Thursday, December 20, 2012
NFL 2012: Week 16: Pl-Pl-Pl-Playoffs??? Playoffs?? Did Somebody Say Playoffs???
Yes, why don't we recall the elder coach, Jim Mora's famous words as the Indianapolis Colts under his charge years ago were limping into playoff contention. While a few teams look strong and ready for January, there are others for whom it appears the game can't giveaway spots as the usually mighty Pittsburgh Steelers look all but finished while their arch rival, Ravens, are beat up so badly, they might make the playoffs but almost surely need a faith healer and some Chesapeake Bay snake oil to be strong enough for a strong run in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the defending champs, the New York Giants, have practically stumbled out of contention with an identical record to Washington and Dallas in their division.
The AFC picture could be essentially decided Sunday with perhaps some travel plans to be decided on the final day. The Ravens need a win to capture the AFC north. The Indianapolis Colts look locked in as a wild card. The winner of the Pittsburgh/Cincinnati battle will get the second wild card seed. If Cincinnati runs the table and the Ravens lose Sunday - they'll host the Ravens two weeks in a row.
Houston's looking good to have the #1 slot w/ Denver in the 2nd slot. New England's in.
The NFC, Atlanta's the likely #1 seed and Green Bay second. San Francisco, possibly Seattle will take the west while it's a game of cutthroat for the NFC East. Dallas must beat an angry New Orleans team then travel to Washington while Washington visits Philadelphia before hosting the Cowboys. The advantage appears to belong to Washington. The Giants need to beat Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The remaining teams in the fight are Chicago and Minnesota also 8-6 teams. Thus these two teams along with the East Beasts are all fighting for one Wild Card spot since the West owns two spots.
Atlanta (-4) @ Detroit
The game should be a tune-up for the Falcons. No injuries, just play intelligent ball against the once again bottom feeding Lions.
New Orleans @ Dallas (-3)
Dallas in hungry and motivated but no team can blow a important game like the "Boys." It's hard not to give them the edge, but an upset is quite possible.
Indianapolis (-6.5) @ Kansas City
The Colts march on to a visit to most likely Baltimore in the playoffs.
Buffalo @ Miami (-4.5)
Take the seafood over the beef in a meaningless game.
Washington @ Philadelphia (no odds)
Washington, damaged QB or not, should beat the Eagles who are "already gone" like the Eagles rock band once sung.
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-4.5)
Vegas seems a lot more certain than we do the Pitts win this one. We'd only say they're slightly favorted playing at home.
St. Louis @ Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay has the edge in another game that perhaps has early draft picks at stake. HO-HUM
Tennessee @ Green Bay (-13)
Message to Packers, don't get hurt, just win.
Oakland @ Carolina (-8.5)
Awful Oakland as Carolina is looking for signs of a team that simply didn't launch this year.
New England (-14.5) @ Jacksonville
What kind of Florida vacation is this? New England plays a scrimmage in a big empty stadium.
Minnesota @ Houston (-7.5)
Minnesota would love an unlikely upset to enhance their playoff odds by Houston still needs to win to lock down home field advantages.
New York Giants (-2.5) @ Baltimore
Yeow, two super underachievers in 2012 except Baltimore is beaten and battered. Both teams have much at stake. Our home team bias forces us to pick the Ravens.
Chicago (-6.5) @ Arizona
The Bears must win to keep in the playoff hunt which given the Cardinals' performance most of the year should mean an easy win for Chicago.
San Diego @ New York Jets (-2.5)
This game could be downright comic, but nobody will be watching it. New York fans will be watching the Giants. This was to be the 8:00 pm game but who wants to watch the two most generous teams in the game for giving away games this year. Two coaches who are almost certainly fired with Phil Rivers, the interception king, playing the Jets' 3rd string QB which essentially ends the Tebow saga in Jersey. Why did the Jets select Tebow if they were never going to play him? The good news is it's hard to image the Jets playing worse than their last game.
San Francisco (-1) @ Seattle
Experience gives SF a slight edge, but this one should be seen as a wide open brawl for dominance in the NFC west. How wonderful it is that the whole NFL world gets to see what could be a superb showdown as two former great PAC 10 coaches are now going for NFL glory.