No Sleep Till Football

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NFL Games of Week 14 2013

Massive chaos didn’t ensue last week making this week a little more manageable. The AFC looks a little more clear especially in light of this week’s games. If I had to guess I’d say the Ravens are looking pretty good for that final playoff spot although Pittsburgh could make things really interesting.

The NFC is also fairly clear outside of the East & North divisions. Big games in the NFC South & NFC West rule the week.

The NFL Network has to be thanking its lucky stars that it can start flexing games out next season. This matchup is between the 2-10 Texans and the 3-9 Jaguars! Amazingly enough the Texans came to play last week against the Patriots in almost pulling off the stunner, which means the team will be so deflated against Jacksonville that it is almost guaranteed to lose! How is this for Jacksonville: In the 3rd quarter of the NFL season, the Jaguars went 3-1 with all their wins coming on the road! That’s an amazing stat! If Jacksonville wins this game they’ll be 4-1 in their last 5 & on a 3 game winning streak. Here is a better question, if you are Houston & you get the #1 overall pick, do you take Jadeveon Clowney or Anthony Barr & stick him opposite JJ Watt? I know they need a QB but how can you pass that up!?
All of a sudden this turns into a pretty significant game. The Colts & Bengals are both 8-4 currently, but the Colts are the #3 seed while Cincy is the #4 seed because Indy has the better conference record. I’m not sure I don’t want the #4 seed at this point. If Baltimore gets into the playoffs as the #6 (where they are currently) then I’m not sure I want them & the #3 seed would have to host them. That might not be so bad for Cincinnati because of their defense & familiarity, but I don’t like the matchup for Indianapolis. The Colts are playing poorly & the South is wrapped up. The Bengals still have a lot to play for & I still think they are sandbagging a bit. Those 4 losses were all VERY CLOSE. The Bengals just beat the Bolts in San Diego which was a huge win. Lots going on here but Cincy has to have an edge.
Even with the 40-10 pounding they took at the hands of the Lions, the Packers are still in it. At 5-6-1 they are just 1.5 games behind Detroit who stands at 7.5. Luckily for the Packers, Detroit is in Philadelphia where the Eagles are BLAZING HOT. With A TON to play for, the Eagles could pull off a victory putting Detroit at 7-6. A Green Bay wins puts them at 6-6-1, just a half game out! The Packers couldn’t be asking for a better situation. At 3-9, the Falcons are tied for the worst record in the NFL & are the current 15th seed (Thank You Redskins!)! They also get Aaron Rodgers back under center which should be a significant boost to team morale. The Packers can forget the Wild Card but the North is still in play. A loss combined with a Detroit would would all but eliminate the Packers from the playoffs.
New England simply can’t stop from being lucky with their schedule. Last week they play the 2-9 Texans. This week they get the 4-8 Browns! The 9-3 Patriots really needed the Broncos to lose last week in Kansas City for them to overtake the #1 overall seed. It was a tricky game New England was playing. They had to win to try for the #1 overall seed and they still might get it. The problem is that if you don’t, Denver is a brutal team to have to beat twice in one season especially if the 2nd go around is in Denver! If they didn’t beat Denver we couldn’t have this discussion so it’s a difficult situation for the Patriots either way. The Patriots will keep on winning, but be careful. Cincinnati has beaten New England. A New England loss means Cincinnati takes over the #2 seed in the AFC! Keep an eye out for that.
This is an interesting game for the Jets really. I still wonder if Rex Ryan is coaching for his job and you’d have to think given the QB situation in New York that an 8-8 season would probably allow Ryan to keep coaching. Next week the Jets play at Carolina which is almost certainly a loss making this week a must win. The Jets also have a road game to end the season in Miami which they’ll need to win. Maybe 8-8 is good enough for that last wild card spot but I think the .500 record is more important for job security. The Jets are a QB, CB & S away from having a very good football team. They are closer than it seems. The Raiders are interesting too under QB Matt McGloin. He’s not awful so it’ll be interesting to see if the Raiders keep him for the future. This is the last winnable game for Oakland.
