No Sleep Till Football

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2011 NFL Football – Week 14 Best Games

Absolutely tons of games this week. One thing to keep in mind is that there are teams out of the playoff hunt that are actually pretty good that could give playoff hopeful teams some problems. Carolina & Miami are a couple of those teams. The Panthers might give Atlanta a serious headache today while the Dolphins are going to hammer away on the Eagles. Arizona & Seattle would fall into this category too, but they actually might be in the running for a wild card spot themselves!  San Diego & Kansas City fall into this category! I think it only gets more exciting from this point forward! Let’s get to it!

ROAD ANALYSIS HOME
The Cowboys are 2-1 in their last 3 games, but in those 3 games they’ve been outscored 60-62! While the Giants themselves aren’t playing outstanding football, the Cowboys don’t exactly come in on a roll either having lost to Arizona last week after a myriad of gaffes. The Cowboys are also battling perception problems in that they can’t beat significant opponents when games matter. The Cowboys have played 4 teams fighting for the playoff berths & they are 1-3 against them. By the way, the last time the Giants lost 38-35 was back in Week 17 of 2007. After that loss to the Patriots, the Giants would win 4 straight playoff games which resulted in them being Super Bowl champions. COWBOYS (-4.5)
As with all Broncos games with Tebow under center, the game is going to center on Chicago’s ability to keep Tebow in the pocket making QB decisions instead of him getting outside of the pocket & running the ball. Julius Peppers is a helluva DE, but then again LT Ryan Clady is one of the best in the business at protecting the QB’s blindside so it’ll be interesting to see how that matchup works out. Of course Chicago has their own problems with Caleb Hanie under center. Denver has been doing a great job defensively over the last 5-6 games & the Bears are suffering offensively. Chicago has a very good defense so it’ll be interesting to see if they show up on the road. A loss here puts Chicago behind the playoff 8-ball! BRONCOS (-3)
Very interesting game between a couple of division rivals. The Cardinals at 5-7 aren’t completely out of the playoffs. With Kevin Kolb playing well last week in his return against Dallas along with Beanie Wells running the ball well, there might be enough for the Cardinals to get it done. Can the 49ers really go 14-2 in Jim Harbaugh’s first season with Alex Smith as QB? At this poitn it’s sort of looking like it, but this is a game that has upset written all over it. A win here puts the Cardinals at 6-7 and potentially in the Wild Card race. Not only that, but Arizona isn’t exactly a bad football team. One thing to recognize is that SF plays a game somewhat like Denver does. No, Alex Smith isn’t running the football, but SF is definitely playing ball control offense with Smith’s short passing routes to go along with Frank Gore pounding the rock. Let’s see if Arizona can keep the SF offense off the field today. 49ERS (-3.5)
Vegas clearly thinks this is going to be a game with the Saints only being 3.5 point favorites! Wow. A couple of thoughts here. The Saints aren’t an outstanding road team this season havinga  road record of 3-3 compared to their 6-0 home record. The Titans are 4-2 at home & 3-3 on the road. That seems fairly stable, but the Titans do have experience this year in hosting “fantastic” teams because back in Week 2 the Titans welcomed in the Ravens & beat them so this isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Titans. Given the way the AFC is playing out, the Titans might not absolutely NEED the win, but it certainly would set them up to grab that #6 seed. Everyone will look to Chris Johnson in this game, but keep your eye on Matt Hasselbeck. If the Saints stack the box, the Titans are going to get some good 1-on-1 matchups at wideout. Let’s see if Hasselbeck can convert. SAINTS (-3.5)
The Bengals as favorites!? Wow! That’s amazing, but in reality you can see why it would be so. Cincinnati has played pretty good defense all year long & the Texans are certainly hurting in that department with having TJ Yates being their starting QB for the rest of the season. From a playoff perspective this is a huge game for both teams. Cincinnati needs the win because at 7-5 they’ll push to 8-5 with a victory here. Assuming they lose to the Ravens they can still finish 10-6 which might be enough to grab that #6 seed. For the Texans, the road is going to be tough no matter what they do because of the Matt Schaub injury, but a rookie QB like Yates would rather be playing playoff games at home. The Texans can finish 13-3 & potentially get that #1 seed, but they need to win today. Cincinnati has to force some turnovers & keep Arian Foster & Ben Tate off the field. Cedric Benson is going to have to have a good day. BENGALS (-3)
