The final weekend of the NFL season has some huge games and great talking points for casual bar talk or an impressive contribution to a game watching party. If you can find a way to sneak into one of these, go for it, especially since food, beer, and football are great lures for guys. All of the games last week and this week are divisional games, which should present some excellent football and storylines. Outside of the actual games this weekend there are a few solid storylines in the football world that could be great conversation pieces: Brett Favre and playoff seeding.
Win and You’re In:
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
If Peyton Manning leads the Colts to a victory they’re in the playoffs. Nobody really wakes up in the playoffs and goes “Gee I’d like to play Peyton Manning today” so if you’re talking to a Baltimore or New York Jets fan, it’s a good conversation piece.
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Win and you’re in. That’s what the Rams-Seahawks game comes down to on Sunday night. The winner takes the division and the #4 playoff seed. That could end up being Seattle, who with a win would have a 7-9 record and could end up hosting New Orleans, Atlanta, Green Bay, or the Giants – all teams with much better records. A team with a losing record making the playoffs and hosting a playoff game is a great conversation starter, and it might start a full on debate about rule changes and home field advantage. Just know that it’s never happened in NFL history.
Home Field Advantage
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
I’m partial to the Saints in this one since my wife and I are season ticket holders, but the game is meaningful for a couple of reasons. The Saints have already clinched a playoff spot with that tense win on Monday night in Atlanta (a feat previously accomplished by nobody this year) but their seed is currently undetermined. A Saints win combined with a New Years miracle – Atlanta losing at home to Carolina – would give the Saints the division title and a shot at home field advantage throughout the playoffs. More live football in the Superdome is fine by me. Tampa Bay on the other hand is hanging on by a thread to playoff hopes and would need a win over New Orleans and losses by both Green Bay and the New York Giants to make it in. The last time these two teams played the Saints dominated the Bucs in Tampa, but with a lot on the line for both teams it should be an exciting and well-played game.
Brett Favre has said he’s not playing next year, but we’ve all heard that before. Even if he doesn’t play next year there is no guarantee that he’ll play this Sunday since he went out with a concussion in his last game. Oh and don’t forget the whole Brett Favre sexting scandal. This has been widely discussed in media outlets everywhere and even featured in an SNL mockery of his Wrangler Jeans commercials. Thursday morning the NFL fined Favre $50,000 for not cooperating in the sexual harassment investigation from his time with the New York Jets (the first time he unretired). This fine and the aura around Favre’s voicemails and weenie pics have sparked a lot of debate, especially as to the commissioner’s handling of it and other policy issues (think Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger).