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With the Broncos losing (again) and the Chargers winning (again), NBC got what it wanted for Week Seventeen — a clear, unambiguous play-in game for a playoff berth.
And so to end the 2008 regular season, the Broncos and Chargers will square off in San Diego.  The winner captures the AFC West, and the loser goes home.
That said, we still think that Dolphins-Jets would have provided a far more compelling way to cap the season.  If the Pats beat the Bills, a win by the Jets would deliver an AFC East title to New England.  If the Pats lose, a win by the Jets would deliver the division crown to New York.
And, regardless of the outcome of Pats-Bills, a Miami win will result in an AFC East title for the Fins, one year after a 1-15 finish.
So while the Broncos-Chargers entails no if’s or but’s, the resolution of the AFC East title presents a far more compelling game, in our view.
Then again, it’s possible that CBS protected the Fins-Jets game, given the possibility that it will be the 2008 version of the last game of Lord Favre’s career.
UPDATE:  A reader has reminded us of something we knew, but that we’d forgotten — CBS and FOX can’t protect games in Week Seventeen.  So Dolphins-Jets was in play.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Rumor Mill, San Diego Chargers, Top Stories
  1. tmerf11 says: Dec 21, 2008 8:57 PM

    Also if the pats win early, wouldn’t that make the game a no win for the jets? They win and they’re still out…

  2. VYElectrify says: Dec 21, 2008 8:59 PM

    CBS can’t protect games in Week 17.

  3. Treez says: Dec 21, 2008 9:03 PM

    “””That said, we still think that Dolphins-Jets would have provided a far more compelling way to cap the season. “”
    You trying to land an advertising gig with NBC?
    Chargers/Broncos is no doubt the best game in week 17. Division rivals playing for winner takes all. Note to both teams staff: bring extra helmets.

  4. homerjae says: Dec 21, 2008 9:04 PM

    Should have been Packers/Lions.

  5. htaylor90 says: Dec 21, 2008 9:06 PM

    No games areallowed to be protected in week 17, any game was available to be flexed.

  6. Osterhouse says: Dec 21, 2008 9:08 PM

    Broncos/Chargers…battle of the noobs

  7. ACDC84 says: Dec 21, 2008 9:11 PM

    What better way to end the regular season than to see 0-15 Detroit playing at Green Bay??

  8. jcdavey says: Dec 21, 2008 9:12 PM

    chargers got seriously lucky with flex scheduling lately
    home teams usually win home primetime games, and tb got their SNF taken from them

  9. dolfan179 says: Dec 21, 2008 9:15 PM

    NBC continues to pick under .500 teams to put on prime-time…honestly though, better if the Dolphins play without all the attention, they’re young. But it doesn’t matter if the Broncos or Chargers win cuz neither will beat the Colts in the 1st round.

  10. 56lightsout56 says: Dec 21, 2008 9:16 PM

    Next Week is “Cutler’s last stand”.
    and we’re the Indians.
    poor widdle mikey didnt get his east coast flex game? boo hoo hoo.

  11. RobJH says: Dec 21, 2008 9:17 PM

    While I’m upset the Fins-Jets not being on for Sunday night, I’m glad we won’t all have to endure Madden’s Favrefest ’08.
    Also, I think the Chargers-Broncos will be a good one given the Hochuli call handed the Broncos the first one, and the general amount of ill will and dislike between Jay “strongest-arm in the universe” Cutler and Phillip “#1 Pro Bowl snub” Rivers.

  12. grimjosh says: Dec 21, 2008 9:17 PM

    Forget Brett Favre, once the Broncos lose out and blow a three game lead in the AFC Worst, it will be the last game of Shanahans career.

  13. josereyes0 says: Dec 21, 2008 9:23 PM

    There’s just a lot of drama to be had with this game though. Lots of talent on the field and then there’s the whole Rivers-Cutler rivalry.

  14. SRP says: Dec 21, 2008 9:27 PM

    I’m surprised that NBC went against their usual weekly NFC East matchup to show the Chargers-Broncos. Why let a playoff game get in the way of showing the Eagles/Giants/Cowboys and Redskins?
    As a Bronco fan I’m mad that the Broncos pissed away their lead, but at the same time the Chargers get the chance to make up for a “questionable” call from week 2. I just hope the refs call a good fair game and don’t try to somehow make up for any previous injustices the Chargers went through.

  15. occtown58 says: Dec 21, 2008 9:32 PM

    Maybe they should flex the Poinsetta Bowl between Boise State and TCU for Sunday Night on NBC and send the Broncos/Chargers game to a few days from now so this wretched division can be wrapped ASAP. Boise State/TCU would bring in more viewers than a game between an 8-7 vs 7-8 team. NFL should no longer allow Division winners an guranteed playoff berth.

  16. hayward giablommi says: Dec 21, 2008 9:34 PM

    No way Miami-NYJ was an option once the Jest lost. Assuming New England beats Buffalo, the NYJ would have a clear incenive to throw in the towel and allow Miami to win the game and hence, the division title to keep NE out of the playoffs.
    And being the petty, vindictive, spiteful organization the NYJ are, don’t put it past them…they would do it.
    NBC and the league got this one right.

  17. Spank says: Dec 21, 2008 9:37 PM

    …dolfan179 says:
    But it doesn’t matter if the Broncos or Chargers win cuz neither will beat the Colts in the 1st round…
    Really? The Colts needed a 51yd field goal at the final gun to beat SD earlier this year and they got their asses handed to them the previous 3 times they played SD including the playoffs last year.
    The Colts are playing great right now. They look like a real favorite to take it all but SD has won 13 straight DEC games and arent scared of Indy.

