Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday FourCast: Week 16

A lot of talk in recent weeks in the FourCast has focused on one key principle: constants.

Whether it be the demise of the Dolphins, the unblemished everything of the Patriots, the resurgence of the Browns (anybody else realize Braylon Edwards has 15 TDs this season?), the unfathomable December the ‘Skins have had, or the unpredictability of the NFL as a whole (anybody else peg Green Bay as 35-7 losers this weekend?).

All we do know now is that five spots in each of the conferences are locked up. In fact, we know the top 5 seeds, in order, in the NFC. Ditto for the two byes in each conference. All that awaits us is who will be visiting Seattle next weekend (Washington is in the driver’s seat with Minnesota and New Orleans hoping for a slip-up next week with Dallas in-town) AND whether the Titans or Browns will be visiting San Diego or Pittsburgh.

The only thing more coveted this holiday season than a Wii,
may be the 6th playoff spot in each
Credit: Nintendo.com

1. Backing into the Playoffs
All of next week will be about one key question: “How much will you play your starters in Week 17?” This question will be asked primarily to the following:

A] New England & NY Giants [15-0 vs. an inconsistent Eli and banged up Plexico]
B] Indianapolis & Dallas [Playing two teams sitting in the 6-seed.]
C] Pittsburgh & San Diego [How important is the 3-seed in the AFC?]

Of course, the main question on my mind has to be, “When will media pundits realize that certain teams need to rest players (i.e. Plaxico Burress), while others need players to keep improving (i.e. Philip Rivers) and others just need all the time they can get (i.e. Terry Glenn)?” There’s never a clear-cut answer to any question in sports, specifically any relating to Week 17.

2. A-Pete is UP, A-Pete is DOWN
Anybody else notice how sure-thing Rookie of the Year RB Adrian Peterson, especially following his injury, seems to either go for 27 yards or 277 on Sundays? While the carries are split with Chester Taylor, it still goes to show that even with a dominant line and a ton of talent, what can really put you into a box is the fact that your opponent’s have zero respect for your QB, wideouts and “passing game”. Memo to the Vikings: snap up as good a tight end, with speed over size to give whomever your QB may be a reliable target over the middle (see Jason Witten’s impact on Tony Romo). In case you’re worried, you can tab plenty of talent at the position in either in the first 2 rounds of the draft (i.e. Chris Cooley) or via free agency (Desmond Clark).

3. MVP…for Moss???
While the award seems signed, sealed, and delivered to Tom Brady, I wonder how the voting for #2 will go down? Randy Moss? Tony Romo? Brett Favre? Peyton Manning? While Brady may see 50 TDs before the end of the 1st half in the Meadowlands, don’t be surprised if Moss has an equally impressive 23 touchdown receptions. But before you go too gaga (and you should), remember the record he’s breaking: Jerry Rice’s 22-TD season in 1987. What’s the big deal about that record from the former Dancing with the Stars runner-up? Well, besides the eye-dropping number itself back in 1987, realize that the “San Francisco Treat” did it in 12 games. Yep, 12 games.

4. Resurrection
How ironic is it that the two most dangerous teams entering the playoffs could involve the last two noteworthy Redskins coaches? We, of course, know all about the return of Joe Gibbs and the return of the ‘Skins under Todd Collins of all QBs. After their highly impressive win in Minnesota, the ‘Skins face a road they may just be able to travel. Winning at Seattle, at Dallas, and at Green Bay isn’t illogical. That is, especially, if they can overcome turnovers,. Not to mention, if TO isn’t 100% and Green Bay isn’t submerged in ice in late-January. Nevertheless, do not doubt for one second that Dallas will be playing harder than normal to avoid being aligned in such a fate. As for the other Redskins coach in question, I wouldn’t be exactly thrilled playing a team with LT, Antonio Gates, Shawne Merriman and second-year phenom CB Antonio Cromartie. Of course, they do have the mixed bag who is that Philip Rivers guy.

The entire staff at PHSports.com would like to wish all of our loyal readers and visitors a Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season!

Picks will return this Friday...alongside Week 17 fantasy-analysis.

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