If This Is It
by Michele Christopher
This is it. Last week of the NFL regular season, then it’s done. For a lot of teams, once this last game ends, it’s over till next year. For players it will be time to clean out their lockers, take a break and hit the golf course. For coaches and general managers, it will be time to evaluate their team and get ready for the draft. They’ll be doing everything they can to turn their programs around and make a run at the Superbowl next year. That’s what’s cool about the NFL. That kind of thing can happen. One year your team is 2-14. The next, they’re Superbowl Champs.
For the teams that have secured a playoff spot, this last week could go a couple of ways. It could be used as a final tune-up to get ready for the season after the season, or for some teams, it could be used as a bye week; a time to let their key players get some rest, heal up physically and prepare mentally for the playoffs.
For the rest of the teams, the teams that still have a shot at making the playoffs, this week is their last chance. There is no tomorrow. For some teams, this week it’s real simple. Win and you’re in. For others, it’s win and hope for some combination of wins and losses from other teams can help you out and get you in by the skin of your teeth.
At the time of this writing, all four divisions in the AFC and 3 out of 4 of the divisions in the NFC have been clinched. The NFC East is still up for grabs between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys.
On the NFC side, The NY Giants, Green Bay, Carolina, Atlanta and St. Louis all still have a shot at making the playoffs.
I gotta say, that is pretty damn cool. It’s the final week of the season and there are 11 teams that are still fighting for four playoff spots. That’s why the NFL rules.
N.Y. Giants at Washington – It’s a Saturday night game. Bottom line in this one: NY needs to win to get into the playoffs, along with some magical combination of either a loss or strength of victory tie-breaker over Green Bay. Personally, I’d prefer to see The Packers make the playoffs, so I’m rooting against the Giants in this one.
Carolina at New Orleans – New Orleans is already in. Carolina is in a must win situation. They need to win and they also need Green Bay AND The Giants to lose. This is getting crazy and we’re only two games in…
Cleveland at Houston – Neither of these teams has a shot at the playoffs. Next.
Detroit at Dallas – Dallas clinches the NFC East Division with a win and a Philly loss. With the chance at winning the NFC East on the line, Dallas should be able to handle Detroit.
Jacksonville at Kansas City – Both of these teams have shot at making the playoffs. They need to win and have a bunch of teams lose for it to happen for either of them.
New England at Tennessee – New England clinched the AFC East last weekend. They still have a slim shot at moving into the third spot in the AFC. Tennessee can get in if they win and a whole bunch of other things happen. Dudes, I’m trying to make this as simple as I can. Check out the NFL’s site if you need the details.
Oakland at N.Y. Jets – The Jets get in with a win. Finally an easy one.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati – Cincy gets in with a win and a Jets loss.
Seattle at Tampa Bay – Seattle has clinched the NFC West. They are in.
St. Louis at Minnesota – St. Louis still has a shot at the playoffs as long as the planets align and certain teams win and lose. It’s nuts and I’m tired. Forgive me.
Arizona at San Diego – San Diego is in. Way in. They can clinch home field advantage with a win.
Atlanta at Philadelphia – A Philly win gives them the NFC East. How about that? And you guys in Philly had no faith after Donovan went down… They are still in it. Atlanta still has a slim shot at getting in to. Yadda Yadda Yadda. See above statements…
Buffalo at Baltimore – Baltimore can clinch home field advantage with a win and a San Diego loss.
Miami at Indianapolis – Indy can clinch a first round bye with a win and a Baltimore loss.
San Francisco at Denver – Denver is in if they win.
Green Bay at Chicago – I would love to see Green Bay make the playoffs. I think that would be super cool for Brett Far-vre to finish it out (assuming this is his last year, it might not be) in the playoffs, fighting for another shot at The Superbowl. Unfortunately, Green Bay got a tough draw getting Chicago for the last week of the year. I think Green Bay can win this game but it could be tough. It will depend on how Chicago plays and if they decide to rest their players. If Chicago puts the second string out there, I’d say things look good for Green Bay.
Enjoy the games and have a great New Year’s everybody!
Ernie is just happy his teams already made it.