For once, I am so glad I am not in a decision-making position in the NFL (this will be the only time I say that - my desire to be commissioner will never die). I'm saying this because I certainly don't envy the folks who need to choose the NFL's Rookie of the Year.
The obvious early choice was Robert Griffin III. RG3 has actually lived up to the hype. Not only does he possess incredible athletic ability, but he can also really throw the ball. Helped out by another rookie on the team, running back Alfred Morris, RG3 has the Skins sitting pretty with a chance to win the highly competitive NFC East. Oh, and I should also mention, Washington has won six games in a row.
But what about Andrew Luck, rookie QB of the Colts? A team that won only 2 games last year (I just can't stress that enough), holds the third best record in the AFC at 10-5. Luck put his team on his back several times this year, helping them pull out last minute wins - and all this while the team's head coach Chuck Pagano is on indefinite leave for leukemia treatment.
Complicating matters now in the Rookie of the Year race is the play of Russell Wilson and his Seahawks. Wilson is a smart cookie - in college, he transferred from NC State to Wisconsin in 2011, learned the complicated Wisconsin offense in about two months and went on to win the Big Ten Championship Game. Wilson is probably playing his best football right now - he's smart and athletic and after week 13, he held the highest home passer rating among all NFL quarterbacks at 122.0.
Griffin, Luck or Wilson? All three are headed to the post season. Perhaps the battle for rookie supremacy will have to wait to be decided then.
Also this weekend:
- This isn't the BCS and you don't get bonus points for margin of victory.
Well, in reality, Seattle isn't running up the score on anyone, but they've been blitzing people so bad that Pete Carroll must feel like he's back at USC. In fact, Seattle has scored 150 points in their last three games (to their opponents' 30). Their latest victim was fellow division foe San Francisco, who they easily disposed of in the Sunday night prime time game. The Seahawks still have a chance to win the division over the 49ers, although it seems unlikely the the 49ers would lose to the Cardinals, but stranger things have happened.
- One(s) for the record books.
With the help of a 225-yard performance, Detroit's Calvin Johnson surpassed Jerry Rice's single-season yards receiving mark of 1,848. Johnson has been racking up yards galore this year - he had 100 yards receiving in eight straight games - for a total of 1,892. He could reach the 2,000 yard mark with an "average" game next week. Andrew Luck also set a new rookie record for yards passing. Luck has 4,183 yards on the year, surpassing Cam Newton's mark of 4,051 yards set just last year.
- Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
I'm out of my fantasy football playoffs. Sad face. I did have the match ups mixed up last week, as I went head-to-head with Kim Collette, fellow TL cohort and fantasy football expert extraordinaire. While I had a really great week, Kim had a better week, as I'm pretty sure she got max points for just about every player on her roster. Sigh. There's not a lot you can do when you play someone who is having a fantasy week like that. In the other match up, my husband, Justin, rolled to victory over Kim's fiance, Ron. So while there will be a Hershberger in the championship game, I wanted it to be me! I've never won a fantasy football pool, although I've always come close. Now I know how Marty Schottenheimer must have felt all those years.
As the final weekend comes into view, the playoff picture (for the most part) is getting clearer. In the AFC, all the playoff spots have been decided, although home field advantage is still in question. Houston must win in order to clinch it - simple as that - but if they lose at Indianapolis and Denver beats Kansas City, then Denver will jump to the top of the heap and position itself for home field throughout the AFC playoffs.
Things are a bit more complicated in the NFC. Atlanta has clinched home field throughout, but the other bye, the NFC East and two wild cards are still up for grabs. Green Bay can clinch the first round bye with a win over Minnesota. San Francisco can clinch the first round bye with a win over Arizona AND a loss by Green Bay. Minnesota needs to win to get in, making the Green Bay-Minnesota game extremely interesting. The NFC East will be decided when Dallas visits Washington - the winner wins the division. Chicago can get in the playoffs with a win and a Minnesota loss, and while the NY Giants are still alive, they need a miracle to get in - and while it is Christmas and the season of miracles, I just don't see the Giants getting the opportunity to defend their title. So, did you get all that? There will be a quiz later!
Until next week, friends, enjoy the final weekend of the regular season!