The Sports Whisperer took a slight step backward this season. In my pre-season article, I predicted 5 out of 8 division winners. The three teams I thought we would win their division and didn’t… The New York Giants…The Carolina Panthers… and The Denver Broncos. This is the first time since 2003 (Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) that two teams that played in the Super Bowl the previous year, will not make the playoffs the following season. My Super Bowl picks from week 1: The Packers vs the Steelers.
5 Things The Sports Whisperer learned about Week 16 in the NFL:
5) Buffalo makes a coaching change: When the Bills hired Rex Ryan I wrote that he will be fired within 3 years. I was wrong, he has been fired in two. This was a bad hire from day 1. Ryan would be a perfect coach in the 1970s when the NFL was about defense and running the ball. But, you are what record is and he is 61-66. He has missed the playoffs for 6 straight seasons. His brother Rob was fired as well. The problem with Rex is he would rather talk about it than be about it. His teams constantly make mental errors, have 12 men on the field and always take a dumb personal foul penalty. Against the Dolphins on Christmas Eve, Buffalo took the lead 31-28 with 1:20 seconds left to play. Ryan has built his whole coaching career on defense yet he couldn’t stop a backup quarterback, Matt Moore, from driving down the field and kick a field goal to send the game to overtime. The Bills lost 34-31. Ryan doesn’t deserve another chance to be a head coach. His inability to evolve and develop talented offensive players is straight out of his dad’s, Buddy Ryan’s, playbook. Ryan will probably be in the booth next season doing what he does best, talk trash. He is a failure as a coach. The Bills have missed the playoffs for 17 straight years.
4) Todd Bowles has lost the Jets locker room: The New York Jets are 4-11, they were trailing the New England Patriots 41-0 when Bowles decided to kick a 29 yard FG to cut the deficit to 41-3. What message was Bowles trying to send? We aren’t concerned about going for a TD we are just trying not to get embarrassed? Two years ago Geno Smith got his jaw broken by IK Enemkpali. Now there is infighting between Brandon Marshall and defensive players. You know where you don’t see fighting in the locker room. In places like New England or Pittsburgh. Organizations that have a culture of winning. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing himself out of the league. He was 8-21 with 2 interceptions and a QB rating of 21.2. In ten games, he has 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. I remember when New York fans were screaming at me that they must sign Fitz. I have had the same feeling on the former Harvard quarterback since he started last year. There is a reason he has been on six teams, he is just not that good.
3) Aaron Rodgers predicted it: Maybe we should call Rodgers the Sports Whisperer. GB beat the Vikings 38-25. Two years ago, he told the Packers fans to R-E-L-A-X, they went 11-2 after those words. This season he said, “I think we can run the table.” The Packers have gone 5-0, since then. Rodgers is leading the NFL in touchdown passes with 36 touchdown passes. He should win the MVP. Jordy Nelson leads the NFL with 14 touchdown receptions and should win the comeback player of the year. The Packers are rolling right now and I they will be a tough out for any team in the NFC. They play Sunday Night at Detroit and they should claim the division. This will be the 8th straight year that head coach Mike McCarthy has led them to the playoffs.
2) Young Guns go down: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr underwent surgery on Tuesday and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota will undergo surgery on Wednesday. It is going to be a long road ahead but the good news is both quarterbacks are young and getting stronger so rehab should be quicker than normal. You hate to see players go down to season ending injuries. The Raiders should be one and down in the playoffs without their gunslinger. The Titans had a good season they are 8-7 and should compete for the division for the next 7-10 years with Mariota as their starter.
1) No one wants to play the Steelers: Pittsburgh clinched the division on Sunday night by defeating the Baltimore Ravens 31-27. Antonio Brown scored a touchdown with .09 seconds left in the 4th quarter. When the Steelers are clicking on offense they are as good as any team in the league. They have won 6 straight games and one could argue that they have the best three players at each position. QB, Ben Roethlisberger, WR, Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell are a nightmare matchup for any defensive coordinator. I expect the Steelers to make a legitimate run to the AFC Championship.
Top 7 Power Rankings:
7) New York Giants
6) Seattle Seahawks
5) Kansas City Chiefs
4) Pittsburgh Steelers
3) Green Bay Packers
2) Dallas Cowboys
1) New England Patriots
Follow The Sports Whisperer on Twitter: Montetjwitter11