So, as we head into the final week of the 2011 NFL regular season, there are a few spots up for grabs in both the NFC and AFC. This weekend should prove to be a dramatic one. Here's how things look right now:
- Green Bay, 14-1 (clinched home field advantage and first-round bye)
- San Francisco, 12-3 (clinched division; can clinch first-round bye with win over St. Louis)
- New Orleans, 12-3 (clinched division; can clinch first-round bye with win over Carolina and San Francisco loss)
- NY Giants/Dallas, 8-7 (winner clinches NFC East, loser is eliminated)
- Detroit, 10-5 (clinched Wild Card; secures 5th seed with win over Green Bay)
- Atlanta, 9-6 (clinched Wild Card; can move up to 5th seed with win over Carolina and Detroit loss)
Green Bay will probably beat Detroit this Sunday at home, unless they rest their starters. Green Bay really has nothing to play for at this point, other than pride, and it's not an uncommon thing to do. I think Rodgers and starters play at least through halftime, though, and the Packers finish the season at 15-1.
San Francisco will probably beat St. Louis to lock up the 2nd seed. Doing so makes New Orleans' game meaningless. New Orleans' game only means anything if they win and San Francisco loses.
The NY/Dallas game is a tossup, in my opinion. That should be a fun game to watch, even though I'm not a fan of either team.
If Detroit loses to Green Bay, it opens the door for Atlanta to move into the 5th seed, since Atlanta beat Detroit in Week 7. Atlanta has a favorable matchup this week against
Carolina [Ed: Tampa Bay. Thanks, my mistake. Still a favorable matchup, as pointed out in the comments], so it looks like they have a decent shot of moving up.
This is exciting to me because, even though we already know most of the teams that will be in the NFC playoffs, each team (except Green Bay) has something to play for this week. The difference between the 5th and 6th seed is the difference between playing a mediocre Dallas/NY team and Drew Brees. I would not want to have to face Brees in the first round at all.
- New England, 12-3 (clinched division and first-round bye; can clinch home-field advantage with win over Buffalo)
- Baltimore/Pittsburgh, 11-4 (see below)
- Houston, 10-5 (clinched division; their game against Tennessee means nothing for them. They are locked into the 3rd seed regardless of the outcome of this game)
- Denver/Oakland, 8-7 (see below)
- Baltimore/Pittsburgh (see below)
- Cincinnati/Tennessee/Oakland/NY Jets (see below)
New England is guaranteed to finish no lower than the 2nd seed in the AFC. A win over Buffalo would lock them in to the #1 seed. A loss opens up the door to either Pittsburgh or Baltimore.
Baltimore has a wide range of possibilites right now: they could finish as high as the #1 overall seed and as low as the #5 seed. A win over Cincinnati on the road guarantees that they finish no lower than the #2 seed. If Baltimore wins and New England loses, Baltimore would clinch the #1 overall seed; however, if Baltimore loses and Pittsburgh wins, Baltimore would fall below Pittsburgh and be stuck with the #5 seed.
Pittsburgh could also finish as high as #1 and as low as #5. If Pittsburgh wins on the road against Cleveland and Baltimore and New England lose, Pittsburgh would clinch the #1 overall seed. If Pittsburgh wins and Baltimore loses, Pittsburgh would clinch the #2 seed. If Baltimore wins or Pittsburgh loses, Pittsburgh would be stuck with the #5 seed.
Houston has no incentive to win their game against Tennessee, unless they want to ruin Tennessee's playoff hopes. Houston has locked up the #3 seed and will host the #6 seed in the first round of the playoffs, no matter what.
Denver's playoff hopes are in their (or dare I say Tebow's) hands. If they beat Kansas City at home, they win the AFC West. If they lose and Oakland wins, then Denver is eliminated from contention. There is absolutely no way they can win the Wild Card, it's AFC West. or bust for them.
Oakland can clinch either the 4th or
5th [Ed: 6th. Thanks, my mistake] seed. They must win to have any chance at all though. It is impossible for them to make the playoffs if they lose at home to San Diego. If Oakland wins, they would clinch the AFC West with a Denver loss. If both Oakland and Denver win, and Cinncinati loses, then Oakland would clinch the Wild Card.
Tennessee can clinch the Wild Card if they beat Houston on the road, and Cincinnati and Oakland lose.
The Jets can clinch the Wild Card if they beat Miami on the road, and Cincinnati, Oakland, and Tennessee lose.
Cincinnati will clinch the Wild Card with a win over Baltimore at home. If Cinncinnati loses, they can only get in if Tennessee, NY, and Oakland lose; OR if Tennessee, NY, and Denver lose, and Oakland wins.
Wow, so you can see that there is much to play for in Week 17. Even though all but 1 team has yet to be determined in the NFC, there is a lot of room for moving around among the qualified teams there. In the AFC, there are 4 teams vying for the 2 remaining playoff spots, and there is a lot of room for variation among the 4 qualified teams. Exciting stuff, for sure.
Finally, here's my weak attempt at a prediction for the first week of playoffs:
#1 Green Bay - BYE
#2 San Francisco - BYE
#3 New Orleans vs. #6 Detroit
#4 Dallas vs. #5 Atlanta
#1 New England - BYE
#2 Pittsburgh - BYE
#3 Houston vs. #6 Cincinnati
#4 Denver vs. #5 Baltimore
Eds-[As in all of us]: Bumped from boards (!) for awesome. May 2012 be even better!
