1. Matt Hasselbeck’s last ride.
He’s going to play hurt, and try to win what is a playoff game and perhaps his last shot as a starter. He has experience and I think he gives them a better chance to win than Charlie Whitehurst.
2. The Redskins are possibly playing John Beck.
The Giants need a win and some help. Mike Shanahan has found out that Rex can be a starter in this league, now will he come through on his promise to take a look at John Beck? If he does, it might help the Giants win.
3. The Bears are actually playing their back-ups.
If the fierce Green Bay pass rush hits Cutler, will they switch to Caleb Hanie before the first drive is over? If they do, it could help Green Bay secure a playoff spot. The Bears have horrible depth at corner and safety, so this could be a 7-on-7 drill.
4. The Browns will break out another bag of magic tricks to try to save Mangenius.
The Browns are just sneaky enough of a team with just enough good players and coaching that they could make this interesting. The Steelers are the team with the most at stake of any playoff team. If the season were to end today, they’d be a division winner with a bye and at least one home game. They could go from that to a 6th seed playing on the road during Wild Card Weekend.
5. Collusion 2.0?
The Titans need to do more on defense if they want to help out the Jaguars. One of the least publicized stories in recent memory was the plight of the 2007 Cleveland Browns team. They would have gone to the playoffs if the Colts would have beaten the Titans. Not surprisingly, the Colts decided to rest their starters that week 17 game. Surprisingly, Dungy didn’t even bother to call any timeouts late in a close game to try to win against the Titans. Will Jeff Fisher return the favor to the Colts organization he so desperately wants to feel like a winner with? Stay tuned.
I think the most overblown angle is the lack of David Garrard or Maurice Jones-Drew in the Jaguars’ finale. Rashad Jennings is one of the best back-up running backs in football and Garrard has squandered multiple games with bad turnovers. That said, Trent Edwards isn’t exactly an upgrade.
Another thing getting ignored is how great it would have to be for the Ravens – who’ve incurred bad officiating at the end of games that have helped them get at least 2 of their 4 losses – if Oakland beat Kansas City and they draw the inexperienced Chiefs in the Wild Card round.