Playoffs next and some teams still need to play to see if they get in or where they will be ranked.
Other teams have what are usually called “meaningless” games. Whether they win or lose it isn’t going to change a damn thing for them as they enter into the playoffs.
In this years last NFLRT of the year we look at some of these scenarios…
1) Let get right down to the nitty gritty… who wins and plays on and who loses and goes home? Green Bay or Detroit?
Chad: Green Bay… I trust Aaron Rodgers more than Matt Stafford even in Detroit.
Earl: I like the Lions, and I am rooting for them but it has to be Green Bay. The Lions are on the down swing right now and the Packers are in the ascendancy. Green Bay is playing well behind Aaron Rodgers who looks re-energized now that Jordy Nelson is playing like someone who is 100 percent healthy. Based off of their play the past few weeks, the Packers should win easily.
Joe: Right now with the way Green Bay is playing with Aaron Rodgers at QB, I really don’t see Detroit winning this game. Green Bay is playing well while Detroit has hit some bumpy spots on the road to the playoffs and they just seem to be off a tad lately.
Green Bay win this one 30-20.
2) After throwing 2 terrible throws (yes, that is an editorial comment on the editor’s part) that led to 2 INTs in the game, QB Ben Roethlisberger, with the needed aid of RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown (especially his last gasp arm reach over the goal line that proved to be the game winning score with 1:09 left in the game) was able to regroup the Steelers and win the game versus the Ravens.
Outside of Tom Brady is there any other QB in the AFC playoffs that you would rather have leading an offense than Big Ben? And, are we potentially looking at an AFC final that is Brady and the Pats vs Benny and the Steelers?
Chad: Behind Brady, Big Ben is the best AFC QB going into these playoffs which is going to lead to a showdown on Jan. 22 in Foxboro, MA between Brady and Ben.
Earl: Thanks to the injury to David Carr, it does look likely that we are looking at a Pats-Steelers AFC Title Game. The Chiefs have a shot at the title game if they win this week and the Raiders lose, but short of that I don’t see any other possibility other than Pats-Steelers and to answer the question: the only QB in the playoffs worth having is Tom Brady. Carr would have made that list as well, but no Carr, means it’s Tom versus everybody else.
Joe: The way things are shaping up what with injuries and how teams are playing heading into the playoffs I expect to see a Pats-Steelers AFC Championship game. I Also expect both QBs to have good games but I think the Patriots defense in the end will be the deciding factor as they force key turnovers that Tom Brady will convert into points.
If, it comes down to Pittsburgh-New England, I see New England winning in the end and going to the Super Bowl.
3) Do the Dallas Cowboys let Dak or Zeke play in their upcoming meaningless game versus Philadelphia? And, if they do play, then for how long would you keep them in the game before subbing them out?
Chad: I wouldn’t but I think they will play.
At the most I would do a half regardless of score… we saw this weekend key players on 3 teams suffer injuries and Dallas does not need that fate to happen to them.
Earl: I’d rest Zeke. I wouldn’t risk him picking up an injury in a meaningless game, but I would let Dak play a quarter or so. Just to keep him fresh and get him some snaps, but Romo should get into the game. Letting Tony get some playing time wouldn’t hurt at all.
Joe: I let both players play to start the game. Then I would remove Dak Prescott after the first quarter. Why risk a serious injury to him? Plus, Romo needs to see some game action just in case the worst case scenario happens in the playoffs and Dak gets injured. After, the half I would also rest Zeke.
4) The NY Giants and the Washington Redskins meet in another game with playoff implications. Washington wins and they are in. If, they lose they snooze for the playoffs.
But, the Giants can’t improve their playoff positioning regardless of whether they win or lose. In other words, the game is meaningless for the Giants. So… how do the Giants play the game… all out as if the playoffs are still on the line or start pulling starters in the second half regardless of the score?
Earl: The Giants should play the game competitively since they will need momentum going into playoffs. However, I would pull key players sometime in the second half. No need to risk injury, but no need to keep your foot off the gas pedal.
Joe: I think the Giants are pretty much in the same position that Dallas is in. However, in their case I think they need to play everyone and build some momentum going into the playoffs. Eli needs to shake off the bad mistakes he made in the last game and come out playing well. They need the momentum of a win as they head into the playoffs.
5) With Derek Carr unable to play the rest of the season for the Raiders due to a broken leg, are they now toast and essentially will be one and done in the playoffs? In fact, can they even beat Denver in their last game? Which still has very important implications for Oakland.
If, the Raiders beat the Broncos, and the Patriots lose to the Dolphins, then the Raiders would clinch home-field advantage in the AFC. But, if the Raiders lose and the Chiefs win, then Oakland will drop all the way to the fifth seed.
So, can the Raiders win another game this season?
Chad: I do not believe in McGloin to win a game. I say the Raiders are done.
Earl: Matt McGloin does have playing experience so that helps, but he is not Derek Carr. He does not have Derek Carr’s arm at all, and it would be smart to change the play calling around him. Running the ball more, and some shorter passes would go a long way. If they play to his strengths the Raiders can win the game, but it’s a shame Carr got hurt. The Raiders had a legitimate shot at the AFC Title Game, but now I can’t see it happening. Even if they do beat the Broncos and get the second seed.
Joe: Short and sweet… without Carr I think Oakland is not going to win a game in the playoffs and they may not beat Denver. However, I think, even with Matt McGloin at the helm of their offense, they still might beat Denver to end the season.
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