• The Water Cooler: Week 16


    -I really hate having to root for the Bengals

    -Really, we shouldn’t be surprised by what happened to the Steelers on Sunday. Prior to this year, I had been chronicling Pittsburgh’s failures against bad teams. From 2012-2014, they lost games to Tennessee (twice), Oakland (twice), Cleveland (twice), Minnesota (5 wins), Tampa (2 wins), and the Jets (4 wins). Of course, they’ve also beaten many good teams, which is what makes them both dangerous and frustrating. As Tomlin said after the game on Sunday, “we’re capable of beating anyone, but we’re also capable of losing to anyone.” That last point has the Steelers on the outside looking in.

    -Random thing from last week that carries into this week- Historically, the “under” hits roughly 55% of the time in divisional rematch games. This week’s examples were Steelers, Patriots, Panthers, and Seahawks.

    -I have no idea why Bill Belichick decided that he wanted to kick the ball in OT, and even less idea why a veteran like Matthew Slater didn’t chose to kick instead of choosing a direction. But I’m 100% certain it had nothing to do with keeping the Steelers out of the playoffs by helping the Jets get in. The Jets are every bit as dangerous to New England, and perhaps even more so than Pittsburgh. With that defense, solid offensive players all over the field, and a confident veteran QB, the Jets are as good as anyone in the AFC.

    -Brandon Marshall now has six seasons with at least 100 receptions. That’s a record.

    -Real time alert- Brandon McManus just went Vanderjagt. We’re going to OT. I’m still not hopeful though, the Bengal defense looks worn down.

    -Green Bay won the first two Super Bowls, but it was the Jets and Chiefs who legitimized the game. My rooting interests obviously lie elsewhere, but in many ways, leading to Super Bowl 50, it’s tough to think of a more fitting potential AFC Championship matchup than a battle between those two teams.

    -I don’t think Carolina is any more or less fine after that loss. And yes, I think they’re still perfectly fine, and I’d still call them the favorite in the NFC as long they lock up home field.

    -Big statement for Arizona. After combining for one of the least inspiring playoff games last year, a Panthers-Cardinals NFC Championship would be one of the more highly anticipated matchups in recent memory.

    -I still can’t believe we have the two biggest games of the college season on New Year’s Eve.

    -We have a big week 17 ahead of us, and a number of huge bowls to finish out the college season. Check into FP throughout the week for a special New Year’s Six edition of Tailgating on New Year’s Eve, along with our standard fare with Blitz Picks, Wagers and Lagers, and all of the other features that we hope you enjoy. Have a wonderful and healthy New Year!

    P.S. Stupid Bengals… would have given the Steelers one more out next week (one they wouldn’t have deserved, by the way). The last playoff spot will be Jets or Steelers. Jets have the inside track. Steelers should have taken care of their own.

    Comments 10 Comments
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Any given Sunday was last Sunday.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      re: The OT coin toss in Pats/Jets.

      BB has explained it. He and the coaches told Slater we wanted to kick. Slater was supposed to choose the direction we kicked in. The wind was gusty, up to 18 mph, (which Eagle and Fouts never mentioned all day), and we had played solid D in the 4th. He was playing for a stop and then better odds on the FG if we got the ball.

      It was strange, but, so was seeing us run a wildcat play! You never know with us!
    1. Hoser's Avatar
      I hate rooting for my favorite team to lose just so they can have a better draft position.
      "Good job losing the fumble on the Lion's 1 yard team guys!!! Go team!!!"
      Misery.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Chip Kelly is gone.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Chip Kelly is gone.
      Damn. That was fast.

      Please, new Detroit GM, do not become enamored with this guy...
    1. Nancy's Avatar
      -I don’t think Carolina is any more or less fine after that loss. And yes, I think they’re still perfectly fine, and I’d still call them the favorite in the NFC as long they lock up home field.
      Glad somebody thinks so. Not so worried about the nonsensical loss to the Falcons as I am about the team's failure to show up for the 2nd half 2 weeks in a row. Pass defense is suspect lately (Dear Bene, get well soon!), but at least we get TB at home to end the season; I think the Panthers handle them OK and avoid any possibility of having to go to Arizona.

      Stupid Bengals…
      Any guesses as to how many times I said this last night??? If I hadn't just paid for this lovely color, I'd have torn my hair right out. Been watching them bleep it up on MNF for 40 years or so, don't know why I keep expecting something different. I'm sick to death of Burfict, too. Dude's got to get it under control.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Chip Kelly is gone.
      I am really surprised that Philly let him go. I figured for sure he would get one more year with the Eagles. He must have burned a lot of bridges this year.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Chip Kelly won a power struggle with the GM last year. He was asked this year to give up the head of football operations title and he balked. Jeffrey Lurie could have either given in, which ultimately would have given Kelly even more leverage, or he could have pulled the plug. He pulled the plug. The team looked lifeless at times and was the only team to not gameplan for its opponent. It's hard to see how that was the wrong decision.
    1. Curtis's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      Chip Kelly won a power struggle with the GM last year. He was asked this year to give up the head of football operations title and he balked. Jeffrey Lurie could have either given in, which ultimately would have given Kelly even more leverage, or he could have pulled the plug. He pulled the plug. The team looked lifeless at times and was the only team to not gameplan for its opponent. It's hard to see how that was the wrong decision.
      Lurie never asked Chip to give up the power and Chip never tried to negotiate for his job. It was a case of calling Chip to his office and flat out firing him.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Curtis View Post
      Lurie never asked Chip to give up the power and Chip never tried to negotiate for his job. It was a case of calling Chip to his office and flat out firing him.
      That is not a part of the story we had previously heard. All reports had stated that the first discussion was over whether he'd relinquish his power over personnel. The Glazer interview is the first that said that the personnel aspect played no role.