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NFL Games of Week 15 2013

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With San Diego’s beatdown of the Giants last week, they improved to 6-7, but the road gets significantly tougher with a road game in Denver. The problem is that Denver didn’t have much trouble with the Bolts in San Diego & all of a sudden it seems like Peyton Manning is in a different zone with proving his critics wrong about his play in cold weather. The good news is that the Ravens & Dolphins are in games they could easily lose as are the Jets. If the Chargers lose this game they could still be one game down with 2 to play. Can an 8-8 team get into the playoffs? It’s looking that way but whether or not it’s San Diego remains to be seen. If San Diego wins out I think 9-7 is good enough for the last wild card spot but Denver has so much to play for to secure home field. They won’t coast at home.
With it being this late in the season, more games are starting to become a bit more meaningless when it comes to postseason positioning but they do become somewhat more important when you are talking about positioning yourself for the NFL Draft. Both of these teams are 3-10 with the Falcons being the #15 seed while the Redskins are dead last in the NFC. They are battling for the #2 overall pick in the draft, but this game has a little more juice when it comes to the situation in Washington with Mike Shanahan & RG3. Apparently RG3 is being shut down for the rest of the season with Kirk Cousins becoming the starter. We’ll see a lot here because if the Redskins win out under Cousins, what happens? The Skins are bad but 5 of their losses have been by 8pts or fewer. They could easily win out.
The Bears got a solid home win over Dallas on Monday night to put them back in a tie atop the NFC North with the Lions although having been swept by Detroit, the Bears have no choice other than to have a better record. It certainly won’t be easy in Cleveland to get a win. The Browns should have beaten New England last week & Jason Campbell is playing pretty good football while Josh Morgan establishes himself as one of the biggest stars at WR in the NFL! Cleveland isn’t eliminated from the playoffs. They need a lot of help, but if the Browns can find a way to win out, they would own the tiebreaker over the Ravens at 7-9! The Jets & Dolphins could have to finish 7-9 & Cleveland has beaten the Jets giving them the final playoff spot. It’s a long shot but the Browns have something to play for at home.
The Colts are playing terribly at the moment and you never really know with these Texans/Colts games. While the rivalry between the Colts & Texans hasn’t quite risen to the level of Colts/Titans, keep in mind that Houston hasn’t been good all season long & the Colts had trouble with them in a 27-24 win earlier in the season in Houston. The Colts have to right the ship & do it quickly. With Tennessee losing last week in Denver, the Colts have the division locked up even if they lose the rest of their games & finish 8-8. I honestly think they can’t get higher than the #4 seed anyway so they need to use the next 3 weeks to iron out the kinks & prepare for Kansas City who they will face in the Wild Card round. Besides, does Houston really want to jeopardize that #1 overall pick by winning in Indy?
Should we just assume the Patriots will no matter if they get down 35-0 with a couple minutes left in the game? Miami is on somewhat of a roll having won 2 straight game & 3 of their last 4. To be honest the Dolphins could easily be 12-1 at the moment with their only blow loss coming against the Saints in New Orleans. The Patriots beat Miami 27-17 earlier in the season in New England and this is the 2nd game in back-to-back road games for the Patriots. New England has won their last 3 games by a combined 4 points & had to overcome big deficits to do so. I know we can talk about the legend of Belichick & Brady but regression takes its toll. Miami is playing for a playoff spot but the Patriots are also playing for their life. Keep winning & maybe wind up the #1 seed. A loss & they drop to the #3. BIG GAME!
The Vikings can’t seem to get out of their own way and now have a brutal stretch ahead of them to end the season. At 3-9-1, the Vikings get the Eagles, Bengals & Lions to end the season which means they are likely 3-12-1 to end the season unless they can play spoiler. With Carolina losing last week, no team is hotter than the Eagles who have won 5 straight & are 7-2 in their last 9 games. With the Cowboys losing to Chicago the Eagles are in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. If they win out they’ll be 11-5 which probably won’t be enough to move up to that #2 seed so they’ll be stuck playing on Wild Card weekend. Don’t forget that in their last 9 games, the Eagles have allowed just 18.1PPG. We get lost in the Chip Kelly offense, but Philly’s defense is coming up big at exactly the right time.
With their loss to San Diego last week, the Giants eliminated themselves from playoff contention. Just to even the records, Philly would have to lose out but that means Dallas would have to win a game putting them at 5-1 within the division. It would also put the Cowboys at 8-8 & Dallas would own all the tiebreakers having gone 4-0 against the Eagles & Giants. Unfortunately this is just a bad football team to be honest. I think Seattle is more vulnerable on the road than they are at home, but there is nothing the Giants can do to win this football game. They aren’t going to generate enough points to beat the Seahawks, and I don’t think they can keep Seattle from scoring 25-30 points. Seattle should improve to 12-2 moving them one step closer to homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Amazingly enough, these teams are hotter than you might expect. I don’t think the Bucs will win or anything like that, but Tampa Bay is 4-1 in their last 5 games while the 49ers are 8-2 in their last 10! Tampa Bay can’t make the playoffs so at best they are spoiling other teams ability to move forward, but the 49ers have quite a bit to play for here. The win over Seattle last week was huge that moved the 49ers to 9-4 & firmly entrenched in that last playoff spot. I don’t think they can catch Seattle, but they need to keep a step ahead of the Cardinals who remain just a game behind them. To me what is interesting here is that the Bucs are at home with nothing to play for. They’ve beaten some good teams so it’s possible for them to win. Not likely but possible. SF is getting good at just the right time. They’ve been overlooked for too long.
The Jaguars have become fascinating of late because they actually are starting to play decent football, but have we mistaked Jacksonville’s ineptitude on actually having a bad team or playing a difficult schedule? Consider that Jacksonville started the season 0-8 but right now those 8 teams that defeated the Jags have a winning percentage of .615! In their last 5 games, the Jags have gone 4-1 but those 5 opponents have a winning percentage of .323! The Bills are 4-9 & next week the Jaguars play Tennessee who is 5-8. Both games are in Jacksonville. The Jags end the season in Indianapolis which probably means a loss given how the schedule has gone so far, but the Jags could finish the season 6-10 after starting 0-8! Are the Jaguars a good team? No, but they beat bad teams. That means something.
Believe it or not, the Raiders are still in the playoff picture! They need both Baltimore & Miami to lose out while they win out, but if that were to happen, then the 7-9 Raiders would grab the final playoff slot in the AFC! It’s amazing how the tiebreakers can work in the AFC! Just nuts! An even better question is whether or not the Chiefs can’t make the playoffs! At 10-3 they have a 3-game lead over both Miami & Baltimore, but believe it not, all 3 teams could finish 10-6. In that scenario, the Chiefs actually would fall out of the playