We’ve wrapped another week of the NFL season and some of these playoff races are barely any clearer. But that matters not! Some playoff hopes were smothered while others reignited in pigskin-flavored blaze. We’ll cover them all in The Final Drive!
(9-2) New Orleans Saints 17
(2-9) Atlanta Falcons 13
I wanted a blow-out, but I ended up with a close game between two teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Oh well. The stats for this game are astoundingly similar, with the Saints just managing to hang onto their lead late, after Mike Smith tried the field goal down four with only a couple minutes left, thinking he’d get the ball back. That didn’t happen. But this totally happened…
(5-6) Pittsburgh Steelers 27
(4-7) Cleveland Browns 11
My earlier prediction of this being a close game was contingent on Brandon Weeden NOT showing up at some point. Once that guy shows up in a game, all bets are off. This game had Cleveland out-gain the Steelers on offense, but the Browns’ FOUR turnovers (three fumbles, one Weeden INT) killed their chances of winning.
(3-8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
(6-5) Detroit Lions 21
They’re still in first place, but whatever. It’s still hilarious.
(5-5-1) Green Bay Packers 26
(2-8-1) Minnesota Vikings 26
Yep, you read those scores right. This was a tie. Scott Tolzien made the highlight reels with a decent spin move that led right into a touchdown, but the quarterback was ineffective at passing the ball (sortof a problem for a QB), giving way to Matt Flynn. Playing very respectably for a guy who just joined the team, Flynn will be the starter on Thursday when the Packers take on the Lions. For Minnesota, Adrian Peterson’s 146 yard performance was wasted on a tie. Lame. Are they gonna send out Josh Freeman yet?
(5-6) San Diego Chargers 41
(9-2) Kansas City Chiefs 38
All of a sudden, the Chiefs are on a two-game losing streak! Their offense actually produced, but their defense gave up a crap-ton of points to the Chargers, who are going to make things interesting as we get closer to the playoffs. I don’t think they’ll make it in, but they should at least be entertaining, if only for the Philip Rivers flip-outs.
(8-3) Carolina Panthers 20
(5-6) Miami Dolphins 16
Carolina admirably fought through what was certainly appearing to be a trap game. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but a close win over a team with “playoff aspirations” can’t be overlooked. Cam Newton lead the team in rushing for the third time this season. On a team with that talented running back rotation, that could eventually be a problem. But for now the Panthers are in the driver’s seat for the fifth seed in the NFC.
(5-6) Baltimore Ravens 19
(5-6) New York Jets 3
Geno Smith’s upside hasn’t been enough to overlook the rate at which he’s turning the ball over. That being the case, Rex Ryan has been examining his options when it comes to the quarterback position. That being the case, Matt Simms is the back-up. So Geno Smith it is! Watch them slowly fall out of the Wild Card hunt. Baltimore’s offense was just not shitty enough in this win, so they get a chance to go to 6-6 on Thanksgiving night against the Steelers.
(2-9) Jacksonville Jaguars 13
(2-9) Houston Texans 6
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I can’t help but feel a little sorry for Texan fans, who are undoubtedly watching their team crumble before their very eyes. I don’t have a lot of helpful explanations either. Keenum is young and making poor decisions, but he also gives them the most spark at the position. The defense is good, but couldn’t force the freakin’ Jaguars into any turnovers. And now they’re in the running for the number one pick in the draft. Eep.
(5-6) Tennessee Titans 23
(4-7) Oakland Raiders 19
Huh. Ryan Fitzpatrick actually played well… and didn’t throw an interception. Pretty sure we’re in bizarro land now.
And don’t look now, but the Titans are the sixth seed in the AFC playoff race… for now. That’ll change for sure as the season rolls on.
(7-4) Arizona Cardinals 40
(7-4) Indianapolis Colts 11
We should all severely doubt the Colts’ chances of making it past the first round of the playoffs with the way they’re playing these days. I’m well aware Arizona is a good team with a solid defense, but come on! The Indy offense is forcing the run despite the fact that Trent Richardson sucks at running the ball. Donald Brown should be seeing the bulk of the carries, but eventually that offensive line has to get better at creating lanes. Right now the Colts are misfiring on both sides of the ball. Arizona? Just the opposite. They look prime for a playoff appearance.
(6-5) Dallas Cowboys 24
(4-7) New York Giants 21
With as much time as NBC spent on this game during their halftime show, I can only assume at their level of disappointment at not broadcasting it themselves. The Giants’ winning ways came to a halt at the hands of Tony Romo, who led a 14-play drive to set up the game-winning field goal. And Jason Garrett didn’t let Romo screw it up by having him run around and heave it up for grabs, either. Now that the G-Men and their silly trash talk are out of the NFC East picture, this means week 17’s meeting between the Cowboys and Eagles could have a division title at stake. NBC just piddled on the floor.
(8-3) New England Patriots 34
(9-2) Denver Broncos 31
This game had it all. Denver scored 24 points in the opening half, shutting out the Patriots thanks to multiple fumbles. The second half saw 31 unanswered points from New England, to which Denver responded with a game-tying touchdown. Then a muffed punt in overtime (after Bill Belichick elected to kick the ball) gave the Patriots the ball deep in Bronco territory, where a field goal gave them the hard-earned win. In total there were ELEVEN fumbles, six of which were lost. It was a hella-fun Sunday night game that actually lived up to the hype.
(7-4) San Francisco 49ers 27
(3-8) Washington Offensive Names 6
Washington’s offense was a hot mess Monday night, as they couldn’t even surpass 200 total yards. They were steam-rolled by the Niners, who did more than enough to escape D.C. with a victory. But the highlight of the night was clearly this superkick to RGIII’s junk. (Tirico called it the “midsection.”)
And another week of The Final Drive is finished! Week 12 leaves us with the Titans and Niners as the sixth seeds in either conference. Let’s see if they can hold onto those positions as the season progresses! I’ll be back later in the week for a preview of the Thanksgiving Day action!