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Week 15 Monday 10-pack

Jackie Battle, Barry Richardsn AP

We’re one game short of 14 per team, and while we know plenty of things about where this season is heading, Week 15 has been a reminder of just how dramatically perceptions can change.

But that’s basically the point of the first of the 10 PFT takes from the Sunday that was.

So it’s time to shut up long enough to insert the heading for the first entry on the list.

1. What a difference a week makes.

Regardless of the number of games that have been played, one week can change so much about the manner in which we collectively perceive the state of the NFL.  And that’s precisely what happened on Sunday (and Saturday).

The Packers suddenly seem something less than invincible, giving the playoffs the same “anything can happen” feel that produced the Steelers as champions in 2005, the Giants as Patriots-slayers in 2007, the Cardinals as Super Bowl participants in 2008, and the Packers as the No. 6 to No. 1 title-winners in 2010.

With the Ravens and Jets and Broncos and Texans and Raiders and Broncos and Giants and Bears and Packers losing and with the Patriots and Chargers and Cowboys and Lions and Saints and Eagles winning, there’s a renewed sense that anyone who gets a ticket to the playoff party can run the table.

Most significant was the Packers’ loss at Arrowhead Stadium.  With an offensive line struggling through injuries and the Chiefs supplying a blueprint for beating them, it’s no longer automatic that the Packers will win two games at Lambeau Field and another one in Indianapolis.

2.  Battle for New York has higher stakes than ever.

With the Jets and Giants both losing on Sunday, their Christmas Eve get-together has something more than bragging rights hanging in the balance.  Both teams need to win the game in order to get to the postseason.

If that — and the possibility of coach Tom Coughlin not returning in 2012 — isn’t enough incentive for the Giants to snap out of a 1-5 funk, they’ll be able to consider the words of Jets coach Rex Ryan from his book, Play Like You Mean It.

“We are the better team,” Ryan wrote.  “We’re the big brother.  People might say they are the big, bad Giants, but we are not the same old Jets. . . .

“To me, it seems clear that right now we are the better team and we are going to remain the better team for the next 10 years.  Whether you like it or not, those are the facts, and that’s what going to happen.  I know it’s going to happen because our style of football is different.  We are going to take over the town whether the Giants like it or not, so those fans on the fence that like both teams are going to be Jets fans in the end.  The truth is, if I am going to watch one game, I am going to see the Jets, without a doubt.  We are better.”

Regardless of which team truly is better, each team had better win in order to keep the shot at a Super Bowl alive.

It would be fitting, then, if they play this one to a tie.

3.  Saints, Brees play contract chicken.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees won’t simply break the single-season passing yardage record.  He’ll obliterate it.

Making the accomplishment even more impressive is the longevity of the high-water mark that Dan Marino set, way back in 1984.  That year, Marino became the first 5,000-yard passer in NFL history, thanks in large part to a gradual modification of the offensive rules, which encouraged teams to throw.  Marino’s feat came just a few years after Dan Fouts of the Chargers set a new single-season passing yardage record in each of three straight seasons.

Brees’ accomplishment comes only three years after he came within 15 yards of the record, and it caps a run with the Saints in which his six years in New Orleans all will fall within the top 40 single-season passing performances of all time.  From 4,418 yards in 2006 to 4,423 in 2007 to 5,069 in 2008 to 4,388 in 2009 to 4,620 in 2010 to 4,780 and counting in 2011, Brees has put together the most prolific six consecutive seasons the league may ever see.

So why can’t the Saints see that he should be paid among the very best quarterbacks in the league?  Like Peyton Manning, Brees has one Super Bowl win.  Unlike Manning and Tom Brady, Brees can move quickly when he needs to.  Younger than both of the men who were regarded as the best in the game before Manning’s neck situation became a season-long curse (and before the full emergence of Aaron Rodgers), Brees has shown that he belongs on the top rung of the salary ladder.

Still, player and team are destined for an offseason game of chicken, in which the Saints will bank on Brees not wanting to be away from his teammates, and Brees will bank on his teammates understanding that the organization is trying to take advantage of Brees’ desire to not be away from them.  Lost in this battle of wills, wallets, and egos that could, but likely won’t, get out of control is that both sides lose if Brees isn’t fully engaged with the franchise throughout the offseason.

As a result, they need to work it out — or next year Brees may not be adding quite as much to his Hall of Fame credentials.

4.  Tarvaris turning around the Seahawks.

When the Seahawks opted not to pick a rookie quarterback in the draft and to sign Tarvaris Jackson to a short-term deal in late July, many assumed that Pete Carroll and John Schneider would simply be waiting for 2012, at which time Matt Barkley (or maybe even Andrew Luck) could be brought to town.

But something happened on the way to Tarvaris Jackson becoming irrelevant.  He has become very relevant, playing through a pectoral injury that likely will require offseason surgery and pushing the team to five wins in six games, including victories over the Ravens and Eagles at home — and a thrashing of the Bears at Soldier Field.

His total numbers aren’t stellar.  In the last three games, however, Jackson has posted passer ratings of 137.0, 96.4, and 94.4 in a 31-14 win over Philly, a 30-13 win over the Rams, and a 38-14 win over the Bears.

