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.