Some will agree with the changes. Others vehemently won’t.
But there’s one thing everything can agree on. With several games with playoff implications on tap in Week 17, the final Sunday of the regular season is going to be a very exciting one in the NFL.
Everyone is raving about how Adrian Peterson is dominating not too long after tearing his ACL.
But Jamaal Charles is having just as great a bounce back campaign from his own devastating knee injury. After running wild against the Colts, there’s no doubt he’s the franchise in Kansas City.
Now, the Chiefs need to surround their franchise player with much more offensive talent if they want to compete in 2013.
Chad Henne’s game against the Patriots was pretty indicative of his entire pro career.
At times, the Jacksonville quarterback was very effective.
But at other times, he made too many bad decisions that cost his team another game in the end.
Whoever does get the coaching job next year, is going to need to preach ball security, big time.
The Eagles produced more turnovers than Philadelphia’s most popular baker this year. That’s a big reason why 2012 was one of the most disastrous seasons in team history.
Here’s the good/bad stat of the year in the NFL.
Calvin Johnson—the game’s best receiver—has nearly 2,000 yards receiving this season.
And the Detroit Lions have a whole four wins to show for it.
If the Arizona Cardinals never play the Bears in the desert again, they’ll probably be fine with that.
First, there was the memorable Monday night collapse against the Bears back in 2006 (“They are what we thought they were!”). Most recently, it was much of the same for the crummy Cardinals in Week 16.
Although they didn’t surrender a big lead, they were outscored by Chicago’s defense alone (14-13).
After Carson Palmer left the game against Carolina with an injury, why did Dennis Allen elect to go with Matt Leinart?
Allen and the Raiders should’ve replaced Palmer with Terrelle Pryor, if only to see if the young quarterback brings anything to the table.
That way, Oakland can decide if they’re going to go with Palmer or Pryor in the future.
It was a Mathews family reunion of sorts between the Titans and Packers in Week 16.
However, Bruce Mathews, his son and the entire Titans team left this family reunion at Lambeau Field with bad tastes in their collective mouths.
Apparently, Buffalo’s game plan against the Dolphins didn’t involve stopping Miami’s rushing offense.
Reggie Bush, Lamar Miller and even Ryan Tannehill had solid games on the ground, as the Dolphins racked up nearly 200 rushing yards against the hapless Bills.
It was a tough day at the office for the Browns in Denver.
It was even tougher for the Browns’ two offensive rookie stars in quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson. Both players left Cleveland’s loss to the Broncos with injuries.
The Browns will need their stars back in the lineup if they’re going to complete a very rare season sweep of the Steelers in Week 17.
Maybe Mark Sanchez doesn’t deserve to be the Jets’ scapegoat.
Some of the blame for New York’s punchless offense has to go to its awful offensive line. Backup quarterback Greg McElroy was sacked 11—yes, 11—times in New York’s meaningless loss to San Diego. Maybe Rex Ryan did Tim Tebow a favor by not playing him all season.
It’s tough to picture very many quarterbacks who would be eager to play behind a Jets’ offensive line in shambles right now.
The Chargers—especially their defense—looked impressive in Week 16.
Too bad it was against the anemic Jets in a totally irrelevant game. The win will do nothing to prevent AJ Smith and Norv Turner from inevitably losing their jobs this offseason.
Why did Cam Newton wait this long to perform at a high level?
If the dynamic quarterback can somehow carry his hot December into next season, the Panthers might actually have a chance to cash in on Ryan Kalil’s Super Bowl prediction.
Even if it comes a year too late.
The Buccaneers made great strides offensively this season.
Now, the front office has to make an effort this offseason to improve the defensive side of the football. Too many times, the defense let down Greg Schiano’s young squad this season.
It’s the biggest reason why Tampa’s missing the playoffs once again, even after a resurgent November.
Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and the St. Louis Rams performed very well offensively in Tampa Bay. Defensively, you can mark cornerback Janoris Jenkins down as one of the top steals of this past NFL draft.
Even though they’re not making the playoffs, the young Rams can finish above .500 with a win in the season finale. The future is a bright one for Jeff Fisher’s team in the Gateway City.
With a win at New England next week, the Dolphins can actually finish the season with eight victories. Not too many experts had Miami penciled in for that many wins at the start of the season.
And don’t put it past the Dolphins to upset the Patriots, either. They almost did the first time the two teams clashed a few weeks ago down in Miami.
Of all the passes quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw this season, three defined Pittsburgh’s 2012 campaign.
Of course, they were the three interceptions Big Ben threw at absolutely terrible times over the past two weeks against the Cowboys and Bengals. It’s because of those three interceptions the Steelers will be watching the playoffs from home.
The Roethlisberger-Todd Haley marriage may be headed for divorce after just one rocky year.
The Raiders were the authors of the original Holy Roller fumble play.
Thirty-four years later, the Saints have a little bit of a Holy Roller play themselves, courtesy of Marques Colston in overtime.