Vikings fans would point out that Jackson authored stretches like that at times in Minnesota, before inevitably laying the proverbial egg.  (Hard-working chickens everywhere still don’t understand why that’s a bad thing.)  With a visit from the 49ers coming up on Saturday, Jackson can put the rest of the league on notice that he finally has become consistent — and that he doesn’t plan to step aside in 2012 for a first-round pick.  If the Seahawks end up 9-7 (two games better than their division-winning performance of a year ago), Jackson may not have to worry about eventually carry a clipboard for a hot-shot rookie.

5.  Don’t dream (team) it’s over.

As a society, we love to build people up and then tear them down and then root for them to redeem themselves.  In Philadelphia, the story of the 2011 Eagles now looks a lot like the broader story of their starting quarterback’s career.

Handed the Lombardi Trophy in August, the Eagles bottomed out before finding a way out of the woods with a 45-19 destruction of the Jets.  Now, with a fairly simple combination of outcomes far less crazy than others we’ve seen connect over the years, the Eagles could still steal the NFC East crown.

One, cut a hole in a box beat the Cowboys on Christmas Eve.  Two, hope the Jets beat the Giants.  Three, beat the Redskins on New Year’s Day.  Four, hope the Giants beat the Cowboys.

Plenty of people will be shocked if that happens, but they shouldn’t be.  The Dream Team remains alive, and if they get a ticket to the playoff party, anything can happen.

If it does happen, Mike Vick deserves plenty of credit.  After three weeks of the team declining to let him play after getting a painkilling injection due to concerns about his effectiveness, Vick decided that he would do whatever needed to be done to perform.  He has taken the shots, and he has been effective enough to win two in a row.

6.  Pats kept Ochocinco for a reason.

Through weeks of poor performances and underachievement, why did Bill Belichick not cut receiver Chad Ochocinco?

The easy explanation is that Belichick didn’t want to admit that he committed a huge bungle by giving the former Bengal a $6 million signing bonus upon renegotiating and extending his contract.  The truth may be more complex than that.

I’ve spent the last 12 hours trying to think of a less nerdy metaphor for the ongoing presence of Ochocinco on the Patriots’ roster.  But I couldn’t.  So here goes.

In the first Lord of the Rings movie, Gandalf explains to Frodo that Frodo shouldn’t kill Gollum because Gollum still may have a role in the broader task of trying to destroy the ring that they spent like 12 hours of film trying to destroy.  Without spoiling the outcome for any of the 14 people who haven’t seen the trilogy, Gollum indeed plays an important role.

Ochocinco could, too, for the 2011 Patriots.  He finally scored a touchdown in Week 15, and as defenses pay more and more attention to the likes of Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, the Pats will need to unleash Ochocinco in the postseason.

None of this means that Chad will be biting the Super Bowl ring off Aaron Rodgers’ hand, but Belichick’s decision to keep Chad around could be finally paying dividends, when it matters most.

7.  MVP moves closer to being up for grabs.

Speaking of Aaron Rodgers, Sunday’s upside-down day of action gives his candidacy for MVP less of a slam-dunk feel.  With Drew Brees threatening to best the Marino record by 10 percent and Tom Brady churning out wins for a defense held together by baked yarn and old glue, others could take a chunk out of Rodgers’ share of the 50 Associated Press votes.

Throw in the random ballots that inevitably will be cast for men like Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow, and Rodgers could end up not winning the thing.

Much of the outcome depends on what happens the next two weeks.  If Brees finishes with 5,500 yards and the No. 2 seed or if the Pats pull into the station at 13-3 with the No. 1 seed, either Brees or Brady could emerge as the winner — especially if the Packers can’t overcome a sudden rash of injuries along the offensive line.

8.  Coach of the Year becomes even more wide open.

Green Bay’s loss on Sunday also derails the inevitable anointing of Mike McCarthy as coach of the year.  If the Packers had followed Super Bowl XLV win with a 16-0 regular season, the award surely would have gone to McCarthy.  Now, its final destination is as unknown as the eventual winner of the Super Bowl XLVI.

Jim Harbaugh emerged as the early no-brainer, but his team seems to be slumping.  Gary Kubiak’s Texans have overcome obstacle after obstacle, but they stumbled badly on Sunday without defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, which tends to undermine Kubiak’s overall influence — but also underscores the wisdom of Kubiak’s decision to hire Wade.

A wide variety of others could pick up votes, based on how the season ends.  Marvin Lewis merits consideration if the Bengals make it to the postseason.  Ditto for John Fox and the Broncos.  And Hue Jackson and the Raiders.  And Sean Payton and the Saints, given that Payton has overcome a serious leg injury to push his team toward a bye.

With the Packers losing, it could be one of the closest votes we’ve ever seen — and with only 50 total votes there’s an outside chance of a three-way or four-way tie.

9.  Romeo the good cop has a good chance at keeping the job.

Last year in Minnesota, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier served as the nice-guy voice of reason under an abrasive and not-so-likable head coach.  This year in Kansas City, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has played a similar role for the Chiefs.

And so it’s no surprise then that the Chiefs have responded well to Crennel as the interim head coach, just as the Vikings did with Frazier.  With the players grateful for the role that Crennel, like Frazier, played under the prior regime and hopeful that Crennel, like Frazier, will stick around for fear of the arrival of another potential pain in the butt, the Chiefs pulled off an upset for the ages in Crennel’s first game.

If the Chiefs can keep winning — and if the four teams in the AFC West finish 8-8, the Chiefs will win the division — G.M. Scott Pioli will have little choice but to keep Crennel, since the outcry from within the locker room and beyond will be too loud to ignore.

