Ok people, this is what the season has been all about for the NFL teams...Making The Playoffs. Every coach in the NFL basically needs to make the playoffs to keep his job. Here is the recap of week 17:
The Houston Texans beat the New England Patriots 34-27. The Texans needed to win to have a shot at the playoffs but they also needed the New York Jets to lose. Unfortunately, the Jets won. Therefore, the Texans will not be making the playoffs this year even though they won. It isn’t all bad for the Texans, with a record of 9-7 the Texans recorded their first winning season in Franchise history! Texans QB Matt Schaub had a fantastic season, the first season he has ever stayed healthy for the entire season. The Patriots did not need to win since they already clinched a playoff spot but they lost more than just the game on Sunday. WR Wes Welker, who leads the league in catches and is an integral part of the Patriots offense, had a season ending injury on Sunday. Since the Patriots didn’t need to win it is argued that head Coach Bill Belichick should have benched his important players for this game. Since he didn’t the Patriots will have to play this years post season arguably without their best player.
The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins 30-24. The Steelers needed to win to have a shot at the playoffs but they also needed the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the Oakland Raiders to get a spot in the post season. Unfortunately the Ravens beat the Raiders so the Superbowl champions of last year will not have a chance to defend their title.
The Dallas Cowboys crushed the Philadelphia Eagles 24-0. With the win the Cowboys clinched the NFC East division. If the Eagles had won they would have won the NFC East. The reason this is important is these two teams will face each other in the first round of the playoffs. The Division winner will have home field advantage so the game will be played in Dallas (remember how important home field is in the NFL). Philadelphia has lost both regular season games that they played against Dallas so things aren’t looking too positive for the Eagles.
The Denver Broncos lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 24-44. If the Broncos had won they would have clinched a playoff spot but they lost so they are out of the post season. The Chiefs running back Jammal Charles ran for 259 yards and 2 TDs.
The Baltimore Ravens beat the Oakland Raiders 21-13. The Ravens needed the win to make the playoffs and they delivered behind RB Willis McGahee’s 167 yards rushing and 3 TDs. The Ravens face New England Patriots in the first round of the playoffs.
The Tennessee Titans beat the Seattle Seahawks 17-13. This game had no playoff implication but there were a few import things that happened. First, the Titans started the season with 6 straight losses which is an awful way to begin a season. The Titans finished the season 8-8 and they should be proud of the turnaround that happened for them. Second, second year Running Back Chris Johnson did what only 5 other players in NFL history have done, he rushed for 2000 yards in a single season. (Trivia: the other 5 are OJ Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Terrell Davis, Barry Sanders and Jamal Lewis) Johnson also broke the NFL record for most yards from scrimmage (meaning catching yards and running yards) The Previous number was set by Marshall Faulk in 1999 with 2,429, Johnson finished the season with 2,509.
On Sunday night the New York Jets needed a win to make the playoffs--if they lost, the Houston Texans were in. Luckily for the Jets their opponents, the Cincinnati Bengals, had already made the playoffs and wanted to do the smart thing by sitting their important players to protect them from getting hurt (an intelligent thing to do--just ask the New England Patriots who did the opposite and will pay for it in the post season) The Jets smoked the Bengals 37-0 to clinch their playoff spot. Rookie Head Coach Rex Ryan and Rookie QB Mark Sanchez had a rocky year but they made the playoffs which is what mattered. It wasn’t because of these two players that the Jets made it, that honor falls on the shoulders of Jets RB Thomas Jones who had another great season finishing third in the league in Rushing yards and rushing TDs. Jones is an exception to the rule that RBs start going downhill after 30...since he is 31.
So here is the playoff picture:
1) Indianapolis Colts 14-2
2) San Diego Chargers 13-3
3) New England Patriots 10-6
4) Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
5) New York Jets 9-7
6) Baltimore Ravens 9-7
1) New Orleans Saints 13-3
2) Minnesota Vikings 12-4
3) Dallas Cowboys 11-5
4) Arizona Cardinals 10-6
5) Green Bay Packers 11-5
6) Philadelphia Eagles 11-5
Next Saturday Playoff Games:
New York Jets @ Cincinnati Bengals
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Next Sunday Playoff Games:
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
Stay tuned for the next blog which will be handing the Chick 101 awards for the season!