Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tuesday 12/26 A.M. Quickie:
NFL P'offs: Jets, Jints On Inside Track?

NFL Playoff Clarity: A Sunday that seemed to have so many awesome NFL playoff possibilities yielded to the reality that it's not nearly as wide open – but nearly as compelling.

In the AFC, the Jets – yes, the Jets! – control their own destiny after beating the Dolphins in an ugly one last night. But now only a game versus the hapless Raiders stands between them and a Wild Card slot, and if the Jets lose that one, they don't DESERVE to make the playoffs. Eric Mangini locks in for NFL Coach of the Year.

(The other Wild Card slot in the AFC looks like it will go to the Broncos, who also control their own destiny.)

In the NFC, the Eagles secured a playoff spot yesterday with that thrashing of the Cowboys. (Jeff Garcia for NFC MVP???) That leaves one spot left, and, whee, it is guaranteed that a .500 team will get it.

(Even more amazing, the team with the inside track is the Giants, who have stumbled to the finish – understatement – but hold the tiebreaker over the other WC contenders: Packers, Panthers, Rams, Falcons.)

Wade leads Heat over Kobe/Lakers in NBA Xmas tradition: Any doubts that Dwyane Wade is the best player in the NBA? Maybe you think that Kobe is the best player? Well, Wade had 40 and 11 leading Miami to a 16-point rout. Kobe had 16 on 4/17 FG shooting. As '06 closes, so does the case.

MLB Hot Stove: Yankees trading Randy Johnson? Now THAT is a great development – totally unexpected, but totally viable. Will he go back to the D'backs? Or elsewhere in the NL West, like San Diego or San Francisco?

Meanwhile, the other implication is: If the Yankees can shed Johnson's $16M salary, does that make them instant players for Barry Zito? Suddenly, the Mets have gotten a little nervous – and, for Zito agent Scott Boras, no better Christmas gift could have been given.

Gone Bowlin': Motor City. Middle Tennessee State versus Central Michigan. Give me the MAC in this bowl every time. (Signed up for the Pick 'Em yet? Go to ESPN.com's college bowl pick 'em game and find group name "Daily Quickie Readers.")

College Hoops Polls: I'm trying to figure out how pollsters can rank No. 2 UNC over No. 3 Florida when they have a common opponent both teams played at home: Ohio State. UNC eked out a win (and that was with OSU playing without Greg Oden). Florida won by 26.

The Top 8 in both polls is the same: UCLA, UNC, Florida, Wisconsin, Duke, Ohio State, Arizona, Alabama. 2 Pac-10, 2 ACC, 2 SEC, 2 Big Ten. The highest Big 12 team is AP No. 9 Kansas and 11 Texas A&M; the Big East has AP No. 10 Pitt and 12 UConn. That's parity.

Tiger is AP Athlete of the Year: I guess I don't argue, but there isn't much more boring in sports than Tiger winning anything anymore, particularly end-of-year awards.

More intriguing was the rest of the ballot: LaDainian Tomlinson in 2nd (not a bad pick); Federer in 3rd; Wade in 4th; Pujols and Howard, appropriately, tied for 5th.

I'll ask this: Where the hell was Vince Young on that list!? He only carried his team to the Win of the Year in the Game of the Year with the Single-Game Performance of the Year, then turned around and – as a rookie NFL QB, the toughest position in sports – led the Titans to the precipice of the playoffs. He's the "Dan Shanoff Male Athlete of the Year*," for whatever THAT is worth...

-- D.S.

* - Not the same as my "Sports Person of the Year," which I didn't reveal last week but will get to this week...

43 comments:

CMFost said...

I just hope we do not have a 7-9 team make the playoffs. Is that even possible?

CMFost said...

All I know is this weekend again showed why you can not take the patriots lightly. They are well coached and always seem to have the right game plan for the big games. I am hoping the Jets make the playoffs and have the play the Pats that will be on hell of a game.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Calm down, Dan. Jesus. The Gators have looked good exactly once against a good team. The other two times we've played good (or decent) teams we've looked like crap and lost.

