1. Yes, Dallas fans, you should be uncomfortable. The Cowboys hold the tiebreaker with Green Bay for home-field advantage, but their last two games are at Carolina and Washington. One of those two clubs (OK, Washington) could give them trouble, especially if Tony Romo's thumb injury is as troublesome as it seemed.
|Deciding to kick a game-tying FG didn't cost the Ravens a win. Matt Stover's missed kick in OT, however, did. (AP)|
3. Here's why Jacksonville's victory was huge: Because the Jags could face Pittsburgh at Heinz Field in the first round of the playoffs. If the Jags are the fifth seed, they play the fourth. That would be the Steelers ... but only if they can beat St. Louis and Baltimore. "We're not playing well enough to win right now," said losing coach Mike Tomlin. I couldn't agree more.
4. I'm not sure Laurence Maroney's 104 yards rushing proved anything. So the Patriots could run against the Jets. Big deal. So has everyone else, one reason the Jets ranked 30th against the run entering this weekend.
5. I still think San Diego is the club most likely to pull an upset in the AFC playoffs. We know the Chargers can go to Indianapolis and win. Plus, they're red hot, taking eight of their last 10. Trust me, it's not unimaginable to have them wind up in the conference championship game.
6. Seattle's hard-to-fathom loss confirms what we suspected for weeks: There are only two teams in the NFC we can take seriously -- Dallas and Green Bay. Everyone else doesn't matter.
7. I'm sorry, but offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild won't be missed in Buffalo -- and Sunday's loss helps explain why. He has first-and-10 at the Cleveland 24 and loses 2 yards in four snaps. Then he has first-and-10 at the Cleveland 33 and loses 7 yards with three plays. Finally, he calls a screen to Fred Jackson on a potential game-tying fourth down ... and it produces nothing. Someone please explain.
9. I don't care if Baltimore's Kyle Boller can play the next two games. His season should be over, with rookie Troy Smith getting the call the rest of the way. The Ravens know what they have in Boller, and it's, shall we say, limited. But they must find out what they have in Smith, the former Heisman Trophy winner. He looked decent on that game-tying drive when the Ravens showed something they were missing most of the afternoon -- a pulse.
10. In case you were wondering, that was a reminder never to underestimate the Eagles' Jim Johnson as a defensive coordinator. It was Johnson who had New England off its game a month ago. Now he knocks off the league's second-best club, and he does it with the same formula that unnerved the Pats -- pressuring the pocket with heat from all directions and not letting a franchise receiver (Randy Moss then, Terrell Owens now) beat him for the big catch.
11. That loss to San Francisco hurt the Patriots more than it did Cincinnati. Remember, New England owns the 49ers' first-round draft pick.
12. Congratulations, Shaun Alexander. It wasn't until the third quarter that the former league MVP had a carry for more than a yard.
13. The lowest common denominator in football is not Miami; it's the Atlanta Falcons. In one week its quarterback was sentenced to 23 months behind bars; its head coach quit; and it surrendered the first kickoff return for a touchdown in Tampa Bay history. People want to know who wins New England-Indianapolis? I want to know who would lose Miami-Atlanta.