The weather is frigid, yet the race for the playoffs is as hot as it has ever been. With only three weeks left in the season after this week, the sense of urgency – for the teams that need it – are at code red levels. Those already planning offseason vacations find solace in knowing they leave coal in someone’s stocking. Week 14 had its fair share of notable games, upsets and a collapsed stadium roof for good measure.
Now, normally this weekly recap series is handled by Patrick M. Unfortunately, Pat is still attempting to thaw out from attending the Bears/Patriots game at Soldier Field yesterday. Heading into the match up, it was slated to be the premiere game of the week with both teams looking quite impressive. By the end of the game, however, New England put more points on the board (36) than inches of snow in the city of Chicago as they beat the Bears handedly. The loss stings, but the Lions beating Green Bay does help numb the pain the temperatures didn’t.
At this point, Tom Brady and his band of merry men appear to be the cream of the crop. Coming through New England in the playoffs – pending they secure home field – may be next to impossible. To make a great situation that much better, the Jets appear to be hitting speed bumps at the absolute worst point of the season. Rex’s boys have only managed to score nine points in the past two games against division rivals. And now their assistant coach is under fire for attempting to be the 12th man on the field. Literally.
Elsewhere in the NFL, the NFC South sans Carolina appear to be in for one hell a finish. Atlanta continues to march on towards the NFC’s best record while Drew Brees has basically put an end to the Madden-curse trend with the Saints quietly looking very intimidating. Tampa Bay skated out of Washington thanks to another comeback victory from the veteran looking second year man Josh Freeman.
The weekend’s best finish rested in the hands of the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. With less than two minutes left in regulation, Darren McFadden tied the game at 31 thanks to a 36 yard touchdown run – and this was after 67 and 51 yard touchdowns earlier. The strongest little man in the league, Maurice Jones Drew, made sure the Raiders headed back to the Bay with a losing record after his electric 30 yard scoring run ultimately won the game.
– The Steelers won again. This time without scoring an offensive touchdown. But who actually needs an offense when playing the Bengals? Troy Polamalu took another Carson Palmer pass to the endzone thus confirming the rumor he bullied the guy for his scholarship money while they were roommates at USC.
– After beating the Seahawks 40-21, the San Francisco 49ers are only a game back of the division lead and could seriously end up in the playoffs. Did we mention they are 5-8? Boise State deserves that bid.
– The Chiefs need Matt Cassel back quick, fast and in a hurry. In a game they desperately needed to create added distance from the Chargers, they resembled the Kansas City Chiefs we all knew and loved these past few seasons after mustering a whooping zero points in a 31-0 shutout.
– Mike Vick, Desean Jackson and Eagles are another step closer to a NFC East title after beating my Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. And then Tashard Choice asked for an autograph.
All this happens to take a backseat to the weirdest happening of the weekend. Mother Nature has moved the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings game – which was originally scheduled to be played Sunday at 1 p.m. – to Monday night in Detroit at Ford Field. Why, you ask? Because someone, somewhere, in someplace wants Brett Favre to keep his hunt for 300 consecutive straight starts alive. But really because the ghost of Brad Childress attempted to destroy the Metrodome.
Watch for yourself as the wrath of Chilly reeks havoc on his former stomping grounds.