Here it is: the last Aaron It Out of the regular season. I’m going to be a little reflective here, focus on the Jaguars, and some potential postseason thoughts. Let’s get to it!
First, Christmas is a time to acknowledge what is given to you, and I want to once again thank Gavin (even though I did it on Thanksgiving too) for the gift of having a venue to broadcast my thoughts on the NFL and other sports should I so desire. Gavin is a great writer and has recently been focusing on political matters – I hope that he feels the itch to sports-write again sooner rather than later.
So let’s look at the future of coaching changes. Sometime between now and the next time I write a new article for you, several teams will be changing coaches. The most likely candidates include the Browns, Bengals, Broncos, Colts, Bucs, Bears, and quite possibly the Raiders and Titans. The Giants have already made a change, although they’re waiting until the end of the season to bring on a replacement.
However, we all know that: the story here is that Jeff Fisher has resurfaced and is “eyeing” several head coaching jobs. Really? So am I, but I also live in a world of reality and know that I have zero chance of ever coaching in the NFL. What team in their right mind would hire Captain Mediocrity to be their latest head coach? I actually have an answer for that, as there are a couple of teams that could go this way: the Bengals and the Browns, both looking for that “experienced” leadership. Except Jeff Fisher is experienced in sucking. No, having to watch the Jags play him twice a year at least is not coloring my thinking at all.
Fisher would probably do better in some sort of college job, except all those are pretty much filled now. Whatever the case, any team that hires Fisher opens themselves up to a lot of ridicule.
Let’s move on to the glorious, glorious Jaguars. Coaching changes and a refocus of their priorities, plus the additions of a team leader in Calais Campbell, a strong safety that doesn’t suck, and a cornerback to perfectly complement Jalen Ramsey has added up to a foundation of great success.
What’s more impressive is the way that Blake Bortles is playing. He looks like he is completely worthy of the faith the team had in him. I wrote several times about how Blake is holding the team back, how he should have been replaced, how the Jags should have drafted Deshaun Watson, and so forth. I readily admit that, at this point, I was wrong. Blake is playing stellar football this month, and if he keeps it up, the Jaguars will go deep in the playoffs.
It’s an exciting time to be a Jaguars fan. Jacksonville could host a playoff game this year, something they have not done since 1999. Everyone has been talking about the Jags not being to the playoffs at all since the 2007 season, but the last home playoff game in Jacksonville was when they took the Dolphins out back behind the shed and put ’em down 62-7. Good memories. Hopefully the Jaguars keep them up this year!
This NFL season has been great if you pay attention at all to the NFC. The NFC playoffs will be amazing games, because that conference, for whatever reason, seems to be full of powerhouse teams. The AFC is much more up for grabs – all the AFC playoff teams seem to have decidedly won their games, and the schedules appeared to be easier for whatever reason – I am probably overstating that some, but despite my Jaguars-fan-optimism, there doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming favorite in the AFC.
That gives us a nice segue to our:
NFL PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
NFC – This will be the most interesting and stacked field in some time. I fully expect the NFC South to have three teams represented here.
AFC – The main problem here for Jacksonville is that the Patriots and Steelers have basically cake schedules to close out the year. If the Bills beat the Pats and the Jags win out, that bumps the Jags up to the two seed. If the Jags win out and both the Pats and Steelers get a loss (Pittsburgh faces the Texans and Browns to close out the year… come on), the Jags are the number one seed. Based on the schedules, while both of those scenarios are wonderful, I doubt they will happen. I fully admit I can be wrong here because this is the race that is the most up in the air.
NEW AWESOME MODERN CHRISTMAS SONG
(Although really, you can take a Christmas song, make it upbeat, and add horns and I’ll love it)
THE TWEETS OF THE WEEK
BAD TWEET OF THE WEEK
HEARTWARMING MOMENT OF THE WEEK
THE LAST AARON IT OUT TOP FIVE OF THE 2017 REGULAR SEASON
WEEK 16 PICKS AND PREVIEWS
COLTS @ RAVENS – I can bring you all kinds of analysis any day of the week that says the Colts are trying their best, but the Ravens are fighting for a playoff spot and their defense will kick the crap out of the Colts’ patchwork offensive line. Ravens win.
