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Jan
03
2012

Rob’s Raw Recap – Week 17


This week: Matt Flynn’s Madden rating, Aaron Rodgers’ MVP trophy (?) and Norv Turner’s last hurrah.

Well, that’s a wrap. After an arduous lockout and a condensed offseason, this long anticipated 2011 NFL season is now in the record books.

Speaking of record books, they were flat out assaulted this season…especially in the passing game. Three guys topped the 5,000 yard mark and several other records were either broken or closely challenged. I won’t go through all of them because A) I don’t have the time or the desire to do the legwork required to post all that shit here and B) they’re too damn many to list. Besides…I know some of my readers are ADHD sons of bitches, so that’s why I use small words and short paragraphs.

So I’ll keep it short and sweet this week by simply getting you ready for the postseason/offseason. Here are the storylines to get geared up for:

The MVP race.

By sitting out Week 17, Aaron Rodgers may have unwittingly handed the MVP trophy to Drew Brees. Rodgers and Brees had similar numbers in 2011, and one could argue that Brees was the hotter player down the stretch. Plus (right or wrong), the performance of Packers backup Matt Flynn on Sunday make Rodgers look a lot less vital to Green Bay’s title hopes than we’d previously been led to believe. What looked like a lock to be Rodgers’ award just 6 weeks ago is now expected to be a photo finish. I say don’t be surprised if it’s a tie and a co-MVP situation.

The Green Bay Packers.

Win or lose, this team will generate a ton of interest for obvious reasons. If they win the Super Bowl for a second straight season, then talk of a dynasty takes the forefront. If they lose, it’s one of the greatest upsets of all-time…especially if they lose at home in the NFC playoffs.

The coaching carousel.

You could probably say this every year. But with names like Jeff Fisher and Bill Cowher still out there, and fired coaches Steve Spagnuolo and (presumably) Norv Turner sure to be on everyone’s coordinator wish-list, the balance of power could shift in more than one division as a result. Wouldn’t you think a “Spags-to-Philly” scenario and a strong 2012 draft could make the Eagles impersonation of the 2000 Redskins a blessing disguise? Or a Norv Turner return to Dallas as offensive coordinator would help get the Cowboys over the hump? Or Jeff Fisher taking the reigns in Indy would put the Colts back atop a putrid AFC South? I would.

Andrew Luck.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I still don’t think it’s a lock that Luck goes to Indy. The Colts have dozens of holes to fill and they’re in dire need of a rebuild. Taking Luck and stashing him behind Peyton Manning for 2-3 years is idiotic given how much that franchise needs just to be competitive in 2012. If Indy is smart, they’ll deal the pick for a Hershel Walker-esque haul and rebuild their team that way.

Furthermore, Luck may not want to play in Indy. Look at it from his perspective: no offensive line, no rushing attack, no defense, new front office, the pressure of replacing a legend. Not exactly ideal working conditions for a rookie QB. Especially when you could go to a situation like, say, Washington…where there’s a coach who got the most out of another great Stanford QB by the name of John Elway, a nice complement of young players who showed flashes on offense (Roy Helu, Evan Royster, Leonard Hankerson), and a pretty good, fairly young defense. Not to mention, it’s the closest NFL franchise to his home in West Virginia. If ever there’s a player with the leverage to call his own shot (and a team willing to mortgage its future to get what it wants), it’s this one.

Peyton Manning.

If the Colts decide to select Luck and Luck wants to play for Indy, then the question shifts to what the Colts do with Peyton Manning. As I stated, it’s a total waste to put Luck on the bench when he’s probably the most pro-ready prospect the league has seen in over a quarter century. But on the other hand, Manning is set to get a $28 million dollar bonus from the Colts when the new league year starts and Indy doesn’t seem inclined to cut that check, only to trade Manning elsewhere. Regardless of whether anything actually happens here, it’ll certainly be one of the most discussed topics of the 2012 offseason.

Tim Tebow.

Speaking of most discussed topics…if Tebow’s play reaches an all-time low against Pittsburgh (which would have to be epic awful, considering Denver is a mile above sea level), the talk of whether the Broncos pull the plug on the Tebow project will reach dizzying heights. In a perfect world, Denver would trade Tebow to the Jaguars for Blaine Gabbert and a conditional pick. You heard right. Now hear me out.

Football doesn’t matter in Jacksonville. They can’t sell out that stadium, and if people in Jaguars country don’t care about them, be damned if anyone outside of northern Florida will either. Whenever discussion of a team moving to L.A. is brought up, the Jaguars are usually tops on the list.

Enter Tebow. He’s a local hero because he’s from there and he played at Florida. If nothing else, he’s polarizing. He’ll fill the seats and generate buzz inside and outside of Jacksonville for the Jags. The days of using tarp to hide the thousands of empty seats in the stadium will be a thing of the past.

There’s no great QB to live up to. No pressure to play like a “real” QB. Hell, there’s not much reason to get bent out of shape over wins or losses. His mere presence would make that team matter. And thus, he has far more value to Jacksonville than to any other team in the NFL.

As for Denver, they get their traditional pocket passer to cultivate, and an extra draft pick to further build their team (maybe take another developmental QB for good measure). Everyone wins.

Which, of course, means it’s highly unlikely to ever happen.

But this is happening…our last regular season recap of the year. So savor it:

Lions 41
Packers 45

Matt Flynn’s 480 yard, 6 TD performance did a number of things:

1) Ensured he’ll be the most sought-after QB this offseason.

2) Made us stop and wonder, “Is Aaron Rodgers really as great as we think, or is he a really efficient ‘system QB’ like Kurt Warner?”

3) May have lost Rodgers the MVP.

4) Forced us to adjust his Madden rating to something north of an 85 overall.

5) Showed us his face…and thus made us realize he looks just like Matt Damon. I mean, dude is a dead ringer. If ever there’s a movie made about Flynn (and if Sunday’s performance is the first of many like it, there will be a movie), there’s only one choice for the part.

Niners 34
Rams 27

Injuries or not, St. Louis regressed badly in Year 3 of the Spags Era and his ouster was completely appropriate. If I’m Jeff Fisher, I like this job a lot.

Jets 17
Dolphins 19

Apparently, Jason Taylor telling us Sunday was his last game was as much an indication of his intentions as it was a reminder that he was still playing.

As for the Jets…talking is great when you’re backing it up. When you’re not, chaos ensues. So do as all a favor this offseason and follow these four simple words.

Bears 17
Vikings 13

Who gives a shit?

Bills 21
Patriots 49

I’m feeling really good about my AFC Super Bowl pick right about now. A #1 seed and 49 unanswered points will do that.

Panthers 17
Saints 45

The New Orleans offense set a slew of records this year and look really tough to beat. Green Bay better hope they don’t see the Saints in the divisional round…

Redskins 10
Eagles 34

Two very interesting Washington-related results here: a team with Rex “The Human Turnover” Grossman at QB will pick sixth (get it…pick six…) in the upcoming draft. And on the same day Robert Griffin III announced he’d be entering the 2012 NFL draft, the Skins lay a massive turd in Philly. Coincidence?

Colts 13
Jags 19

Now that we know a new regime will be making the 1st overall pick for Indy, it’s worth mentioning that it’s not a stone-cold, lead-pipe lock that Andrew Luck will be a Colt. It is, however, a lock that Indy holds the single most valuable draft choice in NFL history.

Titans 23
Texans 22

You gotta have stones to go for the two-point conversion and the win with 14 seconds left like Gary Kubiak did. Gall stones, that is…

Bucs 24
Falcons 45

Good for Tampa taking the high road with Raheem Morris. If I owned that team, he wouldn’t have coached the second half of this game.

Ravens 24
Bengals 16

Baltimore will get a much-needed bye, and some home cookin’ in the divisional round. They’ll need it…especially if Pittsburgh makes a return trip to Charm City.

Steelers 13
Browns 9

If anybody can deliver the death blow to Tebowmania, it’s the Steelers. Don’t let me down, Pittsburgh. Finish him.

Chiefs 7
Broncos 3

Whether you’re guilty of Tebow fellatio or you’re totally sick of his face, voice, and overall existence, we can all agree on one thing: #15′s play this week was totally unexpected. Tebowmaniacs are stunned he didn’t perform a miracle and, you know, score a late touchdown. And Tebow “haters” can’t believe he actually found a way to play worse than usual.

Chargers 38
Raiders 26

Hope you had fun, Norv. That’s your last game as a head coach.

Seahawks 20
Cardinals 23 (OT)

If Arizona is going to get gutsy performances like these in games that don’t matter, just imagine what they’ll put on the line for games with actual stakes involved. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…if Tim Tebow is going to get the “all he does is win” label stats-be-damned, then it’s time to do the same for John Skelton. Fair is fair.

Cowboys 14
Giants 31

We knew Dallas was overrated and Tony Romo shits the sheets late in games. These are a given. So now it’s time to give dap to Eli Manning for spending the 2011 season proving to us he’s clutch and actually worthy of his surname. Congrats New York. Enjoy your one-and-done postseason.

Rob Woodfork writes for TheFanManifesto. Follow us on twitter.

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