THE NFL STORY: WEEK #16
So the NFL tiebreakers are so complicated, that colleges should start
offering a course in NFL tiebreakers. Make it a graduate-level course.
Houston (10-5) 16
INDIANAPOLIS (2-13) 19
THE STATS: Indianapolis WR Reggie Wayne 8-106-1 TD.
THE STORY: Colts 2nd win in a row, Houston's 2 loss in a row. Good thing Houston had the division already won, because they are going in the wrong direction, just in time for the playoffs.
Cleveland (4-11) 14
BALTIMORE (11-4) 20
THE STATS: Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis team-leading 9 tackles for the 2nd week in a row.
THE STORY: Best AFC North division race in history is sullied only by not having Baltimore and Pittsburgh (both 11-4) match up in the season's final weekend.
Denver (8-7) 14
BUFFALO (6-9) 40
THE STATS: Denver QB Tim Tebow 4 interceptions.
THE STORY: This was Buffalo's 1st win since their 7 game losing streak started. Think about it. We've celebrated Christmas, Thanksgiving, AND Halloween since the Bills had last won a game.
Tampa Bay (4-11) 16
CAROLINA (6-9) 48
THE STATS: Carolina QB Cam Newton 12-17-171-0-3 TD, 142.4 rating; 6-65-1 TD rushing (10.8 average).
THE STORY: Strangest stat line comparison of the week: Cam Newton throws for 3 TDs, runs for 1 TD, while New England QB Tom Brady throws for just one TD, but runs for 2 TDs.
Arizona (7-8) 16
CINCINNATI (9-6) 23
THE STATS: Cincinnati 165 yards rushing to just 136 passing.
THE STORY: The only 9-6 team and currently in the 2nd wild card spot for the AFC, but the Bengals still have some "clinches a playoff spot with...." work ahead of them.
OAKLAND (8-7) 16
Kansas City (6-9) 13
THE STATS: Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski 3 FGs, 1 XP, 10 points, including overtime 36-yard game winner.
THE STORY: Someone say it: "Future Hall of Famer Sebastian Janikowski".
Miami (5-10) 24
NEW ENGLAND (12-3) 27
THE STATS: New England 4 touchdowns rushing, just 1 TD receiving.
THE STORY: Patriots are the only team in the AFC who controls their own playoff destiny -- win and earn the home field advantage. No "Loss OR tie", no Loss by a team plus a loss by a team plus a loss by a team plus a loss OR tie". Just win.
NY GIANTS (8-7) 29
NY Jets (8-7) 14
THE STATS: Giants win with just 11 first downs, 9-27 passing, 23:54 of possession.
THE STORY: Funny road game at home for the Giants. At least one of the teams played like they were at home; it just wasn't the Jets.
St. Louis (2-13) 0
PITTSBURGH (11-4) 27
THE STATS: 2nd shutout of the season for Pittsburgh.
THE STORY: Great 3-way race between Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and New England, any of which could take home field advantage.
Jacksonville (4-11) 17
TENNESSEE (8-7) 23
THE STATS: Tennessee tight end Jared Cook 8-169-1 TD.
THE STORY: Perhaps the screwiest playoff tiebreaker ever has the Titans rooting for the Jets to win on Sunday, unless Oakland and Denver win, in which case the Titans want the Jets to lose; and they want Oakland to win, unless New York wins, in which case the Titans want Oakland to lose.
MINNESOTA (3-12) 33
Washington (5-10) 26
THE STATS: Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson 11 tackles.
THE STORY: One of only two meaningless games all weekend which did not feature a team playing for the playoffs or playoff seedings (Tampa Bay at Carolina).
San Diego (7-8) 10
DETROIT (10-5) 38
THE STATS: Detroit QB Matthew Stafford outplays San Diego QB Philip Rivers, 137.6 rating to 60.2.
THE STORY: Detroit has the advantage of playing Green Bay to end the season. Green Bay, by my calculation, is the only playoff or playoff-possible team which has nothing left for which to play.
PHILADELPHIA (7-8) 20
Dallas (8-7) 7
THE STATS: Eagles outscore Dallas 54-14 in two games this season.
THE STORY: Philadelphia's so-called "Dream Team" falls short in the easiest division to win this season.
SAN FRANCISCO(12-3) 19
Seattle (7-8) 17
THE STATS: David Akers 4-5 FG, NFL record 42 field goals on the season.
THE STORY: San Francisco may have benefited from a weak NFC West (4-1 against the West with 1 game left), but they also defeated Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, NY Giants, Pittsburgh outside the division.
Chicago (7-8) 21
GREEN BAY (14-1) 35
THE STATS: Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers 21-29-283-0-5 TD, 142.7 rating.
THE STORY: Never mind the Packers; can I buy stock in Aaron Rodgers?
Atlanta (9-6) 16
NEW ORLEANS (12-3) 45
THE STATS: New Orleans WR Marques Colston 7-81-1 TD.
THE STORY: Who's peaking in December? New Orleans wins their 7th in a row.
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