STEW

The Covington News - - Sports -

Car­di­nals or the AFC West win­ner re­ally has a shot to ad­vance.

At 8-7, it’s pos­si­ble the Car­di­nals will be a .500 team host­ing a play­off game. Who­ever wins the AFC West Sun­day won't be in much bet­ter shape. If San Diego (7-8) wins, its .500 while the Den­ver Bron­cos could push their record to 9-7.

Ac­tu­ally, Sand Diego may be the one aber­ra­tion among the group. If the Charg­ers get in, they may be the only team with a sub­par record to be le­git enough to make a run. The Charg­ers strug­gled through some tough losses, and ter­ri­ble ref­er­ee­ing, early in the sea­son but have ripped off three straight wins. More im­pres­sively, quar­ter­back Phillip Rivers is play­ing at a high level and that bodes well for his team.

Are you go­ing to sit there and tell me Ari­zona can win the Su­per­bowl? There are three or four teams that won’t make the play­offs that would prob­a­bly knock them out in the first round if the post­sea­son started Sun­day. New Orleans (8-7), San Fran­cisco (69), Green Bay and Chicago, with only the Bears hav­ing a chance to make the play­offs, are all play­ing well enough to beat the Car­di­nals right now.

Back over in the AFC, it’s pos­si­ble an 11-5 record won’t be good enough to get in. If the Bal­ti­more Ravens (10-5), New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots (10-5) and Mi­ami Dol­phins (10-5) all win Sun- day, be­side the ob­vi­ous im­prove­ment to 11-5, one team will have played its last game of 2008-09. So what does all of this mean? The NFL has a lot of bad teams, lousy gen­eral man­agers, in­ept own­ers and ridicu­lously over­paid and un­der qual­i­fied coaches roam­ing the side­lines.

Per­son­ally, I can’t com­plain. My Nin­ers have been de­cent and fi­nally look to be turn­ing the prover­bial cor­ner. We still need a quar­ter­back, but Mike Sin­geltary seems to have given the team some di­rec­tion. I can only hope the own­er­ship’s deal works it­self out (that’s a dis­cus­sion for an­other day).

Closer to home, you can’t help but be pleased with At­lanta’s sea­son. Even if the Fal­cons lose in the first round, it’s clear the team has found it­self and turned the page on the past—in less than a year I might add. Credit Arthur Blank for that. He re­ally does have the Mi­das touch.

As far as the rest of the league goes, yes, the Giants proved last year that a Wild Card team can win the whole en­chi­lada. But I wouldn’t hold my breath this year. If the Charg­ers stay hot and Lada­nian Tom­lin­son can re­vert back to the L.T. of three-years ago, it could get in­ter­est­ing.

But this year has re­ally ex­posed the frauds around the league and shown just how valu­able a great quar­ter­back (Pey­ton Man­ning), solid de­fense (Steel­ers/Ti­tans), sound run­ning game (Giants/ Pan­thers) and steady coach (Jeff Fisher/Ti­tans) re­ally are.

Scrub­bi­ness and all, it must be play­off time again.

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