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End of the Season

The NFL wrapped up its regular season over the weekend, with victories for both of my teams.

The Jets defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-10. Last year, when facing the Bills on the final weekend, Gang Green could have clinched a playoff spot with a win... so, of course, they choked and played the worst game of the reason. This year, when the game meant absolutely nothing, they romped. The Bills fired Rex Ryan after last week's loss, so you couldn't even pitch the contest as "Hot Seat Bowl," with Buffalo playing under an interim coach.

The highlight of the game came after the Jets kicked a field goal and kicked off to Buffalo. The ball bounced into the endzone, while a Bills player stood over it looking at it curiously, as if to say, "What is that? Is that the ball? Was I supposed to catch it? I forget. Maybe I should pick it up?" While he was pondering, one of the Jets rushed past him and fell on the ball for a touchdown. Maybe it was good Rex was not on the sideline, his head might have exploded.

FWIW, I think Buffalo made a mistake in letting go of Rex. They did not even give him two years, and they are not likely to find anyone better. The Bills are a deeply dysfunctional franchise; they keep hiring new coaches, but never give them time to build a winner. No wonder they have been out of the playoffs longer than any other team in the NFL.

The Jets are not much better, however. The win left them with a record of 5-11 on the season, and the sixth overall draft slot. But they still have no quarterback. Christian Hackenberg, their second round draft pick last year, finally dressed for a game, but still did not play. Ryan Fitzpatrick started and finished and played... well, okay, but everyone seems certain that he will not be back next year. Neither will Geno. Which leaves Gang Green with the broken Bryce Petty and the totally untested Hackenberg and that draft pick. Do they use that on yet another young qb? So they try to address one of their many other needs? Do they pick up a quarterback in free agency or trade for one? If so, who? I hear talk of Romo, Cutler, and Kaepernick, which seems to me just a choice of poison. Arsenic, cyanide, or strychnine, what would you like?

Meanwhile, the Jets did keep their head coach... but fired a whole bunch of assistant coaches. So I don't know if they really have much more continuity than the Bills, when you get down to it. Sigh. Sometimes it's hard to be green...

So let's go blue, and talk about the Giants. They won too, and much more impressively, defeating the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous People 19-10. (Would have been 13-10, except for a freak defensive touchdown on Washington's last desperation play). The game was not really as close as the score, since Big Blue's defense dominated throughout, pretty well shutting down one of the league's highest scoring offenses. What made the win even more impressive was that the Giants were already locked into the #5 seed in the playoffs, win or lose, and had nothing to play for, while the Redskins had everything to play for. I was glad to see that Ben McAdoo and Eli Manning played to win regardless; I hate it when teams lie down on the last day of the season. (I am looking at you, Cowboys).

The Giants ended up with an 11-5 record on the season, and their first playoff appearance since they won the SuperBowl in 2011. Can they do it again? Odds are against them, but you never know. The G-Men do have a great defense, and it is often said that defense wins championships. We'll see. The road starts at Green Bay. That should be a great game. In Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have the best QB in the game, but their potent offense will be facing the Giants' tough defense. On the other side of the ball, however, a weak Green Bay defense with a porous secondary and no pass rush will be matched against a New York offense that has no running game, an offensive line that gives Eli no protection, and only one downfield threat in Odell Beckham. So it will be strength against strength, and weakness against weakness.

The Packers are favored, and rightly so. Mr. Discount Doublecheck is red hot. On the other hand, in the past Eli Manning has played his best ball in the playoffs, the O-line has gotten a little better since Justin Pugh returned, and even the running game showed some signs of life, at least when Perkins has the ball in place of Jennings. We shall see.

Go G-MEN!

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( 62 comments )
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Frederik Van Praet
Jan. 4th, 2017 12:00 am (UTC)
If you could pick one ASOIAF character to play for the Jets, who would it be and why would it be Tormund?
grrm
Jan. 4th, 2017 12:20 am (UTC)
Strong Belwas for the O-line.
(no subject) - Frederik Van Praet - Jan. 4th, 2017 12:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nickelbackstark - Jan. 4th, 2017 12:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - w2irt - Jan. 4th, 2017 12:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Belwas? - donoteatpoop - Jan. 4th, 2017 01:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Belwas? - John Brown - Jan. 4th, 2017 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Belwas? - w2irt - Jan. 4th, 2017 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Alex McDonough - Jan. 4th, 2017 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - w2irt - Jan. 4th, 2017 07:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Peter Davies - Jan. 4th, 2017 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Mark J. Crandley - Jan. 4th, 2017 09:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Real Fantasy Football - starkdad - Jan. 4th, 2017 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Anthony Gonzalez - Jan. 5th, 2017 09:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Christopher Frazier - Jan. 4th, 2017 07:33 am (UTC) - Expand
dzneill
Jan. 4th, 2017 12:02 am (UTC)
My Chiefs are looking strong this year.

