Saturday, January 2, 2010

Week 17- Bad Attitudes

The League:
It's the final week of the regular season, and it is clear that what we knew about the NFL one month ago is no longer relevant.  The best teams entering December were clearly the Colts, Saints and Vikings.  The Colts' leadership is in question.  Why did Jim Caldwell wait until week 16, in a game halfway through the third quarter (in a game his team was winning) to finally make a real coaching decision.  Peyton Manning runs that team, and Caldwell had to know he would stir up some controversy.  The best teams in the playoffs are the ones that are the quietest.  Heard anything in the news about the Eagles or Chargers lately?  The Saints offense, once perceived as unstoppable, is sputtering to a halt.  After a blistering 13-0 start to the season, New Orleans has lost two games in a row (both at home).  The Cowboys loss was excusable, Dallas needed that game desperately.  But blowing a 17-0 lead to Tampa Bay? Really?  Not to mention they had that game won pending a last minute field goal from their idiot kicker.  Nope... shanked again.  And how are the Saints combating this recent trend of losing?  Sitting the starters for the finale, of course!  One bye week isn't enough, apparently they need two to be as rusty as possible for a divisional playoff showdown.  The Vikings have cruised to the NFC North title behind a fairly easy schedule (.423 opponent winning percentage in 2009; 2nd easiest).  But when put to the test in December, the Vikings have potentially fumbled their way out of a bye week in the first round.  But this year was supposed to be Brett Favre's year, right!?  2009 was Favre's year, not 2010.  Happy New Year Brett.

But my most favorite thing about the end of the season is that coaches finally have the guts to do what they really want.  Why not burn as many bridges as possible en route to another late season swoon?  Broncos coach Josh McDaniels doesn't care about the contract status of receiver Brandon Marshall or tight end Tony Scheffler, that's not his business.  But the two players apparently have been complaining about their injuries, so McDaniels believes that the best option is to sit them.  While I believe most fans are okay with a coach sitting a player due to injury, I know that most fans are not okay with that coach personally calling that player out in a press conference.  The aura of McDaniels is fading for Broncos fans.  Is his best option really to call out his best offensive player before a must-win game? Probably not.  Nonetheless, the team is in position for a winning season and possibly playoffs; something completely unexpected before the season started.  And whatever happened to the Broncos throwbacks?  I have noticed many of the other old AFL teams wearing their throwbacks much more often than the Broncos have.  Am I blinded by their beauty, or am I one of the few who actually likes the yellow-ish puke/ dirt brown colors?

Week 17 picks:
Home teams are in caps

Colts (+8) over BILLS
PANTHERS (-7) over Saints
Jaguars (+1) over BROWNS
Eagles (+3) over Cowboys
Bears (-3) over LIONS
TEXANS (-7) over Patriots
DOLPHINS (+3) over Steelers
Giants (+8) over VIKINGS
Bengals (+9.5) over JETS
49ers (-7.5) over RAMS
Falcons (-2.5) over BUCCANEERS
Packers (+3) over CARDINALS
BRONCOS (-10) over Chiefs
RAIDERS (+10.5) over Ravens
CHARGERS (-3) over Redskins
Titans (-6) over SEAHAWKS

So... if these picks hold, then the Broncos are going to the playoffs baby!

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