But the rest of the story in Minnesota has, so far, not been a good one.  Sometimes, it takes a bad cop to be successful.  Yes, the Vikings players love Leslie Frazier.  But the team is 2-12 this year, and only two losses away from the worst season in franchise history.  Pioli needs to carefully consider that factor before surrendering to the mob.

10.  Gaither could gather some green.

Coach Norv Turner isn’t the only guy in San Diego with a strong incentive to see the team get to the playoffs.  If that happens, and if in turn Turner and G.M. A.J. Smith stick around, they’ll likely show plenty of gratitude to left tackle Jared Gaither.

Gaither sulked his way out of Baltimore after being moved to right tackle in deference to Michael Oher, and a false-start penalty in a key moment of a Sunday night game against the Steelers got Gaither run out of Kansas City.

But with three straight solid starts in San Diego, including a Sunday night game in which he held Terrell Suggs without a sack, Gaither could be getting himself in line for the payday that never came in Baltimore.

Even if the Chargers don’t make it to the postseason, Gaither’s stretch run will prompt someone to pay him to try to do in 2012 what he’s done for the Chargers in 2011.

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75 Responses to “Week 15 Monday 10-pack”
  1. musiccitymiracle says: Dec 19, 2011 9:06 AM

    Yea without the perfect season going I’m not sure what the mystique is around Aaron Rodgers’ MVP candidacy. Brees has about 100 completions more than Rodgers. And he’s going to claim the all time yardage title. Rodgers is having a great season, but Brees is arguably having a legendary one.

  2. cowboycjn says: Dec 19, 2011 9:07 AM

    Just can not understand the N.O. front office stalling on a contract with Brees. Keep on as they are and they will lose him, then its too late. But then again everything in this world is about the $$.
    The man proved himself to N.O., brought respect and wins to the team, yet they act like he’s nothing special. The saying, “What goes around, comes around”, is gonna bite them in the A$$.

  3. pastabelly says: Dec 19, 2011 9:12 AM

    It seemed more like Gronkowski didn’t get more attention from Denver as much as he was kept on the line to block.

  4. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:12 AM

    Rex Ryan… spoken like a true outta town hack. If he knew the demographics here, he would KNOW the Jets could win 3 Super Bowls in 10 years and this would STILL be Giants Country.

  5. suhnami says: Dec 19, 2011 9:13 AM

    “A wide variety of others could pick up votes, based on how the season ends. Marvin Lewis merits consideration if the Bengals make it to the postseason. Ditto for John Fox and the Broncos. And Hue Jackson and the Raiders. And Sean Payton and the Saints, given that Payton has overcome a serious leg injury to push his team toward a bye.”

    ————————————————————

    So everyone from McCarthy to Harbaugh to this list….but no mention of Jim Schwartz??? I know PFT loves to hate the Lions but in his 3rd season after taking over an 0-16 team Schwartz has built a dangerous squad that is capable of beating anyone. First time this team has had 9 wins in nearly 15 years! and en route to its first playoff birth since the 90’s. You can hate all you want, but its tough to deny the job Schwartz has done in 2 seasons and 14 games.

  6. 1265lombardiave says: Dec 19, 2011 9:17 AM

    “Green Bay’s loss on Sunday also derails the inevitable anointing of Mike McCarthy as coach of the year.”

    Umm..what are you smoking? McCarthy hasn’t been in the COY conversation at all. That award always goes to the guy who ‘overcomes’….Kubiak,Fox and Harbaugh are the names I’ve always seen listed.

  7. nogoodell says: Dec 19, 2011 9:22 AM

    If Philly makes playoffs I think McCoy deserves it

    Right now
    -20 TDs, 60 yards behind league lead
    -Leads league in first down, runs of 20+
    -40+ catches
    -Horrible offensive line the first half of the year

  8. phlyeagles20 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:22 AM

    I don’t understand why no one is talking Shady McCoy for MVP. 20 touchdowns not good enough in a pass happy NFL to even get consideration?

  9. bobwhitequail says: Dec 19, 2011 9:24 AM

    Harbaugh is a good coach. A total A-hole, but a good coach. Many new coaches have a honeymoon period where players really buy-in and are motivated.

    Remember Jim Zorn’s redskins beat everyone early on. But then the other teams adjust, players fall back into old habits and things slide. I wonder if Harbaugh is going through the same thing.

    Kudos to him for getting so much out of his offense. I dislike him very much but he inherited a very good defense and is getting the most out of the offense which is light years beyond what singletary could do.

  10. jbl429 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:26 AM

    The Eagles have no shot at the playoffs, and here’s why: they need the Giants to lose next week agains the Jets and then beat Dallas. But if the Giants lose next week (which is certainly possible), most of the team will mentally pack it up and go home. They’ll have no shot at beating the Cowboys after that, and will probably be smoked in the process.

  11. bobwhitequail says: Dec 19, 2011 9:28 AM

    John Fox is my pick for coach of the year. It takes guts, confidence, and creativity to defy convention and get the most out of the players on his roster. Best coaching job of the year IMO

  12. gridironmike says: Dec 19, 2011 9:35 AM

    Drew Brees’ contract situation should not be on this list at all. If he doesn’t have a contract by next July then it will be an issue, but it’s December, and you should tell people what is going on now.
    On Sunday, Drew Brees became the first QB to ever complete 80% of his passes, throw for 400 yards, 5 TDs and no INTs in a game. This was his 11th 300+ yard game in a season, a new NFL record. He also became the first QB in league history to throw for 350+ yards in 7 games in his career. He is on pace to break his own NFL record for competion percentage in a season, and the Saints are on pace to break the 2000 Rams’ record for total yards in a season.
    He is also 305 yards away from Marino’s record (tune in next Monday night to see history).
    You are correct to mention his name in the MVP race. But tell me again: Why is everybody talking about Tebow while there is little mention of Brees’ accomplishments this season?

