Early on in the season the winners and losers of the weekly slate of NFL games are pretty clear. As the season wears on that simple definition becomes more and more complicated. Each game holds meaning and value with regards to the immediate postseason, the upcoming off season, and the team’s future seasons.
Week 14s ultimate winner actually lost. The New York Football Giants won the NFC East but lost the game to the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a losing the battle/winning the war situation. The Eagles victory came as an important moral victory that, at the very least, will save some innocent fan or ref from injury.
I also really like the Indianapolis Colts win. Sure they were playing creampuff Cincinnati, but they put together an uplifting performance by the defense and by Peyton Manning. Manning is the key to the Colts playoff play. The Pittsburgh Steelers may have won the division, but they have been limping to victories with a defense that will eventually need the offensive line to block somebody. The Colts can build momentum and put together a nice playoff run in the uncertain AFC.
The Chicago Bears saved face with an underwhelming win against the Jaguars and won the right to tease diehard fans for another week before letting them down when it counts most. My guess is the final blow, or drive-killing interception will come in Week 17 against the Houston Texans.
Teams can lose by winning as well. The 49ers may want to prove that they are not a hopeless cause, but their win over the Jets only hurts their draft position. This team is not going to the playoffs and its current starting quarterback is throwing like a high schooler, with a loose spiral and a floating deep ball. This team could do more with more talent than with overachieving players who have a solid future in the Canadian Football League.
The biggest loser has to be the team that gave up that win, the Jets. The team is already battling for fans with the significantly better Giants in New York, and this loss cost them a few million fans confidence. It also opened the door for the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots to take the single playoff spot coming from the AFC East.
Dallas moved one game closer to disappointing before the first round with loss to the ailing Steelers. The Green Bay Packers failed to win against the Houston Texans and effectively ended any serious contention hopes. Analysts will not concede until it is a mathematical impossibility, but any fan can watch a game and tell that the odds are simply too great to overcome.