A very Merry Christmas to everyone today, December 24, Christmas Eve. The Stack is here to recap week 16 in the NFL, a week in which picks were very good, 13-3! The playoff picture is pretty clear in the AFC, but remains murky in the NFC. More on that later in the week. Right now, let's get to some reaction from all of week 16's games in "the stack" for today, Monday, December 24:
Atlanta 31 Detroit 18
The Falcons came out as if they had something to play for. They did. Homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and they earned it. Matt Ryan was magnficent throwing for four touchdowns and now the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Atlanta. Would be remissed if I didn't mention what an accomplishment Megatron earned getting 225 receiving yards and surpassing Jerry Rice for most receiving yards in a single season. Well done. Well done.
Carolina 17 Oakland 6
Wasn't pretty, especially for Oakland (Matt Leinart was playing for crying out loud), but the Panthers got a third straight win and are looking good ending the season. Is it enough to save head coach Ron Rivera's job? I would hope so.
New Orleans 34 Dallas 31
If you like offense, you loved this game. Over 1,000 yards of offense and in the end, the Cowboys failed to deliver in a clutch situation. To be fair, they did come back from fourteen down in the fourth quarter to tie the game and converted a fourth and ten on the game-tying touchdown, but failed to do anything in overtime on offense and their defense was non-existent. What it sets up is a winner-take-all game with the Washington Redskins for the NFC East next Sunday night.
Green Bay 55 Tennessee 7
The Packers are playing really good football right now and they are getting healthy at just the right time. It also helps when you play a very bad team like the Titans.
Minnesota 23 Houston 6
Perhaps the surprise of the day. The Minnesota Vikings went down to Houston and smacked the Texans around. Texans didn't look very inspired, but don't take that away from the Vikings for having an excellent gameplan (especially on defense) and finding ways to win despite Adrian Peterson rushing for only 86 yards. Congrats to kicker Blair Walsh too for setting NFL history with his ninth field goal from fifty plus yards. Nice draft pick Vikings.
New England 23 Jacksonville 16
Ok New England, what was that? Thought I'd see a much more crisp game from you, especially after the bad loss last week to San Francisco. To go down to the wire with the two win Jaguars does not make me especially confident that you're the team to beat come playoff time.
Indianapolis 20 Kansas City 13
The amazing season for the Colts continues. They have clinched a playoff spot with the win and head coach Chuck Pagano will be returning to work today. What a Christmas in Indianapolis it will be. If the Colts want to win a game or two in the playoffs though, they must figure out a way to stop opponents running it all over them (352 yards for the Chiefs Sunday).
Miami 24 Buffalo 10
Dolphins fans have to be wondering why Reggie Bush can't have games like this (over 100 total offensive yards and three touchdowns) more often. Bills fans have to be wondering why their team stinks all of the time.
San Diego 27 New York Jets 17
New quarterback, same result for the Jets. Bad football. Greg McElroy being sacked eleven times is a joke. Kind of like the Jets season. Nice game by the Chargers.
Washington 27 Philadelphia 20
Closer game than Redskins fans might have liked, but RGIII played well and didn't do any more damage to his knee and the Redskins have a chance to win the NFC East with a win over the Cowboys next Sunday night. Can't believe I'm saying that.
Cincinnati 13 Pittsburgh 10
Even if it's not always pretty, good teams find ways to win and the Bengals did that on Sunday with a crucial pick late in the game and then Andy Dalton delivered a clutch pass that set up the game-winning field goal. The Steelers made plenty of mistakes in this game like they've done most of this year and that is why they're watching the playoffs from home this year.
St. Louis 28 Tampa Bay 13
The Rams played like they still care about the season. The Bucs looked like they've packed up. Jeff Fisher's club continues to take strides while Greg Schiano's club is regressing.
Denver 34 Cleveland 12
Peyton Manning continues to impress. He is having his best season of his career, an amazing thing to say given what he accomplished in Indianapolis. And the Broncos have a shot at homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win and a Texans loss. If that happens, Denver is going to the Super Bowl.
Chicago 28 Arizona 13
Two defensive touchdowns had to be a relief to the Bears and their fans. Then again, they were playing the offensively challenged Cardinals, but the win keeps the Bears alive in the NFC playoff hunt.
Baltimore 33 New York Giants 14
Very surpisingly, the Giants look like they failed to show up for the second straight week and they are now in a world of hurt to make the playoffs. The Ravens were definitely the more inspired and desperate team out there and they knew how big this game was for them. Now they've won the AFC North and can put some Ravens fans minds at ease.
Seattle 42 San Francisco 13
The Seahawks took the 49ers behind the woodshed Sunday night. What a demolition. Marshawn Lynch ran well and Russell Wilson is the real deal. He continues to grow and improve each and every week and as a result, not only have the Seahawks clinched a playoff birth, but the NFC West is still up for grabs. They're undefeated at home and their home crowd is terrific. Seattle is going to be a tough out in the playoffs.
No blog Tuesday for Christmas Day. Merry Christmas everyone!
Coming up later this week: NFL power rankings and NFL playoff picture