By now, every NFL fan has heard that the Metrodome roof has collapsed. As it turns out this is not the first time the roof has collapsed. Anyway, the Vikings will not be playing the Giants today or tomorrow in Minneapolis. I heard something on the NFL network which sounds plausible – they may will be able to play the game in Detroit. Fox news would be able to keep their crew in place and therefore they can cover the game and don’t lose revenue. Finally, the New York Giants, diverted from Minneapolis yesterday, are still in Kansas City. The Giants did not have any of their cold-weather gear because they thought they were playing indoors.
It is the last quarter of the season. Some of these games only matter to people who follow these individual teams – the fans. Cleveland versus Buffalo. Atlanta versus Carolina – if Atlanta does not win this by 21 they aren’t trying and should be kicked out of the NFL. Does John Fox keep his job? Green Bay versus Detroit – although Detroit is playing hard, this is a game Green Bay has to win. Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus Washington Redskins – Washington has nothing to play for. Tampa Bay has everything to play for. I look for the Redskins to play hard early. I’m gonna go against the odds and take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Pittsburgh Steelers will bounce back against the Bengals, who need to look for another quarterback.
Oakland Raiders versus Jacksonville Jaguars – this is probably the best game of the morning. I believe that the recent resurgence of the Raiders is a mirage. They ran for over 200 yards against the San Diego Chargers last week. They didn’t just beat the San Diego Chargers. They whipped them. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the best example of a team that is all over the place. Some weeks they’re great. Some weeks they’re awful. Against the New York Giants, they put their Jekyll and Hyde personality into one football game. The first half they played great. The second half they rolled over and looked just terrible. I’m going to give a slight edge to Jacksonville.
St. Louis Rams versus New Orleans Saints – I would describe the St. Louis Rams as a scrappy team. They seem to figure out a way to win, but they don’t seem to have a formula yet. On the other hand, the New Orleans Saints have been playing better. They seem to be getting healthier. Drew Brees seems to be really in a groove right now. I look for the Saints to win this game.
Seattle Seahawks versus the San Francisco 49ers – when you start making a list of the teams which we’re disappointed in, the 49ers have to be on that list. I am a little surprised at how well Troy Smith has played. I’m giving an edge in this game to the 49ers.
Denver Broncos versus Arizona Cardinals – seriously? Can they call this game off because nobody is interested?
New England Patriots versus Chicago Bears – this is one of the marquee games of the day. Have you seen the weather report? It started snowing early this morning. It is 27° and that’s right now. The game is not going to be played for another four hours and we’re expecting snow and fog. The game conditions are going to be awful. Can the Patriots run the ball enough to win? I don’t think so. With the field in such an awful and only going to deteriorate, I’m going to give a slight edge to the Chicago Bears. By the way, I must mention that I have really not been that impressed the Bears all year. They have been playing much better on defense. It is their offense that I have a question about. Jay Cutler just seems to always be in another dimension. He seems to have this dumb look on his face. Yet, over the last several weeks, he has not been a turnover machine. If he can limit turnovers to zero, the Bears will win. (I know the smart money is on New England but I think the weather changes that calculus.)
Miami Dolphins versus New York Jets – Miami is missing something. They’re like one of those chilies that you taste in one of those chili cookoffs that is just missing something. It isn’t bad. Unfortunately, it isn’t good. It needs something. In my mind, Miami needs a consistent quarterback. Chad Henne has shown flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately, they’ve only been flashes. He has thrown a ton of interceptions this year. Mark Sanchez, on the other hand, has not made the maturity leap that everyone was hoping for. (I dropped him from my fantasy team a couple weeks ago but it still didn’t save my fantasy season.) He simply isn’t putting the ball where his receivers can do something with it. I know his receivers have been dropping some balls but he has to continue to improve. What happened to the Jets defense? They were extremely exposed against the New England Patriots. They got spanked. I look for the New York Jets to bounce back. This is going to be a tough game but I think the Jets will pull it out in the second half.
Kansas City Chiefs versus San Diego Chargers – San Diego? What the hell? Everybody expected you to pound the Oakland Raiders into submission. Even when the Raiders jumped out to an early lead, we thought that Philip Rivers would pull out some magic. He pulled out nothing. Kansas City is the best running offense in the NFL. (Jamaal Charles just got a nice contract upgrade. He is plenty worth it.) San Diego proved that their one defense was suspect. Unfortunately for the Kansas City Chiefs, Matt Cassel will not play. This is a huge blow. He was taking good care the football. Because of this, I’m given the edge to the wounded San Diego Chargers.
Philadelphia Eagles versus the Dallas Cowboys – I’ve been thinking about this game all week. How to the Cowboys contain Michael Vick? Can the Dallas Cowboys simply squeeze the pocket so that Michael Vick has no place to go? I don’t think so. We’ve seen that the Dallas Cowboys defense has been subject to the deep play all year. Reggie Wayne torched the Cowboys for over 200 yards last week. If the Cowboys can weather the first quarter, they should be able to stay in the game. The Cowboys have to jump out to an early lead. The Eagles do not play well behind. I just don’t think that the Cowboys can do it. As a Cowboy fan, I hate to say it… I’m giving a slight edge in this game to the Eagles.
Baltimore Ravens versus Houston Texans – just a few weeks ago we were talking about the Baltimore Ravens as being one of the best teams in the NFL. Where is their bruising running game? They have to get back to running the football and running it effectively. On the other side of the ball, I don’t know what the deal is with the Houston Texans. They have a solid quarterback and an outstanding running back. They have one of the best receivers in the league in Andre Johnson. This game will be close. I think the Houston secondary is vulnerable. I think the Baltimore Ravens will bounce back and play the kind of hard-nosed winning football that we all expect.