  13. ytsejamer1 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:35 AM

    I think RAC has a better set of coaching credentials than Frazier does. Many of his past players have remarked how he’s been always able to relay the game plan to all different types of players. One thing I’ve noticed since he’s been out of NE is that he is always the guy that seems to come up with some sort of blueprint to slow down what are seemingly unstoppable offenses. He did it with the Browns in 2007 against my Pats, again this year against the Pats…it was a tougher game than the score indicated, and yesterday against GB.

  14. rkingndayton says: Dec 19, 2011 9:38 AM

    No mention of Belichick for COY??? The defense is playing terrible but they’re still winning, and alot of that credit goes to him for keeping the players focused.
    Also, if Brees doesn’t get MVP, how about Gronkowski? Dude has bailed NE out more than a few times (3rd down conversion, blocking and TD’s)….

  15. trollhammer20 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:46 AM

    Tavaris Jackson…man, talk about a guy who can spark a range of emotions. Anger, at holding the ball in his own end zone for too long and taking the worst possible strip/sack/TD, against a team that’s been struggling badly on offense….and elation, when he places a perfect 43 yard strike to Ben Obomanu against a defense that’s playing too close to the line, fearful of Marshawn Lynch.

    With Whitehurst leaving the team at the end of the year (no chance of being re-signed), there will be a young QB signed or drafted. However, that young QB won’t be starting right away, and Seattle may even have the luxury of using their first-round pick on a pass rusher. If you think that young defense can cause turnovers now (they’re in the top 5 in that category), wait until they get a pass rush threat across from Chris Clemons.

  16. dlionsfan4life says: Dec 19, 2011 9:48 AM

    ^what he said^…

  17. coldplay519 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:56 AM

    11. When not playing with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, Matt Stafford is clutch.

  18. Ralphie says: Dec 19, 2011 9:57 AM

    Mrs. Wright 212, the biggest G Men front running fan in NJ. When the G Men win you can’t shut your yap and you talk never-ending sh*t, when they lose you crawl back in your hole and are nowhere to be found – week in and week out. Band wagon girl.

  19. howley1 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:57 AM

    “First time this team has had 9 wins in nearly 15 years! and en route to its first playoff birth since the 90′s.”

    Yes, congrats on finally being average, Detroit Lions.

  20. 6ball says: Dec 19, 2011 9:57 AM

    .

    Ochocinco – people who’ve be clamoring for his release should consider that he would have to be replaced on the roster. Where do you get a WR now?

    Coach / Year – Belichick should at least be mentioned. He has a chance to go 13-3 with a defense made up of flotsam, jetsam and several WR’s.

    .

  21. howley1 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:58 AM

    “Brees has about 100 completions more than Rodgers.”

    And almost double the interceptions.

  22. letsgolos says: Dec 19, 2011 10:02 AM

    All I can say is don’t be surprised if Jared Gaither gets a huge contract and all of a sudden develops Haynesworth Disease…

  23. tjacks7 says: Dec 19, 2011 10:09 AM

    suhnami says:
    Dec 19, 2011 9:13 AM
    “A wide variety of others could pick up votes, based on how the season ends. Marvin Lewis merits consideration if the Bengals make it to the postseason. Ditto for John Fox and the Broncos. And Hue Jackson and the Raiders. And Sean Payton and the Saints, given that Payton has overcome a serious leg injury to push his team toward a bye.”

    ————————————————————

    So everyone from McCarthy to Harbaugh to this list….but no mention of Jim Schwartz??? I know PFT loves to hate the Lions but in his 3rd season after taking over an 0-16 team Schwartz has built a dangerous squad that is capable of beating anyone. First time this team has had 9 wins in nearly 15 years! and en route to its first playoff birth since the 90′s. You can hate all you want, but its tough to deny the job Schwartz has done in 2 seasons and 14 games.

     ————————

    It’s called “coach of the year” for a reason, not “coach of the last 3 seasons.”

    9 wins and/or a wildcard isn’t impressive.

    Oh yea, and he’s Jim Shwartz… That probably doesn’t help.

  24. grpatriot says: Dec 19, 2011 10:19 AM

    Battle of NY=War of 1812 sounds good but, boring!

  25. phlyeagles20 says: Dec 19, 2011 10:22 AM

    “The Eagles have no shot at the playoffs, and here’s why: they need the Giants to lose next week agains the Jets and then beat Dallas”

    So what your saying is they have a shot! Lets not forget, if all 3 teams end up at 8-8, not only do the Eagles make the playoffs, they host a playoff game! Anyone remember the score from the last time the Eagles and Cowgirls played? If remember correctly the Eagles waxed Dallas! But, they have no shot! LOL!

  26. noahbird says: Dec 19, 2011 10:23 AM

    Please, either re-read your article before submitting or take an english 101 class.

  27. bosfaninva says: Dec 19, 2011 10:23 AM

    Yep, another down season for the Pats. Top seed in the AFC (likely).

