Two of the best young signal-callers in the league – the Raiders’ Derek Carr and Titans’ Marcus Mariota – both suffered a broken leg, and are done for the season.
For all the Raiders’ faithful, it’s a real blow to go deep into the playoffs as their defence is not very good, and it was Carr and the offence that was carrying the team. Yes, Matt McGloin has some starting experience, and they have a real good offensive line to run the ball more with Carr out for the playoffs.
It will be difficult for the Raiders to make much noise in the playoffs without Carr, but there is still another week of the regular season. Who knows who will get hurt this Sunday!
Mariota was having a real solid sophomore season and had the Titans in the playoff race, but those aspirations went down the drain when they lost to the Jags.
So, with a week to play, three teams – the Raiders (McGloin), Texans (Tom Savage) and Dolphins (Matt Moore) – will have back-up quarterbacks starting in the playoffs.
I hope other head coaches, like the Giants’ Ben McAdoo and Steelers’ Mike Tomlin amongst others, are listening. You are crazy to play guys like Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday with nothing on the line.
The theory, and it has some validity for sure, is you should play every game to win, and your starters play. However, The Freak’s theory is they aren’t winning a game in the playoffs if either of these quarterbacks get hurt Sunday.
Make the right decision Coach McAdoo!
Stat of the week
For the first time since 2003, the two Super Bowl teams from the previous season will not make the playoffs. There will be no Panthers or Broncos in the tournament.
Bonehead play of the week
Bills head coach Rex Ryan not recognizing that his defence only had 10 players on the field in overtime, which allowed Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi a 57-yard run to set up the game-winning field goal. Ryan gets fired Tuesday.
I don’t think the Giants will play all their starters for the whole game, and their back-ups won’t beat a hungry Redskins’ team that needs a home win to get in. Three teams from the NFC East make the playoffs – take Washington.
The Patriots need to win in Miami to clinch the first seed in the AFC. The Dolphins have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2005. Brady always has trouble in sunny Miami, but this time they have something much more important – they want the road to the Super Bowl to go through Foxboro. Pats win.
The Seahawks are struggling, and need a breakout game against a poor team like the 49ers before the tournament starts. Seattle finally erupts on the road.
Don’t mortgage the house picks
A great finale to end the regular season has the red-hot Packers at Detroit in a winner-take-all game for the NFC North crown. Aaron Rodgers has been on fire the last five weeks, and won’t allow the Packers to lose this game after predicting they would run the table. The Lions had a good run, but it ends Sunday.
If the Chiefs win and the Raiders lose, KC gets a first-round bye. That’s all the motivation they need. The Chiefs are playing sound football, and beat the Chargers.
Atlanta can get a bye with a win over the Saints, which may be Coach Sean Payton’s last game. The Falcons win at home in another shootout with New Orleans.
Jacksonville looked like they played with some heart and energy versus the Titans, and travels to Indy to end the season on a positive note for interim coach Doug Marrone.
The Colts have no defence, and there will be an Allen Robinson sighting. Take the Jags in an upset.
Last week: 4-for-7.
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.