Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Dec 2005

MMQB: Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Peter King is full of the playoff spirit this week, giving us his prognostications for the 12 teams that will make the postseason.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 05 Dec 2005

50 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2005, 12:00pm by Tom Kelso


by Kevo (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:24pm

It looks like the second seed in the AFC is going to come down to Week 17 (Broncos @ San Diego, Bengals @ Kansas City) but he just kind of gives it to Denver without any explanation. Denver's got the advantage, because if they win out, they'll have a better conference record. But if they lost to San Diego, who will likely be fighting for a playoff spot, it goes to some tie-breaker that's impossible to figure out right now. I think it has to do with margin of victory or something. Their games against common opponents would be even in that case.

My pick is Bengals getting the bye and Broncos with the 3 seed.

by Bowman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:24pm

"•Jacksonville is going to knock a very good team out of the postseason."

I really thought PK was going to suggest basing the playoffs from his rankings, rather than actual game results.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:26pm

Huh. And I thought the strangest thought of all time was "Matt Millen, general manager and team president."

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:31pm

Officials are doing a horrible job of calling the horse-collar tackle. Perfect example in Giants-Cowboys: Mr. Horse Collar himself, Roy Williams, grabbed Barber from behind late in the first quarter and tugged him down, backward, exactly a la Terrell Owens. No call. What, pray tell, are you waiting for, Zebras?

For a guy who's all up in arms over it, it's a shame he didn't see the play. Williams grabbed Barber's jersey and pulled him forward, not down from behind. The announcing crew missed this important detail as well in the midst of their outrage.

by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:33pm

Re 2

I also thought his Jacksonville comment was a little odd. I'm not sure what he means by it. It sounds like he's saying that he doesn't think Jacksonville is deserving. In that case, I would point to the soon-to-be AFC East Champions. If we're just looking for the 6 best teams in the AFC, Jacksonville should still be in.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:34pm

Despite the poor example, Roy Williams has been utilizing the horse-collar all season long. I've seen it in at least three different games, and it hasn't been called once. I'm getting pissed.

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:48pm

Not to join in on the PK-bashing, but did he really suggest that Larry Johnson would get 120 yards on a combination of the '65 Packers, '85 Bears, and 2000 Ravens defenses? I wasn't aware that "Larry Johnson" was an anagram for "Jim Brown."

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:50pm


Not to mention where he's going to find holes against 33 defenders.

by Bassett (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 12:54pm

Regarding Ronde's pick:

The fact that the pick was thrown by Aaron Brooks negates it being in anyone's top ten list...

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:06pm

I think I can't wait to hear the superlatives roll out of the ESPN booth on Sunday night. Detroit at Green Bay. Sunday night football. Catch the fever, baby.

Wow. It's pretty sad when you get ripped by Peter King for worshipping at the altar of Brett Favre. Although it will be fun to hear the Three Stooges pimp out Favre for MVP and Dick Jauron for coach of the year.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:07pm

Bill Belicheck as Coach of the Week for beating the Jets? Sheesh, Bill Buckner could beat them right now.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:11pm


Hell, Bill Buckner could quarterback them right now.

by Nate (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:14pm

What's with the Cedric Benson holdout comment? What does the holdout have to do with him being out due to injury now? Hmmm...

by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:31pm

"Coach of the Week

New England coach Bill Belichick..."

Belichick told them to hurry up and run another play before the Jets could challenge a clearly incorrect call.

Wow. That's. Brillant. Coaching. And it only happens at least 5 times a week in the NFL.

Seriously...can SI take it's collective nose out of the Pats's arse for one second?

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:40pm

He dismisses the Bengals game yesterday as the Steelers are in trouble.

He ignores Tab Perry's 2 Special Teams tackles and 39.7 kickoff return average (including a 97 yarder where he carried a Steeler for 27 yards) so he could name James Sanders Special Teams Player of the Week for making an (as in one) open-field tackle.

He thinks Palmer needed to redeem himself after going toe-to-toe with manning and blowing out the Ravens by not throwing an interception (because his TD/INT ratio of 26/7 is just so sloppy).

His comment on the Bengals in the Fine Fifteen is a dismissive one sentence.

And after all that he finally says, "I think the Bengals will not be denied. I say they win their wild-card game the first week of the playoffs, no matter the opponent, no matter the site, although that will likely be Cincinnati."

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:48pm

RE: #1

He gives Denver the 2 slot because he has them running the table, and he certainly sounds prepared to pick KC over Cincinnati in the final game ("How can you not like Kansas City right now?" "...hope for Kansas City and San Diego to both go 2-2 or worse. Which, considering the Chiefs and Chargers are on a combined eight-game winning streak, is a gigantic stretch.")

by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:53pm

King botched the AFC wildcard scenarios.
Pittsburgh, with the head-to-head tiebreaker on San Diego, only needs the Chargers to lose one.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 2:15pm

I think he meant the Jags would win a game in the playoffs.

