Good morning and merry Christmas folks. A lot happened this weekend from the playoff picture solidifying to the greatest of all time losing one of his many records. Here are my five takeaways.
1) The AFC playoff teams are set.
Though the Texans, Patriots, Broncos, and Ravens have had their tickets punched before this weekend, the Colts and Bengals have filled the final two spots. Oddly enough, the only two teams locked into their spots are the Colts and Bengals who regardless of how things shake out will be the five and six seed respectively. There is still a battle between the Texans, Broncos, and Pats to get home-field advantage as well as a first round bye for two of the three of them. The team I’m betting on this postseason is the Broncos, who have won 10 straight, and if they play at home they will have a major advantage with the altitude. It will be interesting to see if the Colts rest any players against the Texans, with Indianapolis’ seed set, because the Broncos and Pats have seemingly easy wins against the Chiefs and Dolphins and depending on the Texans results (if the other two win) they could be the first seed or third seed. I’m hoping the Colts play their starters and get the win, as it would set up another potential Manning vs. Brady match up in the AFC Championship.
2) The Seahawks are scary good recently.
Well 150 to 30 in their last three games might tell you a pretty good story. Especially Sunday nights 42-13 against the San Francisco 49ers, who prior to the game had taken the honor (or lately curse) of being considered the top team in the league. The Seahawks could still win the division, but it seems unlikely as the 49ers just have to win against the majorly disappointing Arizona Cardinals. Though Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch have created a dynamic offense with the leagues second best rushing attack, what is truly scary is the mere 15.5 points per game this defense allows. They also have caused big plays on defense with 30 takeaways. The defense is defined by the excellent pass rush backed by arguable the best safety tandem in the NFL. It will be interesting to see this team in the playoffs, as they will likely not have a home game as one of the two wildcard teams and have a mediocre road record of 3-5.
3) There will be one hell of a game in Washington.
Let me preface this by saying: if you do not know me, I am a die hard Redskins fan. This season has been unlike anything I have ever experienced and it will only culminate in the largest football game in DC for the better part of two decades. You’ve got to love when the NFL schedule works out like this and you have an essential win and your in for both teams in the final weekend of regular season football. It also helps that these two teams and especially fan bases hate each other. With major injuries and concerns for both teams on the defensive side you can expect a shootout between the young guns of RGIII and Alfred Morris versus Tony Romo doing everything he can to make it into the playoffs. NBC flexed one hell of a game for the final regular season game of the year.
4) What do the records really mean?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for Calvin Johnson and no receiver deserves it more than him. With that said, Matthew Stafford is on pace to break the record for passes attempted. Calvin will see north of 200 passes thrown his way alone. Plus, the team is currently 4-11 and many of those yards came in garbage time minutes. Now, Calvin may be the most elite receiver to ever play the game and this record he completely deserves, but please hold off on the comparisons to Jerry Rice. Remember that during that ’95 season when the previous record was set, the 49ers were 11 and 5. However, if Calvin breaks the 2,000 mark he will begin a journey to put himself with names like Rice, Moss, Owens, and Harrison.
5) No one seems to ever talk about the Packers.
Anyone else notice that the Packers 55 points went almost unmentioned on Sunday. This team is damn good and has the opportunity to get a first round bye. They have endured horrible refs, devastating injuries, and arguably the best division in football, and yet Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are coasting into the playoffs having won 9 of their last 10.