    This D just needs to make a few plays in the playoffs, because Brady is so much better than any of the other AFC QBs.

  28. suhnami says: Dec 19, 2011 10:30 AM

    It’s called “coach of the year” for a reason, not “coach of the last 3 seasons.”

    9 wins and/or a wildcard isn’t impressive.

    Oh yea, and he’s Jim Shwartz… That probably doesn’t help.

    ———————————————————-

    it’s called 2 games left in the season (3 for SF). You’re telling me if the Lions finish 11-5 or 10-6 and say a teal like SF and Harbaugh finish 10-6 that Schwartz doesn’t deserve COY???

    People forget this team was so bad most believed it would take 3-5 years just to be competitive…not even through year 3 and they are a scary team to have to face and can beat ANYONE in the NFL .

    who’s your team btw?? just curious as nearly all Lions haters fail to mention who they are a fan of.

  29. suhnami says: Dec 19, 2011 10:32 AM

    howley1 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:57 AM

    “First time this team has had 9 wins in nearly 15 years! and en route to its first playoff birth since the 90′s.”

    Yes, congrats on finally being average, Detroit Lions

    —————————————————

    9-5 in the toughest division in football is average? interesting….and who is your team again?? just curious as most guys tough enough to hate on the Lions can’t ever mention who they’re a fan of.

  30. cmizzad says: Dec 19, 2011 10:32 AM

    I knew everyone would overreact if/when the Packers lost a game.

    Brees may have more passing yards and completions, but he should since he has over 100 more attempts. He also plays at least 9 games indoors every season (including at ATL). He’s also played with much healthier OL this season.

    He still has less TDs, almost double the picks, a lower passer rating, and he lost to Rodgers in a head to head matchup that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

    Barring a complete meltdown in the final two games, Rodgers is still the MVP folks. Otherwise, the award has no credibility. End of story.

  31. kwgator says: Dec 19, 2011 10:32 AM

    Jermichael Finley & Joe Flacco wanted more press … Be careful what your wish for

  32. rc33 says: Dec 19, 2011 10:35 AM

    Gronkowski stayed in and blocked more than any game I recall this season. So all that “what are we gonna do about covering Gronkowski?” talk in Denver became, essentially, a non-issue.
    Might wanna worry about the Patriots other TE instead.

    Crafy Belichick.

  33. suhnami says: Dec 19, 2011 10:36 AM

    It’s called “coach of the year” for a reason, not “coach of the last 3 seasons.”

    9 wins and/or a wildcard isn’t impressive.

    Oh yea, and he’s Jim Shwartz… That probably doesn’t help.

    ——————————————————–

    but being the Bengals and not making the playoffs, with a likely worse record then the Lions is impressive??

    Or being the Raiders/Broncos and possibly not making the playoffs in a terrible division is impressive???

    Or being Kubiak and finally winning the division less Peyton Manning is impressive??

    sorry but its ridiculous that Schwartz isn’t mentioned in this conversation for coach of the year. He’s winning with one of the youngest teams in the NFL and if he finishes 10-6 or 11-5 with a playoff berth he should be in the conversation.

  34. wrm1230 says: Dec 19, 2011 10:36 AM

    “Brees has about 100 completions more than Rodgers.”

    And by season’s end will have played a grand total of five games outdoors all season, only one after October 16 and included an early season trip to Green Bay and non-weather sites such as Jacksonville, Carolina and Tennessee.

    Throwing passes in your living room is pretty easy. Going into Green Bay in January will be a significantly larger hurdle for the Saints offense and Brees to overcome. Translation…keep the dream alive but no matter what happened yesterday, Green Bay remains the team to beat in the entire NFL…and the margin is much larger than the hyenas in the media would like to point out this Monday.

  35. hendawg21 says: Dec 19, 2011 10:44 AM

    Let’s add this and make it an even 16 pack:

    Redskins at Giants

    F’s take: After the Redskins beat the Giants in Week One, safety Antrell Rolle said that Washington would win five out of 100 games between the two teams. More recently, Rolle dropped that number to one. Though we’re not ready to agree with a 99-percent success rate, we’re comfortable with 50.

    F’s pick: Giants 28, Redskins 14.

    R’s take: A Giants’ loss Sunday could make next week’s Jets-Giants game almost inconsequential. A win against the Redskins would guarantee Big Blue a “win and in” scenario in Week 17 against Dallas. Washington is feisty, but they are one-win-in-seven-games feisty. Rex Grossman is just good enough to get you beat.

    R’s pick: Giants 33, Redskins 28.

    Ok Skins are 0-7 against rookie QB’s are you both taking rookie QB this week when the Vikes roll into town? Seeing how you always hatin on the Skins…

  36. hendawg21 says: Dec 19, 2011 10:48 AM

    phlyeagles20 says:
    Dec 19, 2011 10:22 AM
    “The Eagles have no shot at the playoffs, and here’s why: they need the Giants to lose next week agains the Jets and then beat Dallas”

    So what your saying is they have a shot! Lets not forget, if all 3 teams end up at 8-8, not only do the Eagles make the playoffs, they host a playoff game! Anyone remember the score from the last time the Eagles and Cowgirls played? If remember correctly the Eagles waxed Dallas! But, they have no shot! LOL!

