Daily Archives: December 14, 2008

Week 15: Playoff picture begins to develop

75557833DM011_CHICAGO_BEARSAfter Thursday’s win against the New Orleans Saints, the Chicago Bears kept their playoff hopes alive, while the Saints were sent prepping for palm trees and, finally, the 2009 preseason. The NFC Wildcard race will play out throughout the day, twist and turns surely await.

The Bears won’t be the only team fighting to stay in playoff contention this weekend, and the Saints certainly won’t be the last team to have their playoff hopes deteriote in this Week 15.

Here’s a list of team’s facing their maker in Week 15, and why this week maybe the last meaningful one for some:

  • At 8-5, the Cowboys are facing the even-keeled New York Giants, while they carry around more baggage and dram than a day-time soap opera.

Based on  conventional wisdom, and the Cowboys’ recent history as late-season chokers, they should go to 8-6 after today’s contest,      putting them at a stalemate with the Bears in the Wildcard Race. Dallas’ playoff wouldn’t be completely erased from the playoff picture with a loss in New York, but too many Tony Romo-Jason Witten connections on the day just may.

It’s hard to see Dallas as a playoff team with their owner calling out Marian Barber, who didn’t earn that “Barbarian” tag over night, and many other interior problems. But America’s team is not known for being tame or collective, so they can’t be totally counted out.

  • The Tom Brady-less New England Patriots are also still holding out for a playoff appearance. Facing the Raiders during a must-win week is the probably assurance one could have. But it can also pose as a trap game before the Patriots face the dangerous Arizona Cardinals and underachieving Buffalo Bills to finish the season.

With the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins fighting for the NFC East division title at 9-5, the Patriots have to win out in order to find themselves in the driver seat of the playoff livelihood.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles surely wish they could get that tie-game back. At 7-5-1, they will most likely be sitting on the outside looking in.

A Sunday date with the Bengals for 7-6 Washington posed as an elimination game for them as they lost 20-13. This will not assure anything for the Eagles, as they will still be starring up at three teams sitting ahead of them in playoff contention. Philly faces a potential loss in Week 17 against the Cowboys and Washington faces a sure win in San Francisco, which will mean nothing after today’s loss.

  • Today: So far the Dolphins, Jets and Falcons have pulled out wins today, placing the former at 9-5 and both AFC East contenders at 9-5. These scenarios should make for a great weekend of football, where every game is a must see. While no one is probably coming here for NFL news, I’ll continue to make updates throughout the day.
  • AFC Wildcard: Two teams who faced off today, in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons are currently in, but this is certainly subject to change.
  • NFC Wildcard: Contention is far less tumultuous, and sees the Raves and Colts in as of today.

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The Heisman Hangover

14heismanxlarge4Sam Bradford pulled out the Heisman win in what was one of the closest races in the voting results and minds of college football fans.

While there are plenty arguments that can be made for Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy, gaudy numbers and an offense that set an all-time scoring record won Bradford the award. I mean, come on, how can you argue with 48 touchdowns, a 186.3 passer rating and 4,464 total passing yards, all earned while directing a no-huddle offense.

Bradford gained 1,726 total votes, and was only the third player to win the Heisman without receiving the most first-place votes. That distinction belonged to Florida’s Tebow, who had the opportunity to join Archie Griffin as only the second player to earn back-to-back Heisman awards. He instead finished third in total voting with 1,575. McCoy gained 1,640 votes, and is the only player of the three to be left out of the national championship. The highly-publicized snubbing of Texas in the Big 12 South three-way tie between Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech was to blame for that.

Although Bradford came out the victor on Saturday night, he has a Jan. 8 date with Tebow, where they will face off for the most coveted award of the year — a national championship.

Winning the Heisman has been an indication of a national-title or bowl-game loss in past years, as shown by Troy Smith in the BCS Championship, Jason White in the Sugar Bowl and Eric Crouch in the Rose Bowl. Each was blown out in their final game of the season, which may not be a great precedence for Bradford to follow.

When asked in weeks leading up to the Heisman presentation, both Tebow and Bradford exclaimed that a national title was atop their list of desirable awards. Come January, we’ll see if Tebow will live up to that riveting speech following the Gators’ loss at Ole Miss, or if Bradford will break a time-honored tradition of being trounced in a bowl game following a Heisman win.

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Another coach bites the dust

mauricecheeks_ncOnly a week removed from Randy Wittman’s firing in Minnesota, another NBA coach has been sent packing.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Maurice Cheeks, by far one of the classiest coaches in the NBA, was  fired today– from a team seemingly on the rise. Assistant general manager Tony DiLeo will be interim head coach for the rest of the season.

Is it just me, or is it becoming extremely difficuilt to keep up with all the coach firings in recent weeks? Along with college football, the NHL and the NBA there is enough material for this blog to simply be a clipboard of which poor coach will be axed next. And the common argument made in most cases is that coaches increased salary upped expectations on the playing field, but I happen to think many coaches aren’t receiving a fair shot.

Cheeks, on the other hand, was given ample time. I still don’t believe his firing was warranted at this juncture, as I feel about many of the coaches recently let go. Cheeks is, hands down, the classiest coach in the league, his team made a trade for Elton Brand, have Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller and Louis Williams, and are only a couple of moves away from major contention in the Eastern Conference of the NBA. Lets not forget, the Philadelphia 76ers made the playoffs last year without Elton Brand, however brief their stint in postseason play was.

Sure, 9-14 isn’t exactly what was expected from a team that showed glimpses of potential late last season. But the NBA season is a marathon, and I believe the 76ers pulled the cord at the wrong time.

Over the past couple of years, Cheeks’ job security has been the subject of many stories. His teams were struggling, inexperienced and far younger than most of their opponents. To pull the plug, maybe two, three years ago would have been fine. But why now, when his team seems to be turning a corner in a conference that isn’t obviously weaker than its western counterpart.

Cheeks will get back on his feet and find another coaching job in no time. Too bad he’ll be moving into the spot of another coach, who will probably experience an unwarranted firing himself.

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