December 22, 2008

First, first and a first

by Dan Bilicki In: Fantasy, Football, Picks

The Giants and Titans both got back on track and defeated some tough opponents on the very fields they’ll be defending during the playoffs up until the Super Bowl – if they should make it that far. But the real first that everyone is talking about occurred on the opposite end of the spectrum – the Detroit Lions lost again (a huge blowout at home to the Saints) and now are the first team in NFL history to go 0-15. Next week they’ll visit Green Bay with a chance to have the second ever winless season in NFL history. These Lions are exactly that: historically bad. The thing is that the Packers aren’t exactly the juggernaut we all expected at 5-9, there’s a real chance that the Lions could break a few plays and take a W home and make their crowd hate them even more for missing the record books.

Back to that Giants-Panthers game; could you imagine being in the fantasy football finals and having a lead after 4 p.m. games with DeAngelo Williams or Brandon Jacobs still left to play? That would’ve been torture to watch those guys roll off huge games and crush your fantasy trophy hopes.

As for the Titans, well they found a way to defeat the luckiest team to ever strap on the pads. How? They didn’t give them a chance to make a late comeback by putting enough of a cushion between them and the Steelers.

What a matchup next weekend between Dallas and Philadelphia! Two hated rivals with the playoffs on the line, facing off for more than just bragging rights. Both looked severely mortal this week and the Eagles are looking like they’re back to the form displayed against the Bengals in their tie. The Cowboys lost because they overlooked the fundamentals and gave up not one but two punch in the stomach, up the gut runs that should have been stopped for no more than seven yards each. And after watching Ken Hamlin essentially blow the game for Dallas, I hope the Cowboys scheme next week isn’t to keep him shadowing Westbrook. It could get ugly.

If Dallas makes the playoffs, DeMarcus Ware shouldn’t just get votes for defensive player of the year, he should be getting some high marks on the MVP ballot. I’ve heard arguments for Ben Roethlisberger for MVP but if the case is to be based around his leadership in comeback victories, shouldn’t Peyton Manning be ahead of him in that regard when you figure that it’s not only the clutch Manning plays well in?

The AFC East is quite the jumble as well after watching Miami surprise everyone and handle the Chiefs in some harsh cold, the Patriots crush the disinterested Cardinals in some heavy snow and the Jets fall again on the west coast to the suddenly competent Seahawks. The Dolphins-Jets game next week will certainly be full of intrigue and who would have thought that, after the Fins went 1-15 and the Jets went 4-12 last season, they’d be battling in Week 17 for a playoff spot with New England? Not I certainly. Maybe the Jets should wear their “Titans” alternates, they seemed to do well in them earlier this season.

What a mess the AFC West is. Are we seriously going to have to watch two teams battle it out next Sunday night to see who represents this division in the playoffs at either 9-7 or 8-8? My early bet is on San Diego simply because a few seasons ago in the NL West, the champion Padres went into the postseason with a record of 82-80, just over .500.

And with some solid picking this week, I’ve cemented at least a .500 record but I doubt I would’ve gone 0-15 next week.

This week: 9-5 (with CHICAGO -4 tonight)
This season: 102-86-6

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