The Benson comment had me confused but then I remembered that he halves his IQ for MMQB. It's amazing how much more intelligent he is on TV.

He really layed the hyperbole on thick today. All the "they haven't lost since (event from 100+ years ago)". Is he trying to be funny? Sticking it to people who complain about the hyperbole? Or just that enamored with long win streaks that he forgets when they start?

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 2:18pm

PK is telling me the smartest thing a coach did yesterday was hurry his team up and run a play to avoid a chance for a challenge?

by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 2:18pm

"I'm just hoping Dom Capers didn't jump over Nashville on the way home from that debacle in Baltimore. Can a team lose more painfully than Houston?"
What does this mean?

by Mike B. (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 2:40pm

Re: #20 - I think he's trying to make a joke about Capers jumping out of the plane. He failed.

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 2:41pm

It means he's hoping Capers wasn't so upset he committed suicide. If you add the words "out of the plane" between "jump" and "over" it makes a little more sense.

by Another Craig B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 2:53pm

Huh. I thought he was intimating that Capers could leap over tall cities in a single bound. Does anyone know a translator who speaks Bad Editing?

by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 3:00pm

Re 18

That would make a lot more sense. Also, since he thinks that the Bengals will host a wild-card game, and not be denied while doing so, he must think the Jags will win in Foxboro/Foxborough. Sweet.

Regarding Benson, I assume he's using the Rivers/Brees train of thought, that if he'd just gotten himself into camp sooner, he probably would have been given the starting job. Instead the guy he was drafted to replace turns in a career year, probably costing Benson more in unearned incentives than he got by holding out.

There's also the idea that for rookies, missing part of training camp means not being physically ready for the season, which often leads to injury problems.

by seven year lion (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 3:17pm

Can someone please tell me why Hines Ward directly mocking the team he's playing (by doing the Ickey Shuffle) or directly mocking an opposing player (when he did the riverdance) is lauded while Joe Horn talking on a cell phone or TO having a pen in his sock is treated as the first sign of the coming apocalypse?

I mean, I know that Ward "plays the game the right way" and "OMG he's teh bestest blockingest WR in all history" and that TO is a clubhouse cancer that no team would ever want (except for the Ravens, Eagles, and Jerry Jones). Still I can't come up with a set of criteria that allows me to simultaneously praise Hines Ward and deride TO or Joe Horn for their respective actions. What am I missing?

As a postscript, I'm not trying to specifically call out PK here. I have no idea what his feelings are on those specific TO or Joe Horn situations. But the sentiment surrounding those was universally and resoundingly negative, while the sentiment I have seen surrounding Ward is approval or ambivalence. I'm a Giants fan and have no obvious bias in favor of TO and Horn or against Ward that I'm aware of.

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 3:26pm

RE: above

part of it might be that people like to believe in the illusion of spontaneity with end zone dances (thereby increasing their creativity), but bringing in a "foreign object" like a pen, cell phone, etc. shatters that illusion. just a guess.

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 3:27pm

besides which, who doesn't love the Ickey Shuffle?

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 3:31pm

who doesn’t love the Ickey Shuffle?

the people Ickey plays cards with

by Tyler (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 3:45pm

RE 25:
I think it's mostly because Hines does stuff like that just messing around with good friends of his (regarding the riverdance/Chand Johnson thing) or sort of paying homage to legends of the game (for lack of a better phrase) that he respects. He talks about how much he loved Ickey growing up in the article linked in my name.

by seven year lion (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 3:46pm

26: Maybe. But the rhetoric surrounding those dances, wasn't "Was that a good or a bad endzone dance?" it was "Does this mean that TO is the most selfish, egotistical, disrespectful player ever or does it only put him in the top five?"

What about when he put the ball on the star in Dallas? That was (apparently) spontaneous and mocking of a rival team. That was generally regarded as being in poor taste. Not too big a deal was made out of it though becasue he was still Terrell Owens and had not yet evolved into "TO".

For the record I enjoyed every example I've cited so far. I like the thought that players get excited when they do something meaningful and somewhat rare within the course of a game or season. I could do without first down posing and Ray Lewis doing a crab walk after tackling J.J. Arrington for a 3 yard gain.

by Tyler (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 3:49pm

*Chad Johnson...I love how even with the preview function, I don't scan my posts for spell checking.
And I also forgot to add on to that...
"I think that writers and the NFL prefer a player to do something that's simply normal, like a dance, rather than something designed to 'show up' the other team, or something involving premeditated objects.
And then on top of that, they just like to fine Chad, so even his golf thing got him in trouble"

by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:09pm

"f. The commercialization of Christmas is already killing me and it's Dec. 5."

Yet not 2 inches above that on the screen he goes on about how fantastic ridiculously overpriced coffee is.

But i did like how he didn't put a comment next to the Colts at the top of the rankings. Maybe this is the answer to his problems. Write fewer crappy comments.

Also: "Happy with that summer holdout now, Cedric Benson?"