Right now the Lions are the #3 seed in the NFC as the NFC North representative. The Eagles are on the outside at #7 because Dallas holds the tiebreaker in the East. Obviously Philadelphia is in a dead heat with Dallas for a division title but Detroit is far from having the Central wrapped up with Chicago at 6-6 & Green Bay at 5-6-1. Both teams need the victory in order to potentially win the division, but this game is also important for Wild Card purposes. Both the Lions & Eagles are only a game back of the 49ers for the final playoff spot. Should SF lose to Seattle this weekend, things could get interesting if Arizona wins. Throw in a Dallas win and all of a sudden SF, ARI, DAL and the winner of DET/PHI would all be 8-5. The winner here puts themselves in perfect position to grab that #3 seed in the NFC.
Due to tiebreakers, the 6-6 Dolphins are the #7 seed in the AFC just behind the Ravens. Unfortunately, this seems like a big trap game where the Steelers seemed poised to win after almost beating Baltimore last week! The AFC really has a chance to get messy once again. If the Jets, Chargers & Steelers all win at home then PIT, SDC, MIA & NYJ all move to 6-7. The Titans are in Denver which means they’ll likely drop to 5-8. That leaves the Ravens who host the Vikings. It’s unlikely Baltimore loses that game meaning they’ll stay one game ahead at 7-6, but you’ll have 5 teams all jumbled up at the top. Of course if Miami & Baltimore win then it’s likely TEN & PIT are done. If NYJ or SDC lose they’ll be done too. This game all of a sudden has some significant meaning for the AFC Wild Card.
Another game on the slate that is completely meaningless. Oddly enough both of these teams are the current 14th seed in their respective conferences although the Bills are one game better than Tampa in the standings. With Tampa Bay playing well of late, it would seem that Greg Schiano might still keep his job although that is tenuous in my opinion. A win here would push the Bucs to 4-9 which isn’t stellar but Mike Glennon is emerging as a viable QB option & the Bucs would stand to get a high draft pick which they could use to shore up their offensive line. Tampa Bay isn’t that bad really. Defensively they are a solid team & if Glennon really can be the QB Josh Freeman couldn’t be then the Bucs aren’t in a bad spot. Buffalo is in the same spot but something tells me that EJ Manuel will keep Buffalo in QB purgatory for a few years.
Washington is sort of interesting because when you look at the team in general you get a sense that the sky is falling, but in reality that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Redskins haven’t been the luckiest team in the NFL going 2-5 in close games. Their “best” case record of 8-4 isn’t fantastic but it’s not the 3-9 the team is currently. RG3 hasn’t been the same in 2013 as he has in 2012 but there are still a lot of pieces there. Alfred Morris can run & Pierre Garcon has done a good job being a #1 WR. Ryan Kerrigan & Brian Orakpo are stars on the defensive side of the ball. This game won’t be easy for Kansas City, but the Chiefs need to start winning games. Going 0-3 against Denver (twice) & San Diego isn’t horrible but 2 of those games were at Arrowhead. This is a game Kansas City should win & need to win. Redskins could play spoiler though.
It would seem the Ravens got a pretty good draw here. At 6-6 the Ravens own the tiebreaker over Miami. With the Dolphins in Pittsburgh this week, it would seem the Ravens are in prime position to end the week at 7-6 and alone as the #6 seed in the AFC. The Bengals are also in a game they could lose hosting the 8-4 Colts. Oddly enough, it would be a mistake for the Ravens to overlook Minnesota. The Ravens have to be feeling an emotional letdown after beating Pittsburgh 22-20 in a rivalry game. The Vikings are actually 2-1-1 in their last 4 with wins over Washington & Chicago along with a tie against Green Bay & a loss to Seattle that was close. Matt Cassel isn’t playing awful & if Minnesota can keep playing ball control offense with Adrian Peterson, they can stay in games if they avoid turnovers. The Vikings are spoilers at this point.
The 3rd quarter of the season wasn’t kind to the Titans. At 5-7 they aren’t completely out of the playoff race but they went 1-3 in their last 4 games including a brutal loss to Jacksonville and two close losses to the Jaguars. Now they have to take on the 10-2 Broncos in Denver which almost assuredly means a loss. It’s even worse for them because the Titans own virtually every tiebreaker among the teams playing for the wild card. Ideally, Tennessee would win this one while Miami & Baltimore lose, but the Broncos have a lot to play for. The Patriots are just a game behind & own the tiebreaker against Denver. Peyton Manning is also playing for history. He’s on pace for 5500 yards & 55TD. Manning is a student of the game so he knows the greatest historical season for a QB would mean almost nothing if it doesn’t end with a Lombardi Trophy!
