Wednesday Morning QB (NFL Week 15)

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The NFL, like many sports, is full of records and the pursuit of the records whether they are individual or team based. This pursuit of records is one of the most appealing aspects of sports as fans and rival fans are all watching to see if records are broken or not. This was the case again in the season as two teams were heading towards record seasons until week 15. The Green Bay Packers were one of these teams as they looked to join the ranks of the 2007 New England Patriots and the 1972 Miami Dolphins. In 2007 the New England Patriots did something that had never been done before as they went 16-0 winning more regular season games than any other team in NFL history. This season of course did not end well as the Patriots were upset in the Super Bowl by the New York Giants. This meant that their season ended with a total record of 18-1. The loss in the Super Bowl ended their hope of matching the Miami Dolphins from 1972 who had the only undefeated season in NFL history. The Dolphins went 14-0 in regular season and moved on to win the Super Bowl putting their total record at 17-0. These were the two teams that the Green Bay Packers were trying to pursue. Through the first 14 weeks the Packers were 13-0 and were clearly the best team in the NFL. Their defence has not been as lights out as last year when they won the Super Bowl but their offence had been the best in the league as Aaron Rodgers has made a serious case for league MVP. In week 15 they would take on the Kansas City Chiefs in an attempt to go 15-0 before they played Chicago and Detroit in the last two weeks. Most people were looking past the Chiefs this week as they have been one of the worst teams in the NFL this year and many thought they could not match up with the Packers. It seemed as though everyone was looking to the next two weeks including the Packers. The defending champs did not show up for the game as both offence and defence seemed to falter. The one positive for the Packers was that their defence did not allow a TD until the fourth quarter but they did allow the Chiefs to get yardage that let them get field goals and go ahead early. The Packers offence could not get much going with Aaron Rodgers getting sacked and not being able to find his receivers. By the end of the game the scoreboard read 19-14 for the Chiefs ending the Packers’ attempt at an undefeated season and the attempt to get into the record books. Meanwhile while the Packers had their undefeated streak broken the Indianapolis Colts were hoping to break their own streak. Unlike the Packers the attempt at the undefeated season the Colts wanted their streak to end. There has only been two teams that have been in the same situation as the Colts and those were the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 2008 Detroit Lions. This record is the Imperfect Season and is a rare sight in the NFL for a team to lose every game in one season. In 2008 the Lions became the epitome of a bad team losing the most games by any team in the NFL. They went 0-16 all season and became the worst team in NFL history. The Indianapolis Colts were attempting to end their march towards the record book as the only other team to lose 16 games in a season. The Colts were 0-13 going into week 15 thanks in large part to the injury to start QB Peyton Manning. They took on the Tennessee Titans in week 15 who were still looking to make a last-ditch effort at a playoff spot. The Colts took on the Titans with an upset in mind and would look to new QB Dan Orlovsky to get them this win. It was not a pretty game but the Colts pulled off the win and prevented their own chapter in the NFL record books. Both of these records were within grasp and even though one team would have liked to get the record and the other would not they could have both had their time in the books. The fact that both ended shows that the NFL is no cake walk and if you fall asleep one week you will be beat therefore it should serve as a warning to all teams that if you need a win prepare like it is the Super Bowl or you might be the next to be the upset team.

Both the Colts and the Packers ended their streaks but their games meant very little as the Packers are guaranteed a playoff spot and the Colts are guaranteed to be out of the playoffs. The rest of the league was still playing for much more as teams continued playing to make sure they could play into January, and eventually February. This week more teams got their spot in the playoffs with some great wins and key losses, while other teams are still alive in the playoff hunt. In the AFC the New England Patriots clinched their division thanks to a New York Jets loss as they join the Houston Texans in the AFC division winners. Meanwhile the AFC North clinched their own spots with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens both guaranteeing that they at least take a wild card spot. The battle for the AFC North still rages on as the Steelers and Ravens both fight it out with two weeks left and the Ravens holding the tiebreaker. The AFC West is the most unknown in the AFC as the Denver Broncos ended their win streak but remain in the top spot of the division with San Diego making their usual late season surge and hoping to take over the lead. Meanwhile more teams lost out on their chance for the playoffs leaving the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, and the Kansas City Chiefs all playing for the Wild Card. Realistically the Chiefs are out of the running with the Jets and Bengals fighting the real battle for the last wild card spot in the AFC. In the NFC much stayed the same with the Packers and 49ers having their divisions and the Saints locking up a wild card spot. The Saints will battle with the Falcons for the division and if they can win in week 16 against the Falcons they will take the top of the division. The biggest battle is between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys who are both in the running for the NFC East with the Cowboys taking over the lead this week but the Giants having a chance at taking the lead back if the rest of the season goes right. In the wild card there are still two spots up for grabs with the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions holding the spots right now. The Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals are all in the running but the Falcons and Lions are only one win away from putting it out of reach leaving most of the teams in the cold unless they get a lot of help. With only two weeks left in the season the NFL may see their playoff picture solved next week but knowing the NFL anything can happen which means Christmas could be good to a number of teams this year.

