The NFL playoffs are near. This is when the teams start playing harder and show why they get paid so much.
“The Broncos have won six in a row, the Patriots have won five in a row, the Ravens have won four, in a row and the Texans have won five in a row,” says Jeff Richards, a third-year history student. “I don’t know about you, but I want to see what the AFC has in store for us when playoff season comes around.”
Some teams are getting streaks at this critical point in the season, while others seem to be losing their edge, some due to injuries or a lack of defence or focus. The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost two in a row since quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went down with a right shoulder sprain; the team currently sits at 6–5. The timetable for Big Ben’s return is unknown, but the sooner he comes back, the better for his team—neither of his backups, Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich, seem to be able to get it done.
The Steelers aren’t the only team slumping at the wrong time. Teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, and Detroit Lions can’t seem to get the wins when it matters most. The Eagles haven’t won a game since the beginning of October; to put it in perspective, the MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies have actually won a game more recently than the Eagles.
“Michael Vick is out, Nick Foles is a rookie, Andy Reid seems like he has lost his touch, Nnamdi Asomugha can’t cover anyone on defence,” says Richard Kim, a second-year criminal law student and Eagles fan. “Basically, we can’t do anything right. I gave up on our season a long time ago.”
The Cowboys come into every season as possible champions, but with Tony Romo under centre, it seems like it’s never going to happen. They seem to have an excuse every season for underperforming. Last season Romo got hurt late in the season, and this season star running back Demarco Murray got injured and missed six games. Whatever their reason this time, I don’t see them winning it all unless they improve their defence and their coaching staff.
“The Chargers always seem to flop, but everyone says they’re a good team, and my Detroit Lions just got unlucky with some games. They could have easily made the playoffs if some things had gone our way,” says John Chen, a second-year sociology student. The Lions and the Chargers are both 4–7; the Lions have lost four games in a row, and the Chargers three.
“I really don’t understand the [New York] Giants,” says Jane Jones, a third-year CCIT student. “Each season they play mediocre, and when the playoffs come, they just seem to know how to win. I don’t want to watch them unless it’s playoff time.”
The Bears and Packers are in a race to win the NFC North, with the Bears at 8–3 and the Packers at 7–4. Both teams meet in a few weeks, and the winner of that game could decide who takes the division and gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.
This has been a topsy-turvy season right from week one. With four games to go in the regular season, you’d better stay close to your TV screen and cheer on your team. As for me, I’m going with the San Francisco 49ers to win, and Peyton Manning for MVP.