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Playoff bids, big bets change hands

A Week 17 schedule that shaped up as potentially explosive on paper surpassed all expectations. Thirteen of the 16 games had playoff implications. From Chicago to San Diego to Dallas, it was as great as it gets.

QB circus adds to eventful Week 17

In no way is Aaron Rodgers a clown, but when the Green Bay Packers quarterback was trotted out to meet with the media Thursday, circus music should have been playing in the background.

Improved Cardinals armed to cover, but playoffs unlikely

It’s not easy to change a person with a losing attitude, and the same goes for turning around a terrible team. With that thought in mind, what coach Bruce Arians is doing in Arizona is just short of amazing.

Flawed Cowboys tough to back

At this point, there’s not much left to like about the Dallas Cowboys, who are riding a broken-down donkey of a coach and following a quarterback, Tony Romo, who can’t shoot straight under pressure.

Win-total propositions in NFL rife with pitfalls

A sense of impending doom surrounded the Chicago Bears when Jay Cutler, who might or might not be the franchise’s future quarterback, limped off the field with a groin injury. With Cutler, it often appears to be loser’s limp, but this injury was legit.

Sharps rewarded for backing Dolphins

Even when the odds are against Tom Brady, we expect him to succeed. He captains comebacks like no other quarterback in the NFL. So we expect him to succeed especially when the odds are against him.

Shanahan’s calculated QB move helps himself, Redskins

On and off the field, the Washington Redskins are a mess. Full responsibility for that falls on the narrow shoulders of coach Mike Shanahan, a manipulator not to be taken at face value.

Bowl contests offering high rewards at low risk

In the final football game of the year, Johnny Manziel will quarterback what is almost certain to be the last game of his college career when he leads Texas A&M against Duke. He’s going out with a bang, in a way.

It was ‘wacky Sunday,’ if you catch my drift

It was not quite a blizzard, but it was bizarre. A thick white blanket covered the field in Philadelphia, and in elements better suited for a sled dog race in Alaska, LeSean McCoy seemed to run from Anchorage to Nome.

Incentive, health should give host 49ers edge over Seattle

It will be a cold day in hell — also known as New Jersey — when a team shows up and beats the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. That’s the common narrative this week.

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