What a difference a week can make. In one of my columns last week, I went over the NFL playoff picture. I noted how the Green Bay Packers were fighting for the division crown and the New Orleans Saints were a long shot to make the playoffs. Both teams were 5-5 at the time, but the Packers were in a weaker division and fighting for the title, and the Saints were pulling up the rear of a much tougher division.
Well, last night the two teams faced off in a Monday Night matchup. The results were not pretty for the Pack and the ending could have serious implications on the playoff race with just five weeks remaining in the NFL regular season.
The Saints kicked a field goal with two seconds remaining before the half to pull ahead 24-21 in a game that had seesawed back and forth for most of the first two quarters. However, in the third quarter it all fell apart for the Pack. The Saints scored three straight touchdowns, including one on a 70-yard pass from Drew Brees to Marques Colston that put them up 45-21. The final score was an embarrassing 51-29.
The Saints racked up 416 yards on 54 plays. That works out to a stunning 7.7 yards per play. Green Bay's defense did not do anything to help its cause this week and was clearly disappointed in its performance after the game. On the other sideline, the Saints delivered a whooping. It could give the team added confidence, which it will need to make a run for the playoffs.
Now, how did this game impact the playoff picture? Green Bay went from a first-place tie with the Vikings and Bears to third place at 6-5, below .500 with an uphill battle and two division rivals to leapfrog if they want to see the second season. With the Saints two games off the division lead and in last place in their division, it looks like their best hope at a playoff berth is the wild card.
Not factoring in tiebreakers since those scenarios can get really wacky depending on the number of teams involved, it looks like right now the mark is 7-4 that will grab the last wildcard spot. At 6-5, the Saints are one game off that pace. Yes, they have an uphill battle ahead. The Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons all are 7-4. On top of that, Minnesota and Chicago are both tied for the NFC North division at 6-5, putting on in the playoffs and the other in the wildcard hunt. There is a thick pack ahead of the Saints, but boosted by a high-powered offense, some more wins, and a little bit of luck, they could get right back into the picture.
My how a week can make a difference. When dealing with a pick, sometimes a day or an hour can make a difference.
Research In Motion
is a great company and makes great products. The new BlackBerry is amazing, and I know loyal customers will buy the new one -- they are addicted to their BlackBerries for both work and pleasure. So, while many people may be cutting back on spending this holiday season, I suggest you open up your wallets for some shares of RIMM.
The stock is trading at an absolute bargain. It's fallen more than 9% today and recently traded around $41. The stock has lost almost 60% in the last year and is trading right near its 52-week low. But -- like I said -- in the long run, this is a good company with good products, and once we get past this immediate pain in the market, this stock should rise, and the price it's trading at today will be only a dream.
Some other reasons I like this company: It has a return on equity of almost 44%, it has solid revenue at $8.38 billion and $1.55 billion in cash. Its PEG ratio is only 0.35, while its forward price-to-earnings ratio is 9.13, which is very low and shows me Wall Street's confidence in lacking in this company. That's good news for me because it allows me to pick up RIMM on the cheap.
Keep moving the chains.
At the time of publication, Brown had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.
Tim Brown played 16 seasons in the NFL, where he made nine Pro Bowls. After a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004, Brown retired as an Oakland Raider. He was a Heisman Trophy winner in college for Notre Dame.