JC’s Top Rope Report: NFL Week 15 Review

Quite the newsworthy week in the NFL. Lots of upsets. Lets take a look at everything.

Team of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs
-With the Chiefs firing their coach earlier in the week, and the undefeated Green Bay Packers coming to town, Chiefs fans probably weren’t expecting much. The Chiefs got out to an early 6-0 lead, and shut the Packers out in the first half. Then the Packers started mounting a comeback. But in the end, the Packers defense couldn’t get Aaron Rodgers the ball back, and the Chiefs turned the NFL World upside-down. You have to wonder if the players really hated Todd Haley, because it looks like they played their hearts out for interim coach Romeo Crennel. In his first game as interim head coach, Crennel made as strong a case possible to become the permanent head coach in Kansas City. The Chiefs have played very erratically this year, so they could come out and lay a giant egg next week. But for now, the Chiefs are walking around with a bit more of a strut today after their huge upset.

Game of the Week: Detroit Lions 28  Oakland Raiders 27
-All Matthew Stafford and the Lions had to do was drive 97 yards for the game winning touchdown in the 4th quarter. An impossible task for most people, but not when you have Calvin Johnson on your team. The Lions needed this win to keep their playoff position in good shape, and they got just that when Matthew Stafford found Calvin Johnson in the end zone with under a minute left. But you knew the Raiders just had to get to the 50 to give Sebastian Janikowski a chance. They did, but Ndamukong Suh blocked the field goal securing the Lions win. The Lions are now two games up with two games remaining. They need to win one of their last two games, but they aren’t easy ones: Home to San Diego and at Green Bay. The Raiders, meanwhile, failed to take advantage of a Denver loss and now appear to be on playoff life support.

Dogs of the Week: New York Jets and Giants
-Just when it looked like both New York teams were on their way to the playoffs, they go and lay huge stinkers on Sunday. The Jets are still holding on to the last AFC Wild Card spot, but if they play like they did on Sunday from here on out, they won’t make the playoffs. Mark Sanchez was pressured and made terrible decisions, and the Jets defense was run all over by Mike Vick and Co. The Giants came off a huge road win in Dallas with a stinker against Washington. The Redskins defense isn’t great so there is no excuse for the Giants only putting up 10 points against them. The Giants defense let Rex Grossman throw all over them. These two teams play each other next week, and I bet the loser is out of their respective Playoff race.

Other Week 15 Notes
-The Tebow Train probably lost a few people this week, but it didn’t lose this guy. First of all, Tebow had one of the best if not the best game of his career as Broncos QB. He played a smart game, ran for 93 yards and two scores, and didn’t throw any interceptions. Hey, it isn’t his fault the Broncos defense, which had been so good in recent weeks, gave up 41 points to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Maybe Tebow transferred his Tebow magic temporarily to Oakland, where the Raiders gave up a late lead to Detroit and lost. The Broncos still have a one game lead over Oakland with two to go. The Broncos go to Buffalo next week, which is down in the dumps and play the Chiefs at home. I still think the Broncos make the playoffs. The Chargers late season playoff push is going to be too little, too late.

-And with that win, the Patriots now control their own destiny to home field in the AFC Playoffs. The Patriots finish the season with home games against the Dolphins and Bills, so it looks like they will lock up the #1 seed. The defense still has some issues that need to be addressed, but I don’t know if their is an offense in the AFC that can keep up with Tom Brady and Co. Now that doesn’t mean the Patriots can’t be beat. The Patriots have put up two straight stinkers at home in the playoffs against Baltimore and the NY Jets. If defenses can put pressure on Tom Brady, then the Pats can be beat. And the Patriots defense is easily the worst it has been in recent memory, so if a defense shuts down Tom Brady, then the Pats could be in trouble.

-You have to give Ben Roethlisberger credit for playing last night, but you also have to wonder if his hobbled ankle hurt the team more than it helped. Ben turned the ball over 4 times in Pittsburgh’s loss to San Francisco. Some of his throws, specifically those 2 interceptions, were poorly thrown balls. Now I’m not saying Charlie Batch would have beat the 49ers. The 49ers have an excellent defense as evident by their shutting down of Big Ben, but he couldn’t have done any worse than Ben. The Steelers took almost all of their snaps out of shot gun formation, which hinders the team’s playbook. With the two match-ups the Steelers have left, vs St. Louis and at Cleveland, you almost wonder if Pittsburgh might rest Big Ben for the playoffs. Those are games this Steelers team should win without Big Ben under center.

Hey I’m Just Askin…
-Were those power outages a sign to California by the 49ers that they want a new stadium?

-How can a beast like Marshawn Lynch be satisfied with only Skittles?

-Why is nobody talking about SkeletonMania?

-Are the Eagles in the best position to win the NFC East?

-Will anyone in Cincinnati care if the Bengals make the playoffs?

-Could the Panthers be next year’s version of the Lions?

AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
1. New England Patriots  11-3  vs Miami
2. Baltimore Ravens  10-4  vs Cleveland
3. Houston Texans  10-4  at Indianapolis
4. Denver Broncos  8-6  at Buffalo
5. Pittsburgh Steelers  10-4  vs St. Louis
6. New York Jets  8-6  vs NY Giants
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7. Cincinnati Bengals  8-6  vs Arizona
8. Tennessee Titans  7-7  vs Jacksonville
9. Oakland Raiders  7-7  at Kansas City
10. San Diego Chargers  7-7  vs Detroit

This is pretty much a make it or break it week for every team left fighting for the last Wild Card spot. The Jets have a tough match-up left against the Giants. If they lose there, it could create a log jam heading into the final week for that spot. My early predictions say that the Bengals and Titans win, while the Raiders, Chargers, and Jets all lose.

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
1. Green Bay Packers  13-1  vs Chicago
2. San Francisco 49ers  11-3  at Seattle
3. New Orleans Saints  11-3  vs Atlanta
4. Dallas Cowboys  8-6  vs Philadelphia
5. Atlanta Falcons  9-5  vs New Orleans
6. Detroit Lions  9-5  vs San Diego
—————————————————–
7. Seattle Seahawks  7-7  vs San Francisco
8. Chicago Bears  7-7  at Green Bay
9. New York Giants  7-7  at NY Jets
10. Arizona Cardinals  7-7  at Cincinnati
11. Philadelphia Eagles  6-8  at Dallas

It would seem like a long shot for any of the 7-11 seeds to make the playoffs as a Wild Card, if at all. The Lions do have a tough schedule left, facing San Diego at home and going to Green Bay. The Giants and Eagles have a better shot at making the playoffs as the NFC East Division Champs. A big battle in the NFC South, with the Falcons having one last chance to try and win the division.

Three Games I’d Like to See Next Week
New York Giants vs New York Jets: The Battle of New York, with the loser likely out of the Playoffs.
San Diego Chargers vs Detroit Lions: Can the Lions clinch their first Playoff spot in a decade?
Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints: Think Mike Smith will go for it again on 4th and 1?

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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