Let's be honest here: NFL Week 17 SEEMED exciting last Sunday, but since has fizzled as reality has set in that it's not THAT in doubt.
The NFC could be sewn up as early as Saturday. If the Giants beat the Redskins, they're a virtual Wild Card lock and an esteemed member of the .500 Playoff Team Club.
More intriguing: What if the Giants LOSE? (As they certainly deserve to.) The Packers are next in line but end in
The AFC has two teams who Control Their Own Destiny (which remains one of the all-time great phrases in sports): The Jets, who play the hapless Raiders (who have no incentive to win, given their dogfight with the Lions for the No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick), and the Broncos, who play the 49ers, who – at this point – have no incentive to win and consequently tumble down the draft board.
(The Bengals, Titans, Jags and Chiefs all need help. Of course, the Jags and Chiefs play each other. The Bengals can put the final nail in the 2006 coffin of the Steelers. The Titans play the Pats, which would be a loss in any other week, but given the Pats have nothing to gain by playing hard,
Week 17 in the NFL always brings me back to my ongoing debate with readers about Tanking. Though many are loathe to admit it, there are several times when tanking isn't just justified, but optimal. This weekend showcases two:
(1) Non-playoff teams tanking for draft position. It's not just the Lions and Raiders jockeying for No. 1 overall. Why would any non-playoff-contending team try to win and mess up a critical draft slot (or several)?
(2) Playoff teams tanking because they have no reason to win. Call it the Colts Rule. As long as playoff position – a bye week or home-field advantage – isn't on the line, wouldn't a team feel stupid if one of their starters were injured in what is otherwise a meaningless game? And so the coaches hold as many talents out as possible, and you get the feeling that if the NFL gave them an option to simply forfeit the game and not put ANY players at risk, they would not only do it, but stake out the competitive high road while doing it.
Let me say it again: In a week like this, tanking the game is arguably the
I'm going to skip game-by-game predictions and go straight to this:
The Jets and the Broncos will be the AFC Wild Card teams, and the Giants will somehow fall ass-backwards into a playoff spot (though it's not like any of the other NFC 6-seed contenders deserve it more). Otherwise, tank away!
Meanwhile, there are 10 college football bowls running through Monday. Saturday's three are worth watching to see