 

Standings:

 

American Football Conference:

Division Leaders:

1. z-New England Patriots (.786) [East]

2. y-Baltimore Ravens (.714) [North]

3. z-Houston Texans (.714) [South]

4. Denver Broncos (.571) [West]

 

Wild Card:

5. y-Pittsburgh Steelers (.714)

6. New York Jets (.571)

 

In the Hunt:

7. Cincinnati Bengals (.571)

8. Tennessee Titans (.500)

9. Oakland Raiders (.500)

10. San Diego Chargers (.500)

11. Kansas City Chiefs (.429)

 

Out of the Running:

12. Miami Dolphins (.357)

13. Buffalo Bills (.357)

14. Cleveland Browns (.286)

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (.286)

16. Indianapolis Colts (.071)

 

National Football Conference

Division Leaders:

1. z-Green Bay Packers (.929)

2. z- San Francisco 49ers (.786)

3. y-New Orleans Saints (.786)

4. Dallas Cowboys (.571)

 

Wild Card:

5. Atlanta Falcons (.643)

6. Detroit Lions (.643)

 

In the Hunt:

7. Seattle Seahawks (.500)

8. Chicago Bears (.500)

9. New York Giants (.500)

10. Arizona Cardinals (.500)

 

Out of the Running:

11. Philadelphia Eagles (.429)

12. Carolina Panthers (.357)

13. Washington Redskins (.357)

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.286)

15. Minnesota Vikings (.143)

16. St. Louis Rams (.143)

 

z- Clinched Division

y- Clinched Wild Card

 

POW Awards:

 

American Football Conference:

Reggie Bush, RB (AFC Offensive POW)

25 rsh

203 yds

8.1 avg

1 TD

 

Atwan Barnes, LB (AFC Defensive POW)

6 tkl

4.0 sck

0 PDef

0 FF

 

Ryan Succop, K (AFC Special Teams POW)

4/4 FG

46 Lng

1/1 XP

13 pts

 

National Football Conference:

Calvin Johnson, WR (NFC Offensive POW)

9 rec

214 yds

23.8 avg

2 TD

 

John Abraham, DE (NFC Defensive POW)

5 tkl

3.5 sck

0 PDef

2 FF

 

Andy Lee, P (NFC Special Teams POW)

6 P

295 nyds

47.5 avg

4 in 20

 

Key Scores:

Dallas Cowboys 31 – 15 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

– The Cowboys dominated on the first Saturday game of the year after a tough loss against division rivals the New York Giants and watched the rest of the games to see that the win gave them the division lead

 

Kansas City Chiefs 19 – 14 Green Bay Packers

– The Packers undefeated streak ended against a much worse team on paper but the Chiefs were able to keep the slimmest of playoff hopes alive by doing what nobody else could do beating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers

 

San Diego Chargers 34 – 14 Baltimore Ravens

– San Diego continued their usual late season charge as they beat the Baltimore Ravens to put the pressure on the Denver Broncos in the AFC West while the Ravens took the loss but continued to lead the AFC North

 

San Francisco 49ers 20 – 3 Pittsburgh Steelers

– The 49ers continued their great season and came closer to clinching a first round bye winning in their last true challenge on the season beating the banged up Steelers who lost their chance to take over the AFC North

 

Key Week 16 Matchups:

New York Giants vs. New York Jets (December 24th; 1:00 pm)

– The Battle of New York will take place yet again with both teams playing at home in a split stadium and this year it will mean more with the Giants looking to stay in the NFC East race and the Jets looking to stay in the AFC Wild Card Race

 

San Diego Chargers vs. Detroit Lions (December 24th; 4:05 pm)

– San Diego continues their surge towards the playoffs as they look to finish off their big run but will need a lot of help to make it while the Detroit Lions are looking to keep the NFC Wild Card spot as both teams need this win to keep postseason hopes alive

 

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears (December 25th; 8:20 pm)

– The oldest rivalry in the NFL will take place on Christmas night as the Packers and the Bears battle again with the Bears who are looking to get a wild card spot and hand their rivals the second loss on the season

 

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (December 26th; 8:30 pm)

– The NFC South division could all come down to this week as the Falcons and Saints face off in the Monday Night game with the Saints needing a win to clinch the division while the Falcons are looking to get the win and tie up the division going into the last week

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