Just one week of games is left in the 2010-2011 NFL regular season, and three playoff spots are still left unfilled. Still in play for those remaining spots are the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks. While the resolution of the remaining playoff scenarios is sure to steal next week’s headlines, let’s take a look at some of the stories that grabbed attention this week.
For the fourth time this season, a NFL head coach has been fired before completing the job. Joining Brad Childress, Wade Phillips and Josh McDaniels is San Francisco’s Mike Singletary, who was relieved of his duties when the 49ers were officially eliminated from playoff contention after a 25-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
It’s been a tumultuous year for the 9ers, who came into the season favored to win the NFC West and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Back in September, they fired offensive coordinate Jimmy Raye. In early December, secondary coach Johnnie Lynn resigned for personal reasons. Several players have left the team at different points in the season, including running back Glen Coffee who abruptly retired in August. To top it off, Singletary had one of the most unnecessary quarterback controversies in the NFL after replacing Troy Smith with Alex Smith after he had won three of five starts. That decision came to a head on Sunday, when Smith and Singletary were engaged in a sideline argument that apparently signaled the end of the Singletary Era in San Francisco.
NFL Announces Pro Bowl Rosters
The NFL officially announced the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters for the 2011 Pro Bowl, which will return to Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 30th. The Atlanta Falcons led the NFL with 7 selections, including Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Michael Turner. Tom Brady was a noteworthy pick from the Patriots, who had 6 players of their own make the AFC squad. The Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys each had 5 players selected.
Four rookies were selected to the big game, including Ndamukong Suh, Devin McCourty, Marc Mariani and Maurkice Pouncey. Far from a rookie is Ray Lewis, who was chosen to make his 12th trip. Making plenty of headlines lately is Michael Vick, who was selected to start for the NFC team. Other notable Pro Bowl names were Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Wayne, Drew Brees, Devin Hester, Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, and DeSean Jackson. The Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Bucs were the teams left without Pro Bowl representation. You can take a look at the full Pro Bowl rosters here.
This week, the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos won their games, meaning the Carolina Panthers clinched the top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. With the franchise in need of a game-changing quarterback, it seemed like a marriage between the Panthers and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was inevitable in April. However, according to a report by SI’s Peter King, Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t believe Luck will be making the jump. Of course, things could (and probably will) change before the Draft. Look for the NFL’s pending labor issues to have a big impact on whether or not Luck leaves Stanford.
Week 16 Scores:
Carolina Panthers – 3, Pittsburgh Steelers – 27
Dallas Cowboys – 26, Arizona Cardinals – 27
New England Patriots – 34, Buffalo Bills – 3
New York Jets – 34, Chicago Bears – 38
Baltimore Ravens – 20, Cleveland Browns – 10
Washington Redskins – 20, Jacksonville Jaguars – 17
Tennessee Titans – 14, Kansas City Chiefs – 34
Detroit Lions – 34, Miami Dolphins – 27
San Francisco 49ers – 17, St. Louis Rams – 25
San Diego Chargers – 20, Cincinnati Bengals – 34
Houston Texans – 23, Denver Broncos – 24
Indianapolis Colts – 31, Oakland Raiders – 26
New York Giants – 17, Green Bay Packers – 45
Seattle Seahawks – 15, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 38
New Orleans Saints – 17, Atlanta Falcons – 14
Minnesota Vikings – 24, Philadelphia Eagles – 14
NFL Power Rankings Top 10
1. New England Patriots – MVP.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben is tough. Mike Wallace is fast. Mike Tomlin is cool.
4. Baltimore Ravens – Somebody finally made Peyton Hillis look like the short yardage fullback he was supposed to be when Denver traded him. Where’s Boldin?
4. Atlanta Falcons – I’ve been reluctant to put them over New Orleans all season long. Then I finally do it, and that happens.
5. New Orleans Saints – Big win, but that just evens things up on the year. And the Falcons have Carolina next week, so…
6. Chicago Bears – Kicking to Hester = running with scissors.
7. Philadelphia Eagles – Who was that humanoid in the Vick jersey?
8. Kansas City Chiefs – If it weren’t for that mess going on with the NFC West, the Chiefs would be the least respected division champ by a longshot.
9. New York Jets – Rex was genuinely relieved in that press conference.
10. Indianapolis Colts – Scary thing is that Peyton can beat anybody in the NFL on a good day. What a first round draw the Colts would be.
images via Yahoo