FIWK the NFL: Wrap Up

So I wanted to thank Royce for the Rise Against song. I still haven't figured out the best way to thank him or return the favor, but I do know the first step is using this photo. In fact, when you go to Google Images and type in "antonio cromartie" the third suggestion is "antonio cromartie one handed interception" with plenty of awesomeness on display.

As I said earlier, because we have no idea how many teams are trying hard or for how long, I really don't like making picks for the last week of the season. So today I'm going to look through the divisions and give my insights as to what actually happened this year. Kind of like the Pro Bowl voting, I'm going to analyze the year when it's only 94% complete.

AFC East: The Patriots were kind of boring in how good they were. They lost in week 2 so there was never any undefeated talk. Tom Brady made a good value fantasy quarterback, just like Philip Rivers or Peyton Manning or anyone else you took in the third round. Even Matt Schaub finished OK for where he was drafted. The Jets made the playoffs and I can't think of any player leading the league in anything. My luckiest fantasy pick of the season may have been Shonn Greene in the first round. What's that you ask? But didn't Shonn Greene totally suck? Yes, but I also handcuffed him with LaDainian Tomlinson in the 9th round who kind of carried my team early in the season. You know, until he got old. Then Matt Forte and Ahmad Bradshaw took over. In fact, the fantasy football league I won had Shonn Greene, Drew Brees, Greg Jennings, Wes Welker, Matt Forte, Dwayne Bowe, Ahmad Bradshaw, Malcolm Floyd, LaDainian Tomlinson, draft in that order and then Darren McFadden in the 12th round. We play two WR and two RB. After four or five weeks I traded Welker and McFadden for Roddy White and dropped Dwayne Bowe somewhere along the way because I wasn't patient enough and probably needed a bye week QB or defense. I then started Brees, White, Jennings every week, rotated between LT, Bradshaw and Forte, depending on the matchup and got Jacob Tamme at TE because Zach Miller was sucking. My winnings were enough to pay for the other leagues that I didn't even make the playoffs.

As for the rest of the AFC East, the Bills lost and I guess the Dolphins playing so schizophrenically was kind of interesting. They are already 1-7 at home and have a chance to go 7-1 on the road.

AFC North: The Bengals didn't listen to me and now they are 4-11. They've thrown it 545 times and run it 397 times. With that team it's a recipe for disaster. And why did I pick the Steelers over the Bengals again? Just to be contrarian? That was stupid. Next time I pick the Steelers to miss the playoffs, I better have a damn good reason. Like Ben Roethlisberger has suspended for the year for hitting on or just hitting Roger Goodell. Willis McGahee vultured too many touchdowns from Ray Rice. I wonder where the white guy from the Browns who plays tough, has an injury history and fumbles a little too much will be ranked next year. I mean Colt McCoy may be a winner, but he just doesn't quite put up the numbers. And Peyton Hillis had a pretty good year too. I remember thinking at some point that the Bengals would be a better team without Terrell Owens and Ochocino...and we got proof when they eliminated the Chargers from playoff contention. For the first and possibly only time in my life, I wanted to see T.Ocho on the field together.

AFC South: Well the Colts didn't get the 1 seed. And they haven't even clinched a playoff spot yet. If the Colts lose and the Jaguars win, the Jags are win the AFC South and the Colts stay home. So you know both of these teams will be trying hard. Peyton Manning is leading the league in passing again, but only has a 12 yard lead over Drew Brees. We'll have to check back in next week. The Titans were fairly disappointing. I want to blame Vince Young for most of it, but he probably doesn't deserve that. Although If I'm Bud Adams, I keep Jeff Fisher and trade away Vince Young. Chris Johnson did not get 2000 total yards. But with 281 total yards on Sunday, he can get inside my prediction. Maurice Jones-Drew continued to be a top fantasy player and a UCLA alum to be proud of. Marcedes Lewis caught quite a few touchdowns. And the Texans were lots of fantasy fun. Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Matt Schuab, Owen Daniels (to a lesser extent). I honestly don't even know if they can get to 8-8 like the last few, they are 5-10.

AFC West: Chiefs 10-5, Chargers 8-7, Raiders 7-8, Broncos 4-10...le sigh.

