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2011 NFL Football – Week 13 Best Games

Week 13! This is the last game of the 3rd quarter of the season for all NFL teams. Given the do or die nature of the games, we should be seeing more & more “best games” from this point forward because the games will have so many playoff implications. This week is no different as the stretch drive begins today! Tons of games on tap that should be worthwhile to watch. I hope you get to see a couple of them.

ROAD ANALYSIS HOME
I don’t think this is a MUST WIN for the Lions just yet, but it’s getting close. Detroit at 7-4 wouldn’t be in the playoffs today if the season ended, but they have plenty of time to rectify the situation especially if Caleb Hanie continues to be an interception machine in the Windy City. Unfortunately the Lions are hitting a Saints team that seem to be firing on all cylinders. The running game is becoming a dominant force while the QB still bears the name Drew Brees! It’ll be interesting to watch how Detroit creates pressure from their interior defensive line now that Ndamukong Suh won’t be playing. Detroit was going to have a hard enough time winning on the road in New Orleans where the Saints are undefeated, but making the pocket that much more comfortable for Drew Brees can’t work in their favor. My guess is Brees feels right at home & Detroit gets blasted. SAINTS (-9)
As always is the case in recent weeks, the Packers are chasing history, but this is probably the last serious road block they’ll face for the rest of the season. After the Giants, the Packers get the Raiders, Chiefs & Bears which should be an easy run to 15-0 before playing a home game against the Lions who’ll have Ndamukong Suh back on the team. Even though the game is in Green Bay, Detroit could make it interesting if it’s playing for a playoff berth. As for the Giants, I still think this is a team with a solid gameplan to beat a team like Green Bay. Look Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to beat himself, but the Giants have a pass rush that could be disruptive. If Ahmad Bradhaw & Brandon Jacobs are healthy, then the Giants have enough of a running game to keep Green Bay off the field. The only thing else NYG needs to do is avoid throwing interceptions. That’s on Eli Manning. If all of those things happen, then Green Bay can get beat. Bradshaw is a game time decision, but the Giants need him if they have a chance at winning this game! PACKERS (-6.5)
Given how the rest of the AFC is playing, the Bengals probably don’t need to win this game to get into the playoffs. A win here however would make things MUCH MUCH easier down the stretch. What’s more interesting is reflecting on teams like Cincinnati. They came pretty close earlier in the season to beating both Pittsburgh & Baltimore. Instead of 7-4 they could be 9-2 & the #1 seed in the AFC, but expecting a rookie QB in Andy Dalton to come in & win games like those is almost impossible. That is probably the same issue today as it might be too tough for Dalton to come into Heinz Field and beat a Pittsburgh team who is essentially fighting for the #1 overall seed in the AFC. A Pittsburgh team that is currently the defending AFC Champions. The bigger question becomes how close is Cincinnati to possibly upending the balance of power in the AFC North. Going 0-4 against the PIT/BAL duo would be alright this season, but probably not next. I’m rooting hard for Cincinnati today. Really hard. STEELERS (-6.5)
Let the Tyler Yates Era begin! Teams in the NFC can’t be happy that Atlanta gets to go on the road to Houston & actually be favored. The 7-4 Falcons are likely to go 8-4 now with Houston playing with Yates! For teams like Detroit, Chicago & New York, it really stinks to see Atlanta get lucky with a Texans team that by all accounts should beat Atlanta if the Texans were 100%! You might think all Yates has to do manage a game and let Arian Foster & Ben Tate take over, but that would be a false assumption. Atlanta might have the most filthy rush defense in the NFL so if Houston is going to win this game, Tyler Yates is going to have to get it going for them. This is the perfect matchup that plays right into Atlanta’s hands. They’ll just play to their strengths & beg Yates to beat them with his arm. This is precisely what Houston wants to avoid. That -1.5 might be a little too light as Atlanta might get a 10-15 point win here & put a little more pressure on New Orleans than the Saints would like! FALCONS (-1.5)