Arizona suffered a tough defeat in Philadelphia last week which not only kept them from keeping pace with the 49ers for the #6 speed, but it also dropped them behind the Eagles because Philly owns the tiebreaker. Back in Week 1, the Rams beat Arizona 24-20 and these teams are a lot closer than at first glance. The both have 4-8 “worst” case records. I’ve been pimping the Rams for awhile and I think this could be an interesting game because it has a ton of implications. Arizona needs to win because they could be a wild card team & need to get back to keeping pace with Arizona. At 5-7 the Rams are essentially out of it, but they could play big time spoiler here with the Cardinals. I think it is still interesting to think of Arizona in QB purgatory. The defense is championship caliber but at this point you have to wonder about Carson Palmer. Can he win a title?
You wouldn’t think a game between a couple of 5-7 teams would be a huge deal but this one actually is. I’m not sure how much national play the game will get but it should be a big one. The Giants are 5-7 & hold the #11 seed in the NFC, but they are still just 2 games behind the Cowboys/Eagles in the East. Both Philly & Dallas could lose this week meaning a Giants win puts them 1 game back. San Diego is 1-game out of the Wild Card at 5-7. Their road is MUCH MORE difficult seeing how they have to play Kansas City & Denver. With that in mind it almost seems like a foregone conclusion that San Diego might be out of the race meaning the game much more important for the Giants. I also think the Eli Manning story here is interesting too. Manning spurned SD to play in New York. I would think the Chargers would take it personally, but I doubt it.
Seattle’s win over New Orleans makes this game a little less paramount for Seattle in securing the #1 overall seed. They are 3 games up on the 49ers for the West division which is a moot point with just 4 games left. They are 2 up on New Orleans & Carolina for the #1 overall seed. Even if the Seahawks lose their 2 road games, they’ll win out at home giving them at worst a 13-3 record. Assuming New Orleans & Carolina split their games against each other, the best either can do is 12-4. There is quite a bit to play for with the 49ers. They aren’t completely out of the woods yet with the Wild Card and a loss here could put them back into a tiebreaker with Arizona & Dallas/Philly. Even further out I wouldn’t want that #6 seed. If the Eagles keep going like they are then they could be the #3 by season’s end and I’m not sure I want to travel to Philly in January.
The NFC South is on the line with this one! With their loss last week to Seattle, the Saints dropped to 9-3 which is equal to the Panthers mark. The winner here not only takes the lead in the NFC South but also takes the front & center lead for the #2 seed and a 1st round bye in the playoffs. That’s a significant difference. On the one hand you get an extra week of rest and then play a home game after your opponent played a grueling wild card game the week before. On the other you are playing a road playoff game right after the season ends. Assuming the teams split their 2 games, can either lose one of the other 3? The Saints have an interesting road game in St. Louis that could be interesting especially because it is sandwiched between the two Carolina games. Carolina has it easier. I think the South is determined by this game. It’s huge!
Everyone knows that when Tony Romo plays in December, he loses it & the Cowboys suffer accordingly. How crazy is it that Romo’s record in November is 26-6 yet his record in December is 13-17!? That’s amazing. Here is something else to think about. Romo’s worst TD:INT ratio against an opponent is against Chicago! In 3 games against the Bears, Romo is 1-2 with 4TD to 8INT! OUCH! The weather is expected to be bad & you just feel like this is the week the Cowboys lose the division. I also think the NFC North could wind up being a mess. With Chicago & Green Bay at home, they could both win while Detroit loses in Philly. If that happens then Chicago & Detroit are tied at 7-6 while the Packers are a half game back at 6-6-1. I’m a Cowboys HOMER so I hope Dallas wins but it just seems like the storylines line up better with fate if the lose. I HATE THAT!

December 5, 2013 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, Week 14

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