All of the friends I watch football with root for either the Redskins, 49ers, or Broncos, and all three are in first place. Everybody I know is happy this week!
The Broncos still have to show up in week 17 to secure a bye; no rest for Manning! The Redskins still need to beat Dallas to win the NFC East and have been flexed to the Sunday Night game (more on that below). For a list of all important week 17 games, check out Chase Stewart’s comprehensive list.
I found a new sports bar this week! There were good people, Redskins fans and otherwise, watching at the west side’s Meadow Muffins. I plan on going back next week. Today I also rocked a “Not a Steelers Fan” t-shirt by Rival-Ts.com. They are the real deal, everybody at the bar today wanted one. Everyone except the one Steelers fan, but even he had to smile when he saw it. Football fans who have a sense of humor are great, because football is funny sometimes. I laughed when a Broncos safety returned an INT for a touchdown, but when the replay showed the ball hitting the ground first everybody in the building went “Awww!”
The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t in first place, but their fans probably feel like they might as well be! They beat the Steelers today and won a spot for themselves in the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The Redskins won again today. They have a top-5 offense when RGIII is healthy. After seeing Kaepernick and the 49ers doing it, I realized that every team with a fast QB is copying the Redskins’ read-option. Maybe Cam Newton and the Panthers pioneered it last year, but they don’t use it anymore (which is one of the major reasons they regressed so badly this year) and it’s one of the staples of the Redskins offense. Bravo to the Shanahans for doing a superb job with the team this year.
Can’t say I was surprised about the Cowboys. They’ve been winning a lot of close games, and teams that win a lot of close games tend also to lose a lot of close games. Now according to the NFL tiebreaking rules, the Cowboys can still win the NFC East, by the slimmest of margins. It comes down to the 3rd tier of tiebreaker: Dallas is 8-4 (.666) against common opponents, Washington is 7-5 (.583). I think the Redskins are the better team, and they are playing at home so they should win, making the tiebreakers moot. Unfortunately, they are playing for the right to host (and probably lose to) the Seahawks in the wild card round.
Now if Minnesota loses to Green Bay and Chicago loses to Detroit, the ‘Skins can lose and still make it as a wild card. I have to think they have a better chance to win in Green Bay than they do to against Seattle at home, but I don’t trust the Lions to beat the Bears, and I’m rooting for the ‘Skins sweep the Cowboys anyway. Maybe Richard Sherman will be suspended and Brandon Browner will be rusty and unfocused.
The Broncos are a machine this year, even more so than the 1997-98 teams with John Elway. Remember before the season, when a considerable percentage of Broncos fans thought it was a mistake to sign Peyton Manning instead of Tim Tebow? You don’t hear about that too much anymore. Denver fans are getting to see what happens when you go from the very worst quarterback in the NFL to the very best one.
Tom Brady and the Patriots are the only team realistically between Denver and the super bowl. I’d give the Broncos a slight edge vs. the Pats in the AFC championship, but I wouldn’t put any money on it. FO’s numbers have the Broncos, Pats, 49ers, and Seahawks head and shoulders better than everybody else.
Seattle faced a minor crisis back in week 13: both of their starting cornerbacks–Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner–were suspended for four games after testing positive for adderall–although illegal in the NFL, it’s one of the official drugs of the Warren Peace NFL Report–Mike Tanier wrote the best article about the issue of adderall in the NFL and I don’t have anything to add. Sherman and Browner were the strength of Seattle’s defense; Browner accepted his penalty and will take the last four regular season games off, but he’ll return for the playoffs. Sherman is appealing his suspension, so he’ll be available for the end of the regular season to help ensure the team makes it to the playoffs, but he’ll likely miss the post-season. That’s making the best of a bad situation.
San Francisco at Seattle tonight is going to be a hell of a game. If San Fran can somehow knock Seattle down to the 6th seed instead of the 5th, the Redskins wouldn’t have to face them in the wild card round. Then if Green Bay can somehow beat them, the ‘Skins could win once, travel to Atlanta and beat them, and face (probably) San Francisco in the NFL championship. It’s looking less and less likely.
- Full disclosure: if you have a football-related product you want me to write about, send me a free one of it! Alex was smart and did just that. I was going to write about his shirt anyway though, because the logo cracks me up. The Steelers have too many fans across the country who don’t seem to have any particular reason to have picked the Steelers as their favorite team, some of whom couldn’t even tell you what state Pittsburgh is in. It’s in Delaware, right? Or was it in Iowa?
Correction: this article originally posted that the Redskins would beat the Cowboys in all tiebreaking scenarios; the Warren Peace NFL Report sincerely regrets the error. Also, early reports from Aaron Schatz indicate that Green Bay has moved up enough to join the Big 4 to make it the Big 5 teams going into week 17.