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NFL Week 17 Thoughts – Inside The Wheelhouse

Rex RyanLet’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 17 in the National Football League!

– San Francisco gets the must needed win in Week 17 to clinch the #2 seed and a bye in the NFC playoffs. They needed the bye pretty badly because unlike the New Orleans Saints I am still not officially sold on how far the Niners can go in the playoffs led by Alex Smith. Stranger things have happened and less dominating quarterbacks have led their team farther in the playoffs but for me to be 100% sold on this team being “for real” they will have to win that mighty divisional matchup.

– St. Louis fires Steve Spagnuolo and no real surprise there. He is a great defensive coordinator and a ton of teams will be knocking on his door to lead their defenses. I see him heading back to the NFC East to be the Eagles defensive coordinator.

[adinserter block=”2″]- The disappointing season for the New York Jets has come to a close with a Week 17 loss to the Miami Dolphins that didn’t even give them a chance to make the playoffs. The Jets collapse needed to happen and I think this happening to them this year is the best thing for this team. They needed to be brought back to reality after two years of living on “cloud nine” and overachieving.

– I really like how the Dolphins finished this season and I would not be surprised if a big name coach debates on leading this team. They have a ton of things working for them and all they really need is a quarterback to lead the way. I wonder if the Dolphins would consider knocking on Matt Flynn’s door…

– Chicago finishes 8-8 and had a terrible stretch of bad breaks to finish the year with Jay Cutler, Matt Forte & Johnny Knox all getting hurt. Lovie Smith is like Andy Reid when it comes to a Head Coach you think will get fired in the off-season but will end up staying. This will be the case for Smith where a repeat performance and missed playoffs next season will help his exit from Chi-town.

– Where do the Vikings go from here? I believe only up. This is a team with a decent amount of talent on the field and it’s all depending on his Adrian Peterson gets back into form in the off-season. Don’t sleep on Minnesota as they are a team to watch out for next season.

– I know I’m beating a dead horse here but New England finishes the season strong but with a horribly weak schedule. They are the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs but have received a ton of breaks this season and haven’t been truly tested since about their loss to the Giants. Come playoff time that could really hurt the Patriots.

– Props to Chan Gailey for benching Stevie Johnson after Johnson once again looked like an idiot on the field of play. Johnson needs to keep his head on straight as he is a remarkable talent when thinking accordingly. Sad to see he has fallen into the path of a wide receiver who thinks he is bigger then the team.

– Drew Brees is the NFL MVP for this season. He played all 16 games for the Saints and came up big to end the season against tough divisional opponents. The Saints are a favorite to make it to the NFC Championship and even represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season.

– Props to the Panthers and eventual Rookie of the Year Cam Newton on having a great season. This is a team to watch for next season and a team that is making the NFC South very interesting. I’ll be looking forward to how they build this team come the NFL Draft.

– Ever since their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs the Green Bay Packers have received a ton of flack in that they may not be “the team” after all to be the favorite to win it all this season. They may have quieted some of those issues after they put their “B-Team” on the field in Week 17 and beat the playoff bound Detroit Lions. When you sit out Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings, James Starks and Charles Woodson you are basically conceding the game & that wasn’t the case in Week 17 as they looked very good at maybe 50%.

– Detroit enters the playoffs without any momentum and they go into the playoffs playing the New Orleans Saints who may be the best team in the NFC right now. Momentum is so key right now (just ask last year’s Green Bay Packers) and a win against the Packers in Green Bay would’ve been that surge that this team needed. This is going to be a great NFC team in the real near future but they need bumps in the road like this for them to realize what it’s like to be rock bottom, not sure if their playoff debut works out well for them.

– Philadelphia finishes the season with four straight wins and missing the NFL playoffs. Andy Reid’s job is safe and the off-season will be spent re-tooling the “dream team.” I think they have a great bounce back year next season.

– Washington is one of these teams that you just don’t know where they will go next season. They need a great draft and to start tooling this team for the future. If they don’t do that then the Redskins will continue to struggle under Dan Synder’s reign as owner.

– Congrats to the Indianapolis Colts on winning the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes! Oh and how does Jim Caldwell keep his job?

