September 21, 2014

Weekend Of Upsets

We all love a good upset (unless it comes against the Bengals). And this weekend had plenty of them to enjoy. The playoff landscape made some big shifts in a span of 12 hours on Sunday, opening the window of possibility for the Bengals to play at least a 17th game this season.

Tennessee 13. Indianapolis 27. – Which is worse, losing to T.J. Yates or to Dan Orlovsky? That’s an easy one. In one fell swoop, the Titans simultaneously rescued the Colts from going winless in 2011 while ramming their playoff hopes into an iceberg. Thanks for the Christmas gift, Indy.

New York Jets 19. Philadelphia 45. – The surging Eagles delivered another big gift to the Bengals by beating down the Jets. They also gave their NFC East rivals, the Giants, a blueprint for repeating the job against the Jets next week. I’ll be cheering hard for Eli, since a Giants win will put the Bengals back in control of the #6 seed.

Detroit 28. Oakland 27. – OK, this isn’t really an upset, but it warrants a mention since it helps clear a playoff hopeful from the field. Too bad that Oakland’s pick in 2013 that they traded for CP is nearly guaranteed to be a second round pick now instead of another first, though.

Green Bay 14. Kansas City 19. – Mercury Morris is a happy man today. NFL fans will continue to be subjected to him for at least another year. But I appreciate what Aaron Rodgers has done this year, if for no other reason than he has gotten Phil Simms to stop wearing his Tom Brady pajamas in the broadcast booth.

Baltimore 14. San Diego 34. – This upset shifts the playoff picture for the Bengals the least, but it is the biggest upset of the weekend in my book.

First, I’m glad that the Ravens play the Browns this week. Let them work out all of that vengeance for the loss on Colt McCoy instead of Andy Dalton, because they will make the Browns pay dearly for their poor play in San Diego. It will make for a good, even battle when they tangle with the Bengals.

More importantly, this loss illustrates that the Ravens are not a very good road team. They have only 3 road wins, squeaking out a 3-point win in Pittsburgh and beating two pretty bad teams: the Rams and the Browns. All 4 of their losses have come on the road. They lost by 13 at Tennessee, by 5 at Jacksonville, by 5 at Seattle, and now by 20 at San Diego.

So don’t dismiss the last game of the season as a likely loss just yet, even if the Ravens obliterate the Browns on Saturday. It will take a solid game by the defense and a disciplined game by the O-line (which is not happening lately), but the Bengals will have a shot to take that game and, with help from the Giants or Dolphins, make the playoffs.