1. The Patriots have 15 down, and the NY Giants to go in their quest to be the first team ever to complete a 16 game NFL regular season without a defeat. The Patriots breezed past the 1-14 Dolphins, 28-7 in Week 14.
One thing I'm seeing in the Patriots the last couple weeks is a greater emphasis on running the ball. Laurence Maroney has posted back to back 100 yard games after not putting up 100 since Week 3. Kudos to the Patriots for implementing that strategy shift. The AFC Playoffs are going to be a huge challenge this year, and it could be argued that the Patriots are not the hottest team going in. If they are going to go 19-0, they are going to have to continue to run the ball effectively.
2. How could the Patriots not be the hottest team going into the playoffs you say? They are on a 15 game winning streak, after all. Well, that may be so. But there are 2 teams in the AFC that look really, really good right now, and the San Diego Chargers are one of them.
SD has won 5 in a row, and it's they, not the Pats, that have been taking teams to the woodshed lately. Their last 2 wins have come by a combined score of 84-17. In Week 16, they throttled the Broncos 23-3.
Norv Turner's realized that the Chargers are a much better team if they rely on LT and the running game to move the ball, and Philip Rivers to just manage the game. Heading into December, Tomlinson had only 2 100+ yard rushing days. In December, he's 4 for 4. He's back to being the best running back in the league, and after last year's ignominioius one and done in the playoffs, he's pissed off, and would luuuuuv another shot at the Patriots.
3. The other team that's rocketing up the charts is the Jacksonville Jaguars. They've won 6 of their last 7, and their win in the snow two weeks ago in Pittsburgh was the kind of win that should serve as a landmark in the history of the franchise.
They are the last team to have beaten the Chargers, and they gave the Colts all they could handle in a 27-24 loss on Dec. 2. The running game has been unstoppable of late. They rolled up 201 rushing yards on the Raiders last week in a 49-11 pasting, and 224 against the mighty Steelers defense the week before. The Jags are probably going to meet the Steelers again in the first round of the playoffs, and have to feel good about their chances of winning a playoff game for the first time this decade.
4. The 6th and final spot in the AFC playoffs will be up for grabs in Week 17. That's thanks to the Browns laying a big fat brown turd in a 19-14 loss at the Bengals last week. Now their playoff fate is entirely out of their hands. If the Titans, who won a 10-6 crapfest at home agains the Jest last week, can go into Indy and beat the Colts' JV tomorrow, the Browns are done. I always knew that the fate of the world would one day rest in the hands of Jim Sorgi.
5. Meanwhile, over in the NFC, things are starting to look really irrelevant. Looking at the Cowboys, well, in their last 3 games they've had a one point win over a disintegrating Lions team, a home loss to the Eagles in the Jessica Simpson Bowl, and a blah win over a bad Panthers team in a game that saw TO get injured. Tony Romo's thrown 7 TDs against 5 picks in his last 4 games.
6. Things aren't looking much more promising for the NFC's other great hope, the Green Bay Packers. They had 15 punts blocked in an inexplicable 35-7 ass reaming at the hands of the Bears last week. This should preclude anyone from picking them to go the Super Bowl. I mean, this team has lost twice to the Bears. One of those losses was 35-7. They may as well pack it up right now.
7. How bad is the NFC? The Redskins are now one win away from making the playoffs after beating the Vikings on the road 32-21 on Sunday Night. How unlikely is this? Let's review. This is a team that on Dec. 3 was 5-7, on a 4 game losing streak, had just had their best player die, and lost the game dedicated to their dead player because their coach called 2 timeouts in a row to ice Buffalo's kicker when it is illegal to do that. Oh and then in the next game after that their quarterback was lost for the season and they had to resort to playing Todd Collins, who has been cryogenically frozen since 1997. Now they are on a tear and can go to the playoffs if they beat the Cowboys B-team this week.
8. Word is that Bill Parcell's choice to be the new Dolphins' GM is current Cowboys VP of College and Pro scouting, Jeff Ireland. What do Ireland and I have in common? We are both former Chicago Bears ballboys. Ireland is going to be GM of an NFL franchise, I have a poorly written football blog. I feel as if I have made some horrible choices in my life. On the plus side, I saw Ratatouille last night and thought it was really good.
Don't think I've forgotten about the deeply meaningful Meaningless Bowl Season! Let's run down the scintillating action so far:
Utah 35, Navy 32
The terrorists win. Hey remember when the 49ers drafted Utah's QB #1 in the draft? That was fucking ratarded.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Florida Atlantic 44, Memphis 27
FAU is coached by Howard Schnellenberger, who has the field at the University of Louisville named after him, and was the coach of U of Miami when friggin Bernie Kosar led them to a national championship. And he wears a sportcoat on the sidelines. If that ain't a pimp I don't know what is.
PAPA JOHN'S.COM BOWL
Cincinnati 31, So. Miss 21
The Big East gets a BCS bid. Cincinnati was the 3rd place team in the Big East. So. Miss was the 4th place team in the Eastern Division of shitty Conference USA, and played Cincy within 10 points in what was basically a home game for them. The Big East is a great-o conference.
NEW MEXICO BOWL
New Mexico 23, Nevada 0
Geez, New Mexico better fucking win the New Mexico Bowl.
LAS VEGAS BOWL
BYU 17, UCLA 16
This was one of those bowl games where one of the teams playing in it had already fired their coach. When a school is so thrilled about playing in your bowl game that it fires its coach, that should tell you that your bowl, as Patrick would say, should uninstall its life.
East Carolina 41, Boise State 38
Love that WAC. Way to almost beat fucking East Carolina, mighty Boise State. Is East Carolina going to be on the cover of NCAA Footbal 09 now? Hawaii is going to do awesome in its BCS game.
MOTOR CITY BOWL
Purdue 51, Central Michigan 48
The Boilermakers were 3-5 in the Big Ten this year. They are in a bowl game why?
Texas 52, Arizona St. 34
Love that Pac 10, too. Their second place team was down 21-0 in the first quarter to Texas. When it comes to college football, if it isn't the SEC or Big 12 I don't want to fucking hear about it.
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
Boston College 24, Michigan St. 21
The end of a magical 7-6 season for the Spartans. Remember when BC was #2 in the country? That was funny.
TCU 20, Houston 13
Oregon State 21, Maryland 14
I watched some of this game. They set up like a mini-high school stadium inside Pac Bell Park or whatever it's called now, the park where Barry Bonds used to play. So there was like a set of bleachers and then a big empty stadium surrounding it. It was the saddest thing I've seen in my life. Sadder than seeing Benazir Bhutto die on CNN.
Happy New Year to everyone! Thanks for a great 2007 here at FootballFutbol. This site has some very entertaining stuff on it. Thanks to Patrick N. for some great work, thanks to Dook!e for heckling us from the rafters, and thanks to anyone who has read. 2008 will rule.