NOTE: we’ll be live-blogging the Sunday night game tonight, for better or worse. Likely worse.
So, this is historic, if there are historic records for mediocrity: the 7-8 Rams play the 6-9 Seahawks in Qwest for the NFC West Division title. The Rams seem on the rise, led by rookie Sam Bradford and an aggressive defense. The Seahawks are in trouble: Matt Hasselbeck is a game-time decision, and if Charlie Whitehurst starts, the Seattle defense gets downgraded from “anemic” to “Panthers.” However, if the Seahawks win, they will be the first sub-.500 team in modern NFL history to make the playoffs. If they lose, they’ll likely get a top-10 pick in the draft. WIN-WIN, BABY!
Meanwhile, there are two ten-win teams in the NFC who will miss the playoffs. Can we all be grown-ups and try not to complain about this too much? It’s unfortunate for the Buccaneers and Giants, but plenty of teams have finished 10-6 and not made the playoffs: the Browns in 2007, the Chiefs in 2005, the Dolphins in 2003, and both the Eagles and 49ers in 1991. (It even happened to the Seahawks in 1986, but that was when the playoff system regularly screwed 10-6 teams, so the comparison isn’t very apt.)
I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry the NFC West sucks. There are more worthy teams for the playoffs, but the NFC West has to send ONE team, and this is as close to a real rivalry as the NFC West can give us. This may not have the hatred you see in the NFC East, but I can assure you all that I hate the Rams more than any team but the Steelers. I get ill thinking about the highlights that NBC is sure to dredge up tonight: the 2004 season, in which the 9-7 Seahawks won the division (losing twice to the Rams in the process, once in overtime) but lost to the 8-8 Rams in the first round of the playoffs, 27-20, when Bobby Engram dropped a pass in the end zone to end the game. Can’t wait to relive that one! Guhhhhhhhhh.
Guhhhhhhhh for all of us, really. But at least Saints fans can enjoy it: next week, New Orleans will deliver a deserved ass-whipping to the winner of this game. So there’s that. Now let’s get through this.