The late great NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle used to speak all the time about parody in the National Football League. Yet what we have seen over the last four days may have been tantamount to what his wishes were but it leaves a lot to be desired.
First on Thursday night the 11-3 Denver Broncos, who had the inside pole position for home field advantage, lose to the 7-7 San Diego Chargers 27-20. All of a sudden the Patriots can have home field if they win out. Oops they slipped on a banana peel against the 8-6 Miami Dolphins 24-20 and dropped to 10-4. Sure the Patriots had won 5 of 6 before that but they needed last second wins in 3 of those. The Broncos had won 6 of 7, yet lost at Invesco Field. Not the message to send to the league when securing home field.
Then we move to the NFC East leading Philadelphia Eagles who were on a five game winning streak. All they had to do was keep their #2 ranked offense on track against a 31st ranked defense in Minnesota. Nevermind the Vikings were 3-7-1 in their last 11 games. They fell 48-30 and the chance for the Dallas Cowboys to tie them in the division.
The Cowboys knew that when they took the field agianst the Green Bay Packers led by back-up quarterback Matt Flynn. They stormed out to a 26-3 halftime lead, then did their best Run & Shoot impression and refused to run the football and use the clock. The Packers roared back and won 37-36 scoring on all five second half possessions and Tony Romo… sigh…pulled a Tony Romo. The 8-6 Eagles accidentally still lead the 7-7 Cowboys in the NFC East.
Did we say something about accidentally leading their division?? Take the Cincinnati Bengals. They took the field after the Patriots lost and now can take the #2 seed if they won their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers and won their next two games. Then they hit their heads on the goalposts in Pittsburgh and was down 21-0 at the end of the first quarter en route to a 30-20 loss to their division rival. Viola!! Back to the #3 spot that would have them playing on wildcard weekend.
Even the Arizona Cardinals almost pulled a fast one on themsleves. In the hunt for the final NFC playoff spot with an 8-5 record, and winners of 6 out of 7 contests traveled to Tennessee. They were up 34-17 in the fourth over a Titan team that had lost their starting quarterback for the season and losers of 4 of their last 5 contests. Wouldn’t you know they played down to their competition and allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to look like Joe Montana in roaring back to tie the game at 34. Just before the Cardinals could botch their season they squeezed out a 37-34 win.
Que the video short of Vince Lombardi screaming “What the hell is going on out here?!?”
Next to screw things up are the Baltimore Ravens. Thanks to the Bengals gaffe last night, they control their own destiny and can win the AFC North. No way can they in this weekend of parody not screw this up and lose to the Detroit Lions tonight. Stay tuned.
As for the teams that are making a case for being dominant, the Seattle Seahawks just finished their 2013 road stanza with a gaudy 6-2 record. Their next away game will be Super Bowl XLIII in the Meadowlands with just one more win. Considering they haven’t lost at home in nearly two years, this is a case for dominance. Counting their 6-0 home record, Seattle’s average margin of victory at home is by 3 touchdowns at 18.6.
The Chiefs aren’t quite making a case for dominance but Jamaal Charles is. Andy Reid and the coaches should be ashamed they didn’t pay attention to the fact that Charles was 1 touchdown short of tying Gale Sayers, Dub Jones, and Ernie Nevers all time record of 6 touchdowns. With 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter you’d think someone would get that information to the sideline. Hell George Halas had pulled Gale Sayers with 5 touchdowns until the crowd called for Sayers to go for another. Well he’ll have to settle for the Chiefs record book with his 215 yards from scrimmage 5 TDs including 4 receiving.
Lost in the shuffle is the fact that a defensive first team the first part of the season has transformed into an offensive team. Going into yesterday’s battle with Oakland, the Chiefs had averaged 37 points per game over the last four weeks. After yesterday’s 56-31 win, that averaged moved up to 41.75 over five games. Slightly better than AFC West rival Denver’s 32.5 points per game. Yet Denver swept the Chiefs and both have 11-3 records. The Chiefs are forced to see if the Broncos will blink in their final contests @ Houston then @ Oakland. As you’ve just read with all these teams, stranger things just happened.
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