Happy Holidays

Fine Fifteen

1. Seattle (12-3). It’s only one game, against a variable Cardinals defensive front that changed things up on Russell Wilson consistently. I wouldn’t be too worried. But the Rams come to town Sunday. Home-field in the NFC is on the line. When the Rams and Seahawks met in St. Louis in October, Seattle struggled to win—and to score 14 points. Somebody better block Robert Quinn.

2. San Francisco (10-4). Smart play by the Niners this year, resting stalwart defensive end Justin Smith regularly. In the first 14 games, he’s sat 9, 15, 15, 24, 15, 9, 25, 26, 13, 11, 18, 29, 10 and 18 snaps. January insurance.

3. Denver (12-3). A win at Oakland Sunday and the Broncos would have a duplicate of 2012: a 13-3 record, top seed in the AFC, and a playoff game at home in the divisional round … and it still is mathematically possible that the game could be against Baltimore. But the Von Miller loss is a dagger.

4. Carolina (11-4). Great win. A franchise-changing win. And may I say that the three most important players in the NFC South championship game (barring a major upset of the Panthers Sunday by Atlanta) have something significant in common? Linebacker Thomas Davis, linebacker Luke Kuechly and quarterback Cam Newton were all first-round draft picks by fired former GM Marty Hurney, who apparently did something right in his tenure.

5. New England (11-4). As stunning as 15- and 19-point playoff victories by Baltimore in Foxboro were in the last four years, that’s how stunning a 34-point New England win in the Inner Harbor was Sunday.

6. New Orleans (10-5). I wouldn’t throw the season in the dumpster just yet, Saints Nation, but barring a stunning upset by the Falcons Sunday over the Panthers with a Saints win over the Bucs, New Orleans will have to win four games away from the Superdome to win the Super Bowl this year. Points scored in the last three road games: 7, 16, 13.

7. Arizona (10-5). The Cards are in tiebreaker hell because of 12- and 24-point losses to the Niners and Saints earlier this year, and a 6-5 conference record. But they can take solace in winning the 2013 Teams Are Petrified To Meet Them In The Playoffs Award.

8. Cincinnati (10-5). The Bengals have had 49-, 41-, 42- and 42-point explosions in the last two months. This is a very interesting playoff team right now, and the first time in franchise history that Cincy has made the playoffs three years in a row.

Talk Back

Have a question or comment for Peter? Email him at talkback@themmqb.com and it might be included in Tuesday’s mailbag.

9. Indianapolis (10-5). The season’s long. Week 3: Colts travel to San Francisco and crush the Niners 27-7. Got crushed a few too many times since. But this is two straight weeks that the defense showed up and looked like it did that day by the Bay. There may be some January hope for this team.

10. Kansas City (11-4). The potential return match in Indianapolis in the Wild-Card round in 12 or 13 days looks a lot worse than it did 24 hours ago.

11. Philadelphia (9-6). Just when you think you’ve got the league figured out, a week after giving up 48 point to the Minnesota Vikings the Eagles go and beat the Bears by 43.

12. San Diego (8-7). Road wins over Kansas City and Denver in the last month, and the feeling that you do not want to face Philip Rivers (69.7 percent passing, 29-10 touchdown-to-interception differential) in January.

13. Pittsburgh (7-8). Seven weeks ago the Steelers were 2-6. Just a friendly reminder that the season’s 17 weeks long.

14. Miami (8-7). This is not the morning, Dolfans, to remind me that you won at Pittsburgh two weeks ago. Not after that goose-egg-laying to the Bills.

