by Ryan Meehan
Week sixteen is over, and only one weekend of regular season NFL football remains. A lot of teams have been mathematically eliminated, and others are still breathing for playoff life. This week showed why the 10-6 and 11-5 teams are so much better than everyone floating around the middle of the pack. While teams like Arizona and Carolina took these awesome opportunities into their own hands and made the most of them, middle of the road teams like Green Bay, Miami, and Baltimore just ate curb. Let’s take a look at all of the teams that either took advantage and passed the test with flying colors or slipped on the ice in week sixteen.
Bills 19, Dolphins 0
To me, this is almost the most depressing thing that happened all day. Here were the Dolphins at 8-6, looking to prove that they were indeed the team that could challenge the Ravens for the six seed and they go out and get whipped by the Bills. The Buffalo Bills. But then again, I can kind of see why everybody made such a big deal about the Richie Incognito / Jonathan Martin scenario when it comes to the stuff that happens inside the locker room. A team like this which has experienced such problems DOES cave in the cold against weak team like Buffalo when it really counts. I get it…Tannehill got hurt towards the end of this one but really…Wasn’t that kind of a blessing in disguise given the way he was playing? The Dolphins can still get in, but they need a lot of help. I personally don’t think they are going to get it, but we’ll see…
Panthers 17, Saints 13
Holy living balls the Carolina Panthers are going to win the NFC South. Who in the world could have predicted this? Barring a loss against the hapless Falcons next week, the Carolina Panthers will go 12-4, a far cry from the demise we all had predicted. (And don’t give me any of this “I told you so bullshit, because you didn’t…) Carolina’s defense can take a game over when it counts, and that’s a quality a lot of these other so-called playoff contenders can’t boast that they have. The Saints are a massive cause for concern…they’ve looked just as bad as almost anybody these past couple of weeks. If they can’t put together some type of rhythm to that offense, it’s going to be a long offseason for them. What’s really funny about New Orleans is that I was completely wrong about their approach to the season. I said that in order for them to really let the rest of the NFC know that they’re back, they would have to come out of the box and just crack everyone in sight. Which they did, but in a sense you could very well make the argument that is exactly why they’re out of steam right about now. They are playing like a gassed squad, and this is just about the worst time of the year a team can do that. One and done for Who Dat? nation, you can mark it eight, dude.
Cowboys 24, Redskins 23
Yeah, so Romo pulled this out at the last minute, good for him. But honestly, who cares…The Redskins are custom built to blow games like this and eighty percent of the teams in this league could have completed that last drive. This is a perfect example of a game that Dallas gets way too much credit for. It was one that not only did they have to win, but that they should have won and everybody is talking about it like it’s a legendary conference championship matchup. I don’t really care to see any more Cowboys football. Can you blame me? And breaking news from the First Order Historians Bar and Grill: Tony Romo is now out with a back injury. You’ll notice that I didn’t say “Tony Romo is out for the rest of the season” like all these other news outlets are reporting. That’s because let’s be honest – the Dallas Cowboys didn’t have a ton of football left. You know, when I saw the clip of Tony’s injury on Sunday night, for a brief moment I thought “What if he’s out?” because Florio was playing it off like it was no big deal. Well, it is a big deal. He’s at the age where he goes one way or the other, and it’s pretty obvious he is going to have back problems from here on out. However, them not having anybody behind Kyle Orton seems very puzzling to me. Is it possible that maybe Jerryworld doesn’t know what he’s doing anymore? I can see it…How else would you explain Orton being one shot away from having Dez Bryant under center? Trust me, next week is going to be grisly. Kyle Orton is going to look like Jeff George after a bottle of tequila and several other very poor decisions.
Rams 23, Buccaneers 13
Of all the games and teams that didn’t matter this week, I have to say that the St. Louis Rams made the biggest statement and are going to end this year with a bang. They play in a division where if you’re them it’s almost impossible to dig yourself out of that hole, and they still might finish at .500 considering Seattle almost has home field locked up anyway. That’s a pretty phenomenal feat. They beat the Colts, the Bears, the Cardinals and the Saints and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that resume. Could everyone in the NFC West finish with a winning record next year? I doubt it, because next season they won’t have the luxury of playing the AFC South again.
Jets 24, Browns 13
Neither quarterback put up great numbers, although Geno Smith didn’t turn the ball over at all. The Jets were eliminated from contention last week, so they had nothing to play for and I give them credit for…Oh, who am I kidding. Can you give me one reason (other than the AFC sucks) that the Jets will be important over the next ten years? That’s sort of my point. I don’t have a whole lot to say here really. Rex is gone, and Dubsism seems to think that he’d be a great fit in Detroit. Sounds like there’s a lot there that I won’t need to care about.
