Yet again the NFL continue to surprise me even more than the week before.
- I think a majority of people expected the Cardinals to come away with a win over the Packers but nobody predicted that it would be such a blow out. I was actually kind of upset that we had to watch the Rams/Seahawks instead of this potential playoff preview but it became clear after the first half I was watching the better game. The Packers had no answer for any defense formation the Cardinals came up with. Aaron Rodgers yet again put up disappointing numbers, which is very unlike him. Carson Palmer on the other hand was leading touchdown drives in under a minute. Everything has come together for Arizona this year and they are not just playing the good teams tough, they are blowing them away. They are just a win away from potentially getting home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If they get to play at home all through January, I would hate to be the visiting team.
- I just had a feeling the Falcons were going to be the ones to knock off the Panthers for the first time this season. The last couple of games Cam Newton has looked more human and the team looked beatable. Even though their first match up was a complete blow out, the Falcons defense held strong on many occasions to keep this a low scoring affair. If the Falcons would have played like they did yesterday, maybe they would still be in the playoff hunt. They are easy to ignore when they are winning but now that they have lost a game, the cracks in the Panthers are beginning to show. Once Super Bowl favorites, it is funny how a single loss can humanize you. The Panthers end the season against the Buccaneers so the top seed in the NFC is still very easily surmountable, but if they drop the final game of the season they very well could be the second seed.
- The Jets are another team that took away a big upset victory and honestly doesn’t surprise me. Divisional opponents are impossible to predict and this isn’t the same caliber of the Rams upsetting the Seahawks. The Jets are playoff bound with a win next week, they are no slouch. Of course they should be a bit worried they had a strong lead that they gave up and couldn’t get the job done during regulation. If you are a regular reader of mine you know that I think the Jets are the equivalent of the island of misfit toys. Well these toys may very well be able to fight their way to a conference championship, especially considering all the injuries to the top ranked teams. There is not a team they can’t beat and winning when it really matters against the Patriots proves that you can no longer take them lightly.
- Continuing with the theme of big upsets, the Ravens coming away with a win against the Steelers may be the biggest upset of the week. The Ravens are playing with their B squad at almost every position and have been knocked out of the playoffs for many weeks now. The Steelers just needed to win out to ensure their playoff bid. This opened the door for the surging Chiefs to finish off a historic season and clinch a playoff spot. It also makes the Steelers rely on other teams if they want to play an additional week this season. Luckily for them next week is the last week and everyone is facing a divisional opponent so the week will be just about as impossible to predict as this season. Sure they need help but if you think this season is wrapped up, this must be your first week watching.
- The season finale of Monday Night Football did not disappoint. While it was not the Dalton/Manning match up many of us wanted to see it still gave us everything we would want in a game. A great comeback and an exciting overtime game. With the Broncos winning, they finally get into the playoffs and still have a shot at the number one seed. The Bengals will need a lot of help to avoid playing wildcard weekend but at least they get to play at home. AJ McCarron has shown he is not ready for the playoff caliber teams. He will need all the help he can get.