Like the Dolphins, the Panthers are becoming one of those non-playoff teams that nobody really wants to play. Cam Newton is going to be the offensive rookie of the year, and it’s sort of odd to think the Panthers are only 4-8 given their offensive prowess. The problem is Carolina’s defense has been so awful that it doesn’t really matter how well Carolina plays offensively. Still, 5 of Carolina’s losses have been close ones meaning they could just as easily be 9-3 as they are 4-8. You give Carolina a league average defense & they might be in 2nd place behind New Orleans rather than the Falcons. Atlanta needs the win for sure to keep their playoff spot secure. Atlanta’s rush defense has been superb this season so it’ll be interesting to see if Newton can spread the ball around a little bit to other people besides Steve Smith. This should be a good one & I won’t be surprised if Carolina finds a way to win this one! FALCONS (-3)
Vegas doesn’t think much of this game & for the life of me I can’t see much in it either, but KC beat Chicago last week 10-3 so they have to have a little bit of momentum moving forward. Also, Mark Sanchez has taken some lumps this season to the point of some wondering if the Jets should be looking to a new QB next season if somehow the Jets fade this year & miss the playoffs. Kansas City’s defense hasn’t been awful & the strange thing about the AFC West is that you can potentially see the Broncos & Raiders losing while the Chargers & Chiefs win. That would put everyone within a game of the West title. The Chiefs stink. There is no way around it, but there is still a glimmer of hope. For the Jets this is a statement game. They need to hammer Kansas City. Sanchez needs to play well & New York needs to let the AFC know this is just like the last 2 seasons. JETS (-10.5)
The Dolphins & Matt Moore are playing out of their minds. They are 4-1 in their last 5 games after starting the year 0-7. Clearly Miami isn’t nearly as bad as their first 7 games would indicate & I think Tony Sporano has sold the Phins on the idea that Miami can get back into the playoff hunt if they win out. Has a team in NFL history ever came back from an 0-7 start to make the playoffs? A lot would have to go right & 8-8 would have to be good enough to finish with the 6th seed, but who knows? Even if you hate the Dolphins, you have to be rooting for them. The Eagles are in the same predicament. Maybe 8-8 wont’ be enough for a Wild Card, but could it be enough for the NFC East? If the Giants win today then both New York & Dallas will be 7-6. If Philly wins they’ll be 5-8. That’s 2 down with 3 to go. It all starts with a win for both Miami & Philadelphia. The Eagles do get Michael Vick back today. DOLPHINS (-3)
Don’t expect another close call this week from the Packers as they welcome in the Raiders. The last two weeks have seen Green Bay go on the road to Detroit & New York. Both ended up in victories, but I don’t think Oakland is going to be much of a challenge after seeing the Lions & Giants defenses the last 14 or so days. One thing that will be interesting is watching Carson Palmer go up against the Green Bay pass defense. Green Bay’s pass defense has been incredible creating turnovers, but they’ve also given up tons of yards. The Raiders have some fast, athletic receivers. If the Raiders can move the ball vertically this game could be interesting. As it stands, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Palmer throw 2 picks & the Packers win by 20 points! PACKERS (-12)
Dare I say the Seahawks are fighting for a playoff spot? Seattle 3-2 in their last 5 games with the defense playing out of their minds. If Seattle wins out they could finish the season 9-7 which might be good enough to sneak into the wild card. They’ll have to beat Arizona & San Francisco down the stretch but you never know. If the season ended today the Seahawks would be the 9th seed in the NFC which isn’t that far away from the #6 seed. They are 2 games back of the Wild Card & could be even closer after today if Chicago, New York, Atlanta & Arizona lost today. It wouldn’t hurt Seattle’s cause for Detroit to fail against Minnesota today although it’s unlikely. Seattle has a couple of under the radar players as well. Marshawn Lynch is on pace to rush for close to 1,200 yards while undrafted WR Doug Baldwin is on pace for over 800 yards receiving. Great stories both of them! SEAHAWKS (-10)
This of course is only interesting because the Colts are looking for a 0-13 start! The Ravens played an inferior team in Cleveland last season & used the ground game to completely hammer the Browns. I’d expect the same thing from the Ravens this week with even more Ricky Williams seeing how the Ravens could use this week to rest up Ray Rice for a stretch drive into the playoffs. On the other hand, Indianapolis pass defense is AWFUL & their corners are so beat up, they might as well play 4 safeties back there. Maybe this will be a game for Baltimore to open up the playbook. You can be sure Colts QB Dan Orlovsky isn’t going to give Indianapolis a repeat performance from last week! RAVENS (-16.5)
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December 11, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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