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Chargers 20, Seahawks 17
LaDainian Tomlinson, who single-handedly put half the teams playing for their fantasy league championships into the big game, did little to win them the title.  For the first time since week five, Tomlinson was kept out of the end zone, though that didn't do much to help Seattle, which seemed to be going out of its way to miss the playoffs, losing its last three games, before accidentally clinching by virtue of a 49ers loss. 

"I don't know what the big deal is," sighed quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who completed less than half his passes, threw for under 200 yards, and lost two interceptions on Sunday.  "My high school coach always said, 'Winning is like a light bulb.  You can just switch it on when you need it' regardless of how lazy you've been in the weeks leading up to the playoffs... or was that 'winning is not like a light bulb'?  'You can't just switch it on'?  Now that I think about it, that probably makes more sense...  Shit, I wish I'd paid closer attention!"

Packers 9, Vikings 7

CRACKED's plans to gloss over any games without playoff implications went out the window with Green Bay put itself in position to clinch a playoff spot next week with a win and a Giants loss.  "Are you kidding me?" asked Brett Farve, who vaguely remembers throwing a touchdown at some point this season, though not recently.  "I was all set to retire after next week.  Now you're telling me I might have to come back for another game?  Son of a—I have tickets to the touring
42nd Street that Saturday and they're non-refundable."

Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot empathized with Farve's dilemma.  "It's a shame to let tickets like that go to waste.  If only there was someone who loved touring Broadway productions and was on a team that defied all odds by actually being eliminated from the playoff picture in the piss-poor NFC, Brett could give those tickets to him."  Smoot then sang three verses of "Shuffle Off to
Buffalo" before giving up in frustration over teammates pointing out the Vikings would play St. Louis
next week.

Chiefs 20, Raiders 9

Kansas City honored owner Lamar Hunt's memory with a victory over Oakland, a memory they'd hoped to honor sooner but were unfortunate enough not to play anyone pathetic enough until now.  Despite the long-standing bitter rivalry, the Raiders were happy to give the Chiefs the cheery send-off to their owner. 

 "After all," pointed out coach Art Shell, "[Raiders owner] Al Davis can't stick around too much longer and we sure hope someone will give us a mercy win when he finally kicks."

Ravens 31, Steelers 7

With Pittsburgh now the first defending Super Bowl champ to miss the playoffs since the 2002 Buccaneers, Iron City fans have to shift their focus to the Penguins—no, best not to do that.  Well, there's always baseball's hot stove season.  Look, the Pirates picked up journeyman catcher Einar Diaz to back up Ronny Paulino.  Oh, and they signed a 38-year-old Japanese pitcher too.  Christ, if the rest of the NFL took a good look at the sports scene in
Pittsburgh, they'd just let the Steelers win the Super Bowl every year out of pity.

Panthers 10, Falcons 3

Carolina finally found a way to break Chris Weinke's streak of 17 straight losses when starting under center: by keeping Weinke separated from the ball as much as possible.  Carolina's quarterback threw only seven passes, completing four of them for just 32 yards.  In lieu of a passing game, the Panthers rushed the ball 52 times.  "A quarterback who can't throw the ball effectively and relies entirely on the running game," clucked Atlanta's Michael Vick.  "What an embarrassment..."

The win leapfrogged
over the Falcons in the standings with both teams tied with records of one game under .500, yet still in the thick of the playoff hunt.  "It's exciting to think that if we can just pull off next week's win at Philly," smiled Falcons running back Warrick Dunn, "and the Giants, Packers, Panthers, and Rams all lose, we could be Super Bowl bound!"

Bears 26, Lions 21

Rex Grossman was benched for the fourth quarter when
Chicago, which clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs by virtue of having the best record in the NFC, was trailing "tied with Oakland for the worst record in the league" Detroit

Head coach Lovie Smith insisted the decision to give back up quarterback Brian Griese some playing time was planned all week and not a desperate attempt to find a quarterback who won't choke away an embarrassing home loss to the pathetic Giants or Eagles come playoff time, urging fans not to "put two and two together."

Texans 27, Colts 24

Indianapolis heaved a sigh of relief after watching Ron Dayne run for over 150 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans' first ever victory over the Colts after going 0-9 in their previous meetings. 

"The playoffs can be very stressful," explained defensive back Bob Sanders.  "Can we win a championship?  Do we have what it takes?  All that messes with your mind and keeps you on edge all week.  Thanks to this game, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, no, we can't win a championship and, no, we don't have what it takes.  Now we can go out there and blow an embarrassing first round loss to Denver or the Jets or whoever and not have to stress about it."

