Snap Judgments (cont.)
So the Jaguars can still make the playoffs at 9-7 if they win at Houston next Sunday while the Colts fall to Tennessee in Indianapolis. I sure wouldn't want to have to rely on the Titans for any help these days, would you? The way Tennessee is playing, Jacksonville's season is as good as over. But in truth, for a good bit of Sunday, the Jaguars were looking like the air went out of their balloon with last week's showdown loss at the Colts.
Three more touchdowns for New England tight ends on Sunday, and that segment of the Patriots depth chart has now produced a ridiculous 16 touchdowns in 15 games -- nine more scores than Pats tight ends produced all of last season. By comparison, New England wide receivers have just 17 touchdowns this year, one more than the three-man tight end contingent.
Rookie Rob Gronkowski had two more touchdown catches and now leads all New England pass-catchers with nine. With rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez (six touchdowns this season) inactive with an injury, veteran tight end Alge Crumpler was worked into the mix and wound up catching his first touchdown of the season and first as a Patriot.
So much for the delusional notions that the Redskins were tanking their games late this season to improve their draft status and maybe land a franchise quarterback. No matter how you feel about Washington's handling of veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb, let's at least be honest enough to admit the Redskins offense has looked better these past two weeks with Rex Grossman in the lineup and McNabb on the bench.
Grossman was 19 of 39 for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the overtime win at Jacksonville, and he's thrown for five scores and three interceptions in his two starts replacing McNabb. He's not the future in D.C., but he's far from a disaster at present.
About the only real quibble you can have about Grossman right now is his decision to do the Gator chomp after firing a touchdown pass to tight end Fred Davis on Sunday. Maybe it was being back in Florida that got him all nostalgic for the Spurrier era.
Break up those suddenly ferocious Lions. Detroit has some honest-to-goodness mojo going after scoring 17 points in the final 4:37 to climb out of a 10-point, fourth-quarter hole and shock the Dolphins 34-27. That's three straight wins for the Lions (their best such run since 2007), and two consecutive road victories after the embarrassment of 26 away losses in a row.
I'm already on record saying Detroit's a decent candidate to be next season's turnaround team, and if the Lions could ever get 2009 first overall pick Matthew Stafford healthy for longer than two weeks, they might really be dangerous. If Detroit can win with Drew Stanton and Shaun Hill under center these past three weeks -- beating Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Miami -- there's a pretty good nucleus of talent coming together under head coach Jim Schwartz.
Boy, the weather gods have sure turned on the Vikings with a fury. What else can possibly go wrong meteorologically for Minnesota this season? I suppose some sort of weather-related catastrophe is still possible for next week at Detroit (uh-oh, another dome). Now the Vikings have to play their scheduled Sunday nighter in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, due to the snowstorm that hit the City of Brotherly Love on Sunday. Three straight weeks, weather has wreaked havoc on Minnesota's schedule, and that hasn't happened in any of the team's other 49 seasons in the NFL.
I was asked on the radio Sunday why the NFL didn't just schedule another Monday-night doubleheader this week, like it did two weeks ago when the Giants-Viking game had to be moved to Detroit.
Does anyone think the NFL, even for a second, considered putting NBC's Sunday night game up against ESPN's Monday night game, thereby ticking off both of their ratings-loving TV partners? I know the bad weather on the East Coast might not be done until Monday afternoon, and that was a handy reason for the league to opt for Tuesday. But don't forget that ESPN and NBC both pony up beaucoup for exclusivity in their prime time windows, and the NFL was going to make sure they both got it. Voila. Tuesday night it was.
After the Eagles beat the Vikings Tuesday night (and they will), they'll have just five days to get ready for their Week 17 game, at home against Dallas. That's not exactly a level playing field, given that the Cowboys will have three more days of preparation. But it's not the biggest deal in the world. The Eagles are at home, and don't have to deal with both a short week and travel. And don't forget, the Eagles will have another advantage in that the Cowboys likely will be giving second-year quarterback Steven McGee his first NFL start, in Philadelphia.
That said, the Cowboys might have found something here with the ex-Texas A&M quarterback. McGee looked pretty poised and smooth in the Cowboys' heartbreaking 27-26 loss at Arizona on Christmas night. His 11 of 17 passing for 111 yards, with one touchdown and a 102.8 rating deserved a better fate than it got.
Years from now, the Tennessee Titans will be the answer to the trivia question that every fan of the 2010 Dolphins knows by heart. The question? Who was the only team Miami beat at home all season, en route to its 1-7 record before the faithful? Come to think of it, that Week 10 loss at Miami was right around when things started getting really ugly for the Titans.
The Dolphins lost to visiting Detroit on Sunday, and their 1-7 home mark tied the franchise's worst ever. That could land Miami head coach Tony Sparano firmly on the hot seat as Week 17 looms.
Call it the Year of the Danny in the NFL. First, New England running back Danny Woodhead becomes everyone's favorite little guy, and now Rams receiver-return man Danny Amendola is following suit. The 5-11, 186-pound Amendola had a key 84-yard non-scoring kickoff return for St. Louis, and chipped in with a team-high eight catches for 53 yards in the Rams' eight-point conquest of San Francisco.
I guess that leaves only Washington's Danny Snyder as the luck-less man out once again.
College Football Championship Week roundup: Michigan State spoils Ohio State's BCS hopes
Spartans spoil Ohio State's BCS title hopes