JC’s Top Rope Report: NFL Week 16 Review

It is almost Playoff time. Lets take a look at Week 16 action first!

Team of the Week: Detroit Lions
-The Lions get this spot for clinching their first playoff berth since 1999. There were high hopes for the Lions at the start of the season, and they lived up to that hype with a 5-0 start. The Lions encountered some road bumps in the middle of the season but have won three in a row, and they dominated the red hot San Diego Chargers on Saturday to secure their Wild Card berth. Matthew Stafford has turned into a promising franchise QB, and the Lions have found ways to make their offense work when teams shut down Calvin Johnson. The defense is still a bit shaky, but if the Lions passing game keeps playing as well as they are, they can give teams fits in the playoffs. The Lions would be a tough out for the Giants or Cowboys.

Game of the Week: Indianapolis Colts 19  Houston Texans 16
-Not a lot of good choices this week. Nothing really stood out. So I’m giving the nod to this game. The Colts drove down the field on the Texans and Reggie Wayne caught the game winning TD pass with under one minute left to win their second straight game and put their chances at Andrew Luck in jeopardy. The Colts face a bad Jaguars team next week, and with the Rams facing a good 49ers team, the Rams could steal the #1 pick. And the Rams could get a boatload in return for that pick. The Texans have lost two in a row and the offense has sputtered a bit in recent weeks. The Texans defense also shouldn’t let Dan Orlovsky drive down the field like he did on Thursday. The Texans have some kinks to work out before the Playoffs start, otherwise they could be one and done.

Dog of the Week: Rex Ryan, NY Jets Coach
-I’m sorry Rex, but it is time to shut that yap of yours and only open it when you are able to back what comes out of it up. Ryan talked a big game heading into the big Giants/Jets showdown in the Big Apple, and his Jets didn’t show up. Apparently, Giants RB Brandon Jacobs told him to shut his mouth after the game, and it is about time someone else did. Even if the Jets find a way to sneak into the Playoffs, they won’t have the success they have had the last few years. The team regressed badly this year, especially QB Mark Sanchez. Why is he throwing the ball 40+ times in a game. He isn’t that good of a QB to do that. Ryan’s mouth hasn’t backed up anything yet, and until he gets a ring of his own, he will always be second fiddle in New York.

Other Week 16 Notes
-I think it is safe to say that the luster is finally off of Tim Tebow. Tebow’s Denver Broncos were blown out again, this time by a Buffalo Bills team that had lost seven in a row headed into this week. The Bills defense used a four man front and forced Tebow to stay in the pocket and throw. And watching Tebow in person, he does not have a very good arm. If Tebow can’t run and make plays, he isn’t a very good QB. Now the Broncos face a must win situation this week against Kansas City. Win and the Broncos are in the Playoffs. But you know Kyle Orton, the man Tebow replaced, is dying to help keep his former team out of the Playoffs. The Chiefs defense has been playing very well as of late. Even in defeat, the Chiefs have only allowed one team since Week 12, the Jets in Week 14, to score more than 16 points. Tebow might need all of the magic he has left to help his Broncos win the AFC West.

-If I look back at my AFC Preview, I’m pretty sure I said the Bengals would be the worst team in the AFC this year. Well, it looks like I was completely wrong. The Bengals are one win away from getting the last Wild Card Spot in the AFC. Beat Baltimore at home this week and the Bengals are in. The Bengals got lucky against the Cardinals. Had Cardinals WR Early Doucet not tripped over the goal line, that game would have been going to overtime. But the Bengals control their own destiny, and that is all you can ask for heading into Week 17. The question is: Can a young Bengals team rise up to the challenge and beat a very good Ravens team that will be fighting for the AFC North Title? With the Steelers playing the Browns, the Ravens know they are going to have to win this game to clinch the AFC North and get a first round bye. The AFC North may be the best division in all of football.

-Watching Drew Brees and the Saints offense on Monday night, you have to wonder if they are the actual favorites to win the NFC. The Saints offense with Brees under center is almost unstoppable. They put up 41 points against a good Falcons defense. With the Packers heading into the Playoffs, you have to worry about their defense and if it can stop Brees for even one possession. Brees broke Dan Marino’s NFL single season passing yards record last night and deserves some consideration for MVP this year. I know Aaron Rodgers had his team undefeated all year, but the Saints would be absolutely nowhere without Brees. I don’t see anything preventing a Saints/Packers rematch for the NFC Championship, and I think these two are the heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl again.

Hey I’m Just Sayin…
-Good thing it isn’t up to Raheem Morris if he has to fire himself or not.

-Do the Rams take Andrew Luck and trade Sam Bradford? Or vice versa?

-Can T.J. Yates get the Texans out of the 1st round?

-The only way the 49ers are winning in the Playoffs is if the defense shuts down everyone.

-How did the AFC South become the worst division in football?

-Watch out for the Panthers next year.

AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
1. New England Patriots  12-3  vs Buffalo
2. Baltimore Ravens  11-4  at Cincinnati
3. Houston Texans  10-5  vs Tennessee
4. Denver Broncos  8-7  vs Kansas City
5. Pittsburgh Steelers  11-4  at Cleveland
6. Cincinnati Bengals  9-6  vs Baltimore
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7. Oakland Raiders  8-7  at San Diego
8. Tennessee Titans  8-7  at Houston
9. New York Jets  8-7  at Miami

The Wild Card Scenarios for all of the 8-7 teams are a bit complicated, so let me just tell you what I think happens. I think every team in the Wild Card race loses except the Titans. In that scenario, the Bengals and Titans both finish 9-7, and the Bengals would get in because they beat the Titans earlier in the year. I also think the Broncos beat the Chiefs and win the AFC West. The Pats clinch home field, and the Ravens win the AFC North, leaving the playoffs like this in the AFC.

1. New England
2. Baltimore
6. Cincinnati Bengals vs 3. Houston Texans
5. Pittsburgh Steelers vs 4. Denver Broncos

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
1. Green Bay Packers  14-1  vs Detroit
2. San Francisco 49ers  12-3  at St. Louis
3. New Orleans Saints  12-3  vs Carolina
4. New York Giants  8-7  vs Dallas
5. Detroit Lions  10-5  at Green Bay
6. Atlanta Falcons  9-6  vs Tampa Bay
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7. Dallas Cowboys  8-7  at NY Giants

Everything spot wise is set in the NFC besides the NFC East crown. Seeding is still up for grabs. I think the Giants beat the Cowboys in the finale. I also think the Lions beat the Packers in Lambeau. The Lions will play for the 5 seed because it means not going to New Orleans or San Francisco in Round 1. I think the seeds stay exactly as they are now in the NFC.

Three Games I’d Like to See Next Week
Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants: The team that makes the least amount of dumb mistakes wins.
Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals: Can the Bengals cap a surprise season in front of 45,000 “fans.”
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos: Can TEBOWMANIA rebound after two bad performances.

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

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