Week 17 Observations
I was 8-1 against the spread in the early games, and looking at 3-3 or 4-2 in the afternoon when the Cardinals covered on a 4th-and-24 hail mary, the Chargers got a punt blocked and blew their cover (how could I expect otherwise from them?) and the Packers couldn't send their game into overtime.
I think Adrian Peterson should probably win the MVP award after getting the Vikings into the playoffs. Otherwise, it might as well just be called the MVQB award. Peyton Manning was only marginally better than Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and RGIII, but no one was close to Peterson from the running back slot. Put differently, if you take Manning and Knowshon Moreno/Willis McGahee off the Broncos and replace them with Peterson and an average QB like Andy Dalton, they're probably 13-3 either way. This same fallacy happens in the draft where teams fall all over themselves to get a franchise quarterback, not realizing that there are probably 15 QBs from Jay Cutler (for whom the Bears traded an arm and a leg) to Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco to Cam Newton who are considered that by their respective franchises. Take away Manning from the Broncos, and you still have a very good foundation - even Tim Tebow won a playoff game with that team last year. Take away Peterson from the Vikings, and you have a team drafting a top-5 pick. And while several QBs - Brady, Rodgers, RGIII, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger - probably could have led this Broncos team to a top playoff seed, what running back other than Peterson would have gotten the Vikings into the playoffs?
Is anyone (other than fans of the teams) excited for HOU-CIN or BAL-IND? By contrast, could anyone not be excited about the SEA-WAS game which will probably be a pick 'em. I could see the public taking Seattle and the sharps on WAS. Not sure which way I'll go yet.
For those of you doing playoff drafts, I put together the playoff cheat sheet for the site. I like the Packers (home game against the Vikings), the Patriots and Broncos as the teams to bankroll, as they're very likely to have two games and have the upside to win the whole thing. The 49ers could win the Super Bowl, but they likely draw the Packers in their first game and could easily be one and done. The Falcons will be vulnerable to the winner of the Redskins-Seahawks game, but only one of those two is going to make it, so while both have upside, it's a crapshoot which will get through. One could also go ugly with the Ravens and Texans, both of whom are 2:1-ish favorites at home. But should either win, it would be a big underdog in Round 2.
That Michael Floyd had such a great game is yet another indictment of Ken Whisenhunt for burying him all season.
The Rams are apparently not the least bit intimidated by their physical NFC West foes. The played the Seahawks to a draw for most of the game in a very tough environment.
I love that the Colts beat up on the Texans despite having nothing for which to play. Houston didn't deserve the No. 1 seed, and it would be a shame for the Pats and Broncos to play before the AFC title game .
While I hate the Cowboys and am glad to see them not wasting a playoff spot (as they had zero chance to do any damage), it was annoying to see the Redskins gifted the game-winning first down on a roughing-the-passer call. Yes, the defender hit RGIII in the head, so technically it was a foul, but it wasn't a hard blow, and he wasn't hurt by it. As a result, instead of kicking the FG to go up six, with Dallas getting the ball back, the Redskins chewed more clock, got a TD and put away the game. One can argue it was dumb to hit RGIII and it was, but there has to be some discretion as to what's a dangerous hit and what's a harmless accident, especially when it artificially ends one team's season. We want to see who the better team is, not who ran afoul of a cheap technicality.
When Kyle Shanahan compared Alfred Morris to Terrell Davis after Week 2, I thought it was ridiculous and probably code for "he's losing his job to Evan Royster any day." But that comparison was never more apt than in Week 17 when Morris looked like Davis' carbon copy, gashing the defense all day and breaking through for a long TD in the second half. Pierre Garcon is a decent weapon, but if the Redskins ever got a game-breaker like Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant or Julio Jones, the offense would be unstoppable.
The Panthers decided to take the Ferrari (DeAngelo Williams) for a spin today. It's way too expensive to use regularly though.