In football, would you really rank Oregon State, Washington, or UCLA ahead of Arkansas? No, you wouldn't. Look at all the evidence.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

cmfost...

Yes...I was watching Sportscenter this morning and they said the Giants if the Giants win next week, they are in at 8-8. If they lose, they CAN get in at 7-9...but it's an absurd scenario. I can't even remember what it is. Check on espn.com

Also...Dan...your man crush on Vince Young is borerline scary. I thought my man crush on Troy Smith was bad!

Hope all had a good holiday...I'm stuck here at the office.

Big D said...

"...control their own estiny..." *shudder*
Somewhere, a former grammar teacher dies a little inside.


Hell of a week for the NFL, even if it did bring us one step closer to a below - .500 playoff team. Hello Packers/Rams/Panthers/49ers!

By the way - no mention of Brian Griese's "masterful" performance, leading hte Bears back from the brink of defeat to the Lions of all teams...

See, if I was a Detroit fan, I'd be thanking Lovie Smith for actually trying to win that game and keep the Lions in the hunt for that #1 overall pick. I see Mario Manningham in their immediate future...

Of course, if I was a Lions' fan, I would have stopped caring about the NFL a long time ago.

Michael said...

I'm a Lions fan, but can't stop watching. Every. Week.
Leave it to Millen to draft ANOTHER receiver. I like Manningham too, but as a #1 overall?

Dan Mega said...

Magini? Coach of the year in the NFL? You gotta be kidding. Give that award to Sean Payton.

Anonymous said...

If the Lions take another receiver it would be Calvin Johnson, who probably will be a top 3 pick.

Who cares what the polls say right now? Its not even January yet.

I'd like to thank Ocho Cinco for not showing up to play during fantasy playoffs and quite possibly costing me a championship.

I didn't play VY either which was a blunder.

Brian in Oxford said...

I thought for sure the refs would blow the fumble call at the end of Pats-Jags....it was beautiful that they got it right. An actual tuck, so it was an incomplete pass, except the pass went backwards, making it a live ball, and then only Garrard's hand pushed it forward, making it look like a forward pass, but still really a live fumble.

It's a lot easier to convince my family to put the TV on during Thanksgiving, than on Christmas Eve, so that was about the only 10 minutes of games I got to see until last night's snoozer.

nep1293 said...

Let's see

Giants @ Redskins
Packers @ Bears
Panthers @ Saints
Rams @ Vikings
Falcons @ Eagles

I'd say there is a legit shot of a 7-9 playoff team.

I'd be surprised to see the Giants Win, the Skins aren't quitting and the Giants seem like they are... Will the Bears lie down against ther biggest rival and possibly let them in the playoffs? I doubt it. I don't trust the Panthers even IF the Saints rest their starters.

So that leaves us with the Rams and Falcons. The Rams have looked decent recently and with the Vikings offense struggling mightily that helps out the Rams horrible D. Up unitl yesterday the Eagles rush D has been pathetic (remember Addai??). If the Falcons get their rushing offense going they could put up a fight. And how do the Eagles play now with the pressure on them for the first time in a while?

I'm gonna go with the Rams, everyone else falters and they pull out a W (barely)


In the AFC, for some weird reason I'm feeling a Raiders upset. which opens the door for everyone else. But I'm not gonna break down a bunch of scenarios that are based on the Raiders winning. That would probably be wasted time

Kurm said...

Watch out for those Eagles...

At least in the NFC playoffs. All you have to do is get to the big game and then weird things can happen. If I were in the NFC I wouldn't want any part of the Birds.

The 3 straight wins on the road vs. the NFC east are good but not great. Especially since we played Cambell, ELI, and ROMO. The eagles will be fine for the next couple years if those 3 are the future.


BRING On M VICK

jkadis said...

