“Time to separate the platinum from the white gold/Right from the door/The real from the fake, Ready rock from the raw…” – Jay-Z
With the NFL season winding down, Week 16 found teams looking to sew up playoff spots. Although the top seeds were pretty much solidified, there were enough teams with hopes of a Wild Card berth jockeying for seeding to keep things interesting throughout the extended holiday weekend round of games.
— The New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals both claimed division titles with wins today. The Patriots looked like gangbusters in dispatching the Jacksonville Jaguars 35-7. Randy Moss only had four catches for 45 yards, but made them count with three of them going for touchdowns. Whether the offense is back on track or benefited from the Jag’s tepid pass defense remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the Bengals had a tougher time handling the Kansas City Chiefs, but got it together late and took the game with a 14 play, 98 yard drive to run down the clock and get the go-ahead touchdown.
— Midnight finally struck for Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans when they ran into a buzz-saw while facing the San Diego Chargers, losing 42-17. The Chargers claimed the AFC’s second seed and eliminated the Titans in the process.
— The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers slugged it out with the Steelers keeping their slim playoff hopes alive and kept their division rival from clinching a Wild Card berth. The Ravens still control their own destiny, but will have to face an Oakland Raiders team who’ve claimed four of their five wins against playoff contenders.
— The New York Jets will undoubtedly be sending Jim Caldwell a thank you card tomorrow after essentially handing them a 29-15 victory on a silver platter after pulling Peyton Manning for Curtis Painter in the second half. With the top seed and first round bye already secure going in, history was the only thing on the line for the Colts. Sure this will be pegged as a smart move by talking heads and pundits across the country, but there’s something to be said about having the balls to strive for 19-0. This game may have locked up the MVP for Peyton though. So with a win over the Bengals next week, the Jets will be in as well, regardless of what else happens.
For all the AFC playoff scenarios, click here.
Things are much simpler in the NFC. With the New York Giants losing to the Carolina Panthers and Dallas shaking off their December doldrums with a win over the Washington Redskins, the six teams are already locked in. The teams are in place, but their order is far from settled.
— The New Orleans Saints barely control their own destiny for the top seed after a 20-17 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Connor Barth’s 47-yard field goal. The Saints looked vulnerable for the second week in a row after the big play was taken away from them and their inability to sustain drives is troubling. With a win, they can still hold onto the top spot, but it does open the door for the Minnesota Vikings to supersede them if they lose coupled with the Vikes winning out.
— Donovan McNAbb led the Philadelphia Eagles on a late fourth quarter drive to set up a game winning field goal by David Akers to beat the Denver Broncos 30-27. By holding on after relinquishing a 17 point lead, the Eagles set up a match-up with Tony Romo & the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East Division title and the third seed.
— And for your mass consumption, the highlight reel from Week 16 featuring key plays from the Raiders and Bucaneers as they marched to victory. Yes, the Raiders and Bucs made the highlights.