Last week the Eagles who appeared to have quit on the season, showed some pride and finally found a reason to play as they rallied to stun the Buccaneers to end an eight game losing streak. The Eagles four wins have been by a combined six points and they should be in this one at home as the Bengals have no time to rally of a gut wrenching loss. The injuries to the wide receivers will make winning on the road on Thursday tough as Eagles QB Nick Foles continues to shine.
The Giants have looked like General Sherman when they have faced the NFC South this year, winning all three games including dropping 52 on the Saints last week. The Falcons are coming off a flat performance and with the division clinched don’t have a s much on the line, though they need to prove they can beat a top flight team. Too bad for them the Giants provide a bad match up as last years, Wild Card game will show. The Falcons defense will have problems with the suddenly forceful running of David Wilson and the passing of Eli Manning.
Things are not so charming in Baltimore these days as the Ravens are struggling. Their defense is banged up, though both Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs can return on Sunday, while their offense has been underachieving lading to the dismissal of Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron. This is clearly a panic move this late in the season, and that is not good as they face the red hot Denver Broncos, who are trying to secure a bye week in the playoffs for QB Peyton Manning. The Ravens need to turn things around fast if they want to win this one, and one week is not enough time.
This is the game that can decide how the NFC North is won as the Bears face the Packers for the second time. In recent years the Packers have done a number on the Bears, winning and its hard to imagine that changing this week as the Bears have been in a tail spin, losing four of their last five games. No Brian Urlacher will make things even harder as the Packers offense will be too tough for the Bears to contain, as the Packers win by two touchdowns.
Things could change if Robert Griffin III is unable to start but I think if the Redskins quarterback can walk he will be in there as suddenly the Redskins have gone from written of at 3-6 to the most dangerous team in the NFL at 7-6. The Browns have a winning streak too, but they have not done it against the greatest talent in the league. Either way back up Kurt Cousins played well and the Redskins defense has been terrific. In addition the Redskins running attack led by Alfred Morris.
On Monday the Texans were flat as the plains in the pan handle as they suffered a 42-14 loss to the Patriots. The South division is with in reach with a win, but they clear path to home field is now a minefield. At 9-4 the Colts are the biggest surprise in the NFL, though they have not fared well on the road, and two of their last three games are against the 11-2 Texans. With this game in Houston and the Texans needing a big bounce back win they will get a big performance on defense as J.J. Watt makes life hard for Andrew Luck, as Matt Schaub and Andrew Johnson have a big day on offense.
Nobody wants to have a bigger day on Sunday than Chad Henne who faces his former team for the first time on Sunday. After playing well in his first two starts, Henne has showed again why the Dolphins released him. The Dolphins meanwhile themselves would like to finish strong and win against the Sunshine State rivals from the North is almost necessary. Look for a big day for the Dolphins as the Jaguars defense is terrible as the Dolphins make their case as the NFL Florida Champs, winning a winter full of pride.
Both teams have seen their playoff hopes vanish in the last few weeks, as he focus has become finishing the season strong after losing their last three games. During the past week the Saints got some good news as the suspensions of Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma were vacated. This allows them to turn the page on bountygate and while this season is lost they can build for next year and needing a big game IO see Drew Brees tearing apart the Bucs secondary as the Saints get back on track at home.
Its hard to believe just a year ago Adrian Peterson was being carried off the field with a torn ACL, as the Vikings Running Back is putting together one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. Not only does he have a shot at 2,000 yards he has a chance to set the single season rushing record. The running of Peterson has got the Vikings back in the playoff picture, as they face a must win in St. Louis. The Rams have had miracle wins the last two weeks, but I think that trend ends here as Adrian Peterson has another big game to make his case for NFL MVP.
Thesaurus.com list 36 synonyms for the word awful, none of them quite can describe how bad the Cardinals performed in their 58-0 loss to the Seahawks last week. The good news as they return home they should be able to find the endzone at least once, the bad news another loss is in the cards, as the Lions needing to finish strong make life hard on John Skeleton or Ryan Lindley the horrible. Though maybe if the kid in the Cam Newton commercial gets his arm warmed the Cardinals could fair better.
It is well documented that the Seahawks are nearly impossible to beat at home, but on the road they have struggled. This week’s game is neither as the Bills play their annual “home” game in Toronto. The Bills do have a following in Eastern Canada, but the Seahawks are just as popular in the West. The Seahawks are also a much better team, and Marshawn Lynch who is having a monster season would love to stomp on his former team. Mark down another losing year for the Bills as the Seahawks continue to roll.
Both teams are coming surprising wins last week against potential playoffs teams as they look to build towards next year, with the likelihood of having new coaches. The feeling in San Diego is that the ship has sailed for Norv Turner, but there yet maybe hope for Ron Rivera in Carolina, and with Cam Newton looking strong as of late I see that hop existing at least another win as the Panthers earn a big win out west.
If Forrest Gump were to be released today, he would say Life is like the Steelers and the Cowboys you never know what team is going to show up. Both teams need to win to stay in the playoff hunt, the Cowboys are at home and that is not a good thing as they tend to play better away for Jerry’s World. I expect a bounce back from the Steelers as they benefit from Tony Romo throwing a patented interception when the game is on the line. In addition three times this year a team faced adversity and won in the face of personal loss and tragedy. The next game the Colts lost after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia and the Chiefs lost the week after Jovan Belcher’s murder/suicide.
At one time Raiders versus Chiefs was a match up that highlighted the weekend in pro football, but with each team in the midst of awful seasons, the only thing that is on the line is who not the worst team in the AFC West. Each team has already lost ten games, with the Raiders winning in Kansas City in Week 5, they have not won since. Lately the Raiders defense has been plucked apart, but that has been their secondary the Chiefs don’t have a quarterback capable of picking any one apart. Add the return of Darren McFadden and this game smells like a win for the Silver and Black.
For the second straight week the Patriots an elite team with a solid defense under the primetime lights in Foxboro. While I don’t see Tom Brady being able to pick apart the 49ers defense like he did with the Texans, I don’t trust Colin Kapernick in this situation. Its games like this that make a veteran quarterback important and why the benching of Alex Smith in the end will haunt Jim Harbaugh before the season as over as the Pats continue to roll.
It has been a forgettable regrettable season for both the Titans and Jets who face off in an unwatchable late season Monday Night game. The game is in Nashville and that should give an edge to the Titans, as the last time the Jets player under the lights in was comedy tonight. Expect more slapstick as the Titans get a big game from Chris Johnson, as Mark Sanchez has another nightmare on national TV.