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Week 10 Judgements: Jets among 3-6 teams with no chance at postseason

by | Senior NFL Columnist
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I hate to break it to Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, but, no, the Jets aren't going to the playoffs. Neither, for that matter, are Philadelphia or Buffalo or Washington or anyone else with a 3-6 record, and that's not a hunch. It's called playing the odds. According to the NFL, since the NFL adopted its current 12-team playoff format in 1990, only three clubs that started 3-6 made it the playoffs. They are the 1994 New England Patriots, the 1995 Detroit Lions and the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars.

2. By the way, with that loss the Jets are 3-9 dating back to Week 15 of 2011. Only Cleveland and Jacksonville are worse. Just sayin'.

3. There is no better running back anywhere than Adrian Peterson. The guy has five 100-yard games this season -- including four straight -- with none more impressive than his latest performance. Next time I have a knee surgery, I want the name of his physician.

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4. Sorry, but I'd be shocked if Andy Reid went to San Diego. I know he's from Southern California and would love to return ... but there's one glitch: Bolts president Dean Spanos. He's not a guy who likes to invest general manager powers in his head coach, and there's no way Reid works with current GM A.J. Smith. So let's say Smith is fired. Reid will want to go where he can have total control, and that's not going to happen in San Diego.

5. Look at it this way, Detroit fans. The Lions still have five games left at home. Unfortunately, look who their opponents are: Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Chicago -- teams that include four division leaders and have a combined record of 35-10. Check, please.

6. New Orleans' playoff hopes are slim, but at least they're alive. They may not be, however, after Dec. 16. That weekend completes a four-week grind that includes, in succession, San Francisco, Atlanta, the New York Giants and Tampa Bay. The problem for the Saints is that they're 4-5, not 5-4, and there are eight teams in the conference with better records -- including all four of those upcoming opponents.

7. Nowhere has a bye been more welcome than this week with the Giants. They're a mess. "I don't really quite understand where we are and why," said coach Tom Coughlin. Well, I'll tell you where they are: For the third straight year they've gone from 6-2 to 6-4, only this one feels worse because ... well, because Eli Manning is as bad as the defense.

8. Ray Rice runs for 35 yards, and Baltimore scores 55. Somebody please explain.

9. When you talk about rookies hitting the wall, you're talking about Ryan Tannehill vs. Tennessee. Ouch.

10. I admit it. I enjoyed the Broncos' mocking of Cam Newton's Superman shtick. Somebody needs to remind Newton that he's nowhere near the quarterback he should be and to cut the Superman crap. Denver just did. Good.

11. Newton should just take notes from the quarterback who beat him Sunday. From the day he entered the league, Peyton Manning didn't say he wanted to be an icon, didn't say he wanted to be an entertainer and didn't celebrate touchdowns with histrionics. He just won ballgames. And still is.

12. I'll tell you who should get some Assistant Coach of the Year recognition: Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. His defense hasn't allowed more than 14 points in two of the past three games. It also sacked Cam Newton a season-high seven times and held the Panthers to eight three-and-outs. Nice.

13. Pay no attention to the score. There was a loser in that St. Louis -- San Francisco game, and it was the 49ers. They may have to face Chicago next Monday without Alex Smith. Of course, Chicago may have to face the 49ers without Jay Cutler.

14. Next time you wonder why the NFL is so concerned about hits on quarterbacks look what happened Sunday: Three of them were lost to concussions. The league can't do enough to protect these guys.

15. I don't care what Michael Vick's situation is; he shouldn't start again. It's time for Philadelphia to move on with the future, and Nick Foles is the future. I don't care what you think of Vick, the guy is one tough SOB and gave it everything he had. But it wasn't enough, and the Eagles are on life support. Time to move on.

16. Maybe the only thing I like about Oakland is its two-minute offense. That makes it nine straight games -- or every one this season -- where the Raiders scored in the last two minutes of the first half.

17. The Baltimore Ravens are unbeaten at home, outscoring opponents 184-108 in five games, but are 2-2 on the road, where they've been outscored 88-70. You want to know why winning the division is so critical to these guys? That's why. They must stay home as long as they can.

18. It's Groundhog Day with New England, and, depending on which side of the ball you're on, that might not be so good. You love Tom Brady and the league's top-ranked offense, but that defense? I mean, that pass defense? Sorry, but it's good enough to take the Pats to another Super Bowl -- unless, of course, Billy Cundiff or Lee Evans is on the other side. "This Patriots' secondary is atrocious" tweeted former New England lineman Damien Woody. You just noticed?

19. You'll never hear Blair Walsh's name mentioned among the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates, but you should. Not only has he hit all five of his field-goal attempts of 50 yards and more; he missed only one of 23 field goals and already set the team record for touchbacks on kickbacks (41).

20. Yep, it was Cincinnati's A.J. Green who said, "I feel like [the Giants] have got a lot of holes in their defense" ... and that was before the game. People scoffed, but not anymore. I'm consulting him for stock tips.

FIVE THINGS I LIKE

1. Riley Cooper's game-opening TD. Not only was it a sensational one-handed catch; it marked the first time all season Philadelphia scored on its opening possession. Until Cooper's heroics, the Eagles had seven first-quarter points all season.

2. Jarius Wright's debut as a starter. The Vikings have been waiting for a pulse from their fourth-round draft choice since he had six catches for 122 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota's preseason finale, and they got it Sunday. The only reason Wright started was because Percy Harvin didn't. Guaranteed, this guy is in the mix now.