    Really they don’t, their only toying with you iggles fans emotions…unless you pull a Skins over the Giants on the boys i’d say get that man cave ready to watch playoff football without the iggles…

  37. philwauke says: Dec 19, 2011 10:54 AM

    Drew Brees contract is a non story… He will resign with the Saints and they will put the tag on Nicks. It’s a nonstory but coming from the same site that kept saying they were tired of Farve but everyday ran a Farve story I guess will have to read about Brees contract once a day.

  38. trbowman says: Dec 19, 2011 11:09 AM

    Alright, slow down – more like their defense (and Caleb Hanie) is turning around the Seeahawks. Tarvaris Jackson is still a abd quarterback. Amazing that they’re 7-7.

  39. sippindasyzurp says: Dec 19, 2011 11:14 AM

    I love how people say they displayed the “blueprint” to beat Green Bay… The NFL is a week to week match-up league.. Coaches employ different schemes each week offense and defense and you need to have the right players to execute it…

    Look at New Orleans, they lost to St. Louis Rams… How about New England??, they lost to the Buffalo Bills.. All these teams lost on the ROAD, and it shows you how difficult it is to win consecutively in the NFL if you don’t bring your “A” game every week.

  40. comeonnowguys says: Dec 19, 2011 11:20 AM

    “No mention of Belichick for COY??? The defense is playing terrible but they’re still winning, and alot of that credit goes to him for keeping the players focused.”

    He’s a defensive coach whose defense is playing terrible.

    John Fox should get COY hands down. He found a way to make his QB succeed without being an actual QB.

    Depends on your definition of MVP. If you’re going for the actual phrase, god help me for saying this… It’s Cutler. Bears aren’t winning another game this year. Forte faded in the weeks leading up to his injury.

    If you’re going for best player of the year, it’s Rodgers. The Packers take their foot off the accelerator a lot late in games this year, which hurts them in the wank-fest that is statistics. He’s still the best QB in the game right now.

  41. roddytorock84 says: Dec 19, 2011 11:27 AM

    One cut a hole in a box. Two put your junk in that box. Three make her open the box! Best part in this article

  42. nesuperfan says: Dec 19, 2011 11:41 AM

    John Fox should not win COY because he is fought so mightily against Tebow being his QB. A COY would have seen that the kid had something, and made him the starter at the beginning of the year. Fox is now just riding his own dumb luck that he was forced to start Tebow.

  43. pallidrone says: Dec 19, 2011 11:44 AM

    jbl429 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:26 AM

    The Eagles have no shot at the playoffs, and here’s why: they need the Giants to lose next week agains the Jets and then beat Dallas. But if the Giants lose next week (which is certainly possible), most of the team will mentally pack it up and go home. They’ll have no shot at beating the Cowboys after that, and will probably be smoked in the process.

    ———————————————————–

    Why would most of the team pack it in?

    If they lose to the Jets and the Eagles beat Dallas – NY STILL has a chance at the playoffs and hosting a game if the Eagles lose to Washington.

    There would be no reason to pack it in.

  44. thingamajig says: Dec 19, 2011 11:54 AM

    “sorry but its ridiculous that Schwartz isn’t mentioned in this conversation for coach of the year. He’s winning with one of the youngest teams in the NFL and if he finishes 10-6 or 11-5 with a playoff berth he should be in the conversation.”

    Jim Harbaugh does not agree with your analysis.

  45. whobetterthanjunior says: Dec 19, 2011 11:59 AM

    The Broncos lost twice?

  46. whobetterthanjunior says: Dec 19, 2011 12:00 PM

    And that was probably the most ever references to chicken in a PFT 10 Pack.

  47. southpaw2k says: Dec 19, 2011 12:13 PM

    I was so completely disgusted with the Ravens’ performance last night that I had wanted to throw my television out my window. I didn’t do that only because it’s a perfectly good TV. Still, words don’t do justice to describe how badly Flacco performed, and the defense didn’t get off the plane in San Diego, much less show up on the field. For all the highs this season has brought, the lows are just as extreme. Beating Pittsburgh twice means almost nothing if the Steelers beat the 49ers tonight.

    As for Coach of the Year, I think Marvin Lewis at least deserves some consideration, since the Bengals were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this year, and they’re still in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. But I think I’d still have to tip my hat to Jim Harbaugh for completely turning around the 49ers this year.

  48. lrm1980 says: Dec 19, 2011 12:17 PM

    Two, put your junk in that box!

  49. rmc1995 says: Dec 19, 2011 12:28 PM

    Schwartz getting no mention as COY is another example of the laziness in reporting. The Lions lost Best for the season even though many teams may have let him come back from that concussion. Leshore never played a down. Fairley was hurt. The secondary has been decimated so much WRs gad to play DB. Linebackers have had guys out. Stafford played with a broken finger but not called a hero even though he won a couple of games with it. CJ is having his best year finally in a system to show case his talent. Trades have fallen through bu may have saved a life. Dealt with the Suh suspension and kept his team focused to win the last two.

  50. oddte says: Dec 19, 2011 12:36 PM

    When given the choice between using no metaphor and using a LOTR metaphor I think I would turn in my column a paragraph light.

  51. pilot2011 says: Dec 19, 2011 12:38 PM

    “None of this means that Chad will be biting the Super Bowl ring off Aaron Rodgers’ hand, but Belichick’s decision to keep Chad around could be finally paying dividends, when it matters most.”

    haha that’s pretty good man… I try to find time once a year to watch the trilogy, and I believe you’ve inspired me to go ahead and get it over with.

  52. ddjesus says: Dec 19, 2011 12:56 PM

    One loss and the Packers are no good anymore? I thought we were wiser than falling for knee jerk reactions.

