Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end
Only the AFC West is still left to be decided, with three teams still in the mix for the division crown. But a couple of wild cards are still up for grabs in the AFC as well as one in the NFC. This is the last opportunity I have for a bunch of poorly controlled computer players to make good on some of my preseason predictions, so I have a lot of personal dignity and a couple of endorsement deals riding on the outcome of this week's slate.
New Orleans (7-8) vs. Phoenix (4-11)
For a team I predicted to make the playoffs, the Saints were very disappointed to be playing in what is almost certainly a meaningless game. But for a team that most people have forgotten is even in the league, the Cardinals were downright thrilled that they were able to find eleven guys show up to field a team today.
Final Score: New Orleans-31 Phoenix-7
Miami (11-4) vs. New York Jets (8-7)
New York's playoff hopes were murdered by Mark Duper's seven receptions for 151 yards. Miami closes the season on an eye-popping twelve game winning streak and looks quite honestly like the best team in the league heading into the playoffs.
Final Score: Miami-31 New York-10
Indianapolis (1-14) vs. Tampa Bay (3-12)
And while the Dolphins finished the season on a 12-game winning streak, the Colts did them a few better by finishing their campaign on a mythical 15-game skid.
Final Score: Tampa Bay-21 Indianapolis-14
Cleveland (7-8) vs. Pittsburgh (6-9)
Merril Hoge went over 100 in his final game, sparing the Steelers the indignity of having to own sole possession of last place in a division that includes the Browns.
Final Score: Pittsburgh-20 Cleveland-17
Houston (9-6) vs. New York Giants (12-3)
In the middle of the season they were unstoppable, but the Oilers are fading badly and will need to fine-tune their quadruple coverage completions to their outstanding receiving corps if they are to right the ship in the playoffs.
Final Score: New York-21 Houston-17
Buffalo (13-2) vs. Detroit (5-10)
Thurman racked up 169 on the ground as the Bills continued to cruise and serve notice to the Dolphins that they still don't have a chance in Hell or anywhere else undesirable of winning the American Football Conference.
Final Score: Buffalo-21 Detroit-14
Kansas City (9-6) vs. Los Angeles Raiders (7-8)
With nothing to play for, the Raiders decided to open the door wide open in the AFC West for the Broncos by upsetting the Chiefs and heading to the golf course for another year with an uninspired and totally underachieving 8-8 mark.
Final Score: Los Angeles-28 Kansas City-14
Denver (9-6) vs. San Diego (5-10)
Elway dropped three hundo on the hapless Chargers and the Broncos finally secured the AFC West and a first round bye.
Final Score: Denver-35 San Diego-17
Chicago (8-7) vs. San Francisco (11-4)
A win would've put the Bears in good shape for a wild card berth, but the loss of Brad Muster in the first quarter and the failure to score more points than the 49ers in four quarters really hurt their chances.
Final Score: San Francisco-21 Chicago-9
Cincinnati (7-8) vs. New England (2-13)
Hey! Marvin Allen is back!
Final Score: Cincinnati-42 New England-30
Dallas (9-6) vs. Atlanta (6-9)
With losses by Los Angeles and Chicago already assuring them a playoff spot, the Cowboys passed around Michael Irvin's bong before the game and still had enough coordination to defeat a vastly overrated Atlanta squad.
Final Score: Dallas-20 Atlanta-17
Philadelphia (10-5) vs. Washington (8-7)
If Washington won this game, the NFC would've been guaranteed three wild cards from the East. If they lost, there could be a potential five-way tie for the last spot. League nerds, get your tiebreaking formulas out.
Final Score: Philadelphia-38 Washington-21
Green Bay (10-5) vs. Minnesota (7-8)
With the Vikings inexplicably thrust back into the playoff picture, Herschel Walker rushed back to the field to make sure and fumble away the Vikings newfound chances.
Final Score: Green Bay-28 Minnesota-24
Player of the Week
Mark Duper's seven receptions are too much to overlook, even if the entire Colts' defense probably deserves it for helping their team to their incredible fifteenth straight loss.
Brad Muster- CHI
Craig Heyward- NO (Week 16)
Warren Williams- PIT (Week 16)
Earnest Byner- WAS (Week 16)
Mike Rozier- ATL (Week 15)
James Brooks- CIN (Week 15)
Marvin Allen- NE (Week 15)
Herschel Walker- MIN (Week 13)
Coming later this week...
- Season recap/playoff preview