The Lions are 2-8 and set for another bad record that will get them a high draft pick, but overall they have had their moments and have played competitive football all season especially at home. Hosting the Patriots on Thanksgiving I expect the Lions to once again have a chance to win the game late. However, in the end it will be too much Brady as Lions fans will have one or two plays to pick apart as being the difference.
The Cowboys have showed up at last, winning their first two games under interim Coach Jason Garrett. Of course at 3-7 it’s likely too little too late. The Saints meanwhile are starting to get hot, as Drew Brees after a mediocre first half is looking like a MVP again. Last year it was the Cowboys who ended the Saints quest for a perfect season, this year they get a measure of revenge by driving the last nail in the Cowboys coffin.
Last week the Bengals season unraveled as they jumped out to a 28-7 lead over the lowly Bills, only to lose 49-28; getting outscored 31-0 in the second half. The Jets meanwhile had their third straight thrilling victory. The Jets could not be higher and they stay high as this week they will have the win wrapped up early as the Bengals who appear to have quit on the season will give a minimal effort on Thanksgiving night.
This should be a good one, as two of the top teams in the NFC meet in the Georgia Dome. The last two games the Packers played they received little resistance as they faced teams who quit on their coaches resulting in easy wins and firings. The Falcons seem to like Mike White and are doing well at 8-2 plus they are 5-0 at home. Look for a nail bitter, all the way but in the end the better balanced Falcons will win.
The Bills exploded for 31 unanswered against the Bengals. For all it is worth Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well in Buffalo. However, that likely won’t help him against the Steelers defense which is still one of the best in the league. Meanwhile the Steelers offense is starting to find a grove, this one could get ugly fast.
Like two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, the Panthers wish QB Jake Delhomme was here. Delhomme who was the starter in Carolina was let go following a interception plagued season last year. Instead they will be watching helplessly as Delhomme leads the Browns to an easy win, as the Panthers Brian “Mr. Mom” St. Pierre continues to struggle under center.
The last two weeks the Texans have had their heart ripped from their chest with excruciating last second losses. Their season is on life support as they need a win desperately. The Titans may be an even bigger mess as they have to QB age issues. Their starter Vince Young acted like a 2 year old, their back up Kerry Collins has the body of a 50 year old and Rusty Smith their likely starter Sunday looks like he is 12. Even the Texans porous secondary can stop a 12 year old.
I don’t know how they do it, but some how the Jaguars have managed to win several close games and actually lead the AFC South. Quarterback David Garrard has played well most of the season, and they have found a way to win games late. This week in the Meadowlands they face a Giants team who can’t afford a third straight loss. Look for the Giants defense to step up and have a big game as they harass Garrard all day and force the big game changing mistake.
Brad Childress is gone and the Vikings are still a mess in his wake. Interim Coach Leslie Frazier should have the support of his players, but the issue of Brett Favre will continue to be a giant anchor until the streak is over, especially when they are facing Donovan McNabb who could be in purple in 2011.
Heading into this year the Dolphins offensive line was team strength. However, decimated by injuries their line now resembles Swiss cheese. With their running game unable to get started and a third string QB on the road it will be a tall order expecting them to win anywhere, let alone against the Raiders needing to rebound off a bad loss to the Steelers last week.
Welcome to the mild mild West. These two teams would hardly be considered Super Bowl contenders yet they lead their divisions. They have another thing in common each is strong at home, and weak on the road. With the 12th man in toe it is the Seahawks who have the advantage as the Chiefs road woes continue.
At 7-3, the Buccaneers are one of the biggest surprises in the NFL. Once more they have played well on the road at 4-1. One of the reasons behind their solid play is second year QB Josh Freeman, who is perhaps the most improved player in the NFL this season. That being said, they have struggled against the NFL’s elite as all three losses have been against certified Super Bowl contender. The Ravens are also one of the premiere teams in the league and will present a major obstacle for the young Bucs.
The Bears defense is starting to establish themselves as one of the best in the NFL as they are coming off a 16-0 whitewashing in Miami. The Eagles are the current flavor of the week, with the play of Michael Vick bringing up MVP talk. The Bears like to attack the quarterback, and in the past Vick has had his trouble getting away from Brian Urlacher, who will have a big day as the Bears win a physical game.
The Rams have showed improvement coming off a 1-15 nightmare season last year. One of the primary reasons is the play of QB Sam Bradford who has showed the poise of a veteran at times. However, the number one overall pick and the Rams have yet to win away from St. Louis. Usually you would not think Denver would be the place for a first road win, but the Broncos on a short week are not a very good team, and I expect Bradford to use the same holes Phillip Rivers exposed on Monday.
Some teams just have other team’s numbers, and the Chargers just have a way of frustrating Peyton Manning and the Colts. In their last five meetings the Chargers have won, including twice in the playoffs. With the Colts far from 100% and the Chargers finding their grove, I can see that trend continuing despite the game being played in primetime where Peyton Manning hardly ever loses.
Poor ESPN, they have had some stinkers on Monday Night lately. This is another as two 3-7 teams face off in an elimination game. The fact both teams have a chance is only symbolic how terrible the NFC West is, the game is in San Francisco and the 49ers have showed some signs of life recently. While the road weary Cardinals are wishing that Kurt Warner never retired.