Brotherly love might not be so forthcoming now that the Eagles have dropped four of the last five games and are way on the outside and down the street looking at the Wildcard playoff picture. To quote Jim Mora, ‘Ah--playoffs?’ “Don’t talk about playoffs. You kiddin’ me?”.
Seattle is in a little better position with one less loss at (5-7) but would need to win out and get plenty of help from the rest of the NFC. The Seahawks were definitely better as they handed the Eagles an 8th loss. In the battle of the 2006 draft picks, second rounder Tavaris Jackson completed 13 of 16 passes for 190 yards, a touchdown and zero interceptions. Vince Young, the third overall draft pick, threw for 208 yards on 17 of 29 passes. Four of Young’s passes wound up in the hands of Seahawks defenders including two in the last 5 minutes. Both interceptions halted potential scoring drives . Behind by just 10 points and driving deep in Seattle territory David Hawthorne stepped in front of LaShon McCoy for a 77 yard pick six. Young followed that up by throwing up a prayer intended for RileyCooper that instead became a second interception for Brandon Browner.
A struggling St. Louis Rams squad rolls into town with a three game losing streak. With matchups against the red hot Arizona Cardinals and conference leading San Francisco 49ers looming on the horizon, the Seahawks have to take care of business if they want to maintain any hope of the last Wildcard spot dropping into their lap. Philadelphia gets a working vacation when they travel to Miami to knock heads with the Dolphins winners of 4 of their last 5.
Much ado had been made about the Giants having beaten the then undefeated Denver Broncos in 1998 leading up to Sunday’s game. And they almost did it again. Almost. Aaron Rodgers silenced that talk with a 4-play MVP-esque drive to set up M Crosby’s 31 yard game winning field goal. Rodgers held a class for young quarterbacks on how to utilize multiple receivers to move the offense. Three receivers caught passes of at least 18 yards to move the ball 68 yards in 55 seconds. Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin made it tough for the Packers tying the game up on a two point conversion. Eli Manning showed some moxie on the final scoring drive. Manning connected on 6 of 8 passes including 2-yarder to Hakeem Nicks for the touchdown.
The loss drops the Giants to an even 6-6 one game behind the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys. Thanks to the schedule makers the Giants can chart their playoff destiny with two games against the Cowboys over the next four weeks starting this Sunday. Green Bay welcomes the hot and cold Oakland Raiders to the unseasonably warm (36 degrees) Midwest. Oakland (7-5) is in need of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
At eight losses, Miami is playing the spoiler role really well. Oakland could have been in the driver’s seat for the last AFC Wild Card spot with a win. Apparently, the Dolphins saw it differently blanking the Raiders through the first three quarters. Reggie Bush had his first 100 yard game since Week 8 and Matt Moore had his third consecutive game without an interception. Coming into the game Oakland had won three straight as Carson Palmer’s familiarity with the Raiders offense grew.
While the Dolphins swim upstream to try and wreck the playoff plans of division-mates Buffalo and New York, the Raiders try to dethrone Green Bay and hold on to their own playoff hopes.
Atlanta wasn’t supposed to lose. Not to Houston. Third string rookie quarterback TJ Yates was reminded of his inexperience by Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon early in the game. Weatherspoon chased Yates out of bounds narrowly missing a sack before staring down the former Tar Heel and shouting something like I’m here rookie. The Falcons defense visited Yates for three sacks, forcing a fumble, and delivering hard hits just after the ball was released. Falcons DE John Abraham hit the Texans quarterback so hard the raucous Reliant Stadium went silent for moment.
Sunday’s loss was more about missed opportunities than anything. Atlanta had two defensive scores nullified due to penalties. The first a 90 yard fumble recovery by James Sanders and the second a Mike Peterson 31 yard pick six. The offense took its turn shooting holes in the boat. Matt Ryan missed Roddy White wide open behind the secondary in the first offensive series. Ryan tried to make up for it in the final seconds of the game throwing a potentially game tying strike to Julio Jones between two defenders in the endzone. Jones, who had made several incredible catches throughout the game, couldn’t hold onto the big one.
Atlanta travels to Carolina to face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers who have won their last two games. Houston travels to take on another Wild Card bubble team in the Cincinnati Bengals.
Green Bay and San Francisco are the only teams to secure spots in the playoffs thus far. New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Houston all stand at 9-3 with eyes towards home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Whichever team, Oakland or Denver both at 7-5, that doesn’t win the AFC West is likely out of the playoffs. Tennessee, Cincinnati, and New York are front runners for the last Wild Card spot standing all even at 7-5. The Jets, arguably, have the most advantageous schedule of the three.
The NFC East is a mirror image of the AFC West. Win the division or stay home and watch the third part of the season. Both Wild Card slots are wide open with Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit leading the way and the NY Giants hanging around the outskirts.