With four straight losses the Steelers season is on the brink of being over, as they have sorely missed Troy Polamalu. They may need to be without their all-pro safety the rest of the season, but they have a chance to get a little healthier this week as they face the putrid Browns on Thursday Night. No matter how poorly the Steelers are playing they can’t and won’t lose to the Browns.
This could have been a game the Saints would have lost if the Falcons had all their pieces in place. However, with Matt Ryan out again with an injure toe, and Michael Turner fighting an ankle injury the Falcons have gone from playoff contenders to playoff watchers, as there Greek tragedy history of not being able to put up consecutive winning season looks doomed to continue.
After starting 3-0 the Ravens have struggled, and sit at 6-6, with their season on the brink coming off a Monday Night loss to the Packers. This week they should be able to get back on track somewhat as the face the Lions, who are one of those punching bag teams that provide easy wins. Look for the Ravens to have no issues take advantage of their scheduling break.
At 5-7 the playoffs are an afterthought for the Bears, who entered the season with high expectations after acquiring Jay Cutler. The Packers, meanwhile with four straight wins, are looking good as the season enters the stretch drive. Nothing would make Bears fans feel a little better then creating a huge pothole for the Packers playoff drive, which they will do this week as they get a home win over their hated rivals.
The Texans are nothing less then a major disappointment as they entered the season with playoff dreams, only to see it come undone with a four game losing streak after a solid 5-3 start. The Seahawks themselves have also struggled all season, and need allot of breaks to make the playoffs. The Texans have the talent and will finally find away to win a game.
When these two horses meet, it turns into a secretariat style beat down as the Broncos have not been able to solve Peyton Manning. The Broncos secondary is better with players like Brian Dawkins, but when one team usually hammers another there are more reasons and it will continue as the Colts gallop to 13-0.
The Jaguars are team that has been hard to fathom all season, as they have been widely inconsistent, yet they sit at 7-5 and would make the playoffs. The Dolphins after a 0-3 are just one game back with a door slightly open to them if they can win in Jacksonville. The fighting sprit of the Dolphins enables them to keep fighting as they win another close one to complete a Sunshine State sweep.
Finding reasons to be interested this game are tough even for the most die hard Bills and Chiefs fans as both teams are going nowhere. The Chiefs hit rock bottom last season and are slowly putting the pieces back together, while the Bills are looking at an abandoned building that is about to be about to be imploded for a rebuilding project with a whole new administration to build the team.
This could be a very good game as two division leaders meet with each side hoping just to improve their positioning in the playoffs. The Vikings coming off a bad loss on the road are hoping to get back on track, while the Bengals are hoping to prove themselves against one of the league’s top teams. The edge could come to the Metrodome crowd which will help lift the Vikings to victory.
Home is where the wins are for the Patriots this year, as the team that has looked like the horrible patsies of the past on the road at 1-5, has looked like the Super Bowl Pats on the 2000s in Foxboro at 6-0. Coming to Gillette Stadium off two losses the Patriots will look to make a big statement as they take out their frustrations against the Panthers who are in the midst of a disappointing season.
There is a peculiar annoyance in the Jets history, that they find ways to lose games to some of the league’s worst teams ending their playoff chances. At 6-6 the Jets stand on the edge a few wins, could bring the postseason, while one bad loss and it’s all over but the crying. Enter the 1-11 Bucs; like a deer caught in the headlights of a speeding train you can see it coming a mile away that the Jets hopes about to be crushed, especially with QB Mark Sanchez on the bench.
Both teams experienced drama last week, with the Raiders stunning the Steelers on the road, while the Redskins had the souls crushed and stepped on with an overtime loss to the Saints, as Shaun Suisham missed a 23-yard Field Goal that would have sealed victory in the final two minutes. The Raiders turnaround has come with QB Bruce Gadkowski who will have no problem beating the Redskins who just can’t wait for this year to end.
The Titans saw their five game winning streak come to an end last week as they faced the Colts in Indianapolis. This week back home they get back to their winning ways as they host the Rams. Look for Chris Johnson to make a big step towards his 2000 season goal as he should be able to up and down the field against the 1-11 laughing stocks.
With their loss last week against the Giants, the Cowboys are suddenly starting to notice the temperature rising as talks about another December collapse are the 900lb Gorilla in the room. Against the Chargers those talks will get much louder if the Cowboys suffer another loss, and the way both teams have played in the last week it don’t look to good for Dallas.
This is the Giants last stand. A win over the Cowboys last week got them back in the playoff and NFC East mix, but a loss against the Eagles will be backbreaking. Even in their win last week the Giants provide plenty to fret about. Unfortunately with the Eagles coming in the Giants defense still looks beatable and that will be their undoing as the Eagles soar on Sunday Night.
The Cardinals have been road warriors this season, losing just one game away from their desert home, and that one loss was a last second heartbreaker in Tennessee. Against the 49ers they can all but seal the NFC West with a win on Monday Night, and after their beat down of the Vikings last week is there any doubt they can do it.