By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond
NEW YORK(RushPRnews)12/21/08-Win your division and punch your ticket into the playoffs. Itâ€™s that simple. A few teams around the league have successfully followed this blueprint and are separating themselves from the pack. Heading into week 16, the New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburg Steelers, and Tennessee Titans have all locked up their respective divisions. Concerns for some of these teams at this point: clinching home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Others are not so fortunate, struggling to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Patriots 47, Cardinal 7
Cardinals trapped in the perfect storm.
A year ago, the New England Patriots were chasing a perfect season. This year, theyâ€™re chasing a playoff spot. Unquestionably, a lot can change in a year, but one thing remains certain, when it snows at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots are that much harder to beat. The Arizona Cardinals traveled on the East Coast and found that out the hard way.
The Pats jumped to an early lead, while the Cardinals were still trying to find their footing. This left the door open for running back LaMont Jordan to start the game with two rushing touchdowns.
Cardinals quarterback, Kurt Warner, failed to get anything going offensively completing a measly 6-of-18 passes for 30 yards, while his counterpart Matt Cassel was slinging passes like they were snow balls. Cassel finished with 345 yards and three touchdown passes.
Playing in the snow definitely favored the Patriots as they had no problems adjusting to the elements. The Cardinals were going up against a pretty good defense, in New England, but it was the adverse weather conditions that ultimately slowed down Arizonaâ€™s high powered offense.
Saints 42, Lions 7
One last chance before they go DOWN in history
Going down in history is not always a good thing. The Detroit Lions can tell you that. The 0-15 Lions have one last shot to win a game and avoid the dubious distinction of being the only team in NFL history to go 0-16. If confidence was not low enough heading into Sundayâ€™s game against New Orleans, it must be at rock bottom after the Saints marched all over them.
Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints breezed past the woeful Lions in a lopsided contest. Saints running back Pierre Thomas, the teamâ€™s lone spark plug in the past few weeks, split the workload with Deuce McAllister. Both combined for 138 rushing yards and each scored a touchdown. With a descent ground game, Brees was able to go to work through the air and orchestrated an aerial assault that the Lions secondary will not soon forget. Brees completed 30-of-40 for 351 yards with two touchdown passes, both to Marques Colston.
This time it was not the Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, but rookie Kevin Smith that tried to reverse the fortunes of his struggling franchise, by racking up 111 yards and a score. But football is about making plays and not enough guys did for Detroit. Their finale is at Green Bay, a team facing their own share of disappointments.
Dolphins 38, Chiefs 31
Miami wins wild won
The Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins made it rain by lighting up the score board. Not many people expected an offensive showdown at Arrowhead Stadium, but thatâ€™s why the NFL is so unpredictable. Dolphins quaterback Chad Pennington posted up impressive numbers considering the fact that he is playing with a depleated receiving corps. Miamiâ€™s passing game is not exaclty creating havoc across the league. With that said, Pennington efficiently wins games and finished Sundayâ€™s game with 235 yards with three touchdowns. With very little coming from the running game, Pennington keep passes short and took advantage of the Chiefs inexperienced secondary.
Altough Rickey Williams only rushed for 34 yards on 12 carries, he made up for it by catching 6 passes for 50 yards. Miami saw their share of Larry Johnson, as the Chiefs tried to keep their offense on the field and control the clock. Johnson went over the century mark for the first time since week 4. Chiefs Tony Gonzalez lead all receivers in the game with 7 receptions. Despite Kansas Cityâ€™s poor record, the team continues to play hard.
Seahawks 13, Jets 3
Jets come up empty
The Seattle Seahawks gave their head coach Mike Holmgren the best farewell gift of all: a much deserved victory. Sundayâ€™s game marked the end of an era as this would be Holmgenâ€™s last home game with the Seahawks. That was Seattleâ€™s motivation. The Jets on the other hand also wanted this one badly. They were playing to keep their playoff hopes alive.
I guess itâ€™s safe to say that the Jets do not bring their â€œAâ€ game when playing against teams on the West Coast. New York failed to score an offensive touchdown and Brett Favre, who was selected to his 10th pro bowl, had a tough week. Favre went 18-of-31 for 187 yards and two interceptions. This loss knock New York out of a three-way tie for the AFC East. The Jets return home to play the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 28.
The action continues next Sunday. Look for our update, right here at RushPRnews.
Photo courtesy of the National Football League.