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The Envelope, Please!

Mill Woods

Posted on December 29, 2020 23:54

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For fans of many NFL teams, the final curtain falls Sunday night. Over the next three weeks, the playoffs will throw rotten tomatoes at twelve more teams. And after that first Sunday in February, fans of 31 teams will leave the theatre feeling somewhat disappointed. But, for fans who look a little further than their favorite team, there is magic to be found. Over Christmas weekend, for example, Santa delivered some truly memorable football moments.

Welcome to 2021! Out with the old, in with the new. (Or should I say: “good riddance"?) Before we do that, let’s rewind the tape on a couple of great games from Christmas weekend.

That Dolphins-Raiders melodrama last Saturday won my “best motion picture of the year.” It looked like a classic battle for ball control and field position — until the final quarter. Then, “Fitz-Magic” happened, and the Dolphins scored twice in the last couple of minutes. That last throw by Ryan Fitzpatrick was not a play for "best actor" — it should land him in the Hall of Fame.

PS: the way that finale went down — with the Raiders purposely passing up a TD in order to run more time off the clock before kicking a field goal — that was yet another reminder why it’s a good idea to not get too clever — score a TD any time you can.


Last Sunday, the Steelers earned “best comeback of the year”. I dubbed it that because it did not involve any blunders by the other team. The Colts played very well, but Ben Roethlisberger dusted off his ‘mad bomber’ costume. On top of that, the Steeler defense revived its role as mad rusher (and crusher) of quarterbacks. 

Now, fans, I must warn you: cherish those magic moments, because the NFL has decided to both raise the curtain Sunday and close the show with two ‘Loser Bowls’ — the division games that will determine the (ahem) ‘champion’ of the ‘NFC Least’ division. The team that gets the dubious distinction will have a 7-9 record at best. More than one team with a better record will have to stay home. (I dislike the NFL’s disgusting division rule.)

In the NFC, I think the team that will be snubbed will be those elves in red and their hobbled QB, Kyler Murray. Things have come to this for the Cardinals, because, yes, that floundering Niner team proved to be “a mean one, Mr. Grinch”. Arizona, after Saturday’s loss, now needs to defeat the equally-banged-up Rams. Because of all the injuries, it could be a pretty ugly game. But (just as in the ‘AFC Least’) someone has to win.

In another big division game, the Bears will try to get a wild card by knocking off the Packers. Will the Pack hold back? I doubt it, not with the Saints right behind. Ditto for the Seahawks, Bills and Saints, facing the 49ers, Dolphins and Panthers.

Last weekend, I went 9-7. Here are the Week 17 games — and my picks:
        

          Away        Home                   My Pick
 
1.    Falcons        Bucs                     Bucs
2.    Cowboys      Giants                  Cowboys
3.    Jets              Patriots                 Patriots
4.    Vikings         Lions                    Vikings
5.    Steelers       Browns                 Browns
6.    Ravens         Bengals                Ravens
7.    Dolphins       Bills                      Bills
8.    Seahawks    49ers                    Seahawks
9.    Cardinals      Rams                    Rams
10. Jaguars         Colts                     Colts
11. Titans            Texans                  Titans
12. Raiders         Broncos                 Raiders
13. Chargers       Chiefs                   Chiefs
14. Packers         Bears                    Bears
15. Saints           Panthers                Saints
16. Washington   Eagles                   Eagles
 

Happy New Year!

Mill Woods

Posted on December 29, 2020 23:54

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