Week 16 locked up a lot of playoff spots though sorting out seedings remains in order for Week 17. What transpired in Week 16 -
OVERESTIMATIONS AND UNDERESTIMATIONS IN THE PATRIOTS-RAVENS GAME
- New England's 41-7 slaughter of the Ravens - the most points the Patriots have ever scored in a road game against either Baltimore NFL team - showcased several aspects missed by the prognosticators who almost without exception predicted a Ravens win -
The Patriots are more battle-tested than the Ravens - The Ravens were winning with a sputtering offense and were barely winning where the Patriots were generating offense and beating better competition - in worse circumstances - than what the Ravens had been facing.
The Patriots exposed Joe Flacco's fundamental weaknesses as a quarterback - We've long seen Joe Flacco, even with his enormous NFL success, display a constant penchant for throws that show little in the way of thought behind them. But this game truly exposed how overrated Flacco is - poor ability to read defenses, inability to process second or third reads or outright refusal to go to a checkdown even when checkdowns were open, and a decided lack of courage as a quarterback. That he's spent as much time as he has whining to media that he ought to be considered an elite quarterback is a red flag that he's not; one now wonders if going forward opposing teams will stop falling for his bluff.
Bill Belichick builds rosters that know how to win - This makes him the best GM in the league and further discredits the critics who attack his record in drafting, etc. That he makes mistakes is obvious enough; that his mistakes do not cost his team should also be obvious enough.
SEAHAWKS INVINCIBILITY PIERCED
- It was bound to happen and the Cardinals further aided their playoff chances by upending the Seahawks in the semi-dome they call home. It showcases that the Cardinals are a playoff power in waiting, though they still need to upgrade the quarterback position.
CHIEFS FALTERING AT WORST TIME - Kansas City's grip on the #5 seed is secure, but the Chiefs' four losses in their last six games - and a determined San Diego team on the horizon - indicate they've gotten what they can out of Alex Smith. Upgrading the quarterback is a must for a team that Andy Reid has in one year turned into a legitimate playoff contender.
EAGLES SET TO RULE THE NFC EAST ROOST - With Nick Foles as quarterback the Eagles are showing the muscle needed to reassume control of the NFC East amid the chaos enveloping the rest of the division.
THE LIONS PUT TO SLEEP TONIGHT
- It now seems certain Jim Schwartz will be fired from Detroit after the Lions have lost five of their last six games. Analysts are now starting to turn on Matthew Stafford as well for poor play, with the term "coach killer" now being used. I'm not ready to go that far, as Stafford looks substantially better than two true coach killers in Jay Cutler and Tony Romo.
PEYTON SETS RECORD AGAINST ZERO RESISTANCE - Peyton Manning nailed 51 touchdown throws by tossing four scores against a Houston team that gave up on the season around November. The question in this game is why Matt Schaub was starting given that his game is worthless now.
The rumor is the Texans will go after Bill O'Brien, the Penn State coach and ex-Patriots offensive coordinator. Bill O'Brien can flat-out coach.
ONE LAST (?) CELEBRATION AT THE STICK - Candlestick Park closed out its existence on Monday Night Football by hosting the moribund Atlanta Falcons; the Falcons actually made a game of it until coughing up a laughable pick-six and thus losing 34-24. It's fitting that a former NFC West foe of the Niners was the visiting team for the old ballpark's NFL swan song. That the Falcons came in as sacrificial lambs is also fitting, having won only ten times there in their history. Perhaps the wildest of those ten wins was in October 1991 when Chris Miller threw three touchdowns while Steve Young had two scores but also three interceptions. Norm Johnson's two field goals in the fourth sealed a 39-34 Falcons win.
The Niners now have a shot at upending the Seahawks for the division, so bet the over for the Niners here.
So it goes entering Monday Night Football