Wednesday Morning QB (NFL Week 17)

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The NFL regular season has officially finished as yet another crazy season has been put in the books. The season came and went fast even as it almost seemed to be over before it started when the NFL and NFLPA almost cancelled the season with a labour dispute. The Season was an interesting one and in many cases came right down to the wire as teams fought for their spot in the postseason. The NFC and AFC saw multiple battles for playoff spots that were fought until the last week while they also saw some dominant teams clinch early. The NFC was the least intense in week 17 but that was only because the AFC had many more battles. The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers had earned their playoff spots early guaranteeing their time in the postseason. The Niners still had a battle though as they took on the New Orleans Saints for the 2nd place spot in the playoffs and a first round bye. The Niners won their last game though as they guaranteed the 2nd spot. The New Orleans Saints settled for 3rd place as they will face off in the wild card. The biggest battle in the divisions was the NFC East as the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants took the fight to the very last game of the season with the Giants beating the Cowboys in convincing fashion on Sunday Night Football. The NFC Wild Card race had been solved in week 16 but the positioning was essential as the 6th place team would have to face New Orleans at home. The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons were both in line for the 5th place spot but with a Detroit loss the Falcons got the 5th place spot and Detroit took the 6th and final playoff spot in the NFC. The AFC saw many more battles as almost every position was yet to be decided. The New England Patriots needed a win to get the top spot in the conference and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Patriots got their win against the Bills and took the top spot. Meanwhile the Steelers and Ravens continued to fight for the AFC North into week 17. The Ravens only needed to win to take the division while the Steelers needed to win and have a Ravens loss. The Ravens won their game to take the division and ended the season in second place with a first round bye. The Steelers also won but could not take the division and instead took the wild card spot. The biggest battle was in the AFC West as the Denver Broncos were in a race with the Oakland Raiders for the division. The Broncos needed a win in the final week to clinch the division but couldn’t get the win forcing them to wait for the Oakland game. If the Raiders won they could take the division away from the Broncos but the Raiders could not do it as the Broncos narrowly took the division and the 4th place spot as they will host a playoff game. With the Steelers taking the 5th place spot there was still one spot up for grabs in the AFC. The Bengals had to fend off a number of different teams to clinch their spot in the playoffs with a win needed to take the spot. They could not pull off the win against the Ravens but got a lot of help as they snuck into the playoffs giving the AFC North three teams in the playoffs this year. With all of the action over in a wild week the playoffs will start next week as the wild card games take place with anything possible in the playoffs. Get ready for a wild playoffs as there will be many teams that could win and even the teams that shouldn’t win have a shot.

After the season ends twelve teams prepare for the playoffs but another 20 teams will be looking to the next year. For a lot of these teams it was almost enough but they just missed the playoffs. For these teams they will look to add some key players in free agency and in the draft to get that last push to the playoffs. For more teams it will be a much tougher road as they begin to make changes in their organization to try to change the culture. This happens generally on one day known as NFL’s Black Monday. The day of firings came again as a day after everyone’s seasons were finished with a number of teams looking to change things around. First was the St. Louis Rams who finished with a 2-14 record and as a result they wasted no time in firing head coach Steve Spagnoulo and fired general manager Billy Devaney. Both Spagnoulo could not help the Rams even after drafting Sam Bradford and paid the price as they lost their jobs on Monday. The firing continued as the Colts made some big executive moves firing Vice Chairman Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian. The Colts had a terrible season and proved that they built their team around one player and did not prepare for the future. Of course the firing did not stop there as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired head coach Raheem Morris after a bad season. With all of these firings new openings are created as coaches may be coming back to the NFL. With Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden claiming that they will stay with their TV jobs the coaching search looks to be focusing on a few people. The majority of teams that have fired their coaches may have found their coaches as some may remove the interim tag. The Kansas City Chiefs may be the first team to do this as Romeo Crennel looked great in his brief time as head coach and could find a permanent job with the team. As for the rest of the teams the favorite seems to be former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher as the Buccaneers and Rams are both looking at him including a number of other teams. With black Monday over the firing will not stop but will slow down as teams look to begin building for next year.

