DJ Gallo's NFL Hangover, Week 12
It's still November and Indianapolis has already clinched its division. But the Colts are barely ahead of the pace. NFC East and AFC West excluded, the rest of the divisions are pretty much wrapped up, too.
So let's focus on the wild-card race. Which teams will earn those four spots into the postseason? Glad you asked. Because I know.
(Current conference position listed first.)
12. Texans (5-6): Their remaining schedule looks like this: at Jacksonville, home against Seattle, at St. Louis, at Miami and home against New England. Then it's home again until September because if there's a team that's going to come up big at the end yeah, it's not the Houston Texans.
11. Jets (5-6): The Jets finish with the Falcons, Colts and Bengals. Rex Ryan won't be leaving voice mails for Jets fans to get them fired up for the playoffs.
10. Titans (5-6): Too little too late -- especially with the Colts and Chargers coming up. I'm still waiting for Bud Adams to give Jeff Fisher the finger for riding Kerry Collins to a 0-6 start.
9. Dolphins (5-6): Their closing schedule is brutal: Patriots, Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Steelers. They'll be spending January at home in Miami. There are worse fates.
6. Jaguars (6-5): The Texans, Dolphins, Colts and Patriots remain on Jacksonville's schedule. If the playoffs started today, the Jaguars would be in. But it's good the playoffs don't start today, because lousy teams don't deserve to make the playoffs. Sorry, Jacksonville's fan*, you're not going to make it.
*I think his name is Gary.
5. Broncos (7-4): Tough road games against the Colts and Eagles remain. Denver currently sits ahead of Baltimore and Pittsburgh, but the Broncos lost to both of them so they'd lose the tiebreaker. The tiebreaker owns you, Josh McDaniels!
8. Steelers (6-5): The Steelers should pick up two wins in the next two weeks against the Raiders and Browns. Then they close with the Packers, Ravens and Dolphins. But by then Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu should be healthy. Polamalu does seven great things for Pittsburgh's defense and psyche. He's not for just dandruff.
7. Ravens (6-5): Baltimore still has road games against the Packers and Steelers, but the Ravens also get the Lions and Bears at home and close their season at Oakland. Ed Reed must have lateraled the schedule maker a substantial bribe.
9. 49ers (5-6): San Francisco is two games behind the Eagles and Packers with only five to play. With the Seahawks, Lions and Rams remaining on the schedule -- as well as a visit to Philadelphia that could make or break the 49ers -- it's not impossible for the Niners. But Mike Singletary might want to switch out that stopwatch for an extra cross for good luck.
8. Falcons (6-5): They close with the Jets, Bills and Buccaneers. But the next two weeks brings the Eagles and Saints. Win those two and they're probably in. Lose and they're probably out. (It's analysis like this that earns me the medium bucks.)
7. Giants (6-5): The Giants have won once in the past 49 days. They just got crushed by the Broncos. Their remaining schedule includes the Cowboys, Eagles and Vikings. And Eli Manning could be out with an injury. So at least it's not all bad.
6. Packers (7-4): The Ravens, Steelers and Cardinals remain on the schedule, but if Green Bay can win just one of those, the Packers should be in. Plus, I don't think God is cruel enough to let Aaron Rodgers sit at home while Brett Favre is in the playoffs. No, God wants Favre to beat the Packers in the playoffs, too.
5. Eagles (7-4): Closing schedule: Falcons, Giants, 49ers, Broncos, Cowboys. There's not an easy win there. But I still think the Eagles slip in. And if not, Eagles fans will get to destroy Andy Reid on sports radio. They win either way.
This Week's Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Team
Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers: 20-for-29, 250 yards, 2 TD
Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks: 22 carries, 130 yards, 2 TD
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: 116 total yards, 2 TD
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans: 7 catches, 128 yards, TD
Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins: 3 catches, 31 yards, TD
Donald Lee, TE, Packers: 4 catches, 22 yards, TD
Stat of the Week
27, 26, 26, 24
Those are the interception totals Jay Cutler, Jake Delhomme, Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez are on pace for, respectively(/disrespectively). This decade only two quarterbacks have thrown 25 or more interceptions in a season: Brett Favre in 2005 and Vinny Testaverde in 2000. And it's been since 1983 that three quarterbacks threw 25 or more in the same season (Lynn Dickey, Joe Ferguson and Richard Todd).
With Cutler, Stafford and Sanchez all set as the "future" for their teams, and with the Panthers incredibly having no better option than Delhomme (think about that and try not to have your brain explode), all four will likely play out the season and reach or eclipse those numbers. We may be witnessing a season we can one day tell our grandchildren about. When they're bad. And we want to make them cry.
Quote of the Week
"Anybody that sees us coming, they better bring their best, because that's what we're bringing to the table. And I back coach on that 100 percent. I work too hard in the offseason, and we worked our tails off to come out and defend our throne. Obviously, things haven't turned out like we planned. The next thing is to start knocking over people's houses until we get what we want."
-- Willie Colon, OT, Pittsburgh Steelers
Eh. That was okay, I guess. It could have been more inspiring. Of course, if Tim Tebow had said it, then I'd totally think it should be put on a plaque and preserved for all eternity.
Pictures of the Week
DJ Gallo is the founder of and sole writer for the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.
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