Some thoughts from the week that was week 12:
* Two games lived up to their expectations, and more:
Green Bay v. Atlanta - that was a thrilling, action-packed match between two of, arguably, the best teams in the NFC. The Falcons won 20-17 thanks to a facemask call by the Pack on Special teams which set up the 30+ yard winning field goal. Two things stood out to me: 1. Matt Ryan won not with his arm, but by managing the game, and running Michael Turner down Green Bay's throat for a majority of the game. 2. As great as Aaron Rodgers played, he's doing the heavy lifting all on his own since Ryan Grant went on injured reserve early in the season. Without something that resembles a running game, the Pack won't get far in the playoffs.
San Francisco v. Arizona - If the Packers-Falcons was the Game of the Week, the 49ers-Cardinals was byfar the worst. In this corner: the Niners. The team that has gone through two Offensive Coordinators, three QB's, and picked to win the NFC West, started the season 0-5, even losing to the hapless Carolina Panthers, and got blown out by the Bucks at home 21-0, the first time in 33 years. In the other: the Cardinals. A team that was in Super Bowl XLII and almost pulled off a huge upset against the Steelers, but lost 27-23. The same team that put on one of the best Wild-Card Weekend games in postseason history vs. the Packers, before bowing out to the Saints in the next round. In short: without Kurt Warner, they're an awful team with no consistency at the QB position, no passing game despite having Larry Fitzgerald, no running game, and a defense that can't stop the run. The Niners kept they playoff hopes alive by embarrassing Arizona 27-6, now at 4-7, they're a game behind Seattle and St. Louis who are both 5-6. Jon Gruden said that if the winner from the NFC Worst finished 7-9 and win the division, that team has no business being in the playoffs, which, for the sake of the NFC Worst, doesn't happen, for it would be a shame that a team under .500 wins the division and makes the postseason, while a team out in the NFC South, North, or East finishes with a 10-6 record and has to wait 'til next year.
* Speaking of embarrassing, I don't know what was more pathetic: Derek Anderson's performance vs. San Fran, of the way he snapped at the press when the cameras caught him laughing with a teammate during the blowout.
Anderson's meltdown with the press wasn't as memorable as when He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named of the Chargers exploded towards the local press, or the infamous "They are who we thought they were!", but these two have one similarity: we've never heard from these people again. Anderson's on that fast-track to NFL has-been glory.
* The Titans may have been blanked by the Texans 20-0 - and out of the playoff picture realistically, but the story is the brawl between CB Cortland Finnegan, perceived to be the dirtiest player in the game, and WR Andre Johnson, and how Johnson kicked his ass.