, Gloucester, MA

December 9, 2012

Crunch Time

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Controlling their own destiny

The Patriots received a huge break on Sunday with the Baltimore Ravens losing to the Washington Redskins 31-28 in overtime.

With the loss Baltimore falls to 9-4 on the season and the Patriots now control their own destiny for a first round bye in the AFC playoffs. Simply put, if the Patriots win out they get a first round bye, which could be the difference in the team making the Super Bowl or not.

Currently the Broncos have a 10-3 record and are now a game above the Ravens. If the three teams finish tied at the end of the regular season the Patriots win the tie breaker. The Patriots also hold the tie breaker over the Broncos having beat them in the regular season, but do not hold the tie breaker over the Ravens, who beat the Patriots in week 3.

Jets in the mix

Speaking of catching a huge break, the New York Jets, despite being a horrible football team, are somehow right back in the AFC Playoff race. The Jets beat the hapless Jaguars 17-10 on Sunday improving to 6-7, just one game behind the Steelers and Bengals, who were upset by the Chargers and Cowboys respectively.

Seeing the Jets in the playoffs would be miraculous, considering how bad they are, but it would also be a bad thing for the league seeing a team that is clearly inferior to more than half of the league in the postseason.

The Jets, however, have an easy schedule over the final three weeks of the regular season playing the Titans, Chargers and Bills, all teams with records below .500.

Given the Jets track record this season, they will find a way to mess up this golden opportunity.

Incredible Comeback

No offense to Peyton Manning, who has had an outstanding comeback season for the Broncos, but Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has to be the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.

Sure Peterson played the entire season in 2012, but he tore his acl in week 16 of the season. History shows that no running back comes back from an acl tear at any point in the previous season and produces the next, but Peterson has done just that.

The Vikings running back is on pace for a 2,000 yard season as he has run for 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year, with three games to go.

What Peterson has done this year is remarkable, even more remarkable than what Manning has done in Denver.

-Compiled by Nick Curcuru