by Ryan Meehan
The regular season is over now, and of course the main talking point is that a couple of NFC teams are getting screwed out of a playoff spot. Well, sort of.
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)
Really bummed about this. Yes, Tampa’s win over New Orleans on Sunday was their only victory all season over a team with a winning record. And they did blow a game against Detroit that ended up costing them a playoff spot. But I was very impressed by the way that Raheem Morris coached that football team, and I think that next year if they can draft (or trade for) a couple of solid receivers Josh Freeman could end up being an elite quarterback in the NFL.
2) New York Giants (10-6)
As a fan, I should be very disappointed about this. Conversely, I’m totally cool with it. New York doesn’t deserve to be in the postseason, even with a 10-6 record. They ended their season against the Rex Grossman-led Redskins winning by three in a game they should have won by 28. They haven’t listened to a damn thing their “coach” has said for years, and it’s crazy to think that the G men were 9-4 just a few weeks back. Ownership maintains that coach Tom Coughlin will be back next year, but I hope that’s just a joke. It has to be.
Now, the reason that these two teams didn’t make the playoffs is particularly bothersome to me is because the Seattle Seahawks (7-9) won the Sunday night game against the St. Louis Rams (7-9), making them the first team in NFL history to enter the postseason with a losing record. I actually wrote an article about this last year…
The best tweet that I read Sunday night was: “Put this in perspective: Seattle went 7-9 playing StL, SF, Arz all twice, plus Car and the AFC West”
Ouch. So in reality, they’re even worse than an actual 7-9 team. If the Seahawks were in the NFC South or the NFC East, they’d be lucky as hell to win five games a year. They’re lucky as hell to win five games a year NOW.
But it gets worse: Because of the current playoff structure, any team that wins their division hosts any other team that doesn’t, so New Orleans has to pack all of their shit and travel to Washington State even though they have a much better record, play in a much more difficult division, and are defending Super Bowl Champions. And it brings a very…uh…unique matchup at quarterback between Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees and Charlie Fucking Whitehurst. And I can’t stand all of these articles that are coming out today with phrases like “Deal with it America”, or “laugh all you want, Seattle is in the playoffs.” Laugh all I want? There’s nothing funny about this, it’s a disaster. (For the record, some disasters ARE funny. Example: Tsunami) They better hope that crowd shows up ready to go the way they did Sunday night, otherwise they could end up getting slaughtered.
And it gets even worse than that: During Pete Carroll’s press conference he actually had the balls to say: “I understand that this has never happened before, and I think that’s pretty cool”, which in and of itself is a pretty stupid take, but then he followed up by mentioning that it was A-OK that there were plenty of people unsatisfied with the NFL’s current playoff structure because there are also people unsatisfied with the BCS system. That’s extremely weak. Whenever you try to defend something that is broke by saying that other things are broke as well, it comes across as lackadaisical and whiny. If you take your car to an auto mechanic, and you leave it there for a few days, and you come back, and it still isn’t working, and you ask him why the hell not, you wouldn’t expect the guy to say something like “Yeah, well my furnace isn’t working at the house either. It’s always something.” And if you did find yourself in that situation, it wouldn’t matter that your car would still be inoperable because you’d be spending the rest of your life in prison for beating your former auto mechanic to death with a brick.
And, that’s about enough on that topic.
The New York Giants didn’t make the playoffs due to Green Bay (10-6) beating the Bears at Lambeau. Chicago (11-5) couldn’t get any offense going all game, and the Packers didn’t play very well offensively either. But that being said, I’m glad Green Bay got in. Rodgers has had two concussions this year and he’s healthy all year one or two of those losses disappear and they’re just as good as Philly or the Saints. I did really like that the Bears played all of their starters the whole game, and didn’t just curl up into a ball when they found out the Falcons had that game in the bag.
As for the Saints (11-5), they dropped a home game to Tampa (10-6). It didn’t affect their seed, but I guess I expected more from a team that showed absolutely no signs of pulling their starters. Especially from a team that just won the Super Bowl. I’m starting to see the same polarization with New Orleans that I see in a team like the Eagles. They can absolutely destroy you one week, then come out next week and lay down and let you walk all over them.
Once again, I see nothing that leads me to believe that the Patriots (14-2) won’t win it all. They hammered Miami (7-9), and even though they had an awkward loss to Cleveland earlier this year, they look every bit as good as the 2007 team that almost won every game. You know they are going to put up 35 points every time that they step onto the field, and if you don’t have your shit together that can turn into 48 points REALLY quick.
The other 1 seed belongs to Atlanta (13-3), who (not surprisingly) took out Carolina (2-14) to secure home field advantage. They might not be the best team in the NFC, but they do have the best record and that’s the most important thing they need to have this week. Trivia question: Since the Super Bowl is in Arlington this year, if you’re a Falcons fan living in Atlanta, and you get Super Bowl tickets, and you have to drive through half of Georgia, all of Alabama, all of Mississippi, North Louisiana and/or Arkansas, and East Texas all to end up in the Forth Worth Metro area, are y’all gonna have the same book learnins they taught ya at your fancy-schmancy city boy high school? (Say boy…you’ve got a purdy lil’ mouth on ya…)
San Diego (9-7) beat the Broncos (4-12), but the more intriguing news coming out of Denver’s camp is the fact that reports have surface that John Elway will become a major part of their front office at some point this week. This is a very smart move. I mean, fuck the Broncos, but it’s still a smart move.
