Strange Sunday. The final week of the NFL season, which means the fantasy league is over (for me, without playoffs, it's been long since over), and after the Giants lost to the Pats on Saturday night, I had no chance of winning anything in the confidence pool I'm in (I had been doing so badly that the past few weeks I just picked against the Patriots because everyone was picking them, just hoping their loss might benefit me financially). So that left me with nothing but 'the love of the game' on Sunday for the final day of the NFL season.
I watched much of the Jets-Chiefs game, knowing it would be the last time I saw the Jets play for months. I also hoped Chad Pennington would make an appearance in what was likely his last game in a Jets uniform (more on that later in the week). That didn't happen, but I think by watching the game, I have made my peace with Kellen Clemens. If he is the Jets' quarterback in 2008, so be it. I'll never love him...I don't know that I'll ever get very attached to a single Jet ever again...but I'll live with him. Amazingly, in a game just about everyone just wanted to go out and get it over with, the Jets and Chiefs went to overtime. The Jets did win, hurting their draft position a little, but I really don't know enough about this year's draft crop to judge whether or not that's a horrible thing. The way I see it, they should trade the pick and build up a stockpile of picks...unless there's one great player out there.
I want to spend a bit of time, though, talking about the Saturday night game, because that was the best game of the weekend.
I want to reiterate my claim - I do not think the Patriots will go 19-0. If they do, then yes, they can be considered the greatest team of all time. I don't think you can argue that. But they're starting to slip. They're beatable. And I just think 19-0 will be an incredibly hard thing to do. I don't know who it is that will beat them - and I think you can make the argument against me that they will go 19-0, just having to win 3 more games, after a bye week. But those three games won't come easy...and I think the game plan to beat them is out there. It just needs to be executed.
The Giants looked like they had that game plan in place and all but had the Patriots beat Saturday night. But Eli Manning did them in. I've never seen a player go from having a great game to an awful one quicker. Eli looked like Peyton in the first half and on the first drive of the second half, when the Giants took a 28-16 lead. Then it's like he suddenly realized he was on the verge of the biggest win of his career, got nervous, and played horribly, when all the Giants needed was a few first downs to keep the Patriots' offense off the field.
That's not to take the credit away from the Patriots. Tom Brady has the opposite gift of Eli -nothing rattles him. He knew he'd win that game, and went out and did it. The Patriots' defense sensed Eli was getting rattled, and rattled him some more. Brady to Moss didn't work once, so they went right back to it. That's why they're 16-0.
But I still don't think they'll go 19-0. Part of this rationale is my studid heart getting in the way of my head...I just don't like this team. At least with the past few Patriots championship teams they had players you could respect and, in spite of yourself, root for. Those players drowned out the Bill Belichicks and Rodney Harrisons, at least in my view, and made the team tolerable. But this year it seems like the Patriots have suddenly gotten classless, and there are more Rodney Harrison-types than not. There's a lot more "me" guys there...and I'm surprised it's working for them so well. But that's another part of the reason I think their season will end with a loss.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
1) A couple of years ago I was all over the Jaguars, and how, at 12-4, I thought they were fakers. I think I called them the 'worst 12-4 team of all time'. Well, this year they're 11-5, and I think they're better than the 12-4 team. I am buying into David Garrard - I think the Jaguars made a great decision going with him over Byron Leftwich. I've been anti-Fred Taylor the past few years, thinking he's washed up. I take it all back. He's had a fantastic year, and he's splitting time with Maurice Jones-Drew. I think the Jaguars could be dangerous in the playoffs - but it hurts them that they have to go on the road.
2) For you die-hards out there, Anthony Becht is still playing with the Buccaneers. He gets decent playing time (I think, because I haven't spent much time watching Tampa this season), but he is mainly a blocking tight end. He finished the season with 5 catches for 20 yards, but two of those catches were for touchdowns, and another two for first downs. Watch for him next week against the Giants - he always came up big for the Jets in big games.
SITE UPDATE: I think I'll make my playoff picks by Friday night, and you are free to post comments with your picks. I'll pick against the spread, and using the over/under. I urge you to do the same.
Also, please note that I have transferred all of the Jets content to this site, and the Jets site is effectively no more. Thanks.