There is talk that the Saints coach Payton is a strong contender for the 49ers job and he is interested. Chip Kelly seems unlikely.
I think Payton would be a good choice, about as good as the team could hope to get, but I’m surprised he would be interested, given how dysfunctional the ownership is. They dumped Harbaugh after he completely turned the team around and just missed winning a SB, lost Adam Gase because they demanded he keep Tomsula as DC, lost Fangio when they promoted Tomsula over him, then fired Tomsula after only one season. Tomsula never made any sense, but why choose someone if you’re not going to give him more than one year? In fact, the team was devastated by injuries and retirements, and I doubt Harbaugh himself could have made it a contender. He might have kept Kaep from going down in flames, though.
The best opening for a HC is probably NYG, now it's official that Coughlin has taken himself out. If I were a potential candidate, I’d steer clear of SF, Cleveland and Philly. SD might be promising, if they let go of McCoy. Indy would be tantalizing with Luck there, but as one writer put it, their owner is the NFL equivalent of the Affluenza kid.
Alpe d'Huez said:
The funny thing about the Jets, is that they just about had the game won. The last three drives when they needed only a FG, Fitzpatrick threw three picks. Including one in the end zone that was awful. Twice they lost to the Bills this season, by identical scores.
In fairness to Fitzpatrick, only the first pick was a bad pass (and even then it took a good defensive play; had the pick happened earlier in the game, and not in the EZ, people wouldn’t have made that much of it). The second pick, as I heard it, happened when he got hit just as he was releasing the ball, so not his fault that the pass was thus underthrown. And the third pick was I think the last play of the game, when any risk is worth forcing the ball into heavy coverage if that’s the only play you have.
Anyway, I was glad to see the Steelers make it to the postseason, I think they have a better chance of knocking off NE than the Jets, even if the latter just did so a couple of weeks ago. But the other teams got a big break with Pittsburgh playing Cincy. One of two major contenders is not going to get past the WC game.
I still like Carolina, if I were betting I'd put money on them.
Yeah, if I had to bet, I’d take Carolina to go all the way. When a team has gone undefeated for a long time, then loses near the end of the season, the trendy thing is to pass on them and move on to some hotter team. But Carolina’s record speaks for itself—consistently good play all year. Even that loss to Atlanta was to team that had underachieved most of the season. The only cautionary note is that Carolina’s opposition was pretty weak. I think Hitch pointed out that the Steelers had the toughest schedule, played and beat a lot of the other playoff teams, that’s something to keep in mind. But if Carolina loses, bank on it’s being a close, hard fought game.
One of the more interesting stories this season was that six teams started out unbeaten through five or more games. Except for CAR, all of them faded pretty badly.
AT: started 5-0, finished 3-8
GB: started 6-0, finished 4-6
DE: started 7-0, finished 5-4
CI: started 8-0, finished 4-4
NE: started 10-0, finished 2-4
CA: started 14-0, finished 1-1