  53. manhattan2100 says: Dec 19, 2011 1:01 PM

    What ridiculous comments about the Packers. The Chiefs suddenly found a “blueprint” for beating the Packers? What exactly is that, have an OT break a leg, make sure their receivers drop a bunch of balls, and play in your stadium with nothing to lose? One loss and suddenly the other 13 wins are out the window? How stupid are you? Come playoffs, the Packers will be healthy almost to a man and well rested after the 49ers lose to the Steelers tonight. The Packers will role to another title.

  54. rkingndayton says: Dec 19, 2011 1:12 PM

    “No mention of Belichick for COY??? The defense is playing terrible but they’re still winning, and alot of that credit goes to him for keeping the players focused.”

    He’s a defensive coach whose defense is playing terrible.

    John Fox should get COY hands down. He found a way to make his QB succeed without being an actual QB.”

    Sorry, but can’t disagree more. Belichick is the HC; Josh Boyer has been the biggest issue (DB Coach) and should probably lose his job at the end of the season. Most teams would lose their focus and let statistics haunt their locker room, but BB and TB have always kept winning in perspective.

    IMO, John Fox shouldn’t get any awards as he’s doing what other coaches have to do anyway: play with the cards you’re dealt. Where was Fox’s coaching ability with Orton was their QB? He is a good coach, I won’t disaagree; but COY? C’mon man!

  55. havok82 says: Dec 19, 2011 1:15 PM

    The one thing that kills me about Brees right now is that it is like the whole team is aware of how close he is to the record and are gunning for it. They are too nice to get called to the carpet for it, apparently. As much love as you can give him for what he is on the verge of doing, he deserves it. Like GB, NE, and the Colts with Manning; these offenses are yardage machines.

    At the end of the day, the regular season MVP is worth jack because the only MVP worth winning is the SB MVP.

  56. havok82 says: Dec 19, 2011 1:19 PM

    Schwartz isn’t going to sniff COY because of his team’s discipline issues. That starts with the coach. Any coach that is going to chase down another coach after a game looking for a fight is not exactly COY material. He’s fiery and a good coach, but he’s not there yet.

    I know writers like to pass the time debating who wins what, but none of this crap matters unless you have a nice fat bonus clause in your contract. Otherwise, the only shelf hardware anyone wants is a Lombardi and the SB MVP that usually goes with it.

  57. NoHomeTeam says: Dec 19, 2011 1:37 PM

    “None of this means that Chad will be biting the Super Bowl ring off Aaron Rodgers’ hand, but Belichick’s decision to keep Chad around could be finally paying dividends, when it matters most”

    Awesome. Simply geekishly awesome

  58. binarybulge says: Dec 19, 2011 1:46 PM

    Gotta love the “sky is falling” mentality everyone seems to have after GB was beaten.

    The way Brees has been playing, even if GB won, he’s going to get his MVP votes, and perhaps even steal it altogether. Matter of fact, even as a Packers fan, I’m ready to hand it to him now. GB gets Chicago’s defense and a Lions team desperate to punch their playoff cards, and if the 49ers lose tonight, home field advantage with no real reason to push it. Saints get 2 games inside their comfortable dome against susceptible defenses.

    Also, there was no way in hell McCarthy was going to be considered for the coach of the year. He would’ve gotten a couple votes, but that’s it. The Packers are defending champs. No one feels like they need any more cookies.

    As for the playoffs being wide open, I’m not sure I agree (at least in the NFC). I’d be genuinely astonished if it wasn’t NO or GB. The AFC seems a lot more wide open though, especially if the Chargers sneak in (ugh, there I go sipping the kool-aid).

  59. binarybulge says: Dec 19, 2011 1:53 PM

    musiccitymiracle says:
    Dec 19, 2011 9:06 AM
    Yea without the perfect season going I’m not sure what the mystique is around Aaron Rodgers’ MVP candidacy. Brees has about 100 completions more than Rodgers. And he’s going to claim the all time yardage title. Rodgers is having a great season, but Brees is arguably having a legendary one.

    100 more completions, yet Rodgers gets a full yard more per attempt. Rodgers seems the more efficient QB by a hair and I think a lot of people are giving full credit for that. Either way, you can’t argue with either guy this year, but I do argue with the legendary comment. Neither guy qualifies for that.

  60. cliverush says: Dec 19, 2011 2:17 PM

    Chad Ocho C. was downfield or on the perimeter laying good blocks on defenders. BB love thatkind of stuff.

  61. rmc1995 says: Dec 19, 2011 2:38 PM

    @Havok82
    The Lions being undisciplined is getting to be an old excuse for putting down the team. Hue Jackson was mentioned as a candidate and his team leads the league in penalties. Jim Harbaugh’s team is only ten penalties behind the Lions and they haven’t played this week yet. Well disciplined teams like the jaguars, Colts, Dolphins, and Bills are in the bottom 5 of penalties and two coaches have been fired for such discipline. As far as going after a coach, most men who curse at other men stand up, not run away like Harbaugh did and have to be chased down. I’ve said it before it is better to coach aggressive players first and smart players once they’ve become aggressive.

  62. P_Willy says: Dec 19, 2011 3:37 PM

    @rmc1995 – Harbaugh was pretty smooth on his way out of the tunnel when that little guy burst a gasket because his little hand was shook too hard. Shwartz has no balls and all he could do is provide some lip service.

