A few years ago, the Browns on a Thursday Night put forth a super defensive effort and upset the Steelers. Playing again on a Thursday, these old rivals are in for another defensive head knocker. This game could take on a look of the Steelers win over the Chiefs two weeks ago. The Browns defense could make the Steelers offense look ordinary, but they don’t have the offense to win.
Last week QB Dan Orlovsky had a strong game as the Colts made it look close with some Touchdowns in garbage time against the Patriots. There may be more garbage time this week as the Ravens should be able to build a big lead at home. Only the Ravens defense has too much pride to give up scores in garbage time. At least the Colts misery is almost over there are only three games left after this one.
The Falcons may be 7-5, but all season they have not played sharp at all. Quarterback Matt Ryan has look ordinary at times, and Michael Turner is not having a season to write home about. The Panthers have won two in a row and at home I can see them relishing the chance to ruin the season of a division rival. Look for a big day from Cam Newton, who celebrates the anniversary of winning the Heisman, with third straight win.
The Bengals against the tough part of their schedule have lost three of their last four. Things don’t get any easier this week as they host the Texans. At 9-3, the Texans can secure ten wins for the first time in team history thanks to an inspired defensive performance last week. If the Bengals are to stay in the race they need this one bad. Look for the Bengals defense to make life miserable for T.J. Yates as they keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Lions will be without Ndamukong Suh again as he serves the second game of his two game suspension. The Lions can’t afford a loss here as they face the Vikings at home. The health of Adrian Peterson remains a question in Minnesota as young QB Christian Ponder struggles. The crowd in Detroit should be intimidating; the Lions just need to avoid the stupid penalties and it should be an easy win.
There has been more clouds than sunshine for these two struggling teams playing Florida bragging rights. The Jaguars are coming off a short week, while the Bucs need QB Josh Freedman to comeback and be healthy ton win consistantly. Both team have solid running backs who can make big plays, and defenses that have disappointed. The Bucs seem to have more talent, as Jaguars rookie QB Blaine Gabbert looks lost on the NFL field.
It’s a tale of two teams that are 4-8, one entered the season with Super Bowl dreams the other knew it was going to be a long season. One started 0-7, but has been inspired since the other has underachieved all season. One team looks like they want to throw their coach under the bus, the other looks like they want to save his job. If this trend continues it will be the Dolphins who come away with a win on Sunday as the Eagles continue to go through the motions.
The Chiefs only Touchdown with Tyler Palko was an absolute fluke of a play. They had hoped to have Kyle Orton ready, but on his one play he injured his hand. The Jets need to win just about every game to insure they will get into the playoffs again; this is one they should win with one hand tied behind their back. I can see the Jets secondary having a field day as they have a good shot at pitching a shutout.
At 7-5 the Titans are in the hunt, the Wild Card Hunt and even the AFC South hunt. Helping the Titans recent rise into the hunt is the play of Chris Johnson, who after struggle through the first ten games, is looking like the best back in the league. The Saints have been known to struggle on the road, and with Johnson leading the way I see the Titans coming away with a big win on Sunday.
The Patriots gave up a lot of points last week to Dan Orlovsky in garbage time, as their defense continues to look shaky despite their high powered offense. The Redskins defense is decent, but their offense is so bad its hard to see them staying in this game very long, especially with Rex Grossman’s penchant to throw the costly interception, add the suspension of leading receiver Fred Davis and the Redskins chances go from slim to none.
The Cardinals have played well as of late, winning four of their last five games. The return of Kevin Kolb has helped, although back up John Skelton has played well. At 10-2 the 49ers have clinched the division, but they still want to get that playoff bye. However, without defensive leader Patrick Willis who will miss time with a hamstring injury that may be easier said than done. The first test in the desert is made for a loss, look for the Cardinals to take advantage and continue their strong play as they build for next year.
The Broncos were 1-4 before Tim Tebow, and are now 7-5 tied for first place. Say what you want about Tebow, but he finds a way to win. It may not be pretty but he gets the job done. Tebow is coming off perhaps his best game last week, though playing a tough Bears defense I see the magic continuing as the Bears without Matt Forte and Jay Cutler might as well start their hibernation.
How is anybody going to stop the Packers? Quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be having the best season ever for a NFL QB as the Packers can smell 16-0. What makes it more amazing is how Rodgers does it, by hitting different receivers every day. The Raiders coming off a horrible loss in Miami will begin to see their season slip away with a loss. Problem is they should have won last week because they are just too overmatched like they were in Super Bowl II.
Heading into last week both teams were in critical condition with long losing streaks. The Bills continued to flat line, while the Chargers showed a pulse. December comebacks are not new for the Chargers; in fact it’s become an almost annual right. The Bills meanwhile are bad on the road, and look like a team that has lost all confidence. Look for their struggles to continue as the Chargers awake and see they still have a slight chance with a second straight win.
This is it for the Giants, who are seeing their season slip sliding away for a third straight year. The Cowboys should have won last week if not for woeful clock management, a win here and they can almost cruise the rest of the way. It won’t be easy as the Giants always keep it close, but in the end the weakened secondary, the loss of Osi Umenyiora and the lack of a consistent running game will be too much for Eli and the rest of Big Blue to overcome.
I wish Howard Cossell could have lived and done Monday Night Football forever. If he were alive and in the booth with Jon Gruden and Jaws he would say to the audience, to turn off their TVs because this game is not worth watching. I bet ESPN wishes they could flex away this one. The Seahawks have not played that bad as of late, while the Rams have a book of stamps and will just mail it in the rest of the way.