Well, this is it for the 2012 NFL regular season. For the AFC, this is fairly anticlimactic. The playoff seats are already occupied. The seating arrangement is all that’s left to be determined.
OTOH!! For the NFC, I don’t know how they managed this, but whoever had the Cowboys and Redskins as the last game of the season, they could not have picked a better one! It’s pretty simple for the Cowboys. If they win, they win the division and go to the playoffs. Lose and they go home for the season. I’ll have more about the playoffs in the individual game matchups.
Falcons (13-2) Well, this is a meaningless game. The Buccs aren’t going to playoffs. The Falcons have the home field advantage throughout the playoffs regardless of the outcome of this game. Were it me, I wouldn’t risk my starters on this one. Give them a few reps to make sure they don’t get rusty, and then sit them.
Bills (5-10) I’m really pulling for the Bills in this one. And, I think they’ll win. The Jets are taking a dive straight down the toilet bowl. One only has to look to Ryan as the reason. His stubborn refusal to admit Sanchez isn’t a good QB and his even more stubborn refusal to give Tebow a shot at the position is the largest reason why the Jets are in turmoil. Apparently, Sanchez is going to start the last game of the season. Can someone explain that rationale? The good news is I think Tebow will be headed to Jacksonville next year. It’ll be good for Tebow to get away from all of the haters up in NY. Sadly he won’t escape the haters at ESPN, but that’s for another discussion.
Bengals (9-6) A playoff preview? This would be an interesting game if it meant anything. It probably doesn’t. They’re both going to the playoffs, and the Ravens have the division locked up. I’d look for both teams to rest their starters. Bengals take this one at home.
Steelers (7-8) This has been a disappointing season for the Steelers. And, yes, this is another meaningless game. The Steelers should be motivated to get the win to avoid a losing season.
Bears (9-6) This is a must win for the Bears. Lose and they go home. Even if they win, they still need the Vikings to lose to make it to the playoffs. Lions invent yet another way to lose, Bears take this one. A note to the NFL…… it’s isn’t fun to watch football if all they’re going to do is pass the ball. Matt Stafford will go over 700 pass attempts for the season. Johnson for the Lions is probably going to go over 2000 in receiving yards, he’s already got the single season record.
Titans (5-10) There’s absolutely no reason for the Jags to win this game. They need a loss to get the first draft pick, I expect them to be successful towards that aim.
Giants (8-7) The Giants still have a chance at the playoffs, but it isn’t very likely. They can earn wild card with win vs. Eagles PLUS the Bears, Cowboys and Vikings all have to lose. Still, they should beat the hapless Eagles.
Saints (7-8) It just took the Saints too long to get rolling. They started 0-4 and dug a hole they couldn’t crawl out of. I think they’ll play this game to avoid the losing season.
Colts (10-5) Another playoff preview? After looking near invincible for most of the season, the Texans look very beatable going into the playoffs. Both teams are going to the playoffs, so this game loses some of its relevancy. The Texans want to win to try and get home field throughout the playoffs, but I don’t know that they will beat the Colts today. I think the Colts get this one.
Vikings (9-6) This is a maybe playoff preview. The Vikes can get into the playoffs with a win. The Packs run defense is highly suspect. Look for Peterson to go over 2000 yards for the season. Will it be enough to get the record? He needs 208 for the record. He ran for 210 the last time these teams played each other, so it’s very doable, but not likely. I look for the Vikings to get this one at home.
Seahawks (10-5) These two teams have increased their level of play this year. Too bad for the Rams the Seahawks improved more than they did. The Seahawks could, in theory, still win the division. They have to win this one, but the Niners have to find a way to lose to the Cardinals. So, wildcard playoff bound it is for the Seahawks.
Patriots (11-4) Well, it was a year of “almost” for the Dolphins. The season is far from over for the Pats. They’ll take this one and hope to build momentum going into the playoffs.
Broncos (12-3) The Chiefs will continue their losing ways against the Broncs. Manning has worked some great magic this year. I can’t wait to see him in the playoffs again!
Chargers (6-9) What a disappointing season for the Chargers. They just couldn’t get it going this year. Same for the Raiders, but they’re used to it. I look for the Chargers to end their season with a win.
49ers (10-4-1) How does a team start 4-0 and then only win one more game for the rest of the season? I’m not sure how, but the Cards will manage it. 49ers take this one. Were I the Cardinals, I’d look over at the bench of SF for next year. They’ve got an excellent QB just sitting there and the Cards desperately need a QB.
Cowboys (8-7) IMHO all of the previous games mentioned were yawners. This is the only real game of the week. The Dallas defense is beat up. It’s linebackers are weak, so RG3 should be open for some runs, right? Except, he’s wearing a knee brace, so this should give the Dallas D some help in containing him. Both QBs, RG3 and Romo have been lighting up the scoreboard lately. Over the last 7 games, Romo has thrown for 17 TD’s and only 3 interceptions. RG3 is 13 TDs for only 2 ints over the same time period. The Redskins are smoking hot, having won it’s last 5 games. Both defenses tend to give up big pass plays in the D backfield. Look for a shoot out. If there ever was a time for Dallas to put together 4 full quarters, this is the game. I think they will. Bryant seems to have settled down a bit. If he can play consistently, then Witten and Austin should open up. RG3 only ran twice last week against the Eagles. This lack of the extra dimension he usually gives should make it into a purer passing matchup and help the Dallas D against the RB Morris.