"Wade leads Heat over Kobe/Lakers in NBA Xmas tradition: Any doubts that Dwyane Wade is the best player in the NBA? Maybe you think that Kobe is the best player? Well, Wade had 40 and 11 leading Miami to a 16-point rout. Kobe had 16 on 4/17 FG shooting. As '06 closes, so does the case."

He's done a great job of leading his team to a 13-14 record and 3rd place in the Southeast division.

Hisjazziness said...

Dan, do you not realize that, as good as Oden is, he completely changes the look and style of that team for the worse?

Against UNC (and before Oden), OSU was a running, gunning, jack up 3's and score transition buckets team. Now they have to slow the pace down for him. It seems as if he's not a good fit there.

Stop talking about this. Why does it matter who is where in the polls?

pcoelho said...

I thought Reggie Bush should win ROY and this was why.

- His use as a decoy (especially early in the season) on the best offense in the NFL is underappreciated.

- Was not the feature running back on his team, yet still gained 545 yards and scored 5 TDs.

- Had more receptions than Marques Colston and had 729 yards and 2 TDs.

- Key piece to the Saints
Has gained close to 1500 yards total offense (special teams included) and scored 8 TDs.

Colston - 1038 yards and 8 TDs.

But now looking at it closer, Maurice Jones-Drew should win hands down. 2046 total yards (including special teams) and 15 TDs.

CMFost said...

My ROY is Jones-Drew, he almost single handedly kept the Jags in the game this week.

kway34 said...

I'm trying to figure out how pollsters can rank No. 2 UNC over No. 3 Florida when they have a common opponent both teams played at home: Ohio State. UNC eked out a win (and that was with OSU playing without Greg Oden). Florida won by 26.

The transitive property does not exsist in sports. And how much does it matter? Regular season rankings mean squat in basketball...the only #1's that matter are #1 seeds.

Sean (Pittsburgh) said...

@troy

Thank you for saying what I think every time Dan talks about Florida. You hit the nail on the head. I love how Dan widdles things down to one game when it favors HIS (WIFE'S) Gators. Ugh! Yet when it comes to other teams, his tunnel vision mysteriously disappears!

CMFost said...

My predictions from Friday:

My Prediction Ohio State goes 0-3 against Florida.

Florida wins by 10 this weekend
Florida wins the NC GAme 34-31
Florida wins in the Bball NC Game


1 down 2 to go

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to see the Jets make the playoffs. Two reasons, they will not do anything against the AFC juggernauts, and they are just not fun to watch at all.

I would much rather see VY and the Titans, or the Bengals as the 6 seed. The NFC playoffs will be ugly as all hell, and the AFC is full of boring teams (Denver, NE, Balt, and NYJ). I hope I am wrong, but I do not see this being too entertaining of a playoff.

Sheldiz said...

"and the AFC is full of boring teams (Denver, NE, Balt and NYJ)"
-seb pho

define "boring."

Big D said...

Allow me to preface this by saying - I am a Patriots' fan. Always have been, always will be.

"Boring Teams": Specifically, Baltimore, NE, NYJ, Denver.

Three of those teams share two things in common - Very, very good on defense, and no marquis stars on offense. Denver shares the no offensive stars property, but their defense has fallen off the face of the Earth over the past eight-plus weeks.

I know - NE has Brady, NYJ have Pennington, Baltimore has Ray Ray, but none of these guys (with the exception of Brady) jump to the forefront of our memories when we think of the game's marquis stars.

Most people would rattle off players like Peyton Manning, LdT, LJ, (sadly) Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, etc. The players who, in general, make a point of standing out in a crowd (and, not surprisingly, the biggest fantasy names).

So watching a team like the Patriots or Ravens absolutely dismantle their opponents through workmanlike precision on defense and the "no turnovers" style of offense generally leaves the viewer feeling unfulfilled and, "bored".

Think that about covers it. Sorry if I stepped on your toes there seb pho - if you've got other theories, by all means...

Anonymous said...

Big D - You summed it up well, except for NE having a great defense. You watch them more so maybe you know better, or you're biased. Personally, I would not call them a good defense.

