NFL week 15 wrapup
Week 15 in the NFL...
- I've been one of the proponents of the Jets handing the QB job over to Kellen Clemens on the grounds that Chad Pennington's too limited, and they need to find out if they've got a quarterback they can win with. But when Clemens went out on the Jets second offensive play on Sunday, I thought it was a bad thing from a Patriots point of view. In those weather conditions, Pennington was far more of a threat to New England, because his game (short passes, ball control, ball safety) is the kind of game that is least affected by, and most effective in, the cold rain and wind they were playing in.
- How bad has Cincinnati's defense been? Watching on Thursday night, there was a feeling of hopelessness that they'd ever stop that San Franscisco offense. The Bengals problems were compounded by one of the absolute worst challenge flags in the history of instant replay, as Marvin Lewis burned a timeout that his team need just a minute later in a futile attempt to have a Chad Johnson not-even-close-to-a-catch declared a touchdown.
- Speaking of Ocho Cinco, has any allegedly "great" receiver ever dropped as many easily catchable balls? Whenever I see him, it seems like he has more drops than catches.
- Hmm. Has Philadelphia given the league a "blueprint" for beating the Cowboys?
- I've been saying all season that the Dolphins would win a game, and now they've done so. Which ruins the storylines for this weekend. There has never been an 0-15 team or a 15-0 team in the NFL, and, had Matt Stover hit that field goal in overtime, we could have had both as the result of one game this weekend.
- Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say:
Baltimore at Miami - "The Ravens played their best against New England two weeks ago, and absolutely melted down at the end. Last week indicated that they hadn't gotten over it. If Miami's going to win one, it'll be this one. So I'll make a pick I don't quite believe, and go with the Dolphins."
Buffalo at Cleveland - "Buffalo's been tough and gritty, they're well-coached, physical, disciplined, and they've overcome a lot to be in playoff contention through week 14. None of that's going to be enough. Cleveland by a touchdown."
Detroit at San Diego - "The Chargers haven't been great, haven't been consistent, haven't won all of the games that they should have won. But the Lions have basically played themselves out of contention over the past month, and there's no reason to expect anything good to come from flying across the country to play on grass against a team finding their stride."
Atlanta at Tampa Bay - "The Dolphins are winless, the 49ers are probably worse, but nowhere seems like the scene of a train-wreck more than Atlanta. When your franchise quarterback spends the fall in courtrooms and jails instead of on the field, when he's sentenced in a federal court the day before your coach quits, well, that's a bad scene. I can see Petrino's absence actually being a breath of fresh air in that locker room, but there's no particular reason to think that there's enough talent for it to matter much."
- Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite):
Cincinnati at San Francisco - "Finally, the Bengals face an offense so bad that even their defense can hold it under 20."
Seattle at Carolina - "The Seahawks aren't a great road team, but they're better on the road than Carolina is at home. The Panthers are just bad, almost San Francisco-Atlanta-Miami bad, and the home woes will continue."
- Evidence that I should be listening carefully to what I say and learning from it instead of making the same mistakes over and over and over and over again:
Tennessee at Kansas City - "One of the big mistakes that gets me in trouble picking games is to pick a team to cover that I don't expect to win. Here is an example of me making that mistake again. I don't think that the Chiefs can score against Tennessee, but I don't trust Vince Young as far as I could throw him. The Titans win a close game, keeping their playoff hopes alive, to the consternation of prospective playoff watchers everywhere."
- For the week:
- For the season: