- In the game of the day, Minnesota edged Green Bay 37-34 to clinch the 6th seed in the NFC and a re-match with these same Packers next week. Adrian Peterson ran for 199 yards before falling just short of Eric Dickerson's record in favor of a game-winning Blair Walsh field goal, but the story of the game for me was the play of Christian Ponder. He generated 3 TDs through the air, and they need him to play effectively if they have a chance next week against #3 seeded Green Bay.
- With Minnesota's win, Chicago's 26-24 win over Detroit ended up not mattering as the Bears fell short (yet again) from the playoffs despite 10 wins. Lovie Smith, Mike Tice, and Jay Cutler... congrats!
- Houston fell by a 28-16 score to Indy, and subsequently fell out of the 1st-round byes and into a 3/6 match-up with a dangerous Cincy team. It's been a severe fall from grace for the Texans and for them to end up with 4 losses and a 3-seed is kind of a disaster. That said, they're still dangerous if they can get healthier on defense, but Cincy is a scary first-round opponent.
- In a match-up of rags and riches, Denver trounced KC by a 38-3 tally. The end result wasn't shocking (at all) but it did clinch the #1 seed for Denver and the #1 pick in the draft for KC. Winners all around.
- New England is the #2 seed in the AFC and they'll have a 1st-round bye after blanking the hapless Dolphins 28-0 yesterday. Rob Gronkowski is also back for New England, and that brings terror to opposing defenses.
- And finally, Washington glided into the playoffs with a 28-18 win over Dallas in the default NFC East title game. RG3 threw for just 100 yards, but Alfred Morris had 33 carries for 200 yards and 3 TDs, and Tony Romo threw the ball to the opposing jersey 3 different times to seal the fate of the Cowboys. Sorry, Nick.
To the firings...
- Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles is easily the biggest name to be on the way out in the NFL. He had been the league's longest-tenured coach at 14 years, and had a resume of playoff appearances, wins, and even a Super Bowl appearance. That said, he had lost control a bit in Philly and they were a disaster this year, but there's still talent there, and that's a high-profile gig.
- New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum got the ax on Monday as well. HC Rex Ryan kept his job, but Tannenbaum's work may be the biggest reason for the Jets failures lately anyway. The offensive talent is laughably bad (Shonn Greene is the "best" skill player) and the extension for Sanchez provded to be a disaster. Rex gets one more shot, but if he doesn't turn it around, he'll be gone too.
- Cleveland cleaned house, including a 1-year stint from head coach Pat Shurmur. I'm not sure I love canning a coach who didn't even underachieve in one year (his QB is Brandon Weeden!), but there were some bad moments. That's an interesting situation.
- There are wide-spread reports that San Diego will finally fire AJ Smith and Norv Turner. Only three years too late! There are jokes everywhere here, but when it's 80 degrees every day, it shouldn't be hard to find a high-profile coach.
- And finally, there is a report that KC will fire Romeo Crennel.... but keep Scott Pioli. This would be the biggest joke of them all, as there's an entire body of evidence to Pioli's incompetence and a full-scale fan uprising against this tenure. Did I mention they have no talent? And that he acquired Matt Cassel for a zillion dollars? Keep him!
EDIT: Chicago has reportedly canned Lovie Smith, and Chan Gailey is on the chopping block in Buffalo. Neither is overly surprising, but Smith has a winning record, and that's always a weird one.