NFC East: This was probably the most competitive division...if you think two losing teams are competitive. I don't. This was an average division overall. In fact, their total record right now is 30-30 and since they are all playing each other, it's going to finish at 32-32. The Eagles are getting the three seed no matter what and the Giants need a win and a Packers loss to make the playoffs. Michael Vick had the craziest fantasy season ever...going from undrafted to winning many, many leagues and potentially being the first overall pick next year. And he helped the Eagles win a few extra games. One of my more interesting preseason predictions that came true (just getting it right made it interesting in itself) was that DeSean Jackson had more yards, but fewer catches than Jeremy Maclin. I can't wait to take Tony Romo in the fourth round of one of my fantasy leagues next year...and then not make the playoffs.

NFC South: This was probably my best prediction of the year, even if it doesn't technically come out correct. The Falcons will probably win the NFC South and the Saints will get the wild card. If Drew Brees throws for 12 more yards than Peyton Manning on Sunday, he will lead the league in passing and Matt Ryan is currently 11th. I kind of switched the Bucs and the Panthers. The Bucs were the kind of respectable team while the Panthers have locked up the #1 pick. In fact, the Buccaneers can still make the playoffs with a win and losses by the Giants and Packers. So considering that three teams from the NFC South could make the playoffs, that makes this the best division in football. Even with the Panthers 2-13 record, they are still 34-26 as a whole. Drew Brees was great, Roddy White led the league in targets and catches and is 48 yards short of Brandon Lloyd. Michael Turner was good and dependable. As was the Carolina offense...well dependable in their ineptitude. And if not for Michael Vick, Josh Freeman would be leading the league in rushing yards by a quarterback. But as it is Vick leads Freeman 676 rushing yards to 353. And Vick did it in three fewer games.

NFC North: Aaron Rodgers looked good...other than those two concussions. Jay Cutler looked surprisingly good...well not so much good as surprisingly not sucky and interception prone. And maybe Lord Voldemort is gone for good. And Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense looked good...well Stafford looked good when he wasn't injured and the offense looked good no matter who was at quarterback. I'm sure Megatron had something to do with that. And Ndaokung Suh. He was so good he helped the offense. In spirit. Because the one chance he had to actually help them score, he missed. But the entertainment value made up for it with his teammates. The entertainment value and his general awesomeness on defense. Greg Jennings helped me win a fantasy championship. Even more than Matt Forte. Ryan Grant getting injured sucked. Mostly because his backups also sucked. Remember when I said that the key to winning fantasy football is finding that guy that went undrafted, but is playing out of hid mind? I can't find it, but I know I said it. Last year it was Jamaal Charles and Jerome Harrison. This year it was Michael Vick and Peyton Hillis. I guessed it was Brandon Jackson. Boy was I wrong. I think I spent half my Free Agent Acquisition Budget on him. As for real NFL thoughts, the Bears have a bye locked up and a chance at the 1 seed. The Packers win and they're in. Otherwise they need the Giants and Bucs to lose.

NFC West: I was cheering really hard to see the first 7-9 playoff team. But now they only way for that to happen is for the Seahawks to beat the Rams, and I don't want the Seahawks to make it. 7-9 doesn't mean great football, just that it's interesting to see something that has never happened before. Unlike in the NBA where losing teams make the playoffs every year. I don't think any teams or players in the NFC West have earned any more thought or discussion. And it's 5:18pm on the Thursday before New Year's Eve and everyone else left my office at least an hour ago. That's dedication folks. I'll talk about the NFC Champ next week when I pick them to lose against the spread to the Saints.


  1. The Chargers underwhelming performance (any my inquiry) led to a mailbag response by Aaron Schatz and the Football Outsiders.

    Best DVOA to Miss the Playoffs.

  2. Happy New Year!

    I'm very impressed you cranked out this long of an article. I didn't review a single line prior to the games, so I had no picks...anyone else have a pick?

  3. Well, I was afraid to make picks because of the reasons Aaron said about guessing who might try, but in my pick 'em league I did pick all the major favorites to win big (Pitt, NE, Atl) because I figured even a half-hearted effort by them would obliterate their awful opponents. And I was correct.