WASHINGTON – It’s the holiday season. It’s a season of giving, fellowship, and merriment.
So I’m giving you an abbreviated NFL Recap this week for fellowship with my friends and family. Merriment may or may not be involved. But that’s kind of my call, isn’t it?
Anyways, I thought I’d do something different for this recap since it falls on Christmas Eve. Here’s the 12 Days of Christmas, NFL Recap style.
On the first day of Christmas, the NFL gave to me:
12 Brees interceptions
11 Panther victories
10 Shady (McCoy) touchdowns
9 hot seat coaches
8 starts for Keenum
7 Wild card eligibles
6 game slide for Cleveland
5 Saints road losses
4 Peyton records
3 Redskin victories
2 divisions open
…and a recap of Week 16.
Cowboys 24 Redskins 23
Washington broke Tony Romo’s back, held a late nine point lead and still found a way to lose. Unless he’s got a hot tub time machine, there’s literally nothing Mike Shanahan can do to keep his job.
This was sweet for Carolina: Clinch a playoff spot, make a statement at a division rival’s expense and avenge your worst loss of the season. Nobody wants to see this Panthers defense paired with Cam Newton in the postseason.
If Buffalo played like this all year, they’d be the ones in the mix for a wild card spot in the AFC instead of Miami.
Cincinnati is in the postseason for the third straight year and the fourth time in five years. If Andy Dalton keeps playing like this, they may actually win a playoff game this time around.
Ironically, Kansas City seemed to take a page out of Indy’s book: Coast to the regular season finish line after clinching a playoff spot. The Chiefs better not keep it up, or else their postseason stay will be brief — like so many Colts teams of the 2000s.
If this is how New York plays when they think their coach is getting fired, Rex Ryan might have bought himself another year coaching the Jets.
Just to hammer home the point that Peyton Manning is in the midst of the greatest single season performance by a quarterback in NFL history, old #18 threw touchdown pass #51 to set a new league record. For those keeping score at home, he’s now 43 completions and 267 yards from setting new NFL records in those categories. Amazing.
Lions 20 (OT)
Coach Jim Schwartz may not consider Detroit’s 2013 season a failure, but it really is. Getting mathematically eliminated from the playoffs when you play in a division where .500 ball could win you the NFC North is definitely a fireable offense.
Arizona made a huge statement here: We’re good, we’re balanced, and we stopped Seattle’s 14-game home win streak. That’s the calling card you want going into the playoffs.
Give both of these teams credit. Neither has any business still sniffing around a playoff spot, yet Green Bay and Pittsburgh have overcome injuries and a lack of depth to stay relevant. That’s why these are two of the most storied and enviable franchises in the NFL.
No matter what happens next week, this has been a good year in San Diego. They’re still alive in the playoff race heading into Week 17, which is more than we could say for this franchise the last two seasons. The future is bright for the Chargers.
New England is the first team since the AFL/NFL merger to win a 10th title in 11 years — something they knew before this one even kicked off. Meanwhile, Baltimore was still in play for the AFC North title but played like the team with nothing to play for. Given there’s no hope of seeing the Giants in the Super Bowl, this might just be New England’s year.
Philly’s beatdown of Cutler and Company ensures they’ll play Sunday Night Football consecutive weeks. Expect a repeat performance to win the NFC East against the Romo-less Cowboys.