 

Standings:

 

American football Conference

Division Leaders:

1. *-New England Patriots (.813)

2. z-Baltimore Ravens (.750)

3. z-Houston Texans (.625)

4. z-Denver Broncos (.500)

 

Wild Card:

5. y-Pittsburgh Steelers (.750)

6. y-Cincinnati Bengals (.563)

 

The Rest:

7. Tennessee Titans (.563)

8. New York Jets (.500)

9. San Diego Chargers (.500)

10. Oakland Raiders (.500)

11. Kansas City Chiefs (.438)

12. Miami Dolphins (.375)

13. Buffalo Bills (.375)

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (.313)

15. Cleveland Browns (.250)

16. Indianapolis Colts (.125)

 

National Football Conference:

Division Leaders:

1. *-Green Bay Packers (.938)

2. z-San Francisco 49ers (.813)

3. z-New Orleans Saints (.813)

4. z-New York Giants (.563)

 

Wild Card:

5. y-Atlanta Falcons

6. y-Detroit Lions

 

The Rest:

7. Chicago Bears (.500)

8. Arizona Cardinals (.500)

9. Philadelphia Eagles (.500)

10. Dallas Cowboys (.500)

11. Seattle Seahawks (.438)

12. Carolina Panthers (.375)

13. Washington Redskins (.313)

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.250)

15. Minnesota Vikings (.188)

16. St. Louis Rams (.125)

*-clinched home field

z-clinched division

y-clinched wild card

 

Players of the Week:

 

American Football Conference:

Ray Rice, RB (AFC Offensive POW)

24 rsh

191 yds

8.0 yds

2 TD

 

Troy Polamalu, S (AFC Defensive POW)

2 tkl

0.0 sck

3 PDef

1 INT

 

Richard Goodman, KR (AFC Special Teams POW)

6 ret

35 avg

105 lng

1 TD

 

National Football Conference:

Matt Flynn, QB (NFC Offensive POW)

70.5% cmp

480 yds

6 TD

1 INT

136.4 rtg

 

Curtis Lofton, LB (NFC Defensive POW)

14 tkl

0.0 sck

1 PDef

1 INT

1 TD

 

David Akers, K (NFC Special Teams POW)

2/3 FG

42 lng

4/4 XP

10 pts

 

Key Scores:

Jacksonville Jaguars 19 – 13 Indianapolis Colts

– The Jaguars were able to get past the Colts who had won two straight games but the loss will be a good thing for the Colts as with the loss the Colts ended up in last place in the league and a chance to draft their QB of the future in Andrew Luck

 

Green Bay Packers 45 – 41 Detroit Lions

– The Green Bay Packers rested most of their starters including Aaron Rodgers but they still were able to beat the Lions as Matt Flynn, QB threw for over 400 yards and 6 TDs in his second start of his career as he forced the Lions into the #6 position in the playoffs

 

San Diego Chargers 38 – 26 Oakland Raiders

– The San Diego Chargers had a typical resurgence but this game meant little to them besides pride as they were out of the playoffs but were able to end the Raiders’ hopes of making the playoffs as the loss gave the division to Denver

 

New York Giants 31 – 14 Dallas Cowboys

– In a win or go home situation the Dallas Cowboys could not get anything going and their counterparts in the Giants had everything going as they continued to be the hottest team going into the playoffs

 

AFC Wild Card:

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans (Saturday January 7th; 4:30 pm)

– The Bengals just made it into the playoffs while the Houston Texans clinched their division early but the Bengals have a healthy Andy Dalton at QB with the Texans losing all of their QBs and will go to TJ Yates or Jake Delhomme

 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos (Sunday January 8th; 4:30 pm)

– The Steelers will be in an unfamiliar position as they will play away against the Denver Broncos and the sensation that is Tim Tebow who will look to regain his magic after two straight losses and give his team a playoff win against a very good defence

 

NFC Wild Card:

Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints (Saturday January 7th; 8:00 pm)

– The Detroit Lions would rather not have to travel to Louisiana this soon but they will be playing them in the Wild Card as the Lions defence will need to handle Drew Brees and the Saints offence that has been one of the most powerful all season

 

Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants (Sunday January 8th; 1:00 pm)

– The Giants made the playoffs with the last game and are the hottest team in the NFL behind their defensive line and Eli manning as they will take on the Atlanta Falcons who have also come on late in the season

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