Ha Ha. That was pretty much my reaction at about 7:30 on Sunday night (after I got home from the monsoon in Foxboro in time to watch the 4th quarter live). This week we saw what I think we can expect to see out of our respective favorite teams for the foreseeable future. So with only one AFC East team continuing their season into January, I will include a bonus projection for each of you to JW into your secret squirrel files to throw at me this time next year.
As always, we start at the bottom:
I spent some time with my great Aunt and Uncle who are huge Dolphin fans this weekend and they pointed out to me that the Bill actually should have been credited with a win last week- seeing as it is pretty difficult to get shut out by the Bills- and I kind of agree. Unfortunately there is no such silver lining this week. The Dolphins came into week 17 with the easiest road to the #6 seed of the four teams vying for the coveted final spot. And they promptly peed their pants. Are you kidding me Dolphins? You have a home game against a division rival for a chance to play in the playoffs and you do that? After Ryan the Great’s performance for the ages, the natives set fire to the moat (yeah, hindsight tells us it was a bad idea to use dolphin blubber instead of water), and are advancing on Mt. Tannemore with pitchforks, torches and malice in their hearts.
Golden statues aside, we must look at the Dolphins’ situation with a rational eye. Lucky for me, billionaires like Mr. Ross are never rational. “Fire the lot of them,” is all that could be heard (or repeated) by the moles listening through the keyhole in Ross’ office last night. I see dark times ahead for the Manatees. Rumor has it that Ross met with Dennis Rodman shortly after the game and reports have surfaced that Ross was interested in picking up some tips on purging those closest to you that Rodman has learned from his dear friend Kim Jong Un. Additionally, Mike Wallace ain’t gonna get any thinner now that he’s got an entire offseason with a ton of cash and no one to impress and now Tanny is going to have to adjust to a new offensive coordinator for the first time since high school (which is ironic because that’s where Mike Sherman belongs…). Side note that probably best illustrates Miami’s pig of a performance- Dee Mumbly had two interceptions in this game, if that doesn’t get Tanny benched I don’t know what will.
And now we move on to the perennial AFC East cellar dwellers, the Buffalo Bills (which is ironic because most of their fans live in their moms’ cellars…- not you CJ). I was impressed that the Bills even got off the bus in the typhoon that was soaking the Foxboro area Sunday. Honestly, if I knew I had a tee time on Monday morning I wouldn’t have shown up either. Unfortunately for the Bills they left their run defense and kickoff coverage on said bus. There was effort there (maybe Miami can lend you guys the good effort kid next), but when you’ve got a Big East coach and a Duke quarterback playing against the Patriots, you’re gonna lose (I think we can safely assume that no team with a coach out of the Big East and a QB from Duke has ever beaten the Patriots). There were flashes, but they were overmatched (at least Kiki was there 10 yards down the field to make the tackle or the Pats would have averaged 30 yds/ rush).
Things actually look a little brighter than usual for the endangered species from the Lakes region. The defense has come together nicely and looks like they might be able to make some progress in the coming year (assuming that is, that they can find a replacement for Byrd). CJ Spiller is what he is, but Fred Jackson continues to show everyone that he is awesome and he doesn’t care one bit so the running game will be legit. Now Stevie should be out (he doesn’t deserve all that money he makes), but Robert Woods is a guy that looks to be the real deal, so I’m guessing that they’ll come out on top there. The only real problem with this team is at the QB spot. Now both Thad and EJ have shown flashes of brilliance on 2013, but neither looks like they have what it takes to be consistently above average (which is what it takes to make the playoffs) so unless Marrone takes EJ to see the wizard, we may be talking about the Bills trying to lose enough games at the end of 2014 season to take Jamies #1 overall…
And now we move on to the winners.
And what’s most surprising is that we’ve now been able to include the NY Jets in that category eight (yes 8!) times this season, which is about twice as many times as most of us expected. Good Geno took his show on the road this week and proved once again that he’s great as long as no one’s watching. Once the lights are out and the pressure is off, that’s where Geno shines. He was downright pedestrian with his 17-27, 190, 0, 0 stat line but he truly showed that he has what it takes to inspire a team headed for the golf course. But seriously, Rex did a great job with this team and ensured us all that we will get to question whether or not Rex will be fired in just about 365 days.
So, I’ve already said that we can expect the hot seat to be pre-heating all offseason for Rexy, but with a young and talented defense the Jets can expect to compete to be 8-8 again next season. The real nagging question is who will get to be the sacrificial pig- I mean quarterback will be. Does Rex get his wish and Sanchez starts? Or does Idzik win out and Geno gets to stink until the team is mathematically eliminated again (honestly, I might just tell him after their week 1 loss that they’re out of it. He’ll probably believe you, he did go to West Virginia after all…)? Or maybe all of our prayers will be answered and Woody will win out and the Jets will draft Johnny Football and we will all be regaled by the NY media with tales of Johnny’s exploits with various NY hookers.
And now we have your 2013 (and ’12, ’11, ’10, ’09…) AFC East champion New England Patriots. They dispatched the Bills pretty much just as everyone outside of Upstate New York expected them to. The weather let the Bills hang around a bit (in no way does the Patriots’ red zone ineptitude contribute to that) but in the end the game finished just about as predicted. How we got there was interesting however. I would like everyone that thought they would ever see Legarrette Blount listed as the New England Patriots’ all time leader for total yards in a single game. Waiting…waiting…Yeah, me neither. “Where’s the Beef” looked like a young Bo Jackson out there in the slop as he ran over, around and through any Bills player who dared get in his way. I’m saying it now- if Blount plays like that for the rest of the playoffs, the Pats win the Super Bowl no question (and by “that” I mean about 330 total yards…)
My “longer term prognosis” for the Pats will only forecast what I believe will happen in their remaining games this season. The week off will do this team some good, Talib seems to be getting healthier and if the time off allows him to return to his Julio Jones/ Jimmy Graham eliminating self the Pats are sure to play in the AFC Championship game. I’m now semi-optimistic that the Pats will win their frist playoff game and if they are lucky enough to face Manning and the Donkeys in the title game, I think we’ll be seeing you in New Jersey in February.