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NFL Week 16: Thoughts and Predictions

For the last 20 years, the NFL has worked as hard as they possibly could to make sure that it would be difficult for you to turn off your television set. If you like football, this is going to be a great football weekend. I can’t remember whether 15 or 16 teams are still in the playoff hunt. Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles all have an opportunity to make the postseason. At some point during the season, every single one of these teams has been written off. Although parity has brought us this very highly competitive football, it has, in my opinion, also elevated the importance of the quarterback. Now, more than ever, you need a quarterback who can make plays from the pocket.

Reggie Wayne

Congratulations to Indianapolis for winning their second game and probably saving their head coach’s job at least for another season. The Houston Texans proved, once again, that you need a competent quarterback to take you down the stretch.

Cleveland Browns versus Baltimore Ravens – if Baltimore really is serious about winning the AFC, they have to take care of business against the Cleveland Browns. I look for Baltimore to win this one handily.

Denver Broncos versus Buffalo Bills – Buffalo has been decimated by injuries. Buffalo also needs one or two more surehanded receivers. They desperately need their All-Pro running back, who is hurt. A little bit of air has been taken out of the Tim Tebow balloon after their loss to the New England Patriots. As I was looking at a lot of passing stats, one thing jumped out at me – Tim Tebow’s completion percentage. 48.6%, the worst in the league. He has a quarterback rating of 83.6, which isn’t bad. He needs to be more accurate if he wants to keep that starting quarterback position. The Buffalo Bills are not that good against the run. The Denver Broncos are not that good against the pass. I’m going to lean slightly towards the Buffalo Bills.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus Carolina Panthers – Carolina

Oakland Raiders versus Kansas City Chiefs – Kansas City’s defense has been playing much better the last two weeks. The Oakland Raiders have been floundering. I guess if you lose your starting running back and your starting quarterback, you’re in trouble (ask the Chicago Bears). I’m leaning towards Kansas City.

Arizona Cardinals versus Cincinnati Bengals – Where is all the hype that should be surrounding John Skelton? If Tim Tebow gets hype for fourth-quarter comebacks, how come Jon Skelton isn’t getting his due? He has won five of the last six games he has played with huge comebacks. Both of these teams have an opportunity to go to the playoffs. I look for the Cincinnati Bengals to pound Arizona Cardinals into submission. (Larry Fitzgerald proves week after week that he is still one of the best receivers in the NFL.)

Miami Dolphins versus New England Patriots – I know that Reggie Bush has started running the ball like we thought he would five years ago when he came into the league. He is running hard. Matt Morris is playing fairly well as a starting quarterback for the Dolphins. It is December, though, and Tom Brady will find a way to win.

New York Giants versus New York Jets – This is clearly the game of the week. It may be the game of the month or the game of the year. The loser of this game is out of the playoffs. The winner of this game is still alive. Eli Manning has been playing extremely well. The rest of the New York Giants have not been playing all that well. This includes his wide receivers. Even in that fourth-quarter comeback against the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago, these receivers were dropping perfectly thrown passes. In my mind, this game comes down to Mark Sanchez versus a highly suspect New York Giants’ secondary. Can Sanchez make the throws? The answer is – maybe. When Sanchez was a rookie, the New York Jets depended on him to make long deep throws. For some reason, probably interceptions, they have gotten away from that. I think they need to go back to that today. I think the Jets have an uphill battle. I think Eli Manning gives the Giants the upper hand in this game. Yet, for some irrational reason, I think that Mark Sanchez will make enough plays for the Jets to win.

St. Louis Rams versus the Pittsburgh Steelers – Pittsburgh. This will be a pretty ugly game.

Jacksonville Jaguars versus Tennessee Titans – It is hard to win consistently in the NFL if your quarterback is continually turning the ball over and missing open receivers. I’m not sure how much money they’re paying Blaine Gabbert, but Jack Del Rio (who’s been fired) and the Jacksonville fans need their money back. Blaine has been really awful. Tennessee should win this one easily.

Minnesota Vikings versus Washington Redskins – Washington has been playing much better over the last couple of weeks. Their defense is very stout. It’ll be interesting see if Leslie Frazier (head coach of the Vikings) keeps his job. I look for the Redskins to win this one.

