It’s been a wild ride, fans. NFL teams have given us plenty to cheer and jeer this season and, for many teams, it all comes down to the last parting shots of witticisms in Week 17.
But don’t worry. I won’t be leaving you just yet. There will still be plenty to discuss as the playoffs loom closer. That’s good for me. My pick record could use a bit of bolstering from the playoffs. Welcome to the beginning of the end of the football season with our asinine analysis of Week 17.
Sunday, December 30th, 2012
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have clinched their division, home-field advantage for as long as they are in the playoffs, a week vacation, and a break from “Matty Ice on Ice” references in Green Bay. This is only good news if you are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have clinched an early off-season, a mediocre draft pick, and maybe 3 games that won’t be blacked out for next season. Optimism will reign supreme for all involved, unless Michael Turner decides to up-end fantasy football playoffs by only taking half his normal snaps.
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
Tim Tebow continues to make headlines in Jets camp, even when he’s not playing. Rumors abound that he wants out of New York, while fact has dictated that New York couldn’t wait for him to leave after he became the most expensive replacement in the NFL for Brad Smith with none of his roll-out athleticism or throwing capabilities. Then there’s the contractual albatross of Sanchez. The Bills have their own problems, as they look at the draft to see who they can groom for the quarterback position while figuring out how they can get out of their contract with Fitzpatrick without moving the team to Canada. In a battle of contract issues, no-one wins.
LINE: Bills by 4
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
This divisional match-up looks much better on paper than it really is. The Ravens have the AFC North locked up. The Bengals have a wild-card berth locked up. Some people think Sarah Jones should be locked up due to the sex scandal that has all but faded away. I should have been locked up for giving “ugly Christmas sweater” a new bar to overcome. So, we have a football game where all that is up for grabs is pride. Maybe that will be enough.
LINE: Bengals by 1
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
Calvin Johnson unofficially joined Barry Sanders in a ring of honor reserved for Lions players who exceed the rest of their team by breaking Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards record in a season. Now the question is, will the Lions do what they did to Barry Sanders and keep him to give Detroit just enough joy to go to games without having the pressure of really winning? Meanwhile, Jay Cutler must still prove himself by helping Da Bears limp into the playoffs on a wild-card berth after they looked ready to take their division with ease earlier in the season.
LINE: Bears by 3
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans
It’s sad that, with all of the heated rivalry games, playoff-conscious battles, and all out grid-iron wars littering the schedule of Week 17, the Jaguars and Titans are forced to play a game of little consequence and less excitement. The only thing I can take from this game is the knowledge that ESPN’s Adam Schefter is starting to say what I’ve been saying all season: the upper tier of the 2013 Draft sucks. Sorry, Jaguars fans.
LINE: Titans by 4
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts
The CHUCKSTRONG campaign finally makes it to the field, as Chuck Pagano is set to take back the reigns as the Colts head coach. This will be a good test for Pagano to shake off the rust, as the Texans actually have something to play for, top seeding through the playoffs, while the Colts play to stay out of the Patriots way for at least one playoff game. This homecoming game for Chuck will be a celebration at the beginning and, with a little bit of “that word which I refuse to keep saying,” the end.
LINE: Texans by 7
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
A game with the Panthers against the Saints is the perfect ending for two anguished seasons. You have the Saints, who had an interim-to-the-interim head coach which, like any team with too many coaching changes (ahem…the 49ers until last year), ends up with a lot of tears and discomfort. It’s gotten to the point that even if the Saints win, they lose because it gives other team owners (like Jerry Jones) that much more of an incentive to throw money at Sean Payton. The Panthers, well, it’s plain to see that even Superman needs help to win in the NFL.
LINE: Saints by 5
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Part 1 of the NFC East intensity starts off with Michael Vick starting for the Eagles after rookie test-subject Nick Foles suffered a broken hand and an eerie resemblance to Curtis Painter with long, curly locks of hair. The main story, however, is how this is the beginning of the Giants’ hope to make the playoffs this year. With a win against the Eagles, a Dallas loss or tie against the Redskins, a Minnesota loss against the Packers, a Chicago loss against the Lions, and a partridge in a pear tree, the Giants just may back into the playoffs.
LINE: Giants by 7
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers missed the playoffs. I know, for Steelers fans it’s as if the sky is falling. Tomlin lost his magic. Roethlisberger is getting old and slow. The defense is geriatric. Well guess what, fans. It could be worse. Your team could be the Cleveland Browns, with a future Pro Bowl running back…a gritty new quarterback…a growing defense…huh. Is this the second coming of the Steelers? We’ll let the teams decide on the field.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
It seemed that the Chiefs could at least be able to end on a high note this season by playing the Broncos in a meaningless game leading into the playoffs, but no, nothing works out for the Chiefs. Peyton Manning and company have to win this game to have a shot at home-field advantage. The Chiefs have to lose this game to have a shot at the next USC golden arm that can’t hack it in the NFL, Matt Barkley. The only positive is that this game isn’t at Arrowhead Stadium, so fans can pretend that the power went out and forget that this game is even happening.
LINE: Broncos by 16
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
If anyone can break the NFL rushing record with an injury, it’s Adrian Peterson. The Vikings running back needs 207 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105 yards. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews wished Peterson well in his quest, but doesn’t plan to allow him a pass through his defense, nor does he plan to give the Vikings a pass into the playoffs.
LINE: Packers by 3
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
The Patriots are yet another team vying for the top seed in the AFC. Their game against the Dolphins is the easy part of this hope. The hard part is saying that you believe the Broncos will lose to the Chiefs while keeping a straight face. Peyton Manning has no chance against the stellar secondary of the Chiefs. Champ Bailey will be lost as Matt Cassel slings lasers at his receivers. A giant sink-hole swallowing Mile-High Stadium during the game has a better chance than any of those happening, and even that wouldn’t help because the Broncos would end up with a tie, which puts them just ahead of the Patriots in the standings.
LINE: Patriots by 10
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
Two teams, two losing records, two abrasive quarterbacks, two coaches at the ends of their lifelines; one state, one game…one Sunday. Yes this may be the most boring game analysis ever written, but with the Raiders playing the Chargers in a useless last game at the end of the season, it just makes sense that it would end like this.
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
Cardinals running back Beanie Wells believes that he will be auditioning for a role on another team with this last game of the season. This isn’t really a testament to his belief that he can do better than the Cardinals, since they benched him last week after 3 carries, one which was a fumble. Add that to the fact that the Cardinals are going up against a 49ers defense that is #6 in the league against the rush with an average of 96.8 yards per game, and Wells could be auditioning for the CFL if the 49ers play to win this game.
LINE: 49ers by 17
St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
Color me florescent green, but I’m as surprised as anyone that the Seahawks are not only assured a playoff spot, but are also playing for the chance to take the NFC West division with a winning record. They just exceeded everyone’s expectations this season. Now we just have to wait to see if Richard Sherman exceeded expectations in a way that will get him suspended for every game the Seahawks have in the playoffs.
LINE: Seahawks by 11
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
RG3 has all but eclipsed what Cam Newton did with the Panthers last year by bringing his team within a breath of the playoffs in his rookie season. While he may still not be 100%, RG3 is still the tipping point as to whether this Redskins season will be heralded as football’s version of the invasion of Normandy, or the Bay of Pigs.
LINE: Redskins by 3
Patrick previously used his football knowledge to break down the best, worst and downright horrible draft picks in NFL history. –>;;
If you haven’t had enough NFL jokes, you can check out last week’s Asinine Analysis!