WATERCOOLER CHAT: PLAYOFF UPDATE

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, there were a few must-win playoff situations.

Willis McGaheeFirst, the Baltimore Ravens needed to beat the Oakland Raiders to get a playoff birth.  Not too difficult a task, but the Raiders have been pesky lately.  Could the Ravens do what was necessary?  Well, they kept it rather close, trailing only 14-10 at the half.  However, the story of the game was a name from the past.  The Ravens running game typically belongs to Ray Rice, but yesterday Willis McGahee was the man.  He rushed for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns to seal the Ravens playoff appearance.  The Raiders, meanwhile, have a lot to fix this off-season.  Baltimore 21, Oakland 13.

Jamaal CharlesElsewhere, the Denver Broncos, who started the season 6-0, found themselves in a dire position to get a win in Week 17 to have a shot at the playoffs.  Fortunately for them, they were handed an easy opponent in the 3-12 Kansas City Chiefs.  Plus, the Broncos were playing on their home turf.  Unfortunately, Cinderella made an appearance as the Chiefs came out vicious.  Their newly appointed starting running back, Jamaal Charles, rushed for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Chiefs absolutely trounced the Broncos in a must-win game.  Wow, where did that come from?  With the loss, the Broncos were eliminated from playoff contention, and finish a season that started 6-0… 8-8.  Kansas City 44, Denver 24.

Finally, on Sunday Night Football, with the Denver loss, the NY Jets needed to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in order to grab the final playoff spot.  Lets just say they caught a huge break (which everyone was speculating that they would earlier in the week), because the Bengals really had nothing to gain from winning, given that their playoff position is locked in.  They can’t earn a bye (that will go to Indianapolis and San Diego),  so this was basically an ‘off-night’ for them.  They rested starters and played light to prevent injury, allowing the NY Jets to simply roll over them.  However, this sets up a rematch between the Bengals and Jets on Saturday.  And you can bet that the Bengals will be truly growling then.  NY Jets 37, Cincy 0.

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