So another week of football is in the books, and there is still so much to determine over the final two weeks of the season. Division titles, playoff berths, draft order!
The Cleveland Browns are tied for first in the AFC North. The perennial doormat of the division dominated its intra-division, intra-state rivalry with the Cincinnati Bengals last night, scoring first and never trailing en route to a 24-3 victory.
The last time the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted a rookie who made an immediate impact and started opening day was Kendrell Bell in 2001, but first-round draft pick Ryan Shazier has all the skills of an NFL starter and the backing of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
This Super Bowl will be filled with firsts — and one significant last. The Harbaughs, San Francisco’s Jim and Baltimore’s John, will be the first pair of brothers to coach against each other in the NFL title game.
With two weeks left in the season, the NFC East, NFC West and AFC North titles are still up for grabs, not to mention the four Wild Card spots.
If you look at the big picture, Monday night’s loss — which mercifully eliminated the Jets from the AFC playoff race — was a good thing for the franchise. And the comic ineptitude made it even better.
“When you’re in this spot, when you’re in this position, you’ve got to take advantage of it because you don’t know if you’re going to get another chance,” Manning said. “…It’s tough to make it and you’ve got to win big games.”
While the AFC wild cards belong to the Jets and either the Ravens or Steelers — whichever doesn’t take the AFC North — five teams have shots at NFC wild cards: Atlanta, New Orleans, Green Bay, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants.
On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers saw their division title hopes take huge hits, and with wild-card aspirations farfetched, their chances of making the playoffs diminished, too.
Terrell Owens calls his team terrible. And nobody on the Cincinnati Bengals would disagree with the sentiment.