Finally, after the last game of the season, the playoff field is set. A lot of players have a lot to prove in the second season and some started proving it in Week 17 with stellar performances.
However, it bothered me that Indy's starters were basically in just to get Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark to 100 catches, yet Bill Polian said the organization didn't feel like the undefeated season was a "historic achievement." That's ridiculous by itself, but it's made even worse by the fact that they obviously think 100 catches is more important.
The Cleveland Browns ended the season on a four-game winning streak.
I still can't wrap my head around that.
Dallas (11-5) def. Philadelphia (11-5), 24-0: I didn't see this coming at all. Dallas dominated throughout the entire game, making it look easy at times. Tony Romo continues to prove doubters wrong and the defense was great. Philly will have to fix a lot of things if they're going to beat Dallas on Saturday.
Chicago (7-9) def. Detroit (2-14), 37-23: As with most games last weekend that had no impact on the playoffs, this game was fairly uneventful. Jay Cutler played well, but it was too little and far too late.
San Francisco (8-8) def. St. Louis (1-15), 28-6: For a little while, it looked like the Rams might play themselves out of the first pick of the draft. Then the real Rams showed up and order was restored.
Pittsburgh (9-7) def. Miami (7-9), 30-24: This game was almost a microcosm of the Steelers' season. They built up a big lead and then almost let it evaporate. They got the win, but it wasn't enough as Baltimore would eliminate them three hours later.
Minnesota (12-4) def. New York Giants (8-8), 44-7: Pathetic, pathetic performance by the Giants. The Vikings had their way with them and never let up. This is exactly how Minnesota needed to go into the playoffs after a shaky December.
Atlanta (9-7) def. Tampa Bay (3-13), 20-10: This game had no impact on the playoffs, but it was historic because it gave the Falcons their second straight winning season, a first in the franchise's history. A team playing hard with nothing to play for? Other teams can learn from them.
Carolina (8-8) def. New Orleans (13-3), 23-10: Speaking of teams with nothing to play for playing hard, Carolina has quietly rebounded from their bad start. They should think about at least letting Matt Moore compete for the starting quarterback job this summer.
New Orleans is looking pretty bad right now. Yes, they played their reserves, but going into the playoffs (especially with a bye) on a three-game losing streak is not ideal.
Houston (9-7) def. New England (10-6), 34-27: First of all, I love how the Pats played this game. Yes, the Wes Welker injury is horrible, but that could've happened anywhere. They got a good amount of work in for the starters and got Brian Hoyer, who actually played very well, and some other reserves into the game.
When New England took a 14-point lead, it looked like the Texans were going to choke again. However, they came up big and, if only for a few hours, kept their playoff hopes alive. They will be very dangerous next season.
Kansas City (4-12) def. Denver (8-8), 44-24: This was pretty much all about Jamaal Charles shredding Denver's defense in what should have been a much closer game than it was. This loss also cemented another Denver collapse.
Baltimore (9-7) def. Oakland (5-11), 21-13: For a while, Oakland was giving hope to Pittsburgh and Houston. Baltimore was never able to deliver the knockout shot to the Raiders (excluding this from Willis McGahee), letting them hang on until the end.
Green Bay (11-5) def. Arizona (10-6), 33-7: Obviously, this will be a different game in the playoffs with Kurt Warner playing, but this game was all Packers. However, they need to get healthy before the game.
Tennessee (8-8) def. Seattle (5-11), 17-13: Getting to 2,000 yards in one season is a great accomplishment for Chris Johnson. Although he didn't pass Eric Dickerson, he did pass the great Marshall Faulk for most yards from the line of scrimmage in a season. I'd say that's a pretty good day at the office.
New York Jets (9-7) def. Cincinnati (10-6), 37-0: I don't know how much anyone can take out of this game going into the rematch, but it's definitely not meaningless. Cincy, once an offensive power, set offensive football back about six decades. The Jets feasted on them all game long.
Top 12 Teams (Last week's ranking)
- San Diego Chargers (1): No team enters the playoffs hotter than the Chargers. They are probably the favorites to win it all. Next week: N/A
- Indianapolis Colts (2): There is no reason to drop them after they took it easy in Buffalo. Next week: N/A
- Dallas Cowboys (4): They've looked great in their last three games. They will be a tough out. Next week: vs. Philadelphia (11-5)
- Philadelphia Eagles (3): They looked pretty pathetic in Dallas, but one bad performance shouldn't undo the string of very good ones before it. Next week: at Dallas (11-5)
- Minnesota Vikings (7): The dominating performance they put on was exactly the way they needed to go into their bye after all of December's drama and bad play. Next week: N/A
- New Orleans Saints (5): Has a No. 1 seed ever looked more vulnerable than the Saints do? Next week: N/A
- Arizona Cardinals (6): They really shouldn't have dropped a spot, but I'm not sure they can beat New Orleans or Minnesota on the road. Next week: vs. Green Bay (11-5)
- Green Bay Packers (9): They have been pretty dominant over the last month or so. Nobody wants to play them right now. Next week: at Arizona (10-6)
- New England Patriots (8): I loved how they played in Houston, but the Wes Welker injury is crippling to their Super Bowl chances. Next week: vs. Baltimore (9-7)
- Cincinnati Bengals (10): Cincy wanted a primetime game all year to prove doubters wrong. After their first one, they've got more doubters than ever. Next week: vs. New York Jets (9-7)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (11): Bad play-calling and fourth quarter collapses killed them all season long and they have no one to blame for missing the playoffs but themselves. Next week: N/A
- Tennessee Titans (12): I see no reason to drop them after a win and more specifically after the way they played in the second half of the season. Next week: N/A
The end of the regular season is usually a depressing time for fans, but at least we don't have to sit through anymore AFC and NFC West games! I'll have my playoff picks up sometime before the end of the week.