Week 16: Review- The Late Games
Time is not something I have in abundance over the Christmas holidays, so you’ll have to excuse the lateness of this and that it is a very brief summary of last week’s games. Anyhoo, Merry Christmas!
New York Giants 23 Detroit Lions 20
There is no skirting around it. This was a missed opportunity amongst a series of missed opportunities for the Lions and more specifically Jim Schwartz, who at the end of this game can be seen shouting an expletive at his own fans. I think it is fair to say that time might be up for the Lions Head Coach, who has led a team to perennially under achieve through bad plays and constant penalties both on and off the field. Schwartz’s cause in this one wasn’t helped at all by some dreadful play from Stafford and Bush. It almost feels like the team didn’t want to make the playoffs this season, even though with a below strength Bears Defence and a Rodgers-less Packers team, they should have walked into the play offs. Now however this team get more time to decide what it is they actually need to do to turn what is a great team on paper, to a great team on the field. I would imagine Schwartz should expect a phone call any time soon. The Giants however despite some bad play in recent weeks took full advantage of the Lions mistakes and used this result to at least gain some momentum, despite having nothing to play for. New York have to sit down in the off season and decide how they are going to make Eli look like a 2 time Super bowl winner, because right now they’re a way away.
Arizona Cardinals 17 Seattle Seahawks 10
Did the Cards just make the playoff picture way more interesting in a number of exciting new ways? YES THEY DID. For starters, Arizona are rightly still in the playoff picture, even if Carson Palmer on occasions plays like he wants a longer summer break. This is a complete team and they are whipping something special at the moment. The big point that everyone will talk about however is that the Seahawks are beatable at home. Meaning we now have evidence, that a team can go into Century Link and get a result. This blows the playoff picture wide open. I for one could certainly see a team like the Niners getting a result there. What I saw in this result however should be seen as even better news for the 2013 playoff teams. The Cards won this game by ‘out-defence-ing’, the Hawks. Palmer was insistent that the Seahawks should have the ball, but the Cards Defence would always just give it straight back to Palmer. The Seahawks could not do a thing against this Defence despite being handed numerous opportunities to do so. The playoff games at Century Link now look set to be stonkers.
Pittsburgh Steelers 38 Green Bay Packers 31
Oh NFC North, it looks like whilst the rest of the league has been fighting hard to make the play offs, that one team from this Division, will eventually stumble their way into the post season. The Packers in this game lost, but still gave themselves a very good chance of reaching the play offs thanks to another total NFC North collapse. Now all the Packers have to do is beat a Bears team that looked exceptionally beatable this week and their playing football in January. What I am about to say is tough though, especially as a Bears fan. I think if any team is going to make a splash in the play offs and stand a chance to win it in the NFC North, it’s probably the Pack if they can get Rodgers back in time. So shouldn’t we all want to see that, The Pack become legitimate contenders make the play offs more exciting? Well no I’d rather see the Bears make it, but I would understand that being the best scenario for the neutral fan. Oh Pittsburgh, imagine if you’d played this well at the start of the season, I genuinely think there would be conversations about the possibility of winning it all. But the Steelers are at least in contention and fans of the Steelers will be hoping for a Bengals win this week. Which I would imagine must hurt a bit. One final point about this game. The officiating was another dreadful mess. Rodger, you need to look into this ok?
Oakland Raiders 13 San Diego Chargers 26
Through a bizarre miracle of about 6 AFC teams trying to squeeze through the door to the playoffs at the same time the Chargers are still within grasp of a playoff spot this week. If they don’t get there what can they blame? Well some very silly performances and some mistakes that this team probably won’t make next season. But I think out of all the teams that could make the playoffs, this might be the one most of us would like to see. They just seem to be getting hot at the right time and Rivers is definitely drinking from the Fountain of Youth as he continues to look like…well Phil Rivers 5 years ago. If the Chargers don’t make the play offs then that’s fine, they made some great moves in the draft and look set to have a bright future. The Raiders. I have done them to death. They need weapons. Oodles of money to spend in draft cap space. Need a new QB. There that should do it.
New England Patriots 41 Baltimore Ravens 7
New England declining? Can’t do it without Gronk? Keep saying that people, they feed on it. The Patriots in fact managed to win this one with the diminished talents on Defence rather than the usual putting it all on Brady. A win like this does wonders for the team and will look to improve their chances of taking the Lombardi, which now looks entirely doable. The Ravens should be seriously concerned about Joe Flacco’s form just before they could be making the play offs. He is one of the top paid QB’s in the league and managed to get himself benched in this one. With a bad result for the Ravens a distinct possibility against division rivals, the Bengals, there could be a space for the Steelers or Chargers in the play offs.
Chicago Bears 11 Philadelphia Eagles 54
So h0w did the Eagles beat the Bears? What could possibly be the Bears weakness? Yup LeSean McCoy as predicted left cleats marks in all of the Bears Defences faces as he ran all over them. That’s not to take any credit from the rest of the Eagles team. The Defence refound some lost form as they slowed down a potent Bears Offence and Foles had his usual steady game doing just enough to take care of the Offence. For me, even as a Bears fan it is a real shame that both these teams are fighting for a playoff spot. The Bears simply don’t deserve it. There is no way they have played well enough to make the post season and should already be looking at how they can improve next season. The Eagles should have played well enough to guarantee them a playoff spot, but early form for the Cowboys has meant they will be fighting for the spot this weekend against Dallas. In truth though the spot should belong to the Cardinals who have had an outstanding season, just in the wrong division.
Atlanta Falcons 24 San Francisco 49ers 34
Could this game have ended any other way? The last game at “the ‘stick” was a lot closer than people thought, as the Falcons staged a valiant comeback, only to have it cut short by outstanding Line-backer Navarro Bowman. Kaepernick did enough in this game, without being forced to do too much. Gore continues to be Mr dependable and adding Crabtree to this Offence almost brings it on par in levels of talent to that of the Defence…almost. This team is set to storm the play offs and in all truth could possibly be the NFC favourites to make the Super bowl. The Falcons have some serious reflecting to do. They need to plug a lot of holes with very little resources. Renegotiating a few contracts must be a top priority and will be essential for them to prepare for the future.
So that’s it people, enjoy the coming weeks games!