1) The Cleveland Browns are having some injury issues at quarterback with Johnny Manziel already ruled out of their week 17 game and Brian Hoyer nursing a sore shoulder and bicep, so they gave free agent Rex Grossman a call to see if he wanted to come play some football. Grossman weighed his options and declined because he has some family coming in for the holidays.
Browns: Hi Rex, we sure could use you for our week 17 game.
Grossman: Well... We're kind of hosting Christmas for the family this year.
Browns: Come on, we might be forced to start undrafted rookie Connor Shaw on Sunday!
Grossman: OK, how much you offering for my time?
Browns: One week league minimum.
Grossman Well in that case... I'll take a pass. Happy Holidays!
Earlier today the Browns signed Tyler Thigpen for their week 17 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
2) A lot was made about Andy Dalton's struggles in prime time games this week, with his Cincinnati Bengals playing a Monday Night game against the Denver Broncos. Which prompted me to share the following on Twitter. You are following me on Twitter aren't you?
The 'Player X sucks in prime time games' narrative is dumb, because it's not the time of day they struggle with, it's the better competition.
There aren't very many cakewalk games on Monday or Sunday night football. ESPN and NBC try to schedule match-ups between two good teams when ever possible.
3) So a 7 win team is going to win the NFC South and host a playoff game. Who cares. If this happened every year I could understand the uproar, but it rarely happens. Just enjoy it and do the American thing, by cheering on the underdog!
4) Speaking of the playoffs, the NFC South isn't all that's up for grabs this weekend. The 6th seed in the AFC will come down to four teams.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (at Kansas City)
San Diego clinches a playoff spot with:
1) SD win OR
2) SD tie + BAL loss or tie
BALTIMORE RAVENS (vs. Cleveland)
Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with:
1) BAL win + SD loss or tie OR
2) BAL tie + SD loss
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (vs. San Diego)
Kansas City clinches a playoff spot with:
1) KC win + BAL loss + HOU loss or tie
HOUSTON TEXANS (vs. Jacksonville)
Houston clinches a playoff spot with:
1) HOU win + BAL loss + SD loss
In the NFC, all five 11 win teams are still alive for the top seed. If I were a betting man, I'd take the Seattle Seahawks to claim the top seed in the NFC, and the Baltimore Ravens to grab the final spot in the AFC.
5) And speaking of Seattle, is there a better big game back in the NFL than Marshawn Lynch?
Lynch may be a horrible interview, but there's no other back playing today that I'd trust more in a crucial spot.
6) I think the J.J. Watt for NFL MVP push may be a real thing. With so many quarterbacks having a legit shot at winning the award, they may split the vote leaving Watt to reap the reward of the MVP.
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers may be the front runner, but late pushes by Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo will muddle a field that still has Tom Brady and Peyton Manning who are sure to draw some votes. I wouldn't be surprised to see Russell Wilson garner some attention too.
All this good QB play may be exactly what Watt needs to swoop in and become the first defensive player to win NFL MVP since Lawrence Taylor in 1986.
7) Through the first three quarters of the Minnesota Vikings vs Miami Dolphins game, the two teams combined for 31 points. In the 4th quarter alone the two teams exploded for 41 points in Miami's 37-35 victory.
After the game, Miami owner Stephen Ross announced that head coach Joe Philbin will return in 2015 for his 4th year and in my opinion it's the right call. Playing in the AFC East you're forced to compete with the perennial playoff contending New England Patriots. The Pats will always be in the hunt, so there's no point in rebuilding when you are showing slight improvement year to year on both sides of the ball.
8) Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola has been suspended 1 game for stomping on the ankle of Chicago Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson. We talked about what a scuzzball Raiola was a few weeks ago when he went after the Patriots. Here's a reminder...
Typical from him RT "@BenVolin: Raiola got 4 cheap shots in at the end of the #Patriots #Lions game a few weeks ago https://t.co/BEOiQt4UCI"— Lester A Wiltfong Jr (@wiltfongjr) December 21, 2014
He's one of the dirtiest players in the NFL and it's a joke that the NFL hasn't punished him before.
He was showing his lack of class before the Bears game a couple years ago when he went at Chicago wide out Brandon Marshall, who has been diagnosed with borderline personalty disorder.
"Two years ago, a lot of people are like, why did you call Detroit ‘little brothers?' Actually, so I'll apologize again, Detroit. I retract those words. I retract that statement. But I was really mad at him because in the game, I'm just warming up, I'm just standing there, and he looks at me and he's like: ‘Go take your medicine! Go do this, you freakin' weirdo! You freakin' crazy guy, go take your medicine!' Before the game."
NFL.com had a story about Raiola back in 2013 that shows the kind of person he is.
According to eyewitnesses, Raiola spent part of his pregame routine going after The Wisconsin Band, which was at Lambeau Field for its annual performance at the storied stadium. Raiola allegedly taunted several band members for being overweight, questioned the sexuality of at least one band member, said the band "sucked" and used a highly derogatory term toward a female member of the group.
What a pathetic excuse for a human being.
9) It was reported that there was a meeting at Halas Hall yesterday between Bears brass and general manager Phil Emery. The Bears wanted to know Emery's plan for head coach moving forward and how he intends to fix the team.
It's doesn't necessarily mean the Bears will retain Emery, just that it was a chance to show he has a viable plan for 2015 and beyond.
Chris Wesseling of NFL.com has a list of the top coaching candidates for 2015 and my guess is the Bears will be in contact with the majority of the coaches on that list.
10) The 5-10 Chicago Bears are currently sitting with the 7th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. A loss would ensure them the 7th spot, but a win could change things quite a bit. If they manage to beat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, they could fall out of the top 10 entirely.
What are some of your thoughts on the NFL this week?