There is two weeks left in the NFL season and I have no idea who is going to win this thing.
There were big matchups with contending teams that were supposed to define our journey into the postseason. If it cleared things up for you, congratulations. I have a better chance of predicting the plot lines to next season’s Homeland.
A month ago the New York Giants looked like they were cruising to the division title. They were also seen as the modest favorite to win it all this season, defending last year’s championship. This past Sunday they were shut out by yearly playoff disappointment Atlanta.
Now they are tied for first through third in their own division and would need some tiebreakers to get into the playoffs. Don’t count them out, though. They didn’t look any better last year when they were a Cowboys’ first down from staying home for the playoffs.
Speaking of the Cowboys, I wrote a few weeks ago how they were most likely to be the surprise team this year, ala the Giants. They lost their next outing to division rival Washington and looked to be on their way to frustrating the followers of what once was America’s team. This week they beat the Steelers in overtime to be right back in the thick of the race, only tiebreakers away from the division lead.
Five weeks ago Redskins coach Mike Shanahan announced the players were going to be on trial for a shot to be on the team next year. Naturally they haven’t lost since and are now the Eastern Division leaders. Sunday they won with star rookie quarterback RGIII in street clothes and fellow rookie Kirk Cousins leading the way. Honestly, they didn’t miss a beat.
That’s only one division. Around the rest of the NFC the Packers came off the mat from the Fail Mary, which threatened to keep them out of playoffs, to secure the division title. Atlanta had once been the most disrespected undefeated team of all time.
As mentioned above they shutout and embarrassed the Giants to gain a rash of support for their current chances to at least advance in the playoffs for the first time during this current team’s run.
The Seahawks put up 50 points for the second consecutive week and still have a chance to unseat the 49ers in the NFC West. The 49ers led the Patriots by 28 points before allowing them to tie the game. Second year quarterback Colin Kaepernick quickly responded with another touchdown drive to seal the 49er win in a game that was a botched punt away from being last season’s Super Bowl matchup.
In the AFC the Patriots, Broncos and Texans will be the top three seeds in some order. The Ravens will be in there somewhere, but who knows where? The other two spots will come down to the Colts, Bengals, Steelers and yes, the New York Jets.
This has been one crazy season.
The running game has been declared dead, or at least meaningless. Now Adrian Peterson is threatening to break Eric Dickerson’s all-time rushing record. A few months after major reconstructive knee surgery, by the way. He also has his Vikings team in contention for a wild card spot.
You know about all the rookie quarterbacks, but how about the two old warhorses, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady who are having two of the finest seasons of their Hall of Fame careers? No one would be surprised to see them playing in February.
Forget that this has been one of the highest scoring seasons on record, this past Sunday three teams pitched shutouts. I mentioned the defending champions getting whitewashed, in what is one heck of an aberration.
How about the Saints blanking the Bucs? That’s the Saints. As in the team that is on pace to be the worst defense in history. Those Saints. The third was by the Raiders who are...well, the Raiders. The worst team of the past decade.
In the not so distant past, we’ve seen wild card teams win Super Bowls, a season’s work to earn a home field get squandered in the first quarter, a team with a losing record beat the defending champions in the first round of the playoffs, Eli Manning’s receivers making two of the most amazing catches in Super Bowl history and Mark Sanchez taking the Jets to two AFC championship games.
I might be confused, but also anxious. This has all the makings of one of the greatest post-seasons in NFL history. If this is being played in ten parallel universes we might have ten different winners. I’d like to cash one in this universe but I haven’t a clue who to take at this point.
Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Chris has a dedicated thread in the Pregame.com forums, answering your questions and more. Contact Chris at [email protected].