The NFL’s home stretch. It’s when the best teams in the league play their best football. Or it’s supposed to be.
In a weekend that saw Denver, New Orleans, Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New England and Dallas all lose, you wind up asking, whose loss was most costly?
In some cases, the losses cancel each other out. Denver could have cost themselves home field throughout the playoffs, but New England’s loss leaves them in control of their own destiny. New England could have cost themselves a first round bye, but Cincinnati’s loss leaves them in control of that.
And the Bengals? For a team that has been so unbeatable at home, squandering a chance to get a first round bye and a play the divisional round at home is unforgivable. The Bengals cost themselves the most in the AFC.
In the NFC, Philadelphia and Dallas are on a collision course for the final week of the season when they play each other. The Eagles could have rendered that game moot by winning, but they still basically just need to beat Dallas in the final week. Same for the Cowboys.
The Saints, however, now face a must win vs. Carolina next week or they lose the first round bye and will play on the road in the wildcard round. That’s a tough one to swallow. But the worst loss has to be Detroit. They went from sole possession of first place in the North to third place and very much on the outside looking in.
This Week’s Sucked And Won: Matt Asiata, RB (MIN). Although he scored 3 TDs and didn’t fumble, Asiata gained just 51 yards on 30 carries, an abysmal 1.7 YPC. I guess there’s a reason he’s third string.
Does any sub .500 team in the league own more quality wins than St. Louis? They’ve beaten Arizona, Indianapolis, Chicago and New Orleans as four of their six wins this season.
Shocking realization of the week: DeMarco Murray was the only Dallas Cowboy to have a rushing attempt this week. If that doesn’t sound too impressive, go back and look at every single box score of every single game this year and then talk to me.
Miami’s win over New England may have clouded the top of the AFC playoff picture, but it cleared up the bottom. They play Buffalo in the Jets in the final two weeks, while Baltimore still plays New England and Cincinnati. Sure looks like the Dolphins are headed for the postseason, but then again, it’s hard to count out the Ravens, who just keep winning the close ones.
This Week’s Great But Lost: Jordan Todman, RB (JAX). The Jaguars’ offense was supposed to be in deep trouble without Maurice Jones-Drew, but second year man Jordan Todman stepped up with 109 yards on 25 carries and 4 catches for 44 yards more. He also held on to the football on a day when the Jaguars committed three fumbles.
Eli Manning may be the only Giants quarterback with two Super Bowl wins, but he now holds a more ignominious Giants record as well: with today’s 5 interceptions, he became the G-men’s all time leader in that unpleasant stat.
“It was a pathetic offensive performance. We didn’t block anybody. We didn’t make any plays. We didn’t create any opportunities for ourselves. I told the players who prepared and gave great effort that I appreciated what they did. I told those that were obvious that they had not that I felt sorry for them.” – Giants coach Tom Coughlin, taking his team to the woodshed after a 23-0 loss.
“That’s just who they are. They run the ball really well against everybody they play, but they just never stick with it.” – Packers CB Tramon Williams, on Dallas’ playcalling.
“It’s just disappointing we lost the game. I’m tired of talking about the job. If you want to talk about this game, talk about Dallas or if you want to talk about the Giants, that’s great, or our football team. I’d sure like to concentrate on that.” – Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, deflecting questions about his job status. After the questioning persisted, Shanahan abruptly ended his post-game press conference.
“I told someone before the game, ‘We’re going to find out how we are being the favorites, how we respond to that.’ We didn’t respond well.” – Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis, on the Eagles’ failing to deliver against Minnesota.
“All I know is, when McGlynn’s at center, good things happen.” – Colts coach Chuck Pagano, asked if he planned on moving RG Mike McGlynn to center on a more permanent basis.
“I can only imagine the commentators and the fans back at home after the first and second pick, what they were saying. I’m sure they were ready to hang him.” – Bears WR Brandon Marshall, on QB Jay Cutler’s slow start.
“A lot of people are going to try to put their own term to it. Lucky, you know, beastly, but I use the term blessed.” – Dolphins CB Michael Thomas, on his game saving interception against the Patriots. Thomas was just claimed off waivers by Miami on Tuesday, and was pressed into service late in the game due to injuries.