As you can see, Vegas isn’t exactly a huge believer in the Raiders despite them being 7-4 & the Dolphins being 3-8. A few stats to throw out there. Matt Moore in his last 4 starts is 3-1. He’s completed 67.3% of his passes for 901 yards & 7TD to only 1INT. Reggie Bush is running for about 80 yards per game in the last 4 games. Daniel Thomas is rushing for about 40. The Dolphins are going to rush for over 100 yards & Moore isn’t going to turn the ball over. The Dolphins are also +3 in TO margin over their last 3 games. The rush defense is nasty meaning Carson Palmer is going to have to throw to beat the Dolphins & he’s been pretty interception prone since coming to Oakland. Miami is just better than their record would indicate. I’m sure Oakland looked at this schedule a few weeks ago & welcomed a game where they should win. Now the Dolphins are trying to make a statement & Tebow is lurking. DOLPHINS (-3)
Like last week against Atlanta, the Vikings are going to be playing without Adrian Peterson & a rookie QB in Christian Ponder. Once Ponder was cut loose a little bit, Minnesota played pretty well, but the Vikings are catching the Broncos at a bad time. Tim Tebow has the troops rallying around himself something awful & Denver looks to be a team riding momentum to the playoffs. You have to hand it to the Broncos. People are going crazy over the Broncos defense, but really Denver is falling into a market inefficiency the way the Oakland A’s used OBP% in the early 2000s to win AL West crowns. Denver is simply using ball control offense in an era of pass happy offenses. What this does is confuse defenses who are now scheming for passing attacks & keeping opponents from being on offense. If you aren’t on offense you can’t score point. Expect much the same today. If Denver wins & Oakland loses, Denver would be the de facto AFC West champs if the season ended after 12 games! BRONCOS (-1)
With his breakout game coming last week, Chris Johnson is now on pace to rush for 1,014 yards! Yeah, it’s not what we are used to from him, but it’s still 1,000 yards which is pretty amazing by itself. It’ll be his 4th 1,000 yard year in as many seasons. Johnson is getting hot at the right time because they walk into Buffalo today facing a Bills defense that is charitable to dominant rushers. The shine has completely come off Buffalo as the Bills have now sunk to 5-6 with pretty much not shot at making the playoffs. Here is something interesting to think about with both teams. If Tennessee wins & Houston loses, then the Titans are only a game behind Houston in the standings. The South certainly isn’t over. If the Dolphins win & the Bills lose, then Miami is only a game behind Buffalo meaning the Bills & not the Dolphins could wind up in last place in the AFC East. That’s amazing considering that the 5-2 Bills were the first place team in the AFC East after Week 8. It’s amazing what a 4-game losing streak will do to you. BILLS (-1.5)
The Chiefs played really hard last week at home against the Steelers & came up just short, losing 13-9. The Bears with Caleb Hanie are a far cry from the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger. Even with the game being played at Soldier Field, the Chiefs could easily win this game should they play like they did against Pittsburgh. This is practically a must win for the Bears. The rest of the wild card hopefuls can forget about their being 2 spots open. The Falcons are getting one of the playoff spots. Even if they somehow win the division, the Saints are getting in then via the Wild Card. That means there is 1 spot open for the Bears, Lions or Giants/Cowboys. With the Lions getting the Saints this week, the Bears can’t take a week off against KC. They are having a hard enough time getting around Jay Cutler being done for the season. They can’t afford to be losing games to a Chiefs team that is 4-7. BEARS (-7)
Can you imagine what Bill Belichick was thinking when he was preparing for this game? The Colts are 0-11 for crying out loud with the absolute worst defense in the league! It might be the worst defense the NFL has ever seen & it’s even breaking in a new defensive coordinator!? The only offense Indianapolis has faced that has the potency of the New England attack is New Orleans & the Saints put 62 on the Colts in a 62-7 victory which was beyond humiliating. Bill Belichick isn’t exactly known for taking his foot off the gas so is it possible for the Patriots to seriously put 100 points on Indianapolis today? People like to assume I’m a Colts Homer because I’m in Indianapolis. While it is true I do like the Colts, I’m more of a Peyton Manning homer. Since Peyton isn’t playing & history could be made, I’m rooting for the C-Note to go down on a pathetic Colts team with a sorry excuse for a head coach & an even worse excuse for an owner! PATRIOTS (-20.5)
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December 4, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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