The once mighty and undefeated New Orleans Saints have now lost two in a row. They lost 20-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have only won 3 games all season. I mean, really--how does this happen? This is--obviously--not a good way to end the season.
Payton's also formerly mighty, undefeated Colts are no longer mighty. Or at least undefeated. They lost to the Jets 29-15. The Colts end their NFL Record regular season win streak at 23. Payton Manning sat on the sideline for the second half of the game (meaning that they figured they were going to lose anyway so why "waste" their star player. Kind of a cop out if you ask me!) I guess lots of coaches who’s teams have clinched playoff spots and 1st round byes rest their players the last game or two of the season so Payton hasn’t lost his starting job. I still think it's kind of a cop out.
The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Chicago Bears on Monday night in overtime. All Day Adrian Peterson had 2 TDs and Brett Favre threw for 2 TDs but Chicago QB Jay Cutler threw for 4 TDs and kicker Robbie Gould hit 3 field goals in the game. The Vikings were hoping to end the season well and possibly take the top seed of the NFC conference away from the New Orleans Saints but after this loss there is no way they can do that.
Note: the number 1 seed in the conference secures home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Home field is incredibly important in the sport of football and all teams would rather play in their home sand box than in the other guy's.
The San Diego Chargers beat the Tennessee Titans knocking the Titans out of playoff contention. The Chargers have a win streak of 10 games going in to the final week of the season, they haven’t lost since week six. Titan's RB Chris Johnson rushed for 142 yards--he needs 128 yards to be the 6th player in NFL history to rush for 2000 yards.
The Houston Texans beat the Miami Dolphins, knocking the Dolphins out of playoff contention and keeping their own hope of making the playoffs alive. There are two playoff spots left in the AFC conference and 5 teams fighting for those two spots.
The Carolina Panthers crushed the New York Giants 41-9 knocking the Giants out of playoff contention with the devastating loss. The NFC conference playoff picture is locked.
The New England Patriots stomped the Jacksonville Jaguars. With this win New England has won the AFC East division and secured a playoff spot. With the loss, Jacksonville is no longer in contention for the playoffs. Tom Brady threw 4 TDs, 3 of which went to Randy Moss.
The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Kansas City Chiefs. With the win the Bengals have won the AFC North division and secured themselves a spot in the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20. The Steelers and the Ravens both have a record of 8-7 and will be fighting for the last two playoff spots in the final week of the season.
Here is the playoff picture so far:
New Orleans Saints
Green Bay Packers (wildcard)
Dallas Cowboys (wildcard)
Note: The Eagles and Cowboys play each other in week 17. If Dallas wins they will win the division, if the Eagles win they win the division. Remember that this is important because the division winners get to play at home in the first week of the playoffs.
San Diego Chargers
New England Patriots
For the AFC, the Wildcard spots are up in the air still. The following teams have a record of 8-7 and are fighting for the two remaining playoff spots in the AFC Conference:
New York Jets
It’s going to be an exciting week 17 for these five teams. These will be the games to watch next Sunday (games with playoff implications):
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots @ Houston Texans
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets
Enjoy! And Happy New Year!!