My guess would be yes, as he now gets to sit at home for uberbucks. Instead of sitting at home for just megabucks.

by Ned Macey :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:19pm

As the writer of Any Given Sunday, I pay special attention to upsets, so maybe I'm analyzing this too much, but King writes: "I'd hardly call the other two games upsets. Pittsburgh was favored over Cincinnati, but it's becoming obvious the Steelers really aren't the Steelers right now."

King of course picked Pittsburgh to win, and last Monday (admittedly before the Pit-Ind game)King had Pittsburgh fourth and Cincinnati 12th in his "Fine Fifteen."

Now after Cincinnati looks like clearly the better team in the actual match-up, it is "obvious the Steelers aren't the Steelers right now." But learning that in the game when you thought the opposite before the game doesn't mean it is not an upset.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:29pm

I know the USC hagiography is on full strength ("two national titles in a row", conveniently forgetting that the system USC agreed to said LSU was national champion), but if PK did any basic research, he would have noticed that not only has USC's scoring output been equaled this year, it has been surpassed.

Texas -- 50.9 ppg; USC -- 50.0

by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:31pm

25: Same reason Chad Johnson doens't get eaten alive after every touchdown celebration. They're both positive-attitude guys who play solid football and increase locker room morale.

by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:45pm

"Not too big a deal was made out of it though becasue he was still Terrell Owens and had not yet evolved into “TO�."

Au contraire.
A big deal was made out of it, but Mariucci suspended TO for the next game and that nipped it in the bud.

by James (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:54pm

Philly, 20-17

Wrong. SD wins 17-13 except for a freak one-in-a-million play, the blocked kick for a touchdown.

No way Eagles win tonight.

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 5:13pm


Do you pick "upsets" for AGS based on betting line, W-L, DVOA ranking, or some combination? Do you consider Cincinnati beating Pittsburgh an upset, even though DVOA had the Bengals clearly superior to the Steelers (and better even with the generally accepted 17 points of DVOA for home field)?

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 5:21pm

#34 (Tom K.): The BCS has since admitted that the national championship was split in 2003. They both won it, therefore, it's perfectly valid to say USC is going for a third national championship.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 5:27pm


"It's a bit nutty."

by james (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 5:46pm

re: td dances,

I think the difference is that Chad Johson and Hines Ward don't take themselves seriously while doing it.

There is a big difference between saying "look how silly I am" and "look how great I am".

To put it another way people are laughing with Hines and Chad and at T.O. What Joe Horn did was just in bad taste. Sort of like eating with your elbows on the table. Not as disgusting as chewing with your mouth open but still bad manners.

I was pissed that Chad didn't score yesterday. I wanted to see what he would do next.

by JAT (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:10pm

Re #33
I agree with you Ned, and it's not just PK. There's a lot of revisionism by pundits after the fact.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:50pm

James #37:

Wrong. SD wins 17-13 except for a freak one-in-a-million play, the blocked kick for a touchdown.

Actually, there have been 4 of these already this year out of around 600 field goal attempts.

No way Eagles win tonight.

That's pretty strong language. Seattle has not looked impressive against any non-NFC West/Houston Texan team this year.

Barring major mistakes by the Eagles (fumbles/interceptions) I think Seattle loses.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:17pm

It also should be pointed out that Philly would not necessarily have lost if that field goal had been made.

If the FG hadn't been blocked, Philly would've been down 4 or 7 with 2:25 left. This isn't a guaranteed loss.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 8:10pm

Why do people like to pick on kickers who miss a few field goals? Why would the rest of the team be upset with said kicker? Usually, a kicker only attempts a field goal because the offense already failed to score a touchdown.

by Spoilt Victorian Child (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 10:40pm

Philly, 20-17
Wrong. SD wins 17-13 except for a freak one-in-a-million play, the blocked kick for a touchdown.
Yes, that was not a particularly impressive victory. But I don't see how you could say the same about the Eagles' run defense, which was all he seemed to be talking about.

Anyway, it's certainly a weird game to base a prediction for tonight on, since I think they've lost some players since then...

by Jay Feely's Confidence (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 11:35pm

Why do people like to pick on kickers who miss a few field goals?

You clearly are not a Giants fan. Or an early 90's Bills fan.

by Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Person (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 4:47am

43: "Barring major mistakes by the Eagles (fumbles/interceptions) I think Seattle loses."

Whoa there, don't go too far out on a limb! Any team that does those things is likely to lose. Except my people. And even they are just 6-6.

by Hector, Paris, France (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:49am

re: Andrew
Whoa !
Did you have an insight ?
Can I ask you 6 numbers between 1 and 49 ? (It's for the French Loto)


by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:00pm

Say, Hector, good to have another international poster (England, Brazil, the Netherlands and South Africa have also shown up in the past year).

What kind of NFL coverage do you get in France? TMQ aside, it seems that foreign broadcasts are locked in way too early to guaranatee good games on any regular basis. And given that NFL Europe/World League/American Bowl hasn't been tried in France, is there any market at all?