VIKINGS @ PACKERS – It’s at Lambeau, sure, but the Packers have put Rodgers back in the box for the season since they are out of the playoff picture. Minnesota wants to keep their bye. Vikings win.
RAMS @ TITANS – The Rams are in the process of showing everyone they’re legit, and I’ll give them all the credit in the world for kicking the Seahawks in the teeth and keeping them out of the postseason this year. The Titans are in decline, and there may be a coaching change coming after the year. Rams win.
BILLS @ PATRIOTS – Please, Buffalo, prove me wrong. Tyrod Taylor is back to being one of the underrated quarterbacks in the league and although they lost three in a row earlier this year they’ve won three of their last four, with a loss to the Patriots the only bad mark there. However, that Pats loss was the game in which Taylor received a concussion; he’s healthy now and the team took apart the Dolphins. New England (the football team) is always hot in December, though. Pats win. Prove me wrong, Bills.
BROWNS @ BEARS – Yikes. Bears win.
FALCONS @ SAINTS – The Saints want the division crown and are playing like it, but Atlanta will be doing their best to stop them. I like the home team here; Saints win.
LIONS @ BENGALS – The Bengals are turning into mirror images of their fellow Ohio team. Lions win.
BUCS @ PANTHERS – The Dirk Koetter farewell tour moves to Carolina, which is in the middle of the Jerry Richardson farewell tour. Panthers win.
DOLPHINS @ CHIEFS – The Chiefs are trying to win the division they should have locked up several weeks ago. The Dolphins are trying to get through the Jay Cutler era. Chiefs win.
BRONCOS @ REDSKINS – Redskins win. Next!
CHARGERS @ JETS – Chargers win. Easy.
JAGUARS @ NINERS – Once again, let us remember that while the Niners may be kinda talented, and Jimmy G has won them three games in a row, those games have been against awful teams, and the last one was a “fourth quarter comeback” against the Titans. Jacksonville may have a little bit of a west coast slowdown, but considering the stakes involved for the playoffs, they should be focused here. Jaguars win.
SEAHAWKS @ COWBOYS – Hey, look, it’s the I Don’t Care Bowl. The Seahawks are Trash and have been handily beaten two weeks in a row by playoff teams. Dallas is getting Zeke Elliott back from wherever he went. Cowboys win.
GIANTS @ CARDINALS – Giants win. Yikes.
STEELERS @ TEXANS – Will this be the game the Texans lift themselves out of mediocrity for? Maybe. Will Antonio Brown’s absence affect the Steelers? Probably. Steelers win, regardless.
RAIDERS @ EAGLES – The Raiders are in freefall. The Eagles are not. Eagles win.
WEEK 17 PREVIES AND PICKS
PACKERS @ LIONS – The Lions will fight hard for that last playoff spot, although I don’t think they’ll get it. The Packers are ready for this season to be over. Lions win.
JAGUARS @ TITANS – Jaguars win because they should.
BILLS @ DOLPHINS – Bills win because they can.
BENGALS @ RAVENS – Ravens win because the Bengals stink.
BEARS @ VIKINGS – Vikings win because the Bears paid Mike Glennon.
PANTHERS @ FALCONS – Panthers win because of Cam Newton’s legs.
TEXANS @ COLTS – Colts win because of Jacoby Brissett’s legs.
SAINTS @ BUCS – Saints win because Dirk needs to pad that loss column.
BROWNS @ STEELERS – Steelers win because Browns.
JETS @ PATRIOTS – Patriots win because Jets.
REDSKINS @ GIANTS – Giants win, sending Eli out of New York on a high note.
COWBOYS @ EAGLES – Eagles win, sending Dallas home on a low note.
RAIDERS @ CHARGERS – Raiders win, Philip Rivers gets a head start on his drive back home to San Diego, where the Chargers never should have moved from.
CARDINALS @ SEAHAWKS – Cardinals win, the Seahawks are trash.
NINERS @ RAMS – Rams win, and pray they don’t have to wear their stupid-looking navy and gold uniforms in the playoffs.
CHIEFS @ BRONCOS – Chiefs win and get ready to lose in the wild card round.
Have an AWESOME Christmas and a VERY HAPPY and SAFE New Year! See you guys back here on Wild Card Week!