I think NYJ and NE speak for themselves. No big plays/playmakers, above average on defense. Just kind of bleh.

As for Balt, Jamal Lewis runs at 3.6YPC and is never a threat to break one. They have a great defense, but 10-7 games bore me.

Maybe Denver is not so bad. Javon Walker is good, and Mike and Tatum Bell are capable of breaking big runs.

I also have a shorter attention span than most people when it comes to football games though. So I might be in the minority who define these teams as "boring".

CMFost said...

The New England Defense is in fact one of the best in the league if you look at the one true stat that really counts and that is Points per Game Allowed which they are currently 2nd in the league behind baltimore.

Sheldiz said...

I guess years of watching a team win 10-7 games has made me thoroughly enjoy a good defensive contest.

sure its always nice to see hail mary passes and the offense light it up... but 9 sacks on a QB in one game does it for me just as well.

CMFost said...

Also if you think New England has no playmakers you missed that TD run Maroney had one Sunday. He shot through the whole and was gone.

Jeff said...

"See, if I was a Detroit fan, I'd be thanking Lovie Smith for actually trying to win that game and keep the Lions in the hunt for that #1 overall pick. I see Mario Manningham in their immediate future.. "

Not sure if it was pointed out yet or not, but Mario is only a sophomore. Even if he could be eligible for the draft, he wouldn't go #1 overall. Even with millen being the complete idiot that he is, he wouldn't take another WR.

I actually think he may MAY be smart this year and even if he gets the #1 pick trade down and take Joe Thomas, Gaines Adams, or Leon Hall. Maybe try to snag Woodley with the #32nd pick. (even though I would be shocked to see how fall that low, all mock drafts i've seen typically have him going after the first round.)

However... this is millen we are talking about so brady quinn shall be the next Joey Harrington, or Charles Rodgers, or Mike Williams.... yea, his future looks good.

Jeff said...

*33rd pick... not 32nd

Trayton Otto said...

No one is mentioning the biggest fantasy development of the week:

LDT: 123yds rushing, 10yds rec, 0 TD - 6 fantasy points (your scoring system may vary)

How many fantasy teams depending on LDT lost the championship because he put up a subpar game?

I know I won because the stars aligned with my RBs (Jackson, Gore, Betts).

CMFost said...

LdT did not kill my team, it was definetly sub par based on his prior weeks but I strong game out of Steve McNair helped my team to the Championship.

Big D said...

Re: Manningham as the #1 overall pick

I realize it would never happen. It was a joke. However, can't you see a U-Mich stud WR ending up in Detroit at some point?

Is Arrington declaring this year? Matt Millen will not be denied!

Dan Mega said...

I see alot of people are assuming that Millen will be back as the Lions' GM by the next time the NFL draft rolls around?

If the owners keep him for another year, the NFL should purchase the team for cheap and sell it to the highest bidder.

Anonymous said...

My brother won 500 dollars in his fantasy league because of LDT having a down week. He won by 5 pts. One TD costs him the championship.

Great timing for a bad week. For him anyway, I am sure the other guy has a sniper rifle trained at the back of LDT's head right now.

I had LDT last year, he carries me into the playoffs, then cracks his ribs and doesn't do a damn thing in the championship. My whole team did NOTHING (sorry, I am still bitter).

Brian in Oxford said...

Why, why, why....can't there be a simple website that spells out exactly WHO makes the playoffs if you present a scenario.

A simple "The Giants will beat out Atlanta because they beat them earlier in the year. The Giants will beat out Green Bay because their wins were over better teams (strength of victory)."

"The Titans need to win, and then Denver and KC need to end up both tied as well. This will neutralize Denver's 8-4 AFC record, because they'll finish behind Kansas City within the AFC West. Then the Titans' 6-6 record would beat KC's 5-7 AFC record."

Interesting that Denver's AFC record beats any other contenders, except their division record costs them against Kansas City. While KC's conference record sucks, their division record would be better than Denver's.

