This could be it for the Colts, as the Jaguars always give them problems, including a 14-12 close game in the opener in Indianapolis. The Colts already have home field locked up and more focused on the playoffs than perfection, while the Jaguars can not afford a loss in their pursuit of the wild card. It will be another close one, and this time the Colts will just fall short.
The Saints are just along for the ride, they don’t know how to win Super Bowls, or how to prepare for the playoffs, they just know they are undefeated and will not change anything. Though the last few games have been close on the road, they hold a big home field edge, and will be out to make a statement in primetime, and they are facing a Cowboys team that is gagging and in need of Dr. Heimlich.
No team has been a bigger disappointment then the Bears, as Jay Cutler has fans longing for Kyle Orton, as he continues to have issues with interceptions. Against a solid defense in the Ravens things could get ugly, as the Bears begin to contemplate the off-season, while the Ravens press for the playoffs led by the running of Ray Rice, who is starting to establish himself as one of the best backs in the league.
In the opener, if not for an ill-advised play by Leodis McElvin, who ran a kickoff out of the endzone the Bills should have won in Foxborough. At 1-5 the Patriots have been awful on the road and a re ripe for the pickens, (with Randy Moss sulking and the defense scuffling) even against a weaker team like the Bills, who would like nothing more then to hurt the Patriots playoff chances.
The Lions have two wins, and a book of stamps, as they have decided to mail the rest of the season in. Rookie QB Matt Stafford has looked good at times, but the injuries are catching up to him, while the Lions defense is just plain awful. Against a certified playoff team that is closing in on a division title, they have virtually no chance for a win.
The Chiefs are home they will win. The Browns already played their Super Bowl last week when they beat the Steelers. The winds of change are ready to blow through Cleveland with Mike Holmgren and the Browns talking about a potential job as football czar, which means Eric Mangini’s days are likely numbered.
The Falcons gave the Saints all they could handle last week, despite missing their two most important players on offense. With Matt Ryan and Michael Turner likely still on the sideline they will be had pressed to repeat that solid performance this week, as they face a Jets team with a solid defense, and battling for the playoffs on the road.
The 49ers kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a strong Monday Night win over the Cardinals. However, they will be hard-pressed to do it again this week, as they make the long trip to the east coast and have to play the early game off a short week. Even for the best teams, that is a tough preposition, especially when their opponent is a strong team like the Eagles that appears to be hitting its stride coming off a big win over the Giants.
At 6-7 the Texans are hanging on to the playoff ledge with their fingernails. A home win last week against the Seahawks at least gave them reason to still believe. Reason that will be bolstered simply by looking at the opponent this week, in the pathetic Rams. By the way what’s the deal with Rams QB Keith Null, did they pluck him out of the stands? The Rams are 1-12 and even that record is better then they played last week.
The Dolphins are a pesky team that at times is vulnerable to giving up the big play, or making the big mistake. However, somehow they just manage to find a way to win. Against the Titans it’s going to be tough yet again, but they are more vulnerable against the pass then the run, and should be able to prevent Chris Johnson from taking over the game, which will open the door for them to get another December win to stay in the hunt.
Bruce Gradkowski hurt both knees last week as the Raiders lost at home to the Redskins. The Raiders won’t go back to JaMarcus Russell as they have signed Charlie Frye from the UFL. The Broncos stingy pass defense is salivating. The Raiders may have trouble denting the scoreboard as they face a Broncos team looking to rebound off a tough loss to the Colts last week.
Last week the Bengals got exposed in Minnesota against a strong Vikings team that features a solid Running Back, a strong Defense and a top ranked Quarterback on the road. This week it’s déjà vu as they face the Chargers, who are also solid at all three positions. The Bengals are a worthy playoff team, but they are not ready to beat an elite team that is better than them on the road.
The Steelers in the past few weeks have lost to the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns. Oh MY!!! Without Troy Polamalu their defense has looked ordinary, and their running game is just stuck in neutral all season. The Packers come into Heinz Field on a roll and looking to get in to the playoffs. While the reigning Super Bowl champs are likely just playing out the string.
There is almost no further trip in the NFL than the long haul from sunny Tampa too gloomy Seattle. Neither team is a factor in the playoff chase, as the Seahawks had their hopes all but extinguished in an ugly loss to the Texans last week. The Buccaneers meanwhile are 1-12 and just hideous in every way. A long journey is one they don’t want and a loss is what will find them as the energy of the crowd will at least help push the Seahawks.
This is a NBC flex game, they could have chosen any game, like the match up of two division leaders in San Diego, but no they want to subject us to more slobbering over Brett Favre. The game won’t be competitive the Panthers stink. So the main line and focus of you betters is the over/under on times Favre is praised on air. I say a four hour game, and one hour pre-game show, and the number is 50 times. You could even make a drinking game out of it.
Despite their loss to the Eagles last week, the Giants still can get in the playoffs if they win the rest of their games, as they hold a tiebreaker over the Cowboys who have a much tougher schedule. With that in mind and facing a Redskins team they have owned they should be able to pull out a close one on Monday Night, as the Giants ability to make the big play will overwhelm the Redskins who always mange to make the costly mistake.