Monday Morning Hangover


Sorry for the delay is this is now the Monday Morning/Afternoon/Early Evening Hangover, but if you really have a hangover, then you are probably just getting up anyways.

Usually when you think of a New York/New York championship you think about baseball with the Yankees and Mets. That and the simple fact that it is impossible in hockey and basketball, and I am not sure any other sports besides those three and football matter.

But this season a Giants/Jets Super Bowl is a very real possibilty and just got a lot more real yesterday. The Giants are going to the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. That is a fact and was clinched yesterday. The Jets are going to the playoffs, also possibly as the No. 1 seed, but most likely the No. 2 seed. So right now the question isn’t who will these two teams face in the playoffs, the question is what will the tri-state area do with themselves during the wild card playoff when the Giants and Jets are home with byes?

The best thing that happened on Sunday was that the Titans loss. Not because it mattered to the Giants, but it mattered to those in football who regarded them as the best team because of their record, rather than who they really are, or who they have really played. But now with the same record of 10-1 as the Giants it isn’t even a discussion as to who is the best team in football. The Giants have beaten teams like Washington, Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Arizona. The Titans beat Indianapolis and Baltimore and that’s it.

Here are the current playoff standings with possible contenders also listed:

1. New York Giants, 10-1, (East) – Bye
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8-3, (South) – Bye
3. Arizona Cardinals, 7-4, (West)
4. Chicago Bears, 6-5, (North)
5. Carolina Panthers, 8-3
6. Washington Redskins, 7-4                                           
7. Atlanta Falcons, 7-4
8. Dallas Cowboys, 7-4
9. Minnesota Vikings, 6-5
10. Green Bay Packers, 5-5
11. New Orleans Saints, 5-5
12. Philadelphia Eagles, 5-5-1

1. Tennessee Titans, 10-1, (South) – Bye
2. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8-3 (North)
3. New York Jets, 8-3, (East) – Bye
4. Denver Broncos, 6-5 (West)
5. Indianapolis Colts, 7-4
6. Baltimore Ravens, 7-4                               
7. New England Patriots, 7-4                         
8. Miami Dolphins 6-5                   
9. Buffalo Bills, 6-4

As of right now my Super Bowl prediction of Giants vs Colts, the Manning Bowl, is still looking good, and hopefully will hold true. But let’s take a look at Week 12.

The Denver Broncos were once 3-0. The Denver Broncos were once considered to be the best offensive team in the NFL. The Denver Broncos are actually terrible.

A laugh to the media members who praised the Broncos after their 3-0 start to the season. A 3-0 start that saw them beat the Oakland Raiders, barely beat the San Diego Chargers thanks to the biggest blown call of the season, and beat the New Orleans Saints, who can’t beat anyone. At the time the Broncos were winning thanks to help from officials and their weak schedule, but since then the Broncos have gone 3-5 and if they were part of any division non-West NFL division, their record would look more like the Bengals and less like the Colts.

During their current 3-5 run, the Broncos have lost to the Chiefs, Jaguars, Patriots, Redskins, and Raiders. They have turned the ball over more times in those eight games than the rest of the league combined. Ok, that is a stretch, but it seems like that as Jay Cutler has thrown only one more touchdown pass than interception over the eight game span.

The sad thing is the Broncos are going to make the playoffs. Not because they are good, but because they are the best of the worst teams in the AFC and it just so happens that all the bad teams in the AFC play in the same division, with the exception of the Cincinnati Bengals. I mean how hard is it really to be better than the Chargers, Raiders, and Chiefs? Not that hard. In fact 21 teams in the NFL are better than the Chargers, 25 are better than the Raiders, and 30 teams are better than the Chiefs. Get the picture?

So, we salute you, Denver Broncos. As you are the best, worst team in the National Football League.

The New England Patriots aren’t done, but they are close. And by close, I mean they are skating on thin ice from here on out this season. The Patriots are in a very dicey situation. They have a good enough record to be in the playoffs at 7-4, the only problem is that they don’t have any way of winning tiebreakers against teams with similar records. By going 5-4 so far within the AFC, the Patriots have shot themselves in the foot, and forced the need of other team to lose to make the playoffs. I guess they control their own destinty in the sense that they can go 5-0, win out the rest of the season, and finish at 12-4, but let’s be honest, that isn’t happening. There isn’t even a small chance of that happening. It just isn’t happening.

So the Patriots are looking at a schedule that includes Pittsburgh (8-3), Seattle (2-9), Oakland (3-8), Arizona (7-4), and Buffalo (6-5). There is one win in there with the game against Oakland. But with the Seahawks getting Matt Hasselbeck back, Seattle is no guarantee as they gave both Arizona and Washington (two teams that are better than the Patriots) a run for their money before falling in close games. The Patriots are going to need to pick up 10 wins it would seem to get into the playoffs and even that might not be enough because of their tiebreaker situation. It’s going to be a race to the finish for the New England Patriots. Something they haven’t had to deal with in a very long time.

This division reminds me a little too much of the horrific NL West in Major League Baseball, but it’s still a division and they still hold a playoff spot.

The Bears destroyed the Rams on the road and the Vikings destroyed the Jaguars on the road. What does that mean for the Green Bay Packers? Well, they better win tonight against the Saints or they are in big trouble. If the Packers win they will retain their lead in the NFC North and remain in the fourth spot in the NFC playoffs. If they lose, well I bet there will be talk about what Brett Favre is doing with the Jets.

Here is the NFC North standings if the Packers win on Monday night:

GB, 6-5 (4 seed in NFC playoffs)
CHI, 6-5 (9th in NFC)
MIN, 6-5 (10th in NFC)

And here is how it will look with a Packers loss on Monday night:

CHI, 6-5 (4 seed in NFC playoffs)
MIN, 6-5 (9th in NFC)
GB, 5-6 (12th in NFC)

Basically the Packers better win on Monday night or they could very well be the next team eliminated from the 2008 postseason picture.

How about the Atlanta Falcons? They just keep winning after overcoming such an awful situation that had put the franchise in the dumps. And after beating the Panthers on Sunday and desotrying two people’s hopes at $1 million each, the Falcons put themselves in a position that could have them in the 2008 playoffs.

It is hard to believe that there are only five weeks left in the 2008 NFL regular season. I guess that isn’t a bad thing as it means the playoffs are closer and so is the start of baseball season, but it is weird to think that it has been almost three months since the Giants beat the Redskins on opening night.

As the season winds down its fun to see where and how critics screwed up their pre-season predictions and over the next few weeks we will take a step back in time a few months at some of the worst predictions of 2008. I can already think of a handful.

The picks have looked good so far at 10-5 with Green Bay and New Orleans tonight. The season record is 95-80 (.543) and could get better with Green Bay +2 tonight.