffs. I would venture to say that if the Broncos or Jets get in they won’t be very competitive. I think the Steelers would be competitive because they have been there before and would be on a nice winning streak going in, but again, i don’t like them so i’d rather them not make it. Should be a very interesting last week of the season. I’ll be on here posting my playoff thoughts next week. Hope you all had a good Christmas and have a good New Year’s celebration.
P.S. The Chiefs did have a hard fought game against the Bengals and showed some promise. The Seahawks, on the other hand, showed no life and were demolished by the Packers. Both of my teams have had horrible years, but i still stand behind them and can hope for the best next year. My dedication to losing teams will pay off one of these days… i hope!