15. Chicago (8-7). I’m open about who to put at No. 15. Ideas?

The Award Section

Bruce Arians (top left) led the Cardinals to an upset over the Seahawks, while Peyton Manning (top right) and Luke Kuechly (bottom left) had huge statistical days—including Peyton's record-setting 51st touchdown pass of the season. Meanwhile, Sloppy play by the Packers late helped the Steelers cling to victory. (Stephen Brashear/AP :: David J. Phillip/AP :: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images :: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Bruce Arians (top left) led the Cardinals to an upset over the Seahawks, while Peyton Manning (top right) and Luke Kuechly (bottom left) had huge statistical days—including Peyton’s record-setting 51st touchdown pass of the season. Meanwhile, sloppy play by the Packers late helped the Steelers cling to victory. (Stephen Brashear/AP :: David J. Phillip/AP :: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images :: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Offensive Players of the Week

Peyton Manning, quarterback, Denver. Manning pooh-poohed the touchdown passes record on the phone afterward, saying it would be broken as early as next season. Could well be. But two years after missing the season and not being able to throw the ball much at all because of four neck procedures, Manning became the first player in NFL history to exceed 50 touchdown passes and 5,000 passing yards in a season. And the Broncos moved within a win at Oakland Sunday of clinching home-field in the AFC.

Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina. In the first 59 minutes of the NFC South title game at Charlotte, Newton was totally unimpactful as the Saints ground out a 13-10 lead. Then he drove the Panthers 65 yards, completing three of five passes, including the final 14-yarder to Domenik Hixon for the winning touchdown in a 17-13 victory. This was the biggest drive of Newton’s three-year career, and if he’d failed, the criticism would been weighty. But coming through in the final minute of huge games is what franchise quarterbacks do, and give Newton credit: He came through in the biggest moment of his career.

Defensive Player of the Week

Luke Kuechly, linebacker, Carolina. Never on any level of football—in nine years of high school, college or pro—has Kuechly had the kind of day he had in the biggest game of his pro career Sunday: 24 tackles and an interception in the 17-13 victory over the Saints. He had help from Thomas Davis, his partner at linebacker, and some excellent pass rushing too. But Kuechly was the big star of a threatening defense in the game in which that unit arrived.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Brad Nortman, punter, Carolina. Into the teeth of a torrential downpour in the third quarter of the NFC South championship game, Nortman, Carolina’s sixth-round pick last season, nailed a beauty downed at the Saints’ 2-yard line. On the next stalled series, Nortman booted one 57 yards to the Saints’ 3. For the game, he punted eight times for a 50.8-yard average … with a 47.0-yard net. On a day like that, Nortman was a huge player for the Panthers.

Coach of the Week

Bruce Arians, head coach, Arizona. (See above.) The Cardinals are 10-5 playing in the toughest division in football, and just handed the best team in football its first home loss in two years. This pick’s easy.

Danny Smith, special teams coach, Pittsburgh. Made the call of the day, with the game on the line in the third quarter at Green Bay, and the Steelers punting from their 44, trailing 14-10. Out of the punt formation, Smith had punter Mat McBriar roll right with the snap and throw a perfect ball, a 30-yard pass to fourth-string tight end David Paulson for a first down. A gutsy call, and a great throw. Who knew McBrian had it in him? On the next play, Ben Roethlisberger ran for a 13-yard touchdown, and the Steelers went on to win 38-31. Cool story for Smith, a Pittsburgh native and Edinboro (Pa.) State grad who is in his rookie year coaching the kicking game for Pittsburgh.

Ron Rivera, head coach, Carolina. With the Panthers 1-3 and Rivera’s job certainly in jeopardy, Rivera fretted how irrelevant the franchise had become. Even after they won a couple of games, he was bugged by how much the Panthers didn’t matter. Well, they do now. Carolina’s won 10 of 11 since the 1-3 start, and the Panthers clinched a playoff spot Sunday and will win the NFC South with a win at Atlanta or a Saints loss to the Bucs. Amazing stuff.

Goat of the Week

Nick Perry, linebacker; Don Barclay, tackle, Green Bay Packers. With the Steelers lined up at 31-all to kick a go-ahead field goal with 90 seconds left, Perry got called for encroachment. This gave the Steelers a first down and allowed them to score a touchdown instead, forcing the Packers burn their final timeout along the way. Then, after a 70-yard Micah Hyde kickoff return, the Packers drove to the Steelers’ 1-yard line and were in position to tie the game in the final seconds. But on second down, Barclay committed a false start with 22 seconds left, causing a 10-second runoff, and Green Bay was able to run only one frenetic play down the stretch instead of a possible three. The Packers lost this one as much as Pittsburgh won it.