Afternoon games

Drew Brees

San Diego Chargers versus Detroit Lions – The Detroit Lions need this game in a big way. If they win, their playoff hopes are still alive. Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions, the San Diego Chargers have finally gotten healthy and have fixed their woes on the offensive line. Philip Rivers has found his Pro Bowl form. Ryan Matthews is finally running like the running back San Diego was hoping for when he was drafted. I think that San Diego will take this one, even though Matthew Stafford will once again try to pull off his fourth-quarter heroics. (Look for San Diego to began covering Calvin Johnson from the moment he steps off the bus. They will make Matthew Stafford find somebody else to beat them.) This should be a great game.

Philadelphia Eagles versus Dallas Cowboys – It is pretty amazing that the Philadelphia Eagles are still in the playoff hunt. Michael Vick is back. The Dallas secondary is simply awful. If Dallas can pull out a win, they will have eliminated the Eagles from the playoffs. As an added bonus, if they win and the Giants lose, they have basically wrapped up the NFC East. In recent years, the Dallas Cowboys have found a way to lose important games. Felix Jones is hurt. DeMarcus Ware is hurt. Jay Ratliff is hurt. If the Cowboys can force a couple of turnovers they have an opportunity to win this game. If you remember Philadelphia’s complete drubbing of the Cowboys earlier this year, the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line was plagued by penalties and gave Tony Romo no protection. Tony Romo and the gang have let me down in too many of these situations. I’m leaning towards the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a must-watch game.

San Francisco 49ers versus Seattle Seahawks – If you watched the Monday night game, you saw that San Francisco looked very good. San Francisco’s defense was tremendous. I don’t see how Seattle can overcome that. San Francisco should win this one in spite of the fact that Seattle has resurrected their season.

Christmas Night
Chicago Bears versus Green Bay Packers – Last week, we found out a couple of things about the Green Bay Packers. First, the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers can be overwhelmed. Secondly, Jordy Nelson has trouble beating double coverage. Thirdly, Jermichael Finley dropped a few passes that were right in his hands. One of the things that many NFL fans take for granted is the front office. These are the guys who are making player personnel decisions behind the scenes. Somebody, buried deep in the Chicago Bears organization, someone decided that Caleb Hanie was good enough to carry the team while Jay Cutler was hurt. Wow, were they wrong. Caleb Hanie (50% completion percentage, next to last in the league and quarterback rating of 41.9) has been an epic failure. Donovan McNabb was available. Sure, Donovan McNabb is not the Pro Bowl quarterback he used to be, but he has proven to be better than Caleb Hanie and Christian Ponder. The poor decision by the front office has cost the Chicago Bears their season. Green Bay will figure out a way to win this game.

Monday Night Football
Atlanta Falcons versus New Orleans Saints – Now, everybody is looking at Drew Brees. He had some trouble early in the year with turnovers. He fixed that. He is currently playing some absolutely fabulous football. If Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were in the NFC East, they would’ve clinched home field and the division by now. Unfortunately, they’re not. I just don’t think that the Atlanta Falcons are ready. I’m taking the New Orleans Saints.

Game probabilities from the New York Times:

Pwin GAME Pwin
0.85 Houston at Indianapolis 0.15
0.61 Oakland at Kansas City 0.39
0.31 Jacksonville at Tennessee 0.69
0.24 Miami at New England 0.76
0.35 Arizona at Cincinnati 0.65
0.36 Denver at Buffalo 0.64
0.11 St. Louis at Pittsburgh 0.89
0.56 Giants at Jets 0.44
0.24 Minnesota at Washington 0.76
0.30 Tampa Bay at Carolina 0.70
0.21 Cleveland at Baltimore 0.79
0.42 San Diego at Detroit 0.58
0.44 Philadelphia at Dallas 0.56
0.53 San Francisco at Seattle 0.47
0.25 Chicago at Green Bay 0.75
0.31 Atlanta at New Orleans 0.69
By |2011-12-24T12:11:40-04:00December 24th, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL Week 16: Thoughts and Predictions

NFL Week 13: Thoughts and Predictions

I did not make any predictions on Thursday night football. The Seattle Seahawks stomped the Philadelphia Eagles 31-14. The Philadelphia Eagles needed to have an outstanding offensive day. They didn’t. Vince Young threw four interceptions. DeSean Jackson was jogging through routes as he continued to pout. The Eagles defense needed to step up and shut down an average Seahawks offense. Marshawn Lynch average more than six yards a carry and saw the end zone twice. Now, the calls for firing Andy Reid have grown louder. Is the problem Andy Reid? Is the problem throwing in so many free agents and a new defensive system/coordinator when you didn’t have a real off-season? All I can say is that the performance that we all saw on Thursday night was awful. A professional football team should be more competitive.

