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Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you the worst playoff team in the history of organized sports!
The Bills get the top spot because their surprise playoff berth was pretty much the only exciting thing to happen during Week 17:
Their season came down to Andy Dalton converting a 4th & 12 into a go-ahead touchdown for an inexplicable Bengals win over the Ravens. When your season comes down to a miracle play by a redhead on another team you’re not exactly controlling your own destiny. Let’s take a quick look at how Buffalo became the 6th seed in the AFC:
The Good = They won 9 games! The Jets, Broncos, Falcons, Bucs, Raiders, Chiefs, Colts, and Dolphins (twice) all had their wagons circled this season.
The Bad = They lost the Patriots twice by a combined score of 60-19. They gave up 34 to the Jets, 47 to the Saints, and 54(!) to the Chargers during a November losing streak.
The Ugly = With a winning record and in playoff position on Week 11, they decided to bench Tyrod Taylor in favor of Nathan Peterman. This may go down as the dumbest decision that a “playoff” team has ever made. Peterman will forever be the answer to sad trivia questions as his 5-interception first half performance will live in infamy.
Jimmy Garoppolo is statistically the best quarterback in NFL history*. I have included the asterisk only because I do not have an intern to check on those statistics, but I think his résumé speaks for itself:
As a comparison, Tom Brady has a career 63 percent completion percentage, has averaged 263 yards per start, and only wins 77.5 percent of his games as opposed to 100 percent. The 49ers are going to be favored to win the Super Bowl next year**. Everything is coming up Jimmy.
PARTY LIKE IT’S 1957! The Lions haven’t had much to celebrate this year, and the 2008 Lions haven’t had anything to celebrate in the last 10 years. That all changed on Sunday when the Cleveland Browns completed their perfect 0-16 season, taking the crown as the worst team in recent memory. The Lions can now fade into the background with the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a really bad team that nobody talks about anymore.
January 1st was also Black Monday in the NFL as a slew of teams decided to make coaching a new years’ resolution. The Lions canned Jim Caldwell, the Colts parted ways with Chuck Pagano, the Bears bid farewell to John Fox, and the Raiders decided to cut tied with Blackjack Del Rio. Bruce Arians retired from the Cardinals while Marvin Lewis is still (somehow) the Bengals HC as he ponders his future. But don’t worry Cowboys fans, Jason Garrett is coming back…
Talk about limping to the finish line. The Eagles polished off their 13-3 campaign with a turd in Week 17, a 6-0 barn burner loss to the Cowboys. If you tuned in late you might have thought that the Eagles sat all their starters, but they actually used the game as an opportunity for Nick Foles to get a bit more work in before the playoffs. He answered by completing 4 of 11 passes for 39 yards, no TDs and a pick.
Philly fans need to realize that while Foles is not Mr. Right, he will need to be Mr. Right Now…
…just kidding, they’re toast.
For the seventh time this century the road the the Super Bowl will go through Foxboro Massachusetts. The Patriots will host a playoff game a week from Saturday, and it will be the 20th playoff game at Gillette since it was built in 2002. 20 home playoff games in 16 seasons… that is absurd. The Pats have a 16-3 home playoff record, so the table is set nicely for the eighth Super Bowl appearance of the Brady/Belichick regime.
…BUT… I just don’t feel it. The odds say that New England will win the AFC, but as a fan who has watched this team intently for the last 24 years, I don’t feel good about it. Nothing stinks, but something smells a little off. The offense is too reliant on Gronk, and the situational passing game desperately misses Julian Edelman. The secondary also gets beat at weird times and the defense is allowing the second most rushing yards per attempt in the league.
…THAT BEING SAID… the only thing standing between this team and that eighth ticket are a couple late-game battles of wit between Belichick and Andy Reid then Mike Tomlin. So I’ll see you in Minneapolis.
Congrats to all you geeks who owned Gurley on your fake life team because there is a 90 percent chance you won your league. The Rams back put together the most statistically impressive Week 14-16 stretch in the history of football, coinciding with when you dorks schedule your faux playoffs. He averaged 197 yards (rushing + receiving) in those games and scored 8 total touchdowns. Enjoy your trophy, nerd.
John Steinbeck once wrote that “Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance.” It is with that sentiment that I bid a fond, but hopefully brief, farewell to each of Jack Del Rio’s balls. He was fired after the Raiders’ Week 17 loss and a disappointing 2017 campaign, but he still sacked up and made the announcement himself.
I hope to be able to use this picture again next year, but nothing is guaranteed in this business. I got quite a lot out of Jack Del Rio’s balls, and for that I am thankful.
Quick shout out to Elisha Manning IV just in case he has played his last game. Only five guys have thrown for more yards in their careers than Eli, and he (somehow) won a pair of Super Bowl MVP awards. Ben McAdoo did him dirty this year, and the Giants faithful rallied around their veteran QB. It is unclear as to whether or not he will be quarterbacking the G-Men in 2018, playing for another team, or awkwardly riding off into the sunset. Whatever happens, we should all pour one out for a guy who (somehow) had a heck of a career and has cemented his legacy on the Mount Rushmore of Younger Brothers:
Just when it looked like the Packers didn’t need their franchise player it turned out that Rodgers still has value in Green Bay. Brett Hundley will not be their quarterback of the future. Aaron Rodgers still has football, if nothing else.
Also Receiving Votes: Jon Gruden’s Bank Account, Bryce Petty’s Helmet, UCF, The SEC, Colin Kaepernick, Dion Lewis and Gingers.