Even though the playoff match-ups are all set it still feels like they might change while I’m sleeping, one final prank from a completely unpredictable NFL season. A lot of these playoff match-ups were shaped by week 17 outcomes, and a lot of these outcomes left me with plenty of people to ridicule so let’s get going on that!
"It was that guy's fault!"
How the East Was Won
Sorry, that was the best headline I had.
In New Jerseylast night we saw a microcosm of the Dallas Cowboys’ season. A sluggish start, followed by a promising stretch, but ultimately fell short in the end. The media will tend to oversimplify things and point to the Eli vs. Romo match-up, and it is fair to say that Manning outplayed his counterpart thoroughly. But the Dallas defense was frequently in the wrong place, and seemed to forget how to tackle. There were also three Giants fumbles that Dallas had the chance to fall on, and in all three instances they found a unique way to not recover the ball. It is frequently said that the Dallas Cowboys are a very talented team, but is that really the case? Or do they just have a few big names that we tend to focus on? Do they have a great pass rush just because they have arguably the game’s best pass rusher? I would argue no. Romo needs to get more consistent, but I don’t think the blame for this season should be laid at his feet alone.
On the flip side, the Giants are already being called “this years Green Bay Packers”, aka a team that squeaked into the playoffs without a great record that seems to be peaking at the right time. But the pessimist in me can’t help but think that Eli has one more dud of a game left in him this season, as he has been about as inconsistent as Romo this season when you really look at the games objectively. People are just quicker to forgive him because of our obsession with late game heroics (and last names.)
Hue Jackson is pissed off!
I mean, really pissed off. I know so because he said it about 47 times. Click here to read a re-cap of his hilarious postgame press conference after the Raiders’ loss to San Diego. My favorite part is where he throws his players under the bus by basically saying that losses don’t fall on the coaching staff, but the men on the field. And then he is quick to say that he always puts everything on himself. Riiiiight.
Much like the Detroit Lions have adopted their coach’s reckless angry streak, perhaps the Raiders have adopted their head man’s lack of accountability. Hue was one of the biggest proponents of the trade for Carson Palmer because he thought that the group that they had already assembled was ready to win right now. That is obviously not the case. So now a team that is missing its fair share of pieces will have no first round draft pick to address any of these issues.
I think the Raiders fans have reason to be pissed off too; at the players, coaches, and management.
F! A! I! L! FAIL! FAIL! FAIL!
Yeah that about sums it up
This year Rex Ryan set out to prove that his Jets were the big brother in the city of New York, and in the AFC East. He failed on both accounts. If you would have traveled back in time and told Rex at the beginning of the season that they were going to lose the finale against the Dolphins in sluggish fashion he probably would have said, “Well I’m sure we were resting the starters because we had home field locked up”. In all actuality it was a must win game to grab the last wildcard spot and his quarterback let him down again.
Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions, two of them to a defensive lineman! These kind of efforts from Mark have been becoming the rule more than the exception, and all year we have heard Rex saying that this is their guy, and they wouldn’t want anyone else running the show, etc. But at this point I can’t even imagine that Mark believes that anymore. Unlike the previously discussed Raiders, this is a team that has the pieces in place to win a championship right now. But not with this quarterback. If Mark hasn’t already wore out his welcome in New York, his leash is going to be short next year.
So anyway, Matt Flynn
Packers back-up QB Matt Flynn had 480 yards and 6 touchdowns on Sunday, both team records.
Yeah that really happened.
I’ve already heard the argument that this hurts Rodgers MVP chances from a few sources, because how valuable can a player be if his back-up can come in and do this? And to those people I would say, “meh”. It isn’t a ridiculous point to make, but I don’t think I completely buy it. We get so wrapped up in the short term, the week to week, that a lot of perspective is usually lost. This is only the second start of Matt Flynn’s career and while he has looked good in both of them, it is hard to really estimate how good a QB is with this small of a sample size. Would a lot of quarterbacks thrive in this offense or did he just have two good games? We will probably never know for certain. And then there is this quote from head coach Mike McCarthy: “We went no-huddle exclusively in the first half, and Aaron Rodgers called it over the headsets — the whole first half. I wanted him mentally into this game, prepared and able to operate as if he was playing.” Matt Flynn played a game for the ages, but Rodgers had a part of it to be sure.
Aaron has played at a ridiculously high level for basically the entire season has kept the turnovers (only six picks) to a minimum. He doesn’t have any game killing interceptions. Let me restate that: not one time this entire season did he throw an interception that put his team in a position to lose a football game. Voting for Drew Brees for MVP isn’t wrong; he has had an incredible record breaking season. Voting for Tom Brady isn’t wrong, he has had no deep threats and still put together several signature game winning drives. Both of them would be fine MVP’s, they just don’t have my vote. But hey, I’m kind of biased!
Either way, Matt Flynn is about to get paid in a big way by someone. And good for him.
-Tim Tebow played the Kansas City Chiefs two different times this season, and in those two games he completed a grand total of eight passes. I don’t even need to make a joke here. Now they play the Pittsburgh defense in the first round of the playoffs. James Harrison hates children, puppies, rainbows, and Tim Tebow.
-The Rams have fired head coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Bill Devaney after a disappointing 2-14 season. I picked them to win the division this year and if they would have only won 12 more games they could have made me look like a genius! Just needed a few breaks here and there and a bunch of better players.
-The Houston Texans put their fourth QB of the season on the field on Sunday after TJ Yates suffered an injury to his non throwing shoulder. Jake Delhomme looked alright in the second half on Sunday, but it sounds like Yates will be fine for their wildcard game against the Bengals.
-The Ravens actually won a road game against a decent team on Sunday, which lead several Baltimore fans to think this at the exact same time: “OMG WHY DIDN’T YOU HAVE FLACCO THROW THE BALL 60 TIMES IN A CLOSE GAME AGAIN CAUSE THAT MADE SENSE. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ACTUALLY GIVE THE BALL TO RAY RICE YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES!”
Don’t forget to come back this week for plenty of playoff coverage!