Tennessee Titans versus Buffalo Bills – In my opinion, the Buffalo Bills are done. They’ve had several key injuries, making it difficult for them to perform at the same level they did at the beginning of the season. Chris Johnson has finally started playing well for the Tennessee Titans. The Titans offensive line is finally opening up holes. I look for Tennessee to win this one.

Kansas City Chiefs versus Chicago Bears – Chicago has been able to run the ball the last five or six weeks. Their defense has come alive. Not much is happening from the Kansas City Chiefs. They’ve been devastated by injuries. Chicago.

Atlanta Falcons versus Houston Texans – this should be one of the best games today. The Houston Texans desperately need to have some decent quarterback play. Matt Ryan has been playing extremely well the last couple of weeks. This game is being played in Texas. The key to this game is whether the defense of the Houston Texans can control the offense of the Atlanta Falcons. I think this game is going to be close. I think Matt Ryan is going to make just enough plays to push Atlanta over the top.

Oakland Raiders versus Miami Dolphins – I think this is going to be another good game. Darren McFadden’s return is questionable. He really makes the Oakland offense run. Miami’s defense has been playing pretty well the last several weeks. Miami just needs a little bit more play from Matt Moore. I’m going to pick Miami in this one.

Denver Broncos versus Minnesota Vikings – I’ve picked against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos each of the last three weeks. The bottom line is that Tim Tebow and the Denver offense have not turned the ball over. The Denver defense has been incredibly good. Von Miller is hurt. He may not play. Yet, I think that the Denver defense will make enough plays to keep the game close. If the game is close in the fourth quarter, Tim Tebow and that offense will somehow figure out a way to win. I just don’t see Minnesota racking up that many points. Denver wins.

Indianapolis Colts versus New England Patriots – I don’t think any prolonged discussion is needed. New England wins.

Cincinnati Bengals versus Pittsburgh Steelers – Pittsburgh played a very ugly game on Monday night. I think that Pittsburgh will play much better against the Bengals. In order for the Bengals to win, Andy Dalton is going to have to make several big plays down the field. I think Pittsburgh’s secondary can hold up. Cincinnati will stop the run, but will have a hard time keeping up with Ben Roethlishberger. I think the Steelers can win this one at home.

Carolina Panthers versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the Carolina Panthers are playing a little bit better every week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing a little bit worse every week. Cam Newton desperately needs a good number two receiver. Defenses are going to try to take away Steve Smith, who’s having one of his best years as a pro. If the Panthers are able to crank up their running game, and I think they can, they’re going to be hard to stop. Carolina Panthers.

New York Jets versus Washington Redskins – It is possible for the Washington Redskins to win this game. The New York Jets have seemed to limp along throughout the year. Mark Sanchez does not seem to be making the progress that we all had hoped for. The Jets running game has been mediocre at best. For the first time all year, Revis Island had been invaded. Knucklehead Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills really had a good day against Revis. The Washington Redskins seem to be offensively challenged. Will we see the good Rex Grossman or the bad Rex Grossman this week? I know that some are picking the Washington Redskins for an upset. I do think that this game will be close, but I think the Jets will put out in the end.

Afternoon games
Baltimore Ravens versus Cleveland Browns – Baltimore

Dallas Cowboys versus Arizona Cardinals – I think it was about two years ago when the Dallas Cowboys’ season unraveled in Arizona. So it is clearly possible for the Dallas Cowboys to lose this game. First of all, we cannot let Patrick Peterson take one to the house. He has won two or three games for the Arizona Cardinals this year. Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the best receivers in the league. He can kill the Dallas Cowboys. The secondary for the Dallas Cowboys has been suspect all year. Michael Jenkins, just coming back from a hamstring injury, may not be up to speed. He’s going to need a lot of help with Fitzgerald. On offense, I think the Cowboys should be able move the ball but must avoid stupid penalties (at which we excel) and turning the ball over. The Cowboys by a touchdown or more.

Green Bay Packers versus New York Giants – Eli Manning will test the secondary of the Green Bay Packers. He’s going to have to be extremely careful. Green Bay has snagged more than 20 interceptions so far this season. The New York Giants, in my opinion, need to revamp their offensive line. They just aren’t opening the holes in the running game that they used to. Brandon Jacobs needs to be cut. He is not the punishing runner that he was two years ago. The Giants’ secondary was completely exposed against the New Orleans Saints last week. I just don’t see how they will be able to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and all of his receivers. Green Bay wins.