Pittsburgh (12-4) is looking more and more like the scary Super Bowl contender that they were two years back when they won it all. They beat up on some easy teams, but you take what your schedule gives you and in their case, it’s been very good to them so far. They win the AFC North based on the fact that they owned the tiebreaker over Baltimore. The Steelers won the division by clobbering Cleveland 41-9. The Browns (5-11) ownership team is meeting with Eric Mangini Monday to discuss his future, which looks like it will consist of finding a living arrangement in another city.
The Colts (10-6) made the playoffs again this year, but just barely and I see no reason to fear them in the postseason. They will be playing the New York Jets (10-6) who beat the tar out of Buffalo. For those of you who’ve never been to Buffalo, just never flush your toilet again, live in your bathroom for a few weeks, and that’s close to what it smells like. The most important nugget of information that I took from the Colts-Titans game was the final score, in the sense that I am noticing Peyton Manning’s abilities are in a slight decline. Indy won the game 23-20 on a last minute drive by Manning. And that right there is the difference: The old Peyton would have taken that team all of the way down the field and got a TD, the new Peyton just simply can’t go the distance. The old Peyton would have won that game 27-20 without question.
Speaking of teams that don’t stand a chance making it to championship weekend, the Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) lost to Oakland (8-8). They were already in anyway so it wasn’t a crucial loss, but I wasn’t convinced they were playing all that great when they were still chasing the division crown. They will get to host Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. The Ravens (12-4) won a sloppy game against the Bengals (4-12), who should probably be euthanized.
The Lions (6-10) pulled out a win against the Vikings (6-10), so Joe Webb was officially famous for five days. I wanted to see the Lions finish with a win in this game for a couple of reasons: 1) I like the Lions and I can’t wait to see them as a playoff contender, and 2) every victory for them gives them confidence for next year without losing out on the one pick they’ve been trying to make the past two decades, as the draft class is just atrocious this time around. And it’s not like they won’t end up using all seven of those picks on tall, lanky, and unproductive wide receivers anyway.
Arizona (5-11) got their asses seriously kicked by the 49ers (6-10), which right now is sort of like Ghana beating the Ivory Coast in AIDS deaths. There is talk that Jim Harbaugh may interview for the San Francisco position, glaring proof that the University of Michigan job is pure shit and no one wants it, even an alum.
I was very disappointed in the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8), who lost 34-17 to a Houston team (6-10) that they are MUCH better than. (Although nearly not as talented as…) It wouldn’t have mattered in the end as Indy won, but they weren’t aware of it at the time and brought nothing to the table. They had some bad injuries late in the season and David Garrard’s never been able to just take that team and put them on his back.
Here is the playoff schedule for next week: (All times central)
New Orleans Saints (11-5) at Seattle Seahawks (7-9) 3:30 PM NBC
New York Jets (10-6) at Indianapolis Colts (10-6) 7:00 PM NBC
Baltimore Ravens (12-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-7) Noon – CBS
Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) 3:30 PM – FOX
In the next few days we’ll be posting wildcard picks here, as well as some of Chappy’s picks. In the meantime, here are some questions for you to ponder with regards to next weekend and some possible answers to those very questions:
1) Will Peyton Manning have enough left to outwork the stingy Jets defense with everyone the Colts have injured?
Potential answer: That really depends on whether or not you think that Jacob Tammey is going to end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
2) If he can, will the Colts be able to pipe in enough crowd noise to distract the Jets sideline employees from tripping everybody?
Potential answer: Probably, but I’ll be able to deflect the attention to foot fetish jokes within seconds.
3) Seattle is really in the playoffs? Are you fucking serious?
Potential answer: I’m afraid so. The Easter Bunny is gay as SHIT too…
4) Which Eagles team will show up against Green Bay?
Potential answer: For their sake, hopefully one that is much more balanced than the one that relies on Michael Vick to do everything for them.
5) Are the Chiefs for real?
Potential answer: Would you wave your boner in front of a tiger’s face if it was covered in blood?
6) Since the Vikings are out of the playoffs, do we still have to hear about Brett Favre?
Potential answer: You must not have cable…Let’s just put it this way…He’s 41, has grey hair, and the media’s been talking about pictures of his dick for two-thirds of the season. Of course we’ll have to hear about him.
7) Which game is most likely to end in an upset?
Potential answer: The Saints losing in Seattle. If the Seahawks can get the atmosphere of that stadium as intense as it was Sunday night, they have a better chance than any of the other lower seeds to pull one off. But remember, Sam Bradford is a little bit easier to read than Drew Brees.
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