December 28, 2009

And on the 16th week, they rested

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

The Colts have made it abundantly clear that they care more about resting their players to keep them fresh and uninjured for the games that matter the most, the post-season. But this year’s decision to rest Peyton Manning and the other top dogs on the Colts hurt the fans even more so. Why? Because it cost Indianapolis a chance at a perfect season. Manning did leave the game with a lead, but the scrubs couldn’t hold off the surging Jets. In fact, the Colts only scraped out 32 yards on offence in the last 20 minutes of play.

But can the fans really be too upset with a 14-1 team? If anything, this should show them how important a healthy Manning is. Imagine if he were to get injured and miss a start in late January, leaving Curtis Painter to lead the team in an actual important situation. Now that’s one scary thought for Indy fans.

While the top of AFC post-season picture looks in perfect order, the rest of it is still a muddled jumble. Sure, the Bengals and Patriots both clinched yesterday, one convincingly (New England) and the other in weak fashion against a terrible opponent. But at least we know that both teams will be hosting a game when the first week of the post-season rolls around. Who they will be facing, though, is anyone’s guess.

I can’t remember the last time there was a five-way tie for two spots with only a game remaining – and I couldn’t be more excited. Denver and Baltimore have the easiest ways in with poor opponents, while the Jets and Texans will be facing the three- and four-seed AFC teams, meaning a possible repeat matchup during wild card weekend. Then there’re the Steelers, who must face a Miami team that’s high on talent, but aiming for a .500 record. Now, the most interesting part about Week 17 will no doubt be the game that was flexed to prime time by NBC: The Jets against the Bengals. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that those two teams would both need a win with heavy playoff implications?

On the NFC side of things, there are a few possible outcomes seeding-wise, but at least, after Dallas’ win over Washington, we have our six playoff teams sorted out. But, all of the sudden, the New Orleans Saints position on top as the team to beat, isn’t looking so strong. With two loses in a row, they certainly are looking fallible and flawed. Especially when a team like the Tampa Bay Bucs comes onto your home turf and mounts a 17-point comeback win in overtime. Saints fans better be hoping that these regular season losses are just helping them build character for the post-season, because since the Saints beat the Patriots in Week 12, they have not looked the same at all.

And for those who care, the Cleveland Browns rolled their winning streak to an astounding three game. And for those keeping count, in their four wins this season, the Browns have a total of 300 passing yards.

This week: 7-5-1 (With Minnesota -7 tonight)
This season: 129-95-3

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