Five weeks are remaining, and it is shaping up to be quite the finish. A total of five teams are fighting for the #1 seed in each conference. Which two teams will get that playoff bye?
One could argue that whoever plays the NFC East’s divisional winner also has a bye week in week one of the playoffs, come January. Covid 19 has been causing all kinds of havoc and will continue to do so next week. Last week the Denver Broncos had to play without any of their threestarting QBs, due to Covid 19 related issues. Their game against the Saints was close for a bit until it was blown open in the second half. Wasn’t Kaepernick available? As for this week’s delays, two games have already been pushed back, and their Vegas lines are off the board. One due to the fact they had to play a Wednesday game; two, no one knows how long Lamar Jackson will be out, because of his positive Covid 19 results. Isn’t it hilarious that the Ravens almost beat the undefeated Steelers without him? I think so. Speaking of the Steelers, they have got to be the weakest 11-0 team of all time. Look back and see who they have beaten. They will be one and done in the playoffs.
They played so badly against a depleted Ravens team; their coach called them junior varsity players. The Titans continue to impress, but the real story out of Nashville is Derrick Henry. Is he going to win the MVP? He has 12 rushing touchdowns so far and 1257 yards in 11 games. With five to go, he is on the pace for 17 touchdowns and 1800 yards and is carrying the Titans on his back, just like he did last year to the AFC championship. The Lions have finally fired coach Matt Patricia; he was supposed to change this team’s fortunes because of the knowledge he learned from coaching master Bill Belichek. The Lions arguably did worse with him as their coach than the previous coach. Not every coordinator who has success is going to be a good coach or bring immediate change. He will undoubtedly find work again; I would not even be surprised if it was for Belicheck. Josh McDaniels, the current offensive coordinator for the Patriots, pulled the same stunt years ago, got destroyed out in Denver, and returned. McDaniels was vital in leading the Patriots to multiple Superbowl victories in the last five years. The New York Giants, who were 0-5 or 1-7, are now the NFC East divisional leader. They have a mind-blowing record of 4-7; Listen, New York fans, the reality is they will most likely lose the next four games, against the Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns, and Ravens, finishing off the season at five and 11.
For the first time, NFL fans will see a playoff team host a home playoff game with a record of 6-10. Even crazier is the fact the team they play will most likely be 10-6. As unlikely as a win for the home playoff underdog will be. In 2010 the Seattle Seahawks won their division with a 7-9 record, then trounced the 11-5 New Orleans Saints, who won the Superbowl a year prior. That is almost as bad as the beat down one unlucky gambler took this past week. An unnamed bettor in Las Vegas placed a $500,000 wager on the Seattle Seahawks to cover -6.5 points against the lowly Philadelphia Eagles. With less than 30 seconds to go in the 4th, the score was 23-9 for the Seahawks; things were looking good for that half a million dollar bettor; the problem was Philadelphia had the ball, and with seconds to go, Carson Wentz threw a 33-yard touchdown to make it 23-15. Is the bet still good? Instead of kicking the extra point, the Eagles playing in a glorified practice decided to go for a 2-point conversion and succeeded.
The game ends 23-17. Somewhere someone just lost half a million dollars, U.S.; mere seconds from winning half a million, they lost by half a point. Of course, everyone is saying it was rigged, as about 80 to 90 percent of the money wagered was on the Seahawks to cover. The reality is: that’s football, and it was a stupid bet to make as Seattle is overrated. If they had Truly wanted a half-million-dollar lock, the Saints at -17 playing against a team with no quarterback would have been an excellent place to start.
Players of the week
- Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
4 TDs, 318 YDs, 24 Rush Yds
- Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
3 TDs, 178 Rush Yds
- Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
3 TDs, 269 Yds
In the hot seat?
The Las Vegas Raiders, what a terrible performance in a must-win game last week. To have had any chance of keeping their playoff dreams alive, they had to beat Atlanta. The Falcons aren’t as terrible as they have looked for most of the season. But there is no pass here; Jon Gruden is a motivator; his players should have been better prepared last week. Instead, they got blown out 43-6. With five games to go, they will have to run the table to have any real shot of making the playoffs. It is disappointing because they had started the season so well and are the team who handed the Chiefs their one loss. Up next for them, is the winless 0-11 New York Jets. If Gruden wants any kind of job security, they had better “convincingly” win.
Team of the Week
The Green Bay Packers played their best game of the season against the Bears last week, in a game both teams needed to win in their battle for playoff positioning.
The loss pretty much eliminated the Bears from contention and elevated the Packers to battling it out with the Seahawks and Saints for the #1 seed in the NFC, with five weeks to go. Call me crazy, but I think they are going to do it. Aaron Rodgers was able to throw for 4 Td’s in the Bears game, not a bad birthday present to himself, as he turned 37 a few days later. Up next for them is the college football team known as the Philadelphia Eagles.