  18. ClevelandsOwn12 says: Dec 21, 2008 9:50 PM

    broncos chargers game should be the game of the year after the opener debacle… cant wait

  19. bbjay20 says: Dec 21, 2008 9:51 PM

    Could it be that NBC didn’t want to show Favre laying another giant egg? The guy is just awful these days. I’m sure they wanted a more compelling and excited matchup, and they’ll be getting it.

  20. buddywiser says: Dec 21, 2008 9:53 PM

    CBS should have the doubleheader next week. SD-DEN was the only 4:00 CBS game on the sched. does this mean that NYJ-MIA gets moved to 4:00? I hope so.

  21. Insomniac says: Dec 21, 2008 9:54 PM

    Any word on what games are moved to 4?

  22. cracker jack says: Dec 21, 2008 9:57 PM

    Agreed with haywood, it would be totally unfair to have Jets/Phins start at 4, with the Pats and Ravens already winning at one, Mangenius would totally tank it just to stick it to Belichick.

  23. BuckFutter says: Dec 21, 2008 10:01 PM

    “hayward giablommi says:
    December 21st, 2008 at 9:34 pm
    No way Miami-NYJ was an option once the Jest lost. Assuming New England beats Buffalo, the NYJ would have a clear incenive to throw in the towel and allow Miami to win the game and hence, the division title to keep NE out of the playoffs.
    And being the petty, vindictive, spiteful organization the NYJ are, don’t put it past them…they would do it.
    NBC and the league got this one right. ”
    Absolutely right….
    That’s what I was worried about when the issue was brought up. Pats win, Ravens win, Jets know they are out by game time. However, if the Jets win and Ravens lose, the Jets would get the 2nd wild card spot and New England would take the AFC East. At least keeping all the games at 1:00 keeps them all alive….if anything, they should flex the Ravens/Jags game to 4:00 in case the Jets win then there actually is a bit of suspense in that game.

  24. Jim Beam says: Dec 21, 2008 10:11 PM

    Maybe Winborn can shut up after a play instead of running his mouth off. The Denver defense talks more then the Ravens do and they’re not even in the same league.

  25. Bubby Brister says: Dec 21, 2008 10:28 PM

    Well this is understandable. Besides being for the division title, round 1 was the most entertaining and interesting football game of the year, and the defenses haven’t really improved since then…

  26. jberenson8 says: Dec 21, 2008 10:30 PM

    9 probowls for fins jets – 5 startes
    3 probowls for sd den – 2 starters
    6 primetime for sd den
    2 for mia nyj (both jets)
    combined records
    15 – 15 sd den
    19 – 11 mia nyj
    giants jets to play at same time? that isnt supposed to happen – ‘Flexible scheduling ensured quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and gave surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.’ – ght flex was supposed to protect us from crappy games?
    biggest turnaround in nfl history – miami dolphins
    this game absolutely deserves to be the dolphins-jets game.
    i am genuinely pissed right now

  27. Gonads says: Dec 21, 2008 11:00 PM

    jberenson8 – LOL AT YOU!

  28. BuckFutter says: Dec 21, 2008 11:03 PM

    jberenson8, There are other factors involved. The first, and most important, being that the Chargers/Broncos game will singlehandedly determine which team wins the division. The Jets/Dolphins game relies on two other games (Pats/Bills and Ravens/Jaguars) for the outcome to be important….and as has been pointed out, if the Pats and Ravens games both end before the Jets/Dolphins game starts, it is a complete afterthought because the playoffs will already be determined.

  29. aireez67 says: Dec 21, 2008 11:06 PM

    Just think, if it weren’t for Ed “Hercules” Hoculi, then neither one of these worthless teams would be playing in primetime on the last game of the year. Its too bad though with the Chargers getting hot like the Giants did last year, that one HORRIBLE call could cost them a chance at the playoffs, and possibly another wild card run at the Super Bowl.

  30. brian_21 says: Dec 22, 2008 1:53 AM

    Grettings from FL. Gonna be some goood times watchin that Bears game tomorrow, especially because the Vikings lost.
    Ok, regarding the entry … disagreed. No question in my mind that Broncos v. Chargers is the way to go.
    I predict a Chargers win.

  31. dolfan says: Dec 22, 2008 3:31 AM

    seriously, i’m a dolphins fan yes i must confess… but to see chad pennington going up against his former team to lead the 1-15 dolphins to the playoffs and take the New york bretts out of it is simply amazing, for ANY football fan !
    i’ve been a dolphins fan since 2002 and it will be the best game (win or lose ) that i will have watched since then
    Chargers broncos is a good matchup but when you put in words like “brett favre”, “revenge” (talking about chad of course), division rivals and playoffs, nothing can top it off, nothing.

  32. phinfan13 says: Dec 22, 2008 7:31 AM

    I think its a joke, the chargers and bronco’s are 2 of the most underachieving teams in the NFL and they’d rather show them then the Dolphins improbable season coming to NY for a classic rival matchup and Penny Vs Favre!

  33. phinfan13 says: Dec 22, 2008 7:37 AM

    BuckFutter, Your wrong about the playoff outcome bud, if the Dolphins win they win the division no matter what happens to Pats/ravens. So its not a predetermined game and has pleny of meaning regardless.

  34. Finatic says: Dec 22, 2008 10:32 AM

    Although the Falcons story is impressive, the Dolphins have the greatest turnaround in NFL history. You can’t argue with that.

  35. Finatic says: Dec 22, 2008 10:36 AM

    I agree with you moving the Dolphin Jet game to 4:15 benefits the Dolphins because the Pats are going to kill Bills and the Jets will have nothing to play for. Funny how in the past we couldn’t catch a break and now we are getting them every week.

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