Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 15: 11 Things I Know I Know

1. I know Matt Dodge should be looking for a job instead of reading this article. The Giants' punter kicked the ball to DeSean Jackson despite the fact he was directed to kick it out of bounds. [In case you have been under a rock since 4pm, Jackson returned it for the game-winning score with no time left on the clock.] Dodge has looked incredibly shaky all season, and it seemed like it was only a matter of time before he bit the team. No one could have predicted this, however.
In fairness, the Giants' defense blew a 21-point lead with just over seven minutes to play (vintage Michael Vick was in full effect). So, they too are to blame. While we are assigning blame, let's mention their head coach Tom Coughlin too. Why wouldn't he put his hands team on the kick return with his team up 14 points with seven plus minutes left. At that point, protecting the lead is priority numero uno. Even if the Eagles kicked it deep and the Giants are pinned inside their own 20 yard line, they would have been able to run a few minutes off the clock.
It is a rare day that we talk about clock management during an Eagle game without mentioning Andy Reid's name.
2. I know the Jets are back. On Saturday, I was explaining to anyone that would listen why the Jets were going to win this game outright: when you expect them to lose, they always play well (the opposite is also true, of course). Everyone jumped off the bandwagon when they lost back-to-back games, but they'll be jumping back on today.
A great team win. Crazy stat of the year: Jets are 10-0 when they score 10 points.
3. I know the Chargers are on the outside looking in despite a blowout victory Thursday night over San Francisco. If Kansas City can win out and they should be favorites in both games (vs Tennessee, vs Oakland), they will represent the AFC West in the playoffs and San Diego will be watching from home. The Chargers have to win at both Cincinnati and Denver to even have a prayer.
4. I know eight games could win two separate divisions this year: the NFC West (a certainty) and the AFC South (much less likely, but possible). With the Ram and Seahawk losses today and only two games remaining, no team in the division can possibly win more than eight games. In fact, the 49ers - yes, the 5-9 49ers - still have a decent shot of making the playoffs.
In the AFC South, the Colts (at Oakland, vs. Tennessee) and Jaguars (vs. Washington, at Houston) sit at 8-6 while the Titans (at Kansas City, at Indianapolis) sit two games back. If Tennessee wins out, the Raiders beat the Colts, and the Jaguars lose out, all three would be 8-8. Odds of this happening: 30:1 - I don't think Jacksonville loses at home.  
5. I know the Saints had two of the best touchdown catches of the year, although it wasn't enough against a Ravens team that looked very solid. Jimmy Graham's left-handed whirling dervish catch may be the best touchdown catch of the year. Lance Moore's deflection special was solid as well but a lucky hop or two along the way made it possible. If you haven't seen them, check them out.
6. I know that I should read my own column. Last week, I explained that the Dolphins alternated wins and losses for the past 10 weeks. Do I take them this week? Of course. Did they lose? Of course. I'm an idiot.
7. I know the Bucs are a mirage, but it took us 15 weeks to find out. The loss today at home to the Lions put the nail in the coffin for Tampa Bay. However, things are looking up in South Florida and they should be able to build on this next season. It was a good run while it lasted. Speaking of good runs, this was Detroit's first road victory in 38 months. Months!
8. I know the Giants vs Packers game next week will determine the last playoff team in the NFC. Very smart move by Green Bay to make sure Aaron Rodgers is completely healthy for the affair.
9. I know Rex Grossman cost a lot of gamblers a lot of money with his antics, and by antics I mean miracle comeback. The Redskins were down 20 in the second half only to come back to lose by three (and cover the seven-point spread). Many of us are saying the same thing Chicago Bear fans - and loyal Canadian reader RLynch - said between 2003-9: F*ckin' Grossman.
10. I know the Panthers locked up the first overall pick today despite winning against Arizona. With Cincinnati's win over Cleveland, every team but Carolina has three wins or more. Oh yea, the Panthers travel to both Pittsburgh and Atlanta to close out the year. Who is happiest about all of this? If he's ready to shoulder the challenge of turning a franchise around, Stanford QB Andrew Luck can get fitted for his new Panther jersey.
11. I know the Bears will beat the Vikings tomorrow night 21-10. The Vikings have nothing to play for. In fact, we hear more talk of them complaining about field conditions than about the game itself. I fully expect the Bears to shut down Adrian Peterson - no small task but something that the Giants did last week - and they should win easily.
"11 Things I Know I Know" is my feeble attempt to trump the untrumpable's Peter King and his "10 Things I Think I Think" which happens to be my favorite article each week. 

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