3. What's happening in Tampa Bay. First of all, the Bucs put up 28 or more points in five straight games for the first time in franchise history. Second, they just won with their offense, defense and special teams producing TDs -- a legitimate team effort. Then there's quarterback Josh Freeman. For those keeping score that was his fifth straight game with a passer rating of 100 or better. When you talk about wild-card possibilities, you must include the Bucs.

4. Minnesota's third-down defense. Detroit entered the game converting 20 of its last 28 third-downs. They were 1-of-9, including 0-for-their-first-eight.

5. Tony Romo's escapability. The biggest play of the Cowboys' victory wasn't Brandon Carr's interception return or Dez Bryant's touchdown catch. It was a 25-yard pass on third down by Romo after he should have been sacked twice. Instead of punting the ball away, the Cowboys retained it. And it wasn't long before they tied the game on Bryant's TD catch. But if Romo doesn't make that play, I don't know what happens.

FIVE THINGS I DON'T

1. That first Philip Rivers interception. What in the world was that? I'll tell you what: More of the same. Dating back to the beginning of last season, Rivers has 40 turnovers. Nobody has more. Nobody does less in the second half than the Bolts, either, with the club outscored 115-81 this season, including 35-0 against Denver.

2. Asante Samuel as a tackler. Watch him get stiff-armed by Chris Ivory, and tell me who you trust less to make the takedown -- Samuel or Nnamdi Asmougha.

3. Demetress Bell vs. Demarcus Ware. Maybe it's Demetress Bell vs. anybody. There's a reason the Bills let Bell walk, and you're seeing it. The guy's strictly backup material, but that's what happens when your offensive line has more holes than Broad St. I feel for any quarterback who has Bell covering his back. Nick Foles, be careful what you wish for.

4. Anything about Buffalo at Gillette Stadium. The Bills haven't won there ... period. Yeah, they came close, but how many times have we said that? Time to move Chan Gailey and GM Buddy Nix to the endangered list. The Bills are one of this season's biggest disappointments.

5. Tim Dobbins' second-quarter hammering of Jay Cutler. It wasn't just a hard hit; it was a dirty one, too. It appeared to have caused a concussion that sidelined Cutler the second half of the game. Expect Dobbins to hear from the league office this week.

FIVE GUYS WHO HAVE SOME 'SPLAINING TO DO

1. St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher and/or offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and/or St. Louis special teams coach John Fassel. The Rams lost a game they should've won because somebody -- take your pick -- wasn't doing his job. An 80-yard bomb to Danny Amendola on the opening play of OT was erased because of an illegal formation ... but only after the Rams had five minutes to think about what they were going to do. Then, a Greg Zuerlein game-winning field goal was taken of the board because of ... you gotta be kidding me ... delay of the game? Horrible.

2. Referee Al Riveron. He's the guy who allowed a 76-yard punt return by Trindon Holliday to stand as a touchdown when replays made it clear it wasn't. It was a touchback. Holliday lost the ball at the 1, with it rolling out of the end zone, so the call was clear: Carolina ball at the 20. Except Riveron blew it. He later said the play was "confirmed," only I want to know by whom? You missed it, Al.

3. Referee Clete Blakeman. He's the guy who somehow lost 1:12 in the second quarter of the San Francisco-St. Louis game while there was a first-down measurement. That's not supposed to happen ... but it did. Think one of those team could've used another 1:12? So do I.

4. Giants quarterback Eli Manning. For the third straight week he failed to throw a touchdown pass, and the stat sheet please. Over the last three games he has no TDs, four interceptions and a passer rating of 53.09. Yikes.

5. Chicago coach Lovie Smith. He had Jay Cutler finish the half, taking seven snaps, after he was clobbered by Dobbins. Cutler never reappeared, with the Bears saying he suffered a concussion. Huh? Then how ... or why ... was he allowed to take seven snaps? Guaranteed, there are people in league headquarters who will want to know.

JUST ASKING BUT ...

 Is this another second-half Giants' collapse?

 Why did it take New Orleans so long to wake up to Chris Ivory?

 Tony Gonzalez or Jimmy Graham?

 What happens first -- a sack of Peyton Manning or Jacksonville Super Bowl?

 Do the Saints make the playoffs?

NUMBERS TO REMEMBER

2 -- Jacoby Jones kickoff returns of 105 yards or more
2 -- Ties in Candlestick Park history
4 -- First-half Dallas penalties for offsides
5-0 -- Russell Wilson's record at home
7 -- Sacks of Cam Newton
9 -- Career games where Joe Flacco has at least three touchdown passes
11 -- Career 150-yard rushing games for Adrian Peterson
16 -- Yards, the Giants' longest pass play
16.7 -- Jay Cutler passer rating
101 -- Tony Gonzalez career TDs
207 -- Calvin Johnson receiving yards

MY TOP FIVE

1. Houston
2. Atlanta
3. Chicago
4. Green Bay
5. New England

MY BOTTOM FIVE

32. Kansas City
31. Jacksonville
30. Cleveland
29. N.Y. Jets
28. Oakland

NEXT WEEKEND'S THREE BEST GAMES

Baltimore at Pittsburgh ... AFC North supremacy at stake

Indianapolis at New England .... A reality check for Andrew Luck & Co.

Chicago at San Francisco ... NFC starts to sort out the heavyweights.

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