by Scott Benson
Damn you, Neil Rackers.
That’s the story this week, as Pro Bowler Rackers hooked a 32 yard field goal in overtime, opening the door for the San Francisco 49’ers to capture their third win of the season (against eight losses) with a dramatic decision over the Cardinals in Arizona.
End result: if the 2008 NFL Draft was held this weekend, the Patriots would have the 4th pick, as opposed to the 2nd selection that they held at this time last week.
Further compounding our suffering were the 2-9 New York Jets, who got back on the losing track by laying down for the Cowboys, 34-3, on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas. The loss pulled New York from the 5th pick last week into the 3rd slot this week, one choice ahead of the Patriots.
St. Louis’s 4th quarter home loss to Seattle brought them back into the 2nd slot. The Rams, 2-9, get the edge over the Jets by virtue of a slightly easier schedule at this point in the season.
San Francisco wins the tiebreaker over Atlanta and Oakland, also 3-8, for the same reason. The Niners’ creampuff schedule, the easiest of all of the contenders on our list this week, still positions them well for any ties should the Rams and Jets misstep in the weeks ahead.
Here’s the chart for Week Thirteen.
Meanwhile, on this week’s slate, three of our spotlight games feature five of the ten worst teams in the league.
SMALLEST GAMES OF THE WEEK
Jets at Dolphins – The Bizarro Big Game to counter the AFC South showdown between the Jags and Colts in Indy. You watch – the Dolphins WILL win their first game of the season this weekend. The Fins have been getting closer every week lately, and the Jets continue to get worse. Maybe Kareem Brown can find a way to help the Pats somehow. He owes them – his agent even said so.
49’ers at Panthers – I don’t like the way this is going. The Niners will likely be emboldened by their road win last week, and there are few teams that are as bad at home as the Panthers. By the way, why do people still think of John Fox as one of the better head coaches in the league?
Falcons at Rams – The Rams had won two straight before losing that divisional battle with the first place Seahawks last week, so there’s a good chance they will draw even with the Niners again, allowing San Francisco to slide ahead of them with that Strength of Schedule tiebreaker. Have to watch these Falcons though – they’re a sleeper in the Race to the Bottom. In fact, they’re just about in a coma.
Broncos at Raiders – Denver is still in the race for the division title, just behind the Chargers, providing further reason for us to pull for an Oakland win here. The Raiders could have driven the Niners down the the 5th pick this week, but they blew it by actually beating the Chiefs in Kansas City. Let’s hope they’re on a roll.