The final week of the NFL season showed us many things, and not just who ended up in the playoffs:
1. We learned something about Matt Flynn and the Green Bay Packers: either Flynn's a pretty fantastic quarterback and a prize free agent this off-season or the Packers offense is so good anybody could rack up great stats at its helm. I happen to believe the former since Flynn played pretty well last year after Aaron Rodgers got injured but, after Flynn tore apart the Lions yesterday, some people are now whispering that maybe Rodgers is just the product of a great system and a powerful group of teammates around him. Talk about great timing for Flynn, though: a ridiculous performance against a strong opponent, free agency on the horizon and a pile of teams needing help at quarterback.
2. We learned that the Giants may actually be in a position to make some noise in the playoffs, now that they've punched their ticket. New York dominated Dallas in the season finale and the play of its defensive line was strongly reminiscent of their Super Bowl run a couple of years back. I had been thinking the NFC East champ would be one-and-done in the post-season this year but, with the inconsistent Falcons coming to town and Tuck, Umenyiora and their mates rounding into form (six sacks of Romo), the Giants may just be still in it when the Wildcard dust settles next Monday.
3. We saw that Kansas City might just have a team next year, after the Chiefs pounded the Broncos to show their win three weeks ago over Green Bay might not have been a fluke. That KC defense is pretty special and took all the drama out of Denver's battle for the playoffs.
4. We learned that Maurice Jones-Drew really can play with a chip on his shoulder;
5. We learned that Buddy Ryan's boys just aint their father: both Rex and Rob flopped in big games, with the Jets floundering in a must-win against Miami and the Dallas defense getting schooled by the Giants. Can we now, finally, have an end to all the deification of the mediocre sons of a once-great coach?
6. We learned that the AFC playoffs are wide open (I mean, tell me, who's the favourite? the hurting Steelers? the defensively inept Patriots? the inconsistent Ravens? the struggling Texans? the back-in-to-the-show Broncos or Bengals?). While the NFC has several powerhouse teams, the AFC offers no sign it will be able to compete in the big game.
7. And we learned that the Eagles and Chargers are good enough to be there but couldn't overcome their own early-season melt-downs.