It has been an interesting ride in the 2010 NFL season. Now the regular season campaign comes to a dramatic end with a slew of matches carrying playoff implications.
Most of the drama is in the National Football Conference where none of the seeds are settled. The two most nail-biting contests are at 4.15pm on FOX as the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears while the New York Giants take on the Washington Redskins. Both the Packers and Giants have identical 9-6 records. Of the two New York is under the most pressure as a victory will not guarantee a post-season berth as they need the Packers to lose.
How New York got into this predicament is baffling. The side have a losing record in their division and saw their high-ranking defence collapse the last five games. All of which comes after a solid start to the season where the club was neck-and-neck with the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East crown.
As resilient as Eli Manning has been, the only way New York pulls off a win and earns a chance to play late into January is if their defence steps up. Washington may be in the midst of upheaval with Donovan McNabb on his way out of the team. But as the Redskins showed against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week they are still capable of playing spoiler. Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Aaron Ross have to hammer Washington’s offensive line for any chance of success.
As a Giants fan, it’s hard to picture any playoff without New York. However my attention will have to shift to the Jets after the weekend. New York should win by a touchdown but I don’t see them getting by Green Bay for a post-season berth.
The Packers should beat Chicago by a field goal. Aaron Rodgers is a truly unheralded talent in the pocket and Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews are quietly playing well.