Thursday, December 20, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
Playoff road gets clearer
An NFL enthusiast can barely blink while catching his or her breath between all the moving (coaches, that is) and shaking in the collegiate ranks, before realizing that week 15 has come and gone in the pro battles.
After Sunday’s slate was entered into the record books, the American Football Conference presented a pretty good picture of how the playoff road was going to look. There were three “division clinchers” and one “wildcard” slot sewed up. The best record of the clinchers goes to the Houston Texans with their 12-2 mark. The New England Patriots (10-4), Denver Broncos (11-3), and the wild card Baltimore Ravens (9-5) round out the other leaders in the AFC.
The NFC East once again appears to be the highest ceiling to crack. It wasn’t done on Sunday either, leaving the playoff picture as clear as the Mississippi after a swell. The Redskins, Cowboys and Giants (yes, those three), are all in a neat bundle at 8-6. If there are any Eagles fans out there looking, you may stop. It won’t be this season.
Green Bay (10-4) clinched the North, Atlanta Falcons the South and like their counterpart in the AFC (Texans), they have the hottest brand (record) going at 10-2. The wildcard spot was gobbled up by the 49ers on Sunday when they fought a snow storm and Bill Belichik to claim a 41-34 victory.
The New York Jets and Tennessee Titans will take to the gridiron on Monday night but there probably won’t be a lot of consequences attached to this outing.
There were two shutouts during week 15, one of giant proportions one might say. The World Champion New York Giants were thumped 34-0 by the Falcons. It has been a goodly number of years since this has happened. The other was the New Orleans Saints over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 41-0.
The lone overtime game featured the virtual shoot-out between America’s team and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’ll readily admit that I thought the Cowboys had no chance against the “steel curtain.” Owner Jerry Jones seemed to be elated.
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