NFL Thoughts Week 15: Chicago Bears and Beyond

Scott Cunningham

Check out our Week 15 NFL Thoughts and be sure to leave a few of your own.

With only two games left on the schedule, the playoff picture is still a bit muddled. Seven teams have clinched a place in the tournament, with fourteen thirteen (thankfully the Jets are out of contention, they really suck) teams clinging to their playoff hopes. If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has his way, there would be even more teams still alive.

Goodell, in what is a long line of bad ideas, would like to see the current 12 team playoff format (4 division winners and 2 wildcard teams in each conference), expanded to include even more wildcard teams. He claims the NFL will look into either a 14 or a 16 team playoff.

I wish the NFL would look into replacing Roger Goodell.

Let us know what you think about the proposed playoff expansion, and be sure to chime in on the rest of my Thoughts...

1) No one, including myself, wanted to give the Atlanta Falcons any credit for their sparkling record (12-2). Talk of their schedule being soft was the prevailing argument used. All of the "soft" chatter may have inspired them to wallop the Giants 34-0, and in looking over their schedule that's not the only solid win they have. They hold victories over the AFC West Champion Broncos, and playoff hopefuls the Redskins, Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Saints.

I think the Falcons have as good a shot as any for representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

2) I know I just said beating the Buccaneers was a good win for Atlanta, and it was at the time. Tampa Bay was on a four game win streak and were a legitimate playoff contender. But since that week 12 one point loss to the Falcons, the Bucs have lost three more, and seem to have packed it in.

3) Did anyone think the Patriots were going to roll over Sunday night against the 49ers? I knew Tom Brady would get them back in the game somehow, but the way the 49ers won that game says a lot about their team.

4) I think the Buffalo Bills are really ready for their - 13th straight playoff-less - off season. Either that, or they were sending a message to their owner that they'd rather not play "home" games in Canada.

5) I saw a tweet on Sunday that wondered if Adrian Peterson's ACL is made of magic. I think it is, and I am in awe of his comeback.

6) Do you realize that if the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys both win this week, their week 17 Sunday Night affair will be for the NFC East Championship? That would be fun...

7) Those that thought Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton was a rookie flash in the pan were mistaken. Early on his sophomore season didn't seem as statistically prolific, but he's got back on track the last five weeks, and he may very well eclipse his rookie numbers. The last 5 games he's averaged 261 yards passing per game, with 10 TDs and no picks. He's also rushed for 293 yards in those 5 games, and added 3 rushing TDs and fumbled only once. And the Panthers have won 3 of their last 4.

8) With the expectations heaped on the Detroit Lions before the start of the season, is Jim Schwartz in danger of getting a pink slip? His team just lost to a Cardinals team quarterbacked by Ryan Lindley.

9) Why have the Jets been afraid to play Tim Tebow all year? I know he had a rib injury at one point, but I think they were afraid that if they played him he might actually succeed, and they they would really be screwed because they paid Mark Sanchez like the franchise. I really think if given the right opportunity a team can win with Tim Tebow at the helm, and I tweeted as much last night. Follow me @wiltfongjr, "He needs a run heavy team, with a lot of bootlegs, playaction, and read option. A team just has to let him do his thing."

10) If you're the type of fan that is rooting for the Bears to lose so they will make sweeping changes, you'll get no argument from me. While I'll never root for my team to lose a game, I do understand the thinking behind those that do.

I have a similar thought in once my team is eliminated from playoff contention, they should play all the young guys. And if there's a guy on the roster that isn't in the plans for next season, he shouldn't see the field unless he absolutely has to. If those younger players directly lead to the Bears losing then so be it, the valuable experience they gain is worth more than the W.

We can still be hardcore fans, even if we have the bigger picture in mind.

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