Wednesday Morning QB (NFL Week 17)

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The NFL season would end with a bang in Week 17 with plenty on the line with the last game left to play. there were teams looking to hold onto a playoff spot while others were looking to takeover a spot. Every team seemed to have something to play for and they would all fight to the end. Unlike other years the NFL would see only one team rest their players as every other team was playing for something. It would mean plenty of drama for the last week of the season and for a certain group of people it meant a lot of stress. The day after Week 17 in the NFL has become known as Black Monday as coaches in the NFL are fired on the day. There are always a number of coaching changes, although 2012 would take the cake in the sheer number, and for this year it was no different. There was already one job open heading into the offseason as Gary Kubiak had been fired as the head coach of the Houston Texans earlier in the year. That position would be filled up quickly as the Texans would sign Penn State Head coach Bill O’Brien to a deal to be their head coach in 2014. As with every year Black Monday would start a day earlier as there is always at least one team that makes their decision very quickly after their last game. This would be the Cleveland Browns this year as they would fire Rob Chudzinski in another questionable call by Browns management. The call was questionable only because the Browns had given Chudzinski one year to show what he could do and would trade away a player that he could have built an offence around in Trent Richardson. Chudzinski was fired by the new management in Cleveland that had not hired the head coach and this move would seemingly be a way to blaze a new path, which has become a habit for the Browns over the last few years. It was not the only move after the last week of the season though as four more teams would join the Texans and the Browns in the hunt for a coach. The Detroit Lions would fire Jim Schwartz, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would fire Greg Schiano, the Washington Redskins would fire Mike Shanahan, and the Minnesota Vikings would fire Leslie Frazier. The Vikings, Browns, Texans, Redskins, Buccaneers, and Lions will all enter the search together for a new coach. There are plenty of candidates but the one that seems to be mentioned more than most is Lovie Smith. Smith provides NFL experience and a defensive mind as the former coach of the Chicago Bears seems sure to find a place next season. There are plenty of coaches looking to get their shot with some just rumours and others legitimate head coaching prospects. For some of the top potential coaches the offseason will be full of team visits and interviews as they will likely get their choice of jobs. That leaves many to wonder which job is the best for an incoming coach as there is guaranteed to be a few coaches making that choice. With the most desirable job already gone in Houston there are some good positions but nothing that won’t take some serious work. One of the most concerning positions will be the head coach of the Cleveland Browns as their team will take some serious work to make them a contender or a playoff team. With a management team that has proven to be impatient this job is the most challenging and for most coaches will not be the first choice but for a coach that loves a challenge this position is for them. The Bucs are another team that will take a true leader and will be a big challenge as they have been a mess this year and need some recovery. The Vikings and Lions are somewhere in the middle as they are teams that need some work but are not completely a mess yet. There will be plenty of decisions to make in the offseason as these teams all begin their search in as they hope that this time next year they will still be playing.


Fifth Quarter:
(Four Quick Thoughts on Week 17)

One Last Game for a Legend
The Atlanta Falcons had some motivation to finally get to the Super Bowl this year as it would be the last season for Tony Gonzalez but the Falcons would not use it as they would finish the season out of the playoffs making Week 17 the last for the legendary Tight End

Closing the Dome
In keeping with the theme of moving on the Minnesota Vikings would host their last game at the Metrodome as they build a new stadium and will move to the University of Minnesota for the 2014 season

Securing the Top Pick
The Houston Texans would go from Super Bowl Favorites to the worst team in the league as a team that seems to have everything to make a run will now get to add a playmaker to their team with the top pick in next year’s draft


Final Standings

American Football Conference
Division Leaders:
1. h-Denver Broncos (.813)
2. b-New England Patriots (.750)
3. d-Cincinnati Bengals (.688)
4. d-Indianapolis Colts (.688)
Wild Card:
5. w-Kansas City Chiefs (.688)
6. w-San Diego Chargers (.563)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (.500)
8. Baltimore Ravens (.500)
9. New York Jets (.500)
10. Miami Dolphins (.500)
11. Tennessee Titans (.438)
12. Buffalo Bills (.375)
13. Oakland Raiders (.250)
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (.250)
15. Cleveland Browns (.250)
16. Houston Texans (.125)

National Football Conference
Division Leaders:
1. h-Seattle Seahawks (.813)
2. b-Carolina Panthers (.750)
3. d-Philadelphia Eagles (.625)
4. d-Green Bay Packers (.531)
Wild Card:
5. w-San Francisco 49ers (.750)
6. w-New Orleans Saints (.688)
7. Arizona Cardinals (.625)
8. Chicago Bears (.500)
9. Dallas Cowboys (.500)
10. Detroit Lions (.467)
11. New York Giants (.438)
12. St. Louis Rams (.438)
13. Minnesota Vikings (.344)
14. Atlanta Falcons (.250)
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.250)
16. Washington Redskins (.188)

d-Clinched Division
w-Clinched Wild Card
b-Clinched First Round Bye
h-Clinched Home Field


Key Scores:
Carolina Panthers 21 – 20 Atlanta Falcons
– The Atlanta Falcons would get going in a good game for Tony Gonzalez but it was not enough to take a win as the Panthers would win and would clinch the division to earn a first round bye

Green Bay Packers 33 – 28 Chicago Bears
– The Bears had plenty of chances to clinch the NFC North and they would not be able to do it while the Packers continued to climb back into the fight and led by the return of Aaron Rodgers they would complete the comeback and win the NFC North

San Diego Chargers 27 – 24 Kansas City Chiefs (OT)
– The Chiefs would go into the game with nowhere else to go as they had a wild card locked up and could not get their division so they would rest their players but that would not see them lie down as they fought to the end but would lose the Chargers who would clinch a playoff spot

Philadelphia Eagles 24 – 22 Dallas Cowboys
– The Eagle sand Cowboys fought until the end to see who could win the NFC East and they would continue in this game as the Cowboys would give the Eagles all they could handle even without Tony Romo under centre


Wild Card:

American Football Conference:
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts (Saturday January 4th; 4:35 pm ET)
– The Chiefs had a great start to the seas but since a 9-0 start they have gone 2-5 at the end of the year and the Colts are looking to take advantage of the fall as Andrew Luck continues to lead the Colts in what he hopes is a playoff win

San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday January 5th; 1:05 pm ET)
– The Chargers would barely make it in the dance as they would win and get a lot of help to clinch a spot as they hope to continue to surprise against the consistent Bengals who are looking for the win

National Football Conference:
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Saturday January 4th; 8:10 pm ET)
– The Saints look dangerous this year as they may be visiting the Eagles in the wild card but they are not a walk over as the Eagles look to take their hot streak at the end of the year to a win against one of the toughest teams in the playoffs

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers (Sunday January 5th; 4:40 pm ET)
– The Packers and Niners are making a habit of this as they are beginning to face off for very important games every year as Aaron Rodgers looks to get some revenge for the divisional loss to the Niners in 2013 to move on to the divisional playoffs this year

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