  63. medtxpack says: Dec 19, 2011 3:38 PM

    rmc1995 and Suhnami:

    get over it! Schwartz should not be consider for the COTY. Running down another coach and almost getting in a fight, letting his players complain and complain and complain, complaining himself, not controlling his players, etc.

    I understand he has a batch of very aggressive players, but thats his job to control them. Not let them loose! Yes they dont lead the league in penalties but they do in fines. Thats worse in my book. To many flags after the whistle. I get Schwartz is doing good things and i hope he stays the course cause itll only make our division better (pack fan here, happy suhnami?) and more competetive. If your argument of what he has done in the past 3 years is what you have for COTY award, you need to read what it takes to be COTY. Someone already said it, but it doesnt count for three years, bro. Lions are good, but not great, and very easily could be left out of the playoffs. They still have a long way to go. And it starts with Schwartz. He acts like a kid. When he grows up, your team grows up, and your play will benefit. Until then, see ya in a week or so, get ready and good luck. Youll need it.

  64. flickaboogie says: Dec 19, 2011 3:55 PM

    As far as going after a coach, most men who curse at other men stand up, not run away like Harbaugh did and have to be chased down.

    I’m glad to see that someone else noticed what really happened that day. If a coach came bouncing across the field, showing me his belly and cursing at me , I’d have to knock him out.

  65. binarybulge says: Dec 19, 2011 4:43 PM

    flickaboogie says:
    Dec 19, 2011 3:55 PM
    As far as going after a coach, most men who curse at other men stand up, not run away like Harbaugh did and have to be chased down.

    More like he was more concerned with celebrating the victory with his players than put up with Schwartz’s whining because he didn’t get the win himself. He heard the f-bomb and automatically assumed it was directed at him. Anything to deflect the fact that his team didn’t get it done.

    Anyways, why are we having this discussion? If you as a viewer look for confrontation and drama instead of the game itself, there’s a more appropriate sport for you. It’s called pro wrestling.

  66. wfrman says: Dec 19, 2011 5:33 PM

    I love how people forget the Green Bay lack of affinity for running the ball. The Pack run the ball LESS than the Saints and are more susceptible to issues with bad weather.

  67. flickaboogie says: Dec 19, 2011 5:47 PM

    Schwartz went out to congratulate Harbough for winning the game. I can understand why he was so mad, It was a bad move by Harbaugh to curse at him after a hard fought close game.

    Sorry but confrontation and drama is exactly what football is. It has nothing to do with wrestling which is just acting.

  68. mogogo1 says: Dec 19, 2011 6:48 PM

    “Throw in the random ballots that inevitably will be cast for men like Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow, and Rodgers could end up not winning the thing.”
    __________________

    If they’re truly “random” then by definition they likely won’t have any impact on the outcome at all. The only way it’d spell problems for Rodgers is if for some reason his supporters were more likely to be swayed to a longshot.

    I think the biggest factor is going to be how many voters kept an open mind until the end of the season. The more who made up their minds earlier in the season, the better it is for Rodgers. Brees will benefit from voters who kept an open mind until the end and who are stats driven. Brady plays the spoiler but will likely suffer the effects of “been there, done that” syndrome in which the voters will pass over him for somebody who hasn’t accumulated quite so many accolades over the years.

  69. medtxpack says: Dec 19, 2011 7:01 PM

    @wfrman

    what are you smoking dude?! the pack “more susceptible to issues with bad weather.”

    do you forget where they play? who they play? Brees is in a dome and plays the MAJORITY of his games there because of their division as well.

  70. whodeyjones says: Dec 19, 2011 10:45 PM

    How bout Marvin Lewis? i mean 8 wins ? No one thought that would happen with all the changes. Funny how easy people jump on the Bungles band wagon when they lose but very few talk when they win.

  71. tmar1961 says: Dec 20, 2011 3:02 AM

    and no love to the Falcons @ 9-5 with a virtual lock on the #5 playoff spot, could be dangerous to discount them. Solid time consuming run game, good red-zone D. We will know more after Monday night’s game @ New Orleans

  72. staffordsyear says: Dec 20, 2011 6:00 AM

    No mention of jim shwartz for coach of the year!? you got to be kidding me!

  73. psousa1 says: Dec 20, 2011 9:07 AM

    Brees/Manning (when healthy): Great QB’s but play a minimum of 9 games indoors. Not their fault – they didn’t build the domes. These are the teams they play for.

    Rodgers/Brady: Play outdoors wind/rain/ cold/snow unless away game. The numbers they put up are more impressive

    Rodgers/Brady any day.

  74. shanehawks says: Dec 22, 2011 5:28 PM

    Pete Carroll, just sayin…… Lost starting QB 4 new starters on O-line, secondary full of rookies and not a shot in hell from anybody to sniff the playoffs yet here they are 2 wins away, u may not agree but u cant argue a whole lot either!

  75. ninerdynasty says: Dec 25, 2011 10:38 PM

    “Jim Harbaugh emerged as the early no-brainer, but his team seems to be slumping

    I guess beating the steelers and a very hot seahawk team at home is slumping. *cough cough*

    I dont want to sound like a homer but, Jim harbaugh turned around this team in 4 weeks before the openning season game.

    Can you imagine what it would be like if every team had a new coach and only 4 weeks to install their scheme. is not like he did it with a playoff team, he grabbed a 6-10 team and has turned it in possibly a 13-3 team.

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