Colts 23, Chiefs 7
It seems so weird to me that the Colts blew this game open. I was just about ready to shit all over them when I saw Indy just get eaten alive by Jamaal Charles on that first drive, but apparently after I left for work Coach Pagano was able to turn this ship right around. I still can’t trust either of these teams at all, and this game was living proof of it. It shows exactly how either (or both) of them could lose Wild Card weekend, and how maybe the Chiefs aren’t as good as they should be. This is probably going to be the 4-5 game based on the way Cincinnati is playing, and because the Colts won their division they will be hosting it. But they are both losing my interest faster than the speed of the testicle sweat that’s dripping down my leg. I’d rather drink a gallon of battery acid than sit through another Chiefs-Colts game. I certainly hope this is not the Saturday night matchup, that would be very anti-climactic.
Bengals 42, Vikings 14
How this is the same Bengals team that got mushroom stamped in the first half of the Steelers game last week I will never know. Par for the course for Cincinnati, the AFC’s most unreliable team. They are clearly the “escaped patient” of that conference, which of course has its good and bad sides as a football analogy. The good side is that they can come out in any game and just pound the opposition into dust. The bad side is that they can also tape a fork to each one of their fingers and punch you in the dick effectively ruining any chance you might have had at reproducing in a little under a minute. Now sometimes when playoff season comes around, that can be an asset. However, it usually ends up resembling the end of the Paul Walker story.
Broncos 37, Texans 13
Peyton Manning broke the record for season touchdown passes which had been previously held by Tom Brady. Before that record was law, Peyton Manning held it after beating Dan Marino’s previous mark. 51 touchdowns in a season is very impressive. And do you know what that means right this moment? Not a damn thing, because Von Miller is now out for the year. That’s really the only story from this game: The Broncos are effectively screwed unless there is a guarantee that they can score 37 points all of the time. And even then, every AFC defensive coordinator has to be licking their chops because now beating the Broncos is a very real thing. There’s nothing I didn’t expect here, and the Broncos don’t win any brownie points with me here. That injury may have just destroyed their season.
Titans 20, Jaguars 16
This makes me sad, even though it doesn’t matter and I know that it shouldn’t. This division is up for grabs next year, which is a fact that is a result of Indianapolis’ constant instability and the general sucking noise that the other three teams make. But I’m pro-JAX next year. I hope they step up and take it, because it’ll throw everybody for a loop. The Titans have to be the least interesting team in recent NFL history. They could get caught at a donkey show in Tijuana and I’m not even sure that it would make headlines. (Editor’s Note: Everybody always talks about the great American love story that is the donkey show, but nobody seems to mention what the donkey thinks. Who knows? Maybe they really like it…)
Cardinals 17, Seahawks 10
It IS possible that the Seahawks and their twelfth man can be beaten at home. But secondly and most importantly, how about the Arizona Cardinals? 10-5 headed into a week 17 game against San Francisco for the last remaining playoff spot? Yes please. I’ll take as many of those as you’re throwing my direction. In this case, the Niners now have a gun to their head because that game is in Glendale. But returning to our first point, being at home means that anything can happen and that’s why the outcome of this game is where we’re at. The Seahawks indirectly clinched home field advantage with the loss because they hold the tiebreaker over Carolina. Which leads me to believe – if they knew at 3:15PM CST that the Panthers had already won – do you think maybe they held back a little bit? It’s hard to tell, but I certainly hope for Seattle’s case that 11 for 27 is much less than Russell Wilson has planned once the playoffs start.
Giants 23, Lions 20 (OT)
The Detroit Lions’ season just went from bad to worse to catastrophic. And that’s pretty bad because if you’re reading this and you’re a Lions fan, you know that as of late it’s been no picnic. As well it shouldn’t be…because like I said last week the Lions are loaded. They should be 11-5 or 12-4 every single year with their level of talent, and they usually finish dick-squat. A team like the Lions should be able to beat the Giants 42-10 almost 95% of the time. They should be able to slice that defense up like it’s a Christmas ham, and then have sex with all of the fat that’s trimmed off of it. In other words, it’s not something that should be shown on TV. But like the Giants seem to have stopped listening to Coughlin, Detroit’s players are probably texting their agents asking who they are going to have to answer to next. Jim Schwartz is a wreck, and it’s due to the fact that he seems like the least trustable coach in the league. Seriously, if I so much as suggested that dude watches your kids shower, you’d have a home security system installed the next day. And the odds that you’d get to sleep that night would be minimal.