Of course, Colston didn’t intend to fumble after he caught a short pass from Drew Brees. But he did, and the alert Jimmy Graham sprinted down the field and fell on the ball.
On the next play, Garrett Hartley’s chip-shot field goal sealed a very exciting Saints win.
The Giants took a train down to Baltimore to face Ravens in Week 16.
They might have cornerback Corey Webster hitch hike his way back to New York. Webster was bullied by Joe Flacco worse than Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story.
It’s looking less and less like the lethargic Giants will have an opportunity to defend their Super Bowl title in the postseason.
The Cowboys’ playoff hopes took a big hit with a crushing Week 16 overtime loss to the Saints.
But they’re not dead yet. Tony Romo to Dez Bryant is the hottest passing combination in the league right now.
That combination is why the Cowboys will at the very least have a punchers’ chance against the Redskins with the NFC East title on the line.
Andy Dalton is now two for two in postseason appearances.
Dalton took a big step in his maturation process by beating Pittsburgh for the first time in his promising career to clinch a playoff spot for the Bengals. But make no mistake; Cincinnati is going to the playoffs once again on the back of its stout defense.
They lead the league in sacks and made life absolutely miserable for Ben Roethlisberger in Week 16.
With a win over hated rival Dallas at home, the Redskins capture the NFC East.
Has that sunk in yet, Redskins fans? It’s a very tight race for Rookie of the Year honors.
However, Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris can perhaps share the title by leading the ‘Skins to an improbable division crown in the final regular season game of 2012.
It was a vintage performance for Chicago’s defense in the Arizona desert.
That unit scored two touchdowns as the Bears kept their playoff hopes alive. With another pick six, Charles Tillman has returned three interceptions for scores this season.
With Darrelle Revis hurt, Tillman has become the game’s best cornerback.
Adrian Peterson was kept in check, but the Vikings still got a big win against Houston in its bid for the postseason.
Could a kicker win Rookie of the Year? Blair Walsh is certainly making a case for the award.
Minnesota’s rookie kicker has been on fire the past two games against the Rams and Texans.
A year ago at this time, the Colts were jockeying for positioning in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
Right now, with Luck under center, they’re preparing for the playoffs. It’s been a remarkable year for Indianapolis, especially for Bruce Arians.
The former Steelers offensive coordinator did such a great job holding down the fort in Chuck Pagano’s absence, he probably earned himself a head coaching gig with another team in 2013.
The Ravens’ offense got on track in a big way against the Giants, in a game they had to have.
Now with the AFC North title sealed, Baltimore can focus on getting leader Ray Lewis back on the field. If he can remarkably return for the postseason from his torn triceps, it will certainly give John Harbaugh’s squad a big boost at the right time.
Breaking news is coming out of Green Bay.
It turns out the Packers scored yet again against the Titans.
With so many points scored against Tennessee, how many of the sensitive pundits out there will accuse Aaron Rodgers and the Packers of “running up the score” this week?
It was a scary day for Arian Foster.
The Texans’ star running back had to leave Houston’s loss to Minnesota with what turned out to be an irregular heartbeat. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said that Foster should be fine.
Let’s hope so. A health scare like that isn’t anything to take lightly.
After two straight games against elite opponents (Houston and San Francisco), maybe it isn’t surprising that the Pats played a flat game against the lowly Jaguars.
Even though he’s only been on the team a few weeks, it’s evident that cornerback Aqib Talib is New England’s most important defensive player. When he’s on the field, the secondary is bolstered and the defense is sound.
When he’s injured and out (like against Jacksonville), the secondary—and defense—reverts back to the liability it was last season.
The 49ers learned the hard way that it’s lonely at the top.
A week after San Francisco shot to the top of these power rankings by scoring 41 points on the Patriots, they fall three spots after surrendering 42 points to the Seahawks. The 49ers are hurting without Justin Smith.
With Smith missing the last six quarters with an elbow injury, San Fran’s defense has been shredded by Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks train is officially rolling, and those not on it are getting run over by it.
Pete Carroll’s squad has scored 150 points in its last three games—all routs. If Richard Sherman can somehow win his suspension appeal this week, the Seahawks could be the favorites coming out of the NFC.
Having Sherman and the returning Brandon Browner both available in the postseason would give Seattle’s stifling defense an even bigger boost.
In the postseason, the Falcons won’t have to leave the confines of a dome stadium.
They have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and if they win out, they’ll play the Super Bowl at the Superdome.
That’s a scary prospect for Atlanta’s playoff opponents. The passing trio of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White is heating up, and will be awfully tough to contain in a climate controlled stadium.
This Denver Broncos squad could be the most balanced and talented team Peyton Manning has ever played on.
And outside of his epic 2004 season, 2012 could be Manning’s best year as a pro. Does anyone know what offensive coordinator Mike McCoy got Manning for Christmas?
Hopefully he got No. 18 something nice to show his gratitude. Manning has almost singlehandedly guaranteed that McCoy will be an NFL head coach next season.