– Will the Jacksonville Jaguars look into drafting a quarterback in this year’s draft? I know they used a first-round pick on Blaine Gabbert but he didn’t have a single game over 250 yards. That is not a good statistic, just ask the Jets how they feel about a quarterback with stats like that…

– Tennessee made a great late season effort but failed to make the playoffs this season. Tennessee can only blame each other for that as they should’ve beaten the Colts a couple weeks ago and they wouldn’t have to worry about not making the playoffs this season. Despite the successful season it’s time for Jake Locker to get the keys to this franchise.

– The Houston Texans may be the most worst #3 seed going into the playoffs ever. This team is being highly disrespected and they rightfully should after finishing the year with three straight losses. I wonder if the playoffs will be a different beast for the Texans come playoff time.

– Atlanta looked pretty good in Week 17 and achieved that momentum the Lions failed to do. Many people believe this could be the wild card team to look out for and I have to agree. If all things click this team is really dangerous, they will have a very interesting battle against the Giants next Sunday.

– Farewell Raheem Morris. This Bucs team was just dreadful to end the year. Don’t know where they go from here.

– Baltimore heads into the AFC playoffs getting a pretty big victory over a playoff bound team in the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens have struggled as of late but needed a victory like this to help their momentum going into the playoffs where they will receive a first-round bye. Baltimore is a really good team and someone that can knock the Patriots off their pedestal.

– How about this for things I didn’t see coming: the Cincinnati Bengals are going to be in the playoffs. Congrats to this team, they had zero believers outside of their franchise and they earned the opportunity to play in January. Great season from this young team with a ton of potential, they could be an AFC North mainstay soon.

– Like Washington, St. Louis & Tampa Bay I have no idea where the Cleveland Browns go from here. I suppose re-signing Peyton Hillis will be their first priority? I wonder if they go for Robert Griffin III in the draft…

– Do you think it felt good for Kyle Orton to beat the Denver Broncos in Week 17? Sure they didn’t knock out the Broncos but I’m sure Orton was pretty happy with the victory. This Chiefs team will be back next season as a top AFC West team.

– Denver backs into the playoffs as an 8-8 team and the big achievement is they did it with Tim Tebow. The Broncos haven’t played as well the last couple of weeks and doesn’t look like the “magic” team the big networks were hoping they’d be. I’ll be interested to see how “Tebow Time” handles that “Steel Curtain” defense.

– San Diego finishes the season 8-8 but I still think Norv Turner loses his job at the end of the year. It looks like Jon Gruden could be the guy leading this team next season and if that’s the case he will be a great fit as a head coach for the Chargers. This team is very talented and would be a head coaching dream job.

– Oakland misses the playoffs again and finishes 8-8 for the 2nd straight season. I’m interested to see how this team looks next season with Carson Palmer at the helm for a full season. This team is so inconsistent that they can win just four games or possibly win 10 games. At least we know Hue Jackson will keep his job this season…I think.

– Arizona was one of my choices to have a comeback season and I even had them down as the NFC West Champion. At least I was right with one thing. Imagine how good this team would be if they had that franchise quarterback they thought they had with Kevin Kolb?

– Do you think the Seahawks will come knocking on Matt Flynn’s door during the off-season? Historically the Seahawks do enjoy Packers back-up QB’s so Flynn would be perfect there. Tarvaris Jackson is definitely not the guy for the Seahawks as you can tell by their record despite playing surprisingly well this season.

[adinserter block=”1″]- The Dallas Cowboys miss the playoffs for the 2nd straight season and the whirlwind of rumors regarding if Tony Romo is “the guy” for Dallas will be spreading the next couple of days. It wasn’t his fault they lost to the Giants in Week 17 as he did what he could with a bruised hand. I’m sure Dallas will enter this off-season looking to achieve their ultimate goal but I’m not sure if they can do it with Romo anymore.

– The New York Football Giants may have the most momentum of any other team entering the playoffs. This team looks to be very dangerous entering the playoffs as they are peaking at just the right time. Watch out for “Big Blue” in the playoffs, they can do exactly what they did in 2007 again.

Join Bower, “The Sweet Nasty” Chris Cause & myself every Sunday for more NFL & Fantasy Football talk over at!

Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday at

Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site.

You can follow “The Champ Jeff Peck” on Twitter at you can also follow Wheelhouse Radio on twitter at and you can e-mail them @

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