After wrestling with the possibilities, tanking the Tennessee game looks like the best option. The reasons: 1. Baltimore is the best team in the NFL. They have a tough, playoff savvy QB immune to pressure, the dogs of hell on D, and among the best WR/WR/TE combos in the league (Mason/Clayton/Heap). The O-line has allowed 1 sack in the last 5 games, the coaches are decent game planners. The pressure they bring on the edges with Suggs and Pryce and via the blitz, and the above average man to man coverage they can apply, are exactly the weak points of the Pats O. The Pats on short rest facing a veteran Ravens' squad after a bye week is the worst possible matchup for the home town heroes and must be avoided at all cost in the 2nd rd. Since SD will almost certainly beat Arizona in week 17 and clinch the #1 seed, take your chances with SD, and hope to face the Ravens team in the AFCCG, after their veteran players have spent some pent up energy against their first foe. The footing would be more equal. 2. SD can be had. While an extra week of rest will help the veterans on the Ravens, it may hurt the young players on SD, Philip Rivers specifically. Rivers is an almost bizarrely emotional guy, so frenetic and agitated at times that he becomes his own worst enemy. The extra week of build-up may cause him to come out throwing inaccurately due to emotion, overprepared and too psyched to control himself. A little early adversity could sink him for most of the game, although he has alot of heart and could still gather himself late. While Merriman and Phillips are great P-rushers, the secondary is sub-par coverage wise and Brady should be able to move the ball with a quick passing attack. No one says it will be easy, but SD is the better option in rd 2. 3. The team could use the rest. Some of the veterans, Brady in particular, seem emotionally drained after the roller coaster events, inconsistency and accompanying scrutiny of this season. A week off to gather and refocus may be a god send. 4. The first rd opponent is irrelevant. Whether Denver, the Jets or Cinci, the Pats will DESTROY any of them. It won't even be close. Revenge will be on their minds, they will have the emotional, physical and home-field edge and will take whomever they face out to the wood-shed. So, play the Titan game like the Dolphin week 17 game last year. Give Cassel a chance knock the rust off and BRady a chance to recuperate.