• Of Note (Week 15, 2012)

    Every Tuesday, we’ll recap the previous week with a few things of note. Sometimes the obvious is the most interesting, while we’ll try and mix in a surprise or two along the way…

    In 2011, the New England Patriots were the only team to repeat as division champions from 2010. So far this season, 7 clubs (Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Green Bay, Houston, New England and San Francisco) that were in the playoffs a year ago are headed back to the postseason. And the Broncos, Packers, Texans and Patriots have already repeated as division champions. Stay tuned as the Ravens and 49ers can repeat as AFC North and NFC West champs this weekend…

    On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints stifled the Buccaneers, 41-0, the Atlanta Falcons routed the Giants, 34-0, and the Raiders blanked the Chiefs, 15-0. We point out these 3 games because entering Week 15, there had been just shutouts in the first 14 weeks of NFL 2012, a total of 208 games. And while Oakland’s win came without a touchdown, it’s notable because the Silver and Black had given up a league-high 402 points entering the game…

    When the Cowboys defeated the Steelers on Sunday in Dallas, it was the 21st overtime game of the 2012 NFL season. That’s not only quite a jump from last season’s total (13), it’s just 4 short of tying the record for a season. There were 25 OT games in 2002, the first year of realignment as well as the season in which the league expanded to 32 teams…

    Last week, the Bengals knocked off the Eagles on Thursday night, 34-13. But 3 days later, the NFC won all 5 head-to-head meetings with the AFC and with a 36-24 lead and just 4 interconference meetings remaining this season, the former has already wrapped up the series for the second straight year. Combined with last season’s NFC “win,” it marked the first time since 1994 and 1995 that the NFC won the series from the AFC in consecutive seasons…

    Follow this for a second or two. The Giants were 8-8 in 2006 and 10-6 in 2007, that first season good enough to grab a playoff berth and the latter the same, leading to a win in Super Bowl XLII. Fast forward to 2009 and 2010, when again Tom Coughlin’s teams were 8-8 and 10-6, respectively. And in both instances, New York failed to reach the playoffs. Of course, last season, the Giants won a Super Bowl with a 9-7 record. This season, Coughlin’s team is 8-6 and is no playoff certainty as we speak…

    Comments 7 Comments
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      The AFC is interesting. Before the season some of us were talking about a regime change in the AFC. And yet today, on the surface, the same old big dogs are looking at the post-season: NE, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

      But barely a micron below that surface, change is clearly on the way. Baltimore can't win for losing and Pittsburgh is scrambling to get in. They hardly look like the powers of yore. Right now, the teams with the two best records in the AFC aren't in the Big Three. None of the Big Three have home field throughout the playoffs.

      And it looks entirely reasonable to think that the AFC team in the Super Bowl won't be one of the Big Three.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      The AFC is interesting. Before the season some of us were talking about a regime change in the AFC. And yet today, on the surface, the same old big dogs are looking at the post-season: NE, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
      And it looks entirely reasonable to think that the AFC team in the Super Bowl won't be one of the Big Three.
      The 2 best teams in the AFC are the same teams that dominated from 2001 to 2011. The teams led by Manning and Brady. It just so happens that Manning changed zip codes.

      The Steelers have done the same thing they've done every 4 years (get racked by injuries and slow them down enough). But Ben has shown that he can win enough games that I wouldn't discount them just yet. Until the Bengals under Dalton actually can beat an AFC North team from outisde of their state, I cannot give them the edge.

      Until another QB can show up to compete with those 3, or they retire, they'll keep been the class of the Division. Schaub isn't in their class, and neither is Dalton, Flacco or Luck (yet). Of those 3 QBs, I'd give Luck the edge over the others except for his rookie status. I used to believe in Flacco, but I'm done.

      You can look at the NFC and paint the same picture: I trust Rodgers (I hate saying that). I trust Eli (never thought I'd say that until last year). I'd trust Brees, but he isn't in it. I might trust RG3, but again, rookie. I might trust Kaepernick, but we haven't seen him have to play from behind yet. Ryan: he's put up some stinkers in the playoffs. Can't trust him either.

      I can't trust Cutler either. He did destroy the Seahawks in 2010. He played like crap against the Packers. I've seen him be great, and I've also seen him put up stinkers. But I trust him over Matt Ryan, even though I don't think the Bears are making the playoffs.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Hmm. I agree wrt to Flacco, he has regressed. Also Peyton and Brady, of course (although in the case of Denver obviously a football team is more than just the QB.)

      I'm not so sure about Eli. His play directly contributed to losses against the Redskins and the Falcons. His confusion against the 'Skins was a shock. In year 5, I'm definitely putting Ryan ahead of Cutler and Eli. Naturally, I have a home-town bias and I recognize that until Ryan does it in the playoffs people won't believe in him.

      I agree, both rookies need at least one more season before we can judge them. Maybe two.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Thanks, Russell. Fun stuff, as usual.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Good info.

      Why the lack of playoff change this year???
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      I'm not so sure about Eli. His play directly contributed to losses against the Redskins and the Falcons. His confusion against the 'Skins was a shock. In year 5, I'm definitely putting Ryan ahead of Cutler and Eli. Naturally, I have a home-town bias and I recognize that until Ryan does it in the playoffs people won't believe in him.

      I agree, both rookies need at least one more season before we can judge them. Maybe two.
      I'm not one of those discounting Ryan. But he has up stinkers as a home favorite.

      I hate Eli with every fiber of my being. But I've jsut seen him win too many times to doubt he has some weird mojo.
    1. Russell S Baxter's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Thanks, Russell. Fun stuff, as usual.
      My pleasure, sir!!
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