St. Louis Rams versus San Francisco 49ers – 49ers should win this one easily.

Sunday Night Football
Detroit Lions versus New Orleans Saints – the New Orleans Saints love quarterbacks who are somewhat careless with football. Their defense feeds on turnovers. Look for them to have a feast tonight. I look for Drew Brees to have plenty of time to throw the football. New Orleans by seven or more.

Monday Night Football
San Diego Chargers versus Jacksonville Jaguars – This is probably the worst Monday Night Football game of the year. Neither one of these teams has anything to play for. The head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been fired. Norv Turner is on the hot seat for the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers defense has been mediocre. The Jacksonville Jaguars offense has been less than mediocre. Blaine Gabbert has been awful. I think that San Diego will pull out a victory in what will be an ugly and boring Monday Night Football game.

By |2011-12-04T09:10:35-04:00December 4th, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL Week 13: Thoughts and Predictions

NFL week 12: Hits and Misses

Jack del Rio has been fired as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I guess it was his fault that Jacksonville never had a top-tier quarterback. I guess it was also his fault that, after he’d developed an outstanding defense, management allowed several of his best defensive players to get away.

Jim Caldwell, the head coach of the Colts, is in the hot seat. It’s clearly his fault that the Indianapolis Colts built their team around Peyton Manning and now Peyton Manning is recovering from his third neck operation in approximately 18 months. He should’ve known better.

Hits
New Orleans Saints: They really didn’t look good earlier this year. I don’t know what they did, but they fixed their offense. Now, if they want to go deep into the playoffs, they’re going to have to fix their defense.

Houston Texans: They lost their starting quarterback last week. They lost their backup quarterback during the second quarter of this week’s game. They trotted out somebody that I had never heard of before. Somehow, in spite of the inconsistency, they found a way to win. They look pretty set for the playoffs.

Oakland Raiders: Somehow, some way, they’re finding ways to win. Carson Palmer is making just enough plays to be effective. They seem to be poised for a serious playoff run.

Green Bay Packers: Clearly the best team in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers is playing head and shoulders above every other quarterback in the league, except for possibly Drew Brees. Yet, as the New England Patriots found out a couple years ago, it’s really hard to go undefeated for a complete season. I would rather the Packers lose now than lose in the playoffs (as if they have a choice). Their defense is somewhat suspect. Their defense has the luxury of knowing that Aaron Rodgers will put up approximately 30 points every game. As long as Aaron Rodgers stays healthy, I think we’re looking at a Green Bay dynasty.

Misses

Suh

Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford isn’t getting it done. Ndamukong Suh? What was that? Getting thrown out of an important game like this. Completely unacceptable.

Buffalo Bills: Just a couple weeks ago, I was singing the praises of the Buffalo Bills. They were getting turnovers. Ryan Fitzpatrick and that offense were putting the ball in the end zone. Since then, Fred Jackson got hurt. He was really running the ball well. Ryan Fitzpatrick has had some awful luck with many tipped balls getting intercepted. Finally, Stevie Johnson needs to be released. No wide receiver is worth losing a game. I’m sorry, but just doesn’t cut it. With his dropped balls and with his end zone antics, he lost the game for the Buffalo Bills. This was a critical game which would have given the Bills momentum going into last stage of the season. Fire him!

Philadelphia Eagles: There is no team that I can think of in the NFL more talented than the Philadelphia Eagles. There’s also no team in the NFL that is getting the least number of wins out of their talent. I just don’t think the offensive line of the Philadelphia Eagles is all that good. Vince Young played pretty well, but it was a tall order to go into New England and beat the Patriots. The tough, hard-nosed defense that the Philadelphia Eagles had several years ago is gone. I have no idea what’s wrong with their defense now. It could be that wide nine thing that they’re doing. They don’t seem to have the ability to effectively rush the passer. They aren’t defending the pass that well. Finally, a special shout out to DeSean Jackson. You want a new contract, yet twice you seemed to have alligator arms as you were going over the middle. You didn’t put out extra effort to make critical catches which would have, in at least one instance, given the Eagles a touchdown. There’s no need for me to comment on your sideline antics which cost your team over 50 yards of valuable field position and the momentum. Mr. Jackson needs to be fired!!

By |2011-11-30T20:54:38-04:00November 30th, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL week 12: Hits and Misses
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