David Robinson, state climatologist, New Jersey. On the CBS Sports Network’s That Other Pregame Show, Robinson gave one of the dumbest weather predictions in meteorological history. He said there is about a 10 percent chance of snow during the Feb. 2 Super Bowl in New Jersey. “We’ve never had a big snowstorm on February 2, looking back at 80 years of records, over in Newark,” Robinson said. “But just two days after that, back in 1961, there was 15 inches of snow on the fourth of February.” A nonsensical point, David. Feb. 2 does not have some magical, mystical significance, and because it didn’t blizzard for a long time, that has no bearing on whether it will snow or rain or sleet or be 58 and perfect on the day of the Super Bowl.

PREV 1 2 3 4 5NEXT VIEW AS A SINGLE PAGE
401 comments
racy0057
racy0057

I just finished reading MMQB, because it is my favorite football9actually sports)article and I have been a fan of Peter King for a long time.  I don't always agree with him, but I don't think he would much care if I did or not.  King states his opinions in his weekly writings and has earned the respect of athletes, etc., to be granted interviews and to take some of thier valuable time.  


So, after reading the article, I read a few comments, which is also my routine and came to the conclusion, very belatedly, I might add, that there are too many people, mainly in our country, who need to get on with real life. Sports, namely the NFL, as it is what Mr. King covers the most, is designed to provide entertainment to us.  I am a big football fan and have been for about 40 years.  


I tend to marvel at the athletic ability of so many of the players and their ability to dedicate themselves to their profession and craft. I think that is what seperates the good players from the great, in most instances.  I don't minimize achievements, because players don't wear the jersey of my favorite teams, or curse at Peter King for making his own observations and potentially not mentioning my own favorite teams, or players.  First, it would be virtually impossible for this man to cover every team or player, at the level that would make every fan happy.  I guess that maybe there are so many more important issues, in everyday life, to expend that much energy on not liking someone, due to not agreeing with everything he writes, or states.  


So, when some of you dedicate so much of your time doing just that, maybe you need some self-reflection on why our country faces some of the issues it does and just how spoiled we can be, to make a sports article cause such deep seeded emotions, generally anger and often to the point of hatred.


Alright, I am being hypocritical by spending too much time on the issue myself.  I need to go help my elderly mother with some maintenance at her home, as my father passed away on December 28th, of last year.  I will, however, likely forget all about this article and think about Peter King next week sometime.

Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones

Wow...talk about overblown. Ever since his 24 tackle game writers have reacted as if it was unheard of to have that many tackles. Via MMQB “Luke Kuechly, with 24 tackles,” said Newton. “That’s unheard of.”


Unheard of...? Kiko Alonso had 22 vs. Cincy earlier in the year. http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/gamelog/_/id/15819/kiko-alonso so let's all settle down with the MVP talk.


Matter of fact I'm not even going to bore you with stat after stat. Kiko is almost identical to Luke in every category. http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14938/luke-kuechly


Another quote from MMQB What’s better than a 24-tackle game? Kuechly said he’d never had 24 tackles before. I wonder: Who has? 


Let's try some research before writing articles.

KidHorn
KidHorn

What do Jim Brown, OJ Simpson, Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorset, Walter Payton, Adrian Peterson, Emmitt Smith, and pretty much every running back in the HOF have in common?

They were drafted in the 1st round.

Fred24
Fred24

Meantime, Perloff the trash collector is trying to get attention with his 'Always Drama in Dallas' garbage, as if an injury is drama. What a garbage collector.

MortimerSnerd
MortimerSnerd

Dan Morgan had 25 tackles in the Panthers-Saints Super Bowl ten years ago, 18 solo.

junior9
junior9

Peter, you suck

How about calling this MondayMorning Manning

Peter Parker1
Peter Parker1

Too bad Justin Tucker missed one to end his streak.  That 42 is the next big field goal record that needs to fall (though Vanderjagt's record gets the big asterisk after he got a re-take following that bogus call in Tampa in the MNF broadcast).


Awesome run, Justin.  Also, big props to Mike Scifres and Jon Ryan for simply concentrating on being good team punters and not just Lechler-ing up the field.  Both these guys need end of season recognition (especially Scifres: he's been a great punter for so many years).