Finally for all us Wolverines fans, we have a year we can look back on fondly and anticipate the future (mostly in regards to football and basketball). Here's a little picture page-ish post recollecting the past 12 months. I hope you enjoy.
After starting the year out unauspiciously, a new era of Michigan football took hold on January 11th as AD David Brandon introduced us all to....
and the now famous Hoke-point.
The Hokester brought along his buddy
which was encouraging to most, but some people were still
On the hardwood, the cagers started the season off right with a win over
only to go on a 6 game losing streak, including 2 narrow losses to the #2 and #3 teams in the country.
People were starting to question
But Ann Arbor Torch and Pitch Fork closed it's door for the year after the Wolverines marched into Breslin Arena and ended the Spartans beloved "Days since....." calendar, forcing these assclowns
to have to scrub each other's prepubescent chests.
Get the **** off my court.
After just 3 weeks on the job, Hokester salvages a top20 recruiting class, including
Brennan Beyer (SAM) | Frank Clark (WDE) | Blake Countess (CB)
Delonte Hollowell (CB) | Desmond Morgan (WLB) | Matt Wile (K/P/KO)
...who either start or make signficant contributions in just their first year on campus. We didn't know at the time, but these 6 turn out to be pretty damn good.
Meanwhile, the pipeline from Farmington Hills Harrison to Lansing is temporarily diverted west as
solidify their future by taking their talents to the good side.
decide to go all
on some poor dude in a Colorado bar then flee the scene. The po-po apprehended them and sentenced them to 1 to 3 more years in East Lansing.
went to the NCAA finals, narrowly losing 3-2 in overtime to Minnesota-Duluth.
Memorial Day Weekend. It's one of those days where you remember exactly where you were at that moment in time when
was "forced out" at Ohio State for repeatedly lying to his administration and NCAA. Turns out Cheaty knew about some shenanigans going on inside his program but didn't want to upset the winning apple cart, so he only told the owner of this car
and perhaps an FBI agent.
Ding dong, the dick is dead.
At a team meeting to tell all the Buckeyes their coach had been fired for failing to monitor his program, which included massive memorabilia sales and trades for tatoos and questionable car deals, TP decided it would be a good idea to roll up in
with temporary tags. TP would also be unceremoniously led out of Columbus.
Take that, Brutus.
In one of the saddest and most unbelievable tragedies I can remember, 16 year old basketball commit Austin Hatch survives his SECOND airplane crash. The plane went down in northern Michigan, killing Austin's father and step mother. In the first crash in 2003, Austin and his dad survived but his mother and two siblings were killed.
Thankfully, Austin's recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. He may not play basketball again, but he'll be a Wolverine for life.
As a result of the aforementioned Buckeye shenanigans,
delivers another dong punch to the evil empire by switching his commitment from OSU to Meeeeeeeechigan. Buckeyes everywhere suck it.
Finally all the speculation and predictions have come to an end and it's time to play some football.
The boys take care of Western Michigan in grand fashion before 2 lightning delays force an early end to the game.
Then the much anticipated
Trailing 24-7 at the end of 3 quarters,
leads the Wolverines to a furious 28-point 4th quarter rally. With 1:22 left in the game, Denard hits Vincent Smith on a screen pass that goes for 21 yards and the score. The crowd goes nuts. We win, we win, we.......................... fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Notre Dame pulls out the unthinkable and drives right down the field, and Tommy Rees hits a wide open Theo Riddick for a 29 yard touchdown.
What a f****** drag. God******. What the hell is wrong with our D? Screw you Mattison. FU Kelly. God da.......
Wait a minute. There's still 30 seconds left. Who knows, right? Anything can happen, right? RIGHT?
Suck it Irish.
October and November
We lose to Satan for the 4th time in a row during a trash tornado, and inexplicably look bad against an average Iowa team. But all is not lost. We go on to beat Illinois, run a train on Nebraska, and then, FINALLY, after a decade of OSU dominance...
Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. All America.
Here's a list of other
Conference Champions from 2011...
- Field Hickey wins the regular season and conference tournament championship
- Women's Gymnastics
- Men's Swimming and Diving
- Women's Tennis
- Men's Soccer wins the tournament title.
As Coach Hoke will tell you, it wasn't a "great" season because we didn't achieve our goal, which is the Big Ten Title. But after the last 3 years, and since 2006 frankly, this year has given us reason to be very optimistic for the future. I'm proud to be a Wolverine. My wife and I (also an alum) are fortunate to have a son who was accepted into UofM last week and hope he will grow as attached to this great institution as we are.
Thanks for the memories 2011.
Kinda sad to see a great michigan WR go to the NFL and not do as good as he did at the UofM. He did have a lot of off field issues. But this one is having to do with an injury. Here is what he said on twitter
Ty Isaac's much anticipated Junior year highlights are finally out... and they are quite exciting. Needless to say, getting this kid would be huge.
ESPN has issued its reply brief in their case vs Ohio. I've used up all my Christmas cheer and would still like to see ESPN win this case and Ohio get LOIC as a result. Even if there are no further NCAA sanctions, I'd enjoy watching more Ohio arrogance go down in flames.