I'd love to see KC knock out the Patriots and face the Giants in the Superbowl. That'd be a fun game.
angeleno
Jan. 4th, 2017 05:32 am (UTC)
Go Chiefs!!!


From your mouth to God's ear!! Wouldn't that be exciting?

After so many years in the wilderness, it's been such a good year to be a Chiefs fan. We did well last year, but this year it feels like they really solidified. Andy Reid has done a great job of building this team. Are they perfect? No, of course not. But they do keep getting better. Can we go the distance? For the first time in forever, I can legitimately say, "Maybe." (The Steelers and the Patriots are pretty scary.) But if we don't do it this year, I would REALLY watch out for us next year!

Good luck to the Giants against Green Bay on Sunday!
drewthall
Jan. 4th, 2017 12:12 am (UTC)
Eli Scares Me
I think the Giant's defense takes them back to the SB. This is looking more and more like 2007 and 2011 to me. As a fan of the Patriots, I don't know what I will do if the team loses to Eli a third time on a low probability catch by a tall receiver in the 4th quarter.

I also agree completely with your view on the Bills and the Jets. Ownership is the problem.
RedNeoCon
Jan. 4th, 2017 12:15 am (UTC)
NFL
As a Titans fan, I'm quite please with the turnaround from last years awful season to a healthy 9-7 this season. DeMarco Murray just might have well been the trade of the century as he was picked up for only a fourth rounder, but that won't sting because the Titans have the Rams first round pick from our trade last year.

Bills are awful, but I think the worst of the lot is San Francisco. Yeeeccchh. Not to sound too
Game of Thrones-ish, but Jed York is the modern day NFL owner equivalent of Joffrey Baratheon. Nobody wants to be under this guy.
Creed Borden
Jan. 4th, 2017 12:22 am (UTC)
Patriots vs Giants part III.
I'm praying the Giants and Patriots meet up again at the Superbowl. I think the Giants have a Defense that can stop Brady, and in the playoffs Eli seems to hit a mean streak and takes his play to a new level.
savatage
Jan. 4th, 2017 12:29 am (UTC)
Game on George. My Packers VS your Giants. While I have confidence in Rodgers, it's hard not to be nervous considering Eli has come into Green Bay twice while in the playoffs, winning both en route to the Super Bowl. If he wins, I'll expect the same. Either way, it'll be one hell of a game. Go Pack Go!
getouttatown
Jan. 4th, 2017 12:59 am (UTC)
First time either of your teams have been in the playoffs since 2011. 'Grats. I know you hate the Cowboys (whom I am a fan of), but I will forever cherish the Giants for what they did to Tom Brady and the Pats in '07. That said, if there's a Giants-Pats rematch in the Super Bowl this year, I will be rooting for a meteor to hit, because the winner would equal the Cowboys in Super Bowl rings.

PS, I hope you'll give Romo a chance if he comes to the Jets. You'll not find a more team-focused QB. I haven't been able to feel as enthusiastic as I should've about our success this year because it was without Romo. I know many other Cowboy fans feel the same.

Edited at 2017-01-04 01:03 am (UTC)
grrm
Jan. 4th, 2017 01:53 am (UTC)
Romo has been a very good quarterback, and seems like a good guy.