Chargers 26, Raiders 13
Since apparently nobody is interested in the last remaining AFC playoff spot, the Chargers might as well fight like crazy for it which will prove everything I’ve been saying about the level of play in that sorry half of the league. But you know what? I’m flip-flopping on the Chargers. I’m saying that I legitimately hope that the San Diego Chargers are the six seed. They’ll get killed by whoever they face in the first round so it won’t matter, but at the same time you have to stand in awe at what they’ve been able to accomplish with nobody talking about them. Even though Philip Rivers is a complete tool and whenever he starts talking I immediately look around my living room to see who changed the channel to professional wrestling, he’s brought that team to a place where they deserve to have a winning record. I couldn’t say that back in week six. Oh, and I should probably say something about the Raiders. Oakland can go fuck themselves. There you go…
Steelers 38, Packers 31
Matt Flynn failed to complete a pass at the end of this game which would have potentially tied in and sent it into overtime. They would have likely lost, because at that point the Steelers had most of the momentum. But the question all week is going to be “How would Aaron Rodgers have handled the situation differently?” Look, there’s no need to wonder if Rodgers will play…he’s not going to. They have shut him down for the year, and I know that’s true because he pretty much admitted it on his radio show next week. That’s why the Packers don’t make any sense on paper or anywhere else for that matter. They’re a hot mess, and I think it’s funny nobody is talking about it. Which of course is happening so that it doesn’t look like the media is bullying the small market. There’s that word “bullying” again…Man I can’t wait for 2013 to be over…
Patriots 41, Ravens 7
After the Dolphins came out and ate shit against Buffalo, you’d figure that this would be the perfect opportunity for the Ravens to gain ground on Miami. And you’d be dead wrong, because for most of this game Baltimore didn’t have a single point on the board. They got handled in every way by New England, who for some reason seems to play them at least eight times every year. You have to hand it to New England – they are very resilient and they have flourished while other teams would implode given similar circumstances. Sure they have one of the greatest of all time steering the boat, but he can’t throw to himself. New England’s only real weakness is that – their depth. They can still grab the one, but they’ll need help. The Ravens shouldn’t make the playoffs at all. Teams like the Ravens should never make the playoffs. Get ready for a whole lot of 9-7 seasons for them in the near future.
Eagles 54, Bears 11
Think about this for a second: Nick Foles only threw 25 passes in this game. In a performance that was simply one completion short of Phil Simms’ MVP Super Bowl XXI stat line, the Eagles rolled easily and put the final stab wound in the heart of all that was the NFC North on Sunday. Now the Bears have to win against Green Bay. You know who needs Cam Newton’s public speaking coach? Jay Cutler. “Well, you know…it’s just a hurriquakenami so you know…Guys makes mistakes in this league every week and…you gotta go out there next week and sort of give it your best shot and…(inaudible mumbling, news feed returns to desk)” But let’s be honest…if you were Sid Luckman, you couldn’t have won this game with the defense your team put out there. The Bears looked just awful from every angle, but defensively they looked like a wet paper bag. The sad thing is that either them or the Packers are not done torturing our eyes.
Niners 34, Falcons 24
Although they pulled it together late, I thought the first half of this game confirmed a lot of suspicions I had about the San Francisco 49ers not being playoff-ready just yet. This was a huge game – It was a must win situation and the last game in a historical ballpark. They were interviewing Willie Mays before the game started, and the team did not come out ready at all. Luckily for them Atlanta bit it right on cue, which is a sentence I feel like I’ve been using an awful lot this season. Kap is still one tough dude, so they very well could make another Super Bowl run. We’ll see, I just personally think the NFC is way too tough for a team like San Francisco this year. They came dangerously close to blowing this game, had to rely on a superb defensive play at the end of it, and all of this happened against a team that only had one road win all year. Not impressed, and that’s why I have to take Arizona at home next week.
Bonus Comment: Steve Young has lost his damn mind. See any video clip for verification.
|1||x – Seattle||12||3||0||.800||3-2-0||9-2-0||.489||.441||NFC West Champ|
|2||x – Carolina||11||4||0||.733||4-1-0||8-3-0||.509||.463||NFC South Champ|
|3||Philadelphia||9||6||0||.600||3-2-0||8-3-0||.453||.389||NFC East Champ|
|4||Chicago||8||7||0||.533||2-3-0||4-7-0||.456||.458||NFC North Champ|
|6||New Orleans||10||5||0||.667||4-1-0||8-3-0||.545||.497||Wins tie break over Arizona based on head-to-head win percentage.|
|1||z – Denver||12||3||0||.800||4-1-0||8-3-0||.484||.444||AFC West Champ|
|2||z – New England||11||4||0||.733||3-2-0||8-3-0||.482||.439||AFC East Champ|
|3||z – Cincinnati||10||5||0||.667||2-3-0||7-4-0||.476||.480||AFC North Champ Wins tie break over Indianapolis based on head-to-head win percentage.|
|4||z – Indianapolis||10||5||0||.667||5-0-0||8-3-0||.500||.463||AFC South Champ|
|5||x – Kansas City||11||4||0||.733||2-3-0||7-4-0||.436||.339|
|6||Miami||8||7||0||.533||2-3-0||7-4-0||.522||.513||Wins tie break over San Diego and Baltimore based on best win percentage in conference games.|
|7||Baltimore||8||7||0||.533||3-2-0||6-5-0||.467||.413||Wins tie break over San Diego based on best win percentage in conference games.|
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