Teams look to shine with playoff implications on the line

Teams look to shine with playoff implications on the line

Last week’s NFL schedule included games that were blowouts, shockers or disappointments.

The Blowouts: Some teams came out firing on all four cylinders and just dominated the gridiron. The New Orleans Saints blew away the Detroit Lions 31-17; the San Francisco 49ers blanked the St. Louis Rams 26-0; the Miami Dolphins blasted (and surprised) the Oakland Raiders 34-14; and finally the Pittsburgh Steelers cruised to a win over the Cincinnati Bengals 35-7. In terms of my predictions, I went 50-50 on those four games; I successfully called the victories for the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers.

For some of those teams, the loss probably will put them out of the playoffs. (Well, the Dolphins and the Rams were out before their games even started.) But the Bengals and the Lions, which had started well this season, have drifted. If they don’t win out, then I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs.

The final blowout game was the San Diego Chargers crushing the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-14. With the win, the Chargers are 5-7 on the year and still in the playoff hunt for their division. But if you look at the rest of their schedule, you’ll see it doesn’t favor the Chargers one bit. They have to play the Ravens, the Lions, and the division rival the Raiders.

The Shockers: The biggest shocker was probably the Arizona Cardinals beating the Dallas Cowboys in overtime, 19-13, and it’s Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett’s fault that they lost the game. You know how a team will try to ice the opposing team’s kicker when he’s about to attempt a field goal that could win the game? Well, Garrett called the timeout and iced his own kicker. That deserves a “C’mon, Man,” as ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson would say. If the Cowboys don’t make the playoffs this year by one game, you’ll know why.

Another big shocker was the Miami Dolphins stunning the Oakland Raiders 34-14. The Raiders, now 7-5, are now in a two-way tie for the division lead with the 7-5 Denver Broncos. The other two teams in the division, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers, are at 5-7 and only two games back from the division tie. So look for this division to come down to the final week to decide who gets in and who is on the outside looking in.

Another game worth mentioning was the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. Although the Colts didn’t win, they did make a good effort. The Colts scored three touchdowns in the 4th quarter to cut it to a 7-point deficit, but they failed to recover the onside kick. Even though the Colts didn’t win, it probably feels like a win for them. Maybe if they had started QB Dan Orlovsky sooner in the season, the Colts could a have a win or two by now.

The Disappointments: A couple of last week’s games were downright disappointing. I mean, the games shouldn’t have been televised because they were that bad. One game was the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears game. The final score was 10-3 Kansas City, but the game could’ve been a little more exciting. The Bears defense should have stepped up and picked off the Chiefs a couple of times to stop them from scoring. But that didn’t happen.

New head coach loses first game

It turns out that firing Head Coach Jack Del Rio earlier last week wasn’t such a good move for the Jacksonville Jaguars because they lost to the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, 38-14. The interim coach, Mel Tucker, didn’t get his first win in his appearance as just the third Jaguars head coach in franchise history.

The win for the Chargers puts them right back in contention for their division. But the Chargers have their problems with coaching, too. They announced last week that Norv Turner will not be the Chargers head coach next year. Turner went 103-110-1 in the regular season and then 4-4 in the post-season.

My picks

And now for my winning picks this week in blue. I didn’t have too bad of a week last week, going 9-7; I’m now 109-71 on the year.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Kansas CityChiefs @ New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots @Washington Redskins

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers

Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens

Philadelphia Eagles @ Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions

New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals

Chicago Bears @ Denver Broncos

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills @ San Diego Chargers

Oakland Raiders @ Green Bay Packers

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks