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NFL: What We Learned From Week 16

December 24th 2012 04:15
After 16 weeks the playoff picture is beginning to unfold. We now have the playoff teams in the AFC decided (HOU, DEN, NE, BAL, IND, CIN) although the order is still up in the air. In the NFC only three teams (CHI, DAL, NYG) that are on the outside have a chance to get in. This is setting up a very exciting final week of the season as we have a do or die game between the Redskins and Cowboys while the Packers can aid in keeping the Vikings out of the playoffs. All this and multiple chances to change seedings will make week 17 one of the most anticipated final weeks in recent memory.

Arizona Cardinals- Pitiful performance against the Bears. This team has been awful since their surprising 4-0 start. Look for big changes in the off-season.
Atlanta Falcons- Seemingly pushing hard to the finish as they easily ousted the mess that is the Detroit Lions. The Falcons seem to be getting themselves on a role as they prepare for the playoffs. This win has secured Atlanta's number one seed and home field throughout the NFC. We'll soon see if this team can take that giant step towards being a true contender.
Baltimore Ravens- Made quite the statement as they demolished the struggling Giants. Their offense was flawless, their defense was flawless, and this team looked like they could beat anybody the way they played today. This was not only huge in that they secured the division title, but this could be the beginning of the Ravens gaining the momentum that could take them deep into the playoffs.
Buffalo Bills- Once again this team is showing that talent does not always guarantee victories. After an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins the Bills once again find themselves at 5-10 in spite of the fact that they have one of the better offensive units in the league.
Carolina Panthers- Finally playing the way we expected all season. If a couple close games go the other way, we just might be talking about a playoff team right now. Oh what could have been...
Chicago Bears- Got the win they needed to stay alive as they took out the Cardinals. Now they must win next week while hoping for some help just to get into the playoffs. Remember when this team was 7-1? Yea, me neither.
Cincinnati Bengals- Did what they have failed to do the last five tries, beat the Steelers. Regardless of several drops and miscues on the offensive end, the Bengals defense did just what they needed to to squeeze out a win and secure a playoff spot. This may prove to be a huge turning point for the Cincinnati Bengals organization in regards to their evolution. We just may see these Bengals dominating their division in the years to come.
Cleveland Browns- Got stuck playing Denver. Well just call this one bad luck. Regardless of getting pummeled by the hottest team in football, the Browns have taken a huge leap forward. This team has been competitive in the majority of their games and they are just learning how to close out victories. For this young team, there is no reason to feel ashamed.
Dallas Cowboys- Nearly came up with another 4th quarter comeback but ended up falling to the Saints in OT. Regardless this loss changes virtually nothing. Cowboys win next week and they are in. They lose and they are out. Simple as that.
Denver Broncos- Creamed the Browns as they continue their dominance on both sides of the football. Boy I would hate to run into this team in the playoffs.
Detroit Lions- More of what we have seen all season. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Matthew Stafford continued his shaky play and the Lions continued their disappointment of a season. The silver lining, however, was that Calvin Johnson succeeded in surpassing Jerry Rice's receiving yards record. Good for him! As good as he has been it is a true shame we wont be seeing him in the playoffs.
Green Bay Packers- Kept their streak alive as they demolished the lowly Titans. The Packers are on a role and still have a shot to grab a first round bye. Can they do so and thwart the Vikings playoff hopes? We'll see next week.
Houston Texans- Really laid an egg in a game that could have secured them the number one seed and home field advantage throughout the AFC. Now they must win next week against a revitalized Colts team. Otherwise, they may yet again face the Patriots in foxboro and we all know how that played out a couple weeks ago.
Indianapolis Colts- Regardless of playing with a rookie QB, the Colts have secured a layoff spot. Andrew Luck has been a delight all season and you have to feel good for Chuck Pagano. Both of these guys just may have long careers ahead of them in Indy.
Jacksonville Jaguars- Is it draft day yet?
Kansas City Chiefs- Actually put up a pretty good effort against the Colts. This team, however, has just been a train wreck.
Miami Dolphins- Another impressive win for the Dolphins. If not for a couple last game collapses
Minnesota Vikings- Took a huge step towards snagging a playoff spot as the stunned the Texans in Houston. Although Adrian Peterson was fairly quiet (86 rushing yards), Christian Ponder came out of his slump and made some big plays to secure this win. Now at 9-6 the Vikings can clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Packers next week.
New England Patriots- Another ugly win against an inferior opponent. It is games like these that make me very nervous about the Patriots. Regardless, with Houston losing, the Pats still have a shot at the number 1 seed in the AFC.
New Orleans Saints- Playing for pride at this point as they hold on to beat the Cowboys in overtime. After their 0-4 start Drew Brees has made good on his promise that his team would play better following that fourth loss.
New York Giants- Absolutely reeling at this point as they suffer their second straight blowout. After leading the division the majority of the season the Giants will need a win and a bunch of help just to make the playoffs.
New York Jets- McElroy played well, but this team is just way to much of a mess. You know your in trouble when you cant hang with the Chargers.
Oakland Raiders- Their awful season continues as they were utterly dominated by the Panthers. However, cant really call this loss an upset as nobody can really expect much from this team.
Philadelphia Eagles- Played admirably but fell to the Redskins. Going into the off season this team has many more questions than answers. Although they have been a disappointment, injuries have played a huge role the entire season. But this is the NFL, if you cant win expect a change..
Pittsburgh Steelers- For the second week in a row Ben Rothlesberger threw a crucial interception that lead to a game winning field goal. I know they had injuries, but to not make the playoffs? Just feels weird at this point
San Diego Chargers- Got a win......but that wont fix this disappointing season. Once again the Chargers underachieve.
San Fransisco 49ers- After looking in the best team in football last week against the Patriots the 49ers came out flat. To make things worse, they ran into a Seahawks team couldn't have played better. Now after faltering, the 49ers face not having a first round bye in the playoffs. And we all know how troublesome a wild card team can be (i.e last year's New York Giants).
Seattle Seahawks- If you didnt know how good the Seahawks defense is before, you definitely know how good they are now. In addition, you now know why Russell Wilson should be in the conversation for rookie of the year. This is one dangerous 'under the radar' team. I cant think of any team that would want to get stuck with Seattle in the first round. If an absolute blowout of the 49ers isn't an indication that the Seahawks could win it all, I just dont know what is.
St. Louis Rams- Pull out an impressive win against the Bucs. However, it was their one tie that has proven to be the difference as they have been eliminated from playoff contention. With that being said, you can't say enough about what Jeff Fisher has done with this team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Another disappointing loss. This team was once on the cusp of seriously competing for a playoff spot but have fizzled in these last few weeks. The one bright spot has been Doug Martin. Look for him to really make some noise next season.
Washington Redskins- Got a win against the Eagles but it was irrelevant. They will need a win against Dallas next week to get in. Its put up or shut up for RG3.

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