Reggie Bush and the Saints finished the season with an 11-5 record, but they will be traveling to 7-9 Seattle Seahawks, who the Saints blew out earlier this year. The fact that the Seahawks can finish the season at 7-9 and host the a team who routed them just goes to show how awesome Pete Carroll is. Photo by Jeff Lewis
By Jason LewisSports Editor
Pete Carroll is my hero! There is nobody on any level of football that is more awesome than Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. Talk about a guy landing on his feet.After an average NFL head coaching career in the 1990s, Carroll lands at USC with his rah rah attitude and turns them into a national power. Any issue that came up was just swept under the rug because the team was winning national titles. Well, right when an issue comes up that wouldn’t go away, he bolts for the NFL, where he’s making over $6 million a year. As USC is ineligible for posteason play, there is Carroll in the NFL’s playoffs, with a 7- 9 record. Scoreboard Pete. So what if the Seahawks are the first team in NFL history to win their division with a losing record. Carroll showed that winning within the division is more important than winning outside the division. The Seahawks finished the season tied with the St. Louis Rams, but the Seahawks had a 4-2 division record while the Rams had a 3-3 record. Raiders miss the playoffs while going undefeated in the AFC West Scratch that last statement about it being more important to win within the division than outside of the division. The Oakland Raiders became the first team in the history of the NFL to go undefeated within their division and not make the playoffs. They swept the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs, second place San Diego Chargers, and last place Denver Broncos. The Raiders beat the teams that they needed to beat. But 6-0 in the division does not mean much when the team goes 2-8 outside of it. Raider fans are looking on the bright side. The team snapped their seven consecutive 11-loss season streak, which was the most in NFL history. 8-8 is pretty crappy for most teams, but Raider fans are wearing that hat proudly. Even with a three game improvement over last season, head coach Tom Cable may not be retained for next year. Looks like owner Al Davis is not happy with 8-8. The playoffs
This season there are no clear-cut favorites like last year, when the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints were on a collision course for the Super Bowl. But if there is one team that appears to be ahead of the pack, that would be the New England Patriots. Sitting at 14-2, the Patriots routed a number of playoff teams in the second half of the season, including the New York Jets and Chicago Bears. The Patriots also have second half victories over the Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Green Bay Packers, all playoff teams. Quarterback Tom Brady, who will most likely be named league MVP, gets all the press, but this team wins because they do not turn the ball over while forcing their opponents to do so. The Patriots are a +27 in turnover ratio. The next closes team is the Steelers at +14.
This weekend in the NFC look for the Saints to travel to Seattle and run the Seahawks out of the playoffs. It’s weird to see the Seahawks in the playoffs with a 7-9 record while the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sitting at home with 10-6 records. A lot of people like the Packers over the Philadelphia Eagles because they beat them early in the season. But that was quarterback Michael Vick’s first real action in a few years, and it looked like if he had started that game the Eagles would have won. One bit of concern for the Eagles is that after Vick’s hot start, he has struggled here and there over the last six games. Outside of a great comeback against the Giants a few weeks ago, Vick has struggled, and he pretty much handed the MVP award over to Brady by playing poorly at home against the Minnesota Vikings. A win over a bad Vikings team would have put the Eagles in a position to get a first round bye. But Vick threw two interceptions and fumbled twice in the loss. In the AFC the Jets will travel to Indianapolis, where they lost last year in the AFC Championship Game, but this year the Jets are better than the injury riddled Colts.
The longer Jets head coach Rex Ryan is in the playoffs the better, because the guy is pure comedy. The Baltimore Ravens are heading to Kansas City, but the Ravens are clearly better than the Chiefs. Mike Singletary might be too emotional for the NFL Recently fired San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary defines what football is. It has toughness, grit, passion, it’s all man. But all those things might not be good in a head coach. A head coach has to be able to game plan and he has to be able to manage the egos of multimillion dollar athletes. Singletary fell short in both of those categories. Singletary is a defensive guy, but the 49ers defense was not all that good, and he got in numerous sideline shouting matches, most notably with quarterbacks Alex Smith and Troy Smith. Singletary may be more suited to be a college head coach, where yelling at players and showing emotions works better. It worked for Carroll at USC.
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