Mike26
Mike26

2.  Peter, you're right about one thing - you aren't a college sports fan and hence, shouldn't make too many statement about issues of which you know about 1% of the story.  Best to let Texas decide what's best for Texas....

Mike26
Mike26

1.  The New England win yesterday will NEVER be more impressive than the playoff victories Baltimore has scored over NE in the playoffs.

Tony M
Tony M

Peyton Manning who loves attention, acts all "its not important" in the after press conference. We know better Peyton.

BuzzFrankacott
BuzzFrankacott

Peter why no mention of Jerry Jones threatening to sack his entire coaching staff if they don't make the playoffs but saying nothing about his own performance as GM?

don7
don7

“Long Tall Sally” is better song than anything any of the Beatles ever wrote.  

ErikWassell
ErikWassell

If it's so much easier to throw TD's now than it was in 1984, why aren't there 3-4 other QB's with 40-45 TD's?  Brees is in 2nd place with 35 TD passes, 16 behind Peyton.  Also, Marino was 23 when he had his amazing season, and had one of the greatest coaches in history calling plays.  Manning is 37, underwent multiple neck and back surgeries, and has John Fox (a good, but certainly not HOF) coaching the team.  All things considered, I'll take Manning 2013 over Marino 1984 as the greatest passing performance of all time.

gary7
gary7

"Kuechly said he’d never had 24 tackles before. I wonder: Who has?"..... Sam Huff often said on the radio if he did not get 20-25 he had a bad game, I'm sure Butkus, Curtis, Singletary,  Nitschke, jeez just add a few more from back in the day, your thinking out loud is always deafening in the way how clueless you are to NFL history

yobogo
yobogo

Cardinal Defense is good, but that loss yesterday was all on the Seahawks. Their offense played horrible. Regardless of the bad calls at the end, they didn't deserve to win. My wife turned to me during the 3Q and said, it looks like someone told Russell Wilson to lose this game, but don't make it obvious your losing the game on purpose, and he just didn't quite know how to do it without looking ridiculous. His throws were all over the place, he purposely didn't run at time when he could have easily picked up first downs, he would hold on to the ball just waiting to get sacked. And then when it seemed like he was playing too badly, he marched down the field like it was a piece of cake and threw an easy touchdown. Go figure.

Norton20
Norton20

Gee thanks Peter for all the kind words about the Bills. They lead the league in sacks, have 3 guys with 10, held Dolphins (winner of 4 of prior 5 including over New England) to 103 total yards, 50 of which came on 1 play. The only Bills mention is criticizing their 2nd string QB for not executing the draw them offsides play (which works about 5 times a year maybe). I know the Bills are irrelevant but they are still in the NFL.

AndrewMccall
AndrewMccall

Peter - Last Beatles concert was on January 30th, 1969 on the Rooftop of Apple Records in London and the last song was "Get Back"..... just saying, love your work, DIEHARD Alligash White fan, and Merry Christmas.... 

mrjohnwao
mrjohnwao

The NFL has spent the last ten years changing the rules to favor Peyton Manning and transform it into the AFL and everyone gets excited when he throws a 100 TDs in a season. So funny.

George
George

Sea-hens exPOSED! ... at HOME!! ...  laid an egg and lost the GAME!!!  Schooled @ home by the cards??!? 


How r they going to win the BIG one at a neutral site, 

when they can't even win a little one at HOME?!!?

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

HOLY CRAP!  Romo's out for Sunday night's game.  Back injury.  

chino78019
chino78019

Brady in 2007 was more storied than Manning in 2013. 

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@KidHorn You're comparing apples to oranges. Other than AD, all those guys played in a different era. The NFL rules are now slanted towards passing attacks. 

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

when you asked what do they have in common... something else came to mind first

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7In the Pantheon of all time ridiculous statements, this is battling fiercely for the top spot.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@ErikWassellmanning is loaded with talent all around him, and always has been.  Show me another ring, Peyton, before anyone puts this season as one of the greatest

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@yobogo the Seahawks offense played horrible because the Cards defense played so well.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@mrjohnwao If Manning was the only QB that could take advantage of revised rules then you might have a point.  However, the other 31 QB's in the league play under the same rules as Manning.

