Well, there you have it folks, the regular season is gone. Time flies, indeed. Most squads are making tee times, the 12 playoff teams are preparing for a game or enjoying a hard-earned week of rest, and here at Sickness Headquarters, I am licking the wounds from a two-week championship thrashing in the greatest fantasy football league of all time, the Metaverse (more on that later in the week). The Incredible Adventures of The Amazing Favre came to a quiet end. The Seahawks, Packers and Colts secured the last available playoff berths, the Panthers secured the number one pick in the draft, and my Browns secured another offseason of hearty taunting from opposing fans nationwide. All in all, truly good times yet again for this football fan. At any rate, there were few truly exciting games this weekend…let’s start with the ones that decided something and go around the league in quick-hit fashion.
GREEN BAY PACKERS 10, CHICAGO BEARS 3: Not quite how I expected it to happen, but the Packers squeaked into the playoffs along with the Colts, leaving alive my preseason Super Bowl picks. As it should be. The Packers were the best of the availables by a long shot. Meanwhile, I remain totally unconvinced the Bears will win anything after today despite a stout defense. Jay Cutler scares the living daylights out of me if I’m a Bears fan.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 16, ST. LOUIS RAMS 6: A disappointing end to a thoroughly encouraging season for St. Louis, and an at least 14-slot drop in the draft for the Seahawks, who earned the right to get blasted by the defending World Champs next week.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 23, TENNESSEE TITANS 20: The Colts are starting to play more balanced offensive football, as Joe Addai found some big holes through which to scamper in this one. But basically, Indy won the division this time on #18 and some high grade smoke and mirrors. The Titans gave up weeks ago, and the only remaining questions involve the futures of the head coach and QB.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 41, CLEVELAND BROWNS 9: This game was about two teams just doing what they do, respectively.
ATLANTA FALCONS 31, CAROLINA PANTHERS 10: The Falcons clinched homefield advantage and the NFC South. Pretty much as well as you can do, but I’m still not convinced they’re the team to beat. I am, on the other hand, convinced that the Panthers are going to have a little Luck this offseason.
DETROIT LIONS 20, MINNESOTA VIKINGS 13: First things first: a moment of silence for the Ol’ Gunsliner. Second, Leslie Frazier is the right choice for the Vikings’ head coaching job, but I’m not so sure the same can be said of any quarterback on the roster. Meanwhile, the Lions are a little depth and some protection for Matthew Stafford away from being pretty damn good.
OAKLAND RAIDERS 31, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 10: The Chiefs had better get a handle on those protection issues pronto if they don’t want an early exit at the hands of the Ravens. And also, they might want to start giving the ball to Jamaal Charles more now. You know, now that the games actually “matter” and all. Despite a bevy of injuries and largely mediocre QB play, the Raiders swept their division and barely missed the playoffs. They need to stay the course with most of the program, starting with Tom Cable.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 38, MIAMI DOLPHINS 7: Man, the Dolphins just collapsed down the stretch and were awful at home all year. Can’t be good for the head coach’s job security, especially when there are a lot of rings on coaching hiatus right now. But those three that reside on the Hoodie’s fingers? Those are still very much active.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 23, NEW ORLEAND SAINTS 13: Give it up to Raheem and his boys for a huge turnaround in 2010. But as the 2007 Cleveland Browns will remind them, 10 wins guarantees nothing, especially when you play in a tough division. The Saints have been inconsistent all year long, so nothing will surprise me in the postseason. They could run it through or get bounced this week.
NEW YORK JETS 38, BUFFALO BILLS 7: I watched a lot of this game, and I did not see Mark Brunell attempt a single pass. Yet, somehow the Jets won by 31. That’s a good formula if you can make it happen. Buffalo’s top layer is pretty solid, but they’re a couple more good drafts away from true relevance.
BALTIMORE RAVENS 13, CINCINNATI BENGALS 7: The Ravens cruise into the 5th playoff spot by struggling against a mediocre and injury-plagued Bengals team that had its big boy pants on for a change, but will still likely see significant turnover this offseason.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 33, DENVER BRONCOS 28: I repeat: keep telling Tim Tebow he can’t do “that”- whatever “that” is- at the NFL level. Because he can. Yes, even that. Meanwhile, the Chargers are apparently devoted enough to winning to risk their franchise quarterback in a meaningless week 17 game, but not enough to sign his backside protection or best receiver. Got that?
DALLAS COWBOYS 14, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 13: So I guess trading Donovan McNabb and then going with Michael Vick were a couple of pretty good decisions by Andy Reid. And Jerry Jones mouthing off about how his was going to be the first team to host a Super Bowl was not.
SAN FRANCICSCO 49ERS 38, ARIZONA CARDINALS 7: Whatever, Niners. You had your chance in 2010. Make sure to send the Cowboys and Vikings a fruit basket for sparing you the “biggest disappointment of 2010” label. Arizona, meanwhile, never had a chance at all this season. Not with that gaggle of gagging QB’s.
NEW YORK GIANTS 17, WASHINGTON REDSKINS 14: Tom Coughlin did not throw a single interception, fumble a single football, or whiff a single tackle in the defensive secondary. Just wanted to point that out. I should also point out that there was not one time I considered the Redskins relevant in the NFL in 2010 from a football standpoint. I did think the bearded lady was an interesting attraction, though.
HOUSTON TEXANS 34, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 17: The Jags just ran out of healthy bodies and good fortune. The Texans have no such excuses, and are far and away the disappointment of the year in the AFC. Nice heart, boys. Particularly on defense. But I’m sure new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will get that all straightened out.