Colts head coach Tony Dungy, however, had a different perspective.  "Ron Dayne is a Heisman winner!  Even Peyton Manning didn't win a Heisman!  Clearly, this is an elite football player and the fact we held him to only 150 yards and two TDs is a testament to the resiliency of our defense."  Dungy was then carried away by two
Indianapolis media relations assistants while he shouting, "I'm a defensive guru!  A GURU!"

Broncos 24, Bengals 23

With a chance to tie things up after driving 83 yards and scoring a critical touchdown with 41 seconds remaining, Cincinnati, with a chance to lock up a playoff spot, saw its fortunes quickly reverse.  A bad snap on the point-after kick left Denver up by one, and likely postseason-bound, while the Bengals will need help. 

"What the fuck?" screamed Cincy coach Marvin Lewis, throwing his Playstation 3 controller across the room.  "That is complete horseshit!  That never happens in real life!"  Unfortunately, as unlikely as the event may have been, veteran players of the yearly editions of Madden confirmed this was not at all out of the ordinary.

"I'd like to say I was surprised," shrugged Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, a spokesman who is featured in commercials for the video game, "but when you're playing against the computer in the fourth quarter, it cheats like a... a... what's something that cheats badly?"  Johnson rejected teammate Chris Henry's suggestion of "an Atkin's dieter at Dunkin' Donuts," continuing, "Anyway, if it's not a bad snap, it's a fumble out the back of the end zone or an interception by a cornerback who was ten yards away from the play."

Patriots 24, Jaguars 21

New England won the AFC East, which everyone knew was going to happen, but expected it to occur much earlier in the season.

was eliminated from the playoff chase, which everyone knew was going to happen, but expected it to occur much earlier in the season.

Saints 30, Giants 7

Despite losing six of their last seven games, hovering a game below .500, never having a single snap in Saints territory on Sunday, and having their coach serenaded by a chorus of "Fire Coughlin!" more than once, the Giants are in control of their own playoff destiny.  A win at
Washington next week will give the G-men an 8-8 record and a berth in the postseason. 

No joke here... except the ratings ABC and FOX will get for the NFC playoffs.

Buccaneers 22, Browns 7

With sophomore-slumping Cadillac Williams out, fullback Mike Alstott touched the ball more times Sunday than he has in just about every game since
Tampa Bay's Super Bowl victory combined. 

Rumor also has it that the Buccaneers signed quarterback Chris Sims (not to be confused with CRACKED contributing editor Chris Simms) to a two-year contract extension.  Neither of those facts are particularly interesting, but neither was this game.

Titans 30, Bills 29

Vince Young all but locked up rookie of the year honors, killing
Buffalo's playoff hopes while keeping overachieving  Tennessee in the hunt. 

"Jesus, why do you keep coming to me for sound bites whenever Young does something good?" groaned Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak.  "We beat friggin' Indianapolis today!  Can't you just let me enjoy the moment instead of second-guessing our drafting of Mario Williams?!"

Rams 37, Redskins 31 (F-OT)

While neither of these teams has much chance of making the playoffs—"much" being used instead of "any" solely because St. Louis hasn't been mathematically eliminated and is playing Minnesota next week, which is pretty much a win—key players on both sides understood the NFL playoffs are only one postseason to consider. 

With the majority of fantasy league's playing their championship games, Ladell Betts and Steven Jackson both scored two touchdowns while Rams quarterback Marc Bulger threw four touchdown passes and racked up nearly 400 yards through the air.  "Sure, the Lombardi Trophy is a noble goal each season," Bulger nodded, "but knowing I may have helped Greg lock up bragging rights in the 'Tom Brady Magical JoCk$tRaP!!!!!!' league brings a sense of accomplishment all its own."

Cardinals 26, 49ers 20

Cheers echoed through the
Arizona locker room as the Cardinals celebrated their third win in their last four contests, this one eliminating San Francisco from playoff contention.  "Just call us the giant killers!" shouted coach Dennis Green.  "That was a Super Bowl contender out there and we beat them in their own house!  No matter what our record says, you can't take deny that!"

"What is he talking about?" denied Niners coach Mike Nolan.  "We may have been mathematically still in the chase for a postseason berth, but we're hardly Super Bowl contenders.  I mean, TV contracts require that the NFL provide six teams to play for the NFC title.  The fact we hadn't been eliminated sooner was more a reflection on
Seattle's ineptitude than our winning spirit.  But, y'know, if he thinks it'll help him keep his job by knocking off a playoff contender, then 'Damn, those Cardinals are so well coached!  It's angers me to no end to realize my team and the cornucopia of talent represented therein will not have our chance to compete on the big stage because we've been foiled by the brilliance of Denny Green!  Grrrr.'"


Jake Bell is a former NBC sportscaster and head writer for Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge.

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