I don't have time to figure this all out myself! Does anyone know a better place to look?

Lenny said...

Meanwhile, I never shouldhave been in my championship game in my league. My team consisted of Palmer, Roy Williams, Ron Dayne, Ladell Betts(Go Iowa!!), LJ Smith, and I had Dunn in the flex position. My defense was Miami and my kicker was Graham. I somehow made it to the championship and lost by less than a point (we have fractional points) 174.48-173.86. I was kinda mad but the guy that beat me had the best team all year and I shouldn't have been there. Oh well, it was fun!

amr said...

Here's a listing of how each team gets into the playoffs, without a why behind it:

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/9817776

Short and Sweet ins and outs:

NFC.
1. Giants win every tiebreaker against every team except might lose to GB if both win based on Strength of Victory, in which GB needs help.
2. GB beats everyone else except STL heads-up.
3. CAR beats ATL beats STL.
4. STL only in if the only ones of the five to win are STL and GB (GB does not need to win for STL to make playoffs).

AFC (a bit trickier):
1. NYJ win and in.
2. DEN win and in.
3. KC beats DEN, so if KC wins and DEN loses, DEN out. Otherwise, DEN in anyways.
4. CIN beats the other teams so, if they win and NYJ loses or DEN loses and KC wins, they're in.
5. If NYJ loses, the rest is a mess between KC, TEN, JAX, and NYJ. KC plays JAX. I could figure it out but I have to catch my bus.

I don't care too much about seedings or scenarios involving ties, just who makes it in.

Brian in Oxford said...

Because GB has beaten Detroit a couple of times....that's why their strength of victory is awful. They'd need all the teams they beat this year to win, and they'd need all the teams the Giants beat this year to lose, to have any shot at all that way.

Big D said...

"All the teams the GIants beat this year..."

That oughtta be a short list.


Also, I agree - with all the money the NFL makes, you'd think they could hire a couple of web personnel to design a page where you plug in the results to any number of games and it spits out the playoff implications. Doesn't seem that tough.

Jason said...

Is Dan poll-complaining? Not that there is a problem with that, but wasn't he raging against everyone complaining about the BCS polling in CFB? Here it's about a december poll in CBB.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Eric Mangini locks in for NFL Coach of the Year.

Mangini has no shot at coach of the year. This baby's going to be unanimous, and it's going to be Sean Payton.

Sham said...

Oh, Dan's pushing for Florida to be ranked higher? Never saw that coming. Guess what? It's CFB, the rankings don't matter, isn't stealing the BCS game good enough for you?

CMFost said...

Troy I think the Coach of the year vote is going to be closer then you think. Payton took a team that got a top pick and a top QB and made them a winner in the weak NFC where as Mangini took almost the same roster in the much tougher AFC and if they get into the playoffs and win 10 games it will be a tough choice for the voters

Brian in Oxford said...

I agree with cmfost....Payton will win, but Mangini definitely will get votes. If nothing else than because it's not obvious why the Jets are winning. The Saints "at least" have top rookies, plus a re-energized fan base.

(Of course, it *is* still a damned good coaching job by Payton, and that's the perfect combination for winning the award....win when nobody expected it.)

amr said...

OK, it's a little late, but I've got a breakdown of the AFC WC situation.

Think of two spots.
Lets call spot 1, "The West"
If DEN W or KC L, DEN
else if CIN W, CIN
else if TEN W, TEN
else KC.

Spot 2, "The East"
If NYJ W, NYJ
else if CIN W, CIN
(unless also DEN L + KC W[JAX L], NYJ because CIN gets West)
else if JAX W + TEN L, JAX
else NYJ.

If they all have the same record, TEN beats JAX within division but NYJ beats TEN. However, JAX beats NYJ only if TEN loses.

Also, TEN beats KC.

Within Divisions, assuming same record:
TEN > JAX and KC > DEN
Across Divisions, assuming same record:
CIN > NYJ > TEN > KC
CIN > JAX > NYJ > DEN