AdamPond
AdamPond

@George  I don't think I've ever seen a more fitting avatar - You do know that AZ has one of the top defenses in the NFL, right? 

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@PhillyPenn

The league takes 2 Sunday night games away from the Packers this year, then hands the final one to the Cowboys-Eagles because it's a winner-take-all game.  Rodgers will play Sunday in the Packers-Bears winner-take-all game, while Romo sits on the sidelines with a back injury.

Hey, Mr. Goodell - nice job picking the right game for next Sunday.  Foles vs. Orton is always better than Rodgers vs. Cutler.  It's also better than the longest rivalry in the NFL.  Iconic Soldier Field with the NFC North on the line for the 2 most storied franchises in history just can't compare, can it?

/sarcasm

The league is a joke.  If you aren't in Dallas or New England, you may as well not exist.  Thanks for proving that once again, Mr. Goodell.

Devilsreject97
Devilsreject97

@chino78019I'd suggest you lay the crack pipe down. Half of Brady's touchdown's went to Moss. Meanwhile, Manning spread his out. He has 4 WR/TE with 10 or more TDs. He has a RB with 12 TDs. He has thrown for his highest yardage output in his career. His team will score more points this season than Brady's 18-1 team did in 2007. And that's not even counting the fact that Manning did it better in 2004...when he sat out almost 2 full games worth of playing time so as to not rack up the score.

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

@chino78019 Brady had a better TD-to-INT ratio, better completion percentage, better TD%, better INT%, and passer rating. All manning has is more yards and TDs.

don7
don7

@Bklr588 @don7 Yeah, like John Lennon was better than Little Richard. Get serious. 

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7In the Pantheon of stupid comments, that one is vying for the top

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@AaronDunckel @ErikWassell Wake up dude. Some QB wins a SB ring EVERY YEAR. Whether it's a legend or a Trent Dilfer. But every guy who consistently threatens the season TD mark is a first ballot Hall of Famer.


And team championships don't invalidate great individual seasons, just as winning a SB ring doesn't validate Dilfer's career. Enjoy it for what it is.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

@AdamPond @George Sea-hens George? Really? How about the She-hawks next time? That's always good for a laugh. Right?

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

@Devilsreject97 @chino78019 plus also remember when manning got the 49th, it pulled them within two, he still had to get his team ready for the 2 point conversion and had no time to celebrate.  plus you look at one of tight ends, denver didn't know useful he was because he had 2 knee injuries and had 3 total catches i believe, but when tamme got hurt pre-season thomas showed how good a player he was.  again the loss of miller is huge though and the broncos could be one and done again

George
George

@Reedster2185 @chino78019 Actually it's lil' Abner Favre that is skunkie's main man-crush.


Wait until that goober is up for the HOF - no-neck will be swilling down gallons of lattes while simultaneously banging out accolades on his laptop.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@Bklr588@don7

Ok, anybody who thinks that the Beatles aren't the best thing to happen to rock music ever - with the sole exception of Elvis - is just an idiot.  The Beatles are just the best there is.


Don't get me wrong - I don't like everything they did.  Some of that "Ravi Shankar doped out LSD tripping" stuff is just wrong.  But for what they meant to music in their time, as well as what they've meant to music overall - both as a group and as individuals (and McCartney on his own as a group and an individual) - cannot be topped.  Again, except by maybe Elvis.

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7@Bklr588Nothing wrong with Little Richard, the Beatles and others covered him in the early days, and he influenced them heavily. Your comment was just pointless.

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7 Yeah, like Little Richard was better than the Beatles. The comment in MMQB referred to the Beatles as an entity. Not John Lennon or any of the other individual members of the group. So you are talking apples and oranges, and your comment is a non-sequitur. 

So...You get serious. 

Devilsreject97
Devilsreject97

@EasyGoer@PhillyPenn@mrjohnwaoReally? The Patriots seemed to take advantage of those rules on their way to 18-1 just fine..... Drew Brees and the Saints did the same in 09.... quit trying to act like the NFL is doing it for Peyton...the rules have been ON THE BOOKS since before Marino came into the league..

Newsletter