However, he is prone to making the big mistake at the worst possible time, and he's suffered so many injuries that I think the chances of him lasting a whole season are slim to none. Also, he'd be expensive. Dallas is going to want draft choices.
Cowboys - Kevin Childs - Jan. 4th, 2017 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
cruciare_mors
Jan. 4th, 2017 01:07 am (UTC)
Happy new year, Mr. Martin! As an European (Portuguese, to be precise), I do not understand the mechanics of (American) football, I'm afraid, but you definitely seem passionate about the sport. I would like to ask you what motivates you so much about it. Also, do you know anything about soccer? If so, do you have any favourite teams?
I am an ASOIAF fan, so I wish you much inspiration in your current writing process(es?). I am sorry for any mistakes you may find in this text.
Thank you for your time!
caravaggio2012
Jan. 4th, 2017 01:33 am (UTC)
Hey, I know this is off topic, but any chance of an update on the Wildcards TV show?
grrm
Jan. 4th, 2017 01:54 am (UTC)
I am not directly involved in that, but I know Melinda has been putting a lot of time and energy into it, and things are moving forward.
repaired_entree
Jan. 4th, 2017 01:42 am (UTC)
GMEN
Go BLUE indeed! The name of the game is pass defense on Sunday afternoon, I think DRC will have a huge game.
David Levin
Jan. 4th, 2017 02:04 am (UTC)
Congrats Giants...
Giants fairly easily beat the Skins, who did not seem to want it or deserve it.

Frustrating day for us Skins fans. Their lack of desire is tough to root for. It's hard to want them to extend Kurt Cousins contract. Not that their is any alternative out there.

We could use the Mountain at fullback and he's probably freaky strong and quick enough to play both sides of the ball, sort of an LT at linebacker. Maybe his size is a bit much.

Like GRRM suggestng strong Belwas on the offensive line. That is perfect. Can't think of a stronger book to NFL player.

Anyway, good luck to the Giants. They will be a long shot. Just saw Cool Hand Luke eat fifty eggs! So crazy things do happen.

Happy, peaceful, healthy, luck filled This Year to all.
gbtjom
Jan. 4th, 2017 02:25 am (UTC)
I know who to root for now...
Since my team (LA Rams) were effectively eliminated about 4 minutes into the first game of the season I was hoping that the playoff match-ups would be a bit different. I kind of like NY and GB and don't care for Seattle and Detroit so it's hard for me to choose for the first week of games.

However, since 40 year old grudges simply do not go away (again...the LA Rams thing) I'm now rooting for any team and I mean ANY team that can beat the Cowboys. Go Any Team!
smofbabe
Jan. 4th, 2017 02:46 am (UTC)
That TD in the Jets game was probably the most effort-free touchdown in the history of the NFL! The only explanation I've seen that makes any remote degree of sense is that they somehow got confused and thought the kickoff was a punt, and even then, you'd have thought at least one of them would have realized he needed to fall on it.

Congrats on the Giants getting into the playoffs! The Dolphins are in for the first time since 2008 and I'm not sure whether to be happy about that or resigned because I'm pretty sure we're going to get booted out pretty quickly. This depressingly is not just the first time we are in the playoffs since 2008 but the first time since then that we even have a winning record!
Peter Davies
Jan. 4th, 2017 01:51 pm (UTC)
I feel that the Dolphins are a very ASOIAF team. We are the underdogs who nobody expected to get anywhere, and somehow we have fought our way through and are facing one of the "big bad guys" in an important fight. :)

I don't hold out much hope for us against the Steelers in their current form, I'm afraid, but there's always a chance that the Steelers will lose the match (as opposed to us winning it). Fingers crossed - we'll soon find out!

Edited at 2017-01-04 07:40 pm (UTC)
Jonathan Kolf
Jan. 4th, 2017 03:29 am (UTC)
As one sportsball season draws to a close, another sportsball season will start. Some things never change.
aebrock
Jan. 4th, 2017 03:37 am (UTC)
New York vs Green Bay
I feel like the game is going to come down to Green Bay's running game, which has shown signs of life recently. They're a better team now than they were many weeks ago.

Going into the final week, Detroit wasn't exactly deficient in its running defense, yet the Packers managed to gain over a hundred yards on the ground. I'm not sure if that's due to Green Bay finding hidden talent that can generate productive runs on their own or Rodgers just being so dang good he opens up those lanes (probably a combination of both).

If I had to predict gameflow, I think Rodgers gets bottled up on the first few drives but then the Packers start to get creative with running the ball and quick passes to the backs which will open things up and put the G-Men back on their heels for quite some time. Rodgers was scary enough on his own but now he has some form of help. If the Giants are going to win, Eli is going to have to get ahead on the first few possessions and not look back. I just can't see the Giants containing Rodgers past the midpoint of the second quarter with any consistency.
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