By Danny Cox
The NFL Playoffs are what every team is shooting for when the season begins. After that, it’s all about the Super Bowl. In the AFC, there are still a couple of spots left open and there is seeding that still needs to be determined. Teams aren’t going to just lie down and let whatever happens happen. They’re going to fight.
THE NFL ON CBS’ Chris Simms, analyst for CBS Sports Network’s Sunday Pre-game show “TOPS” and NFL Monday QB, took some time to talk about four huge games happening in the final week of the 2015 NFL regular season. Believe it or not, the Patriots may not be the favorite everyone thinks they are and it’s not going to be an easy path through the AFC to Super Bowl 50.
Do you think that the New England Patriots rest any players this week since they already have a first-round bye?
Chris Simms: “I do think they rest some players. Well, it depends on who and what you’re questioning. Guys like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman who have been nursing injuries for a while. I think the Patriots will rest them. Guys that are injury free, of course, they’re going to play. Some of those with injuries or any risk of something further and they will be held out.
Bill Belichick knows that home-field advantage is important, but right now, he wants his team ready for the first round of the playoffs.”
The New York Jets need a win to get in, what is the biggest thing they have to prepare for against the Buffalo Bills?
CS: “Honestly, trick plays. The Buffalo Bills are in total upset mode right now and this is when the offensive and defensive coordinators become brave. They’re going to call some plays they likely wouldn’t call in the middle of the season when they’re trying to get into the playoffs. The Jets need to all stay alert.
Surprise onside kicks. Flea flickers. Reverses. All of those could happen.
See, the Jets are the better team and honestly they’re one of the five best teams in all of football, period. They’re just behind the Patriots in the AFC, but only just behind.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers looked scary for a while, and then came out flat against the Ravens. Should they be concerned against the Cleveland Browns?
CS: “The Steelers need to be concerned every week because they have one of the worst pass defenses in all of football. They can win games due to their high-scoring offense, but the defense has to play better. When the Steelers played the Browns earlier this season, Cleveland had no issue moving the ball at all.
Pittsburgh will win this game, but it’s going to be a lot closer than anyone may realize.”
Is there any chance the Denver Broncos play Peyton Manning in the season finale? Do you think he will be back for the playoffs?
CS: “If it was anyone other than Peyton Manning, we wouldn’t even be talking about this. He is one of the three greatest quarterbacks in football of all time. All time. I don’t like saying this, but there are 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now, and Peyton Manning is number 33. He’s been out something like six weeks and he still leads the league in interceptions.
Brock Osweiler is leading the Broncos well and he’s winning with them. Some may have wondered if the Broncos would put Manning back in if the team got to the playoffs, but I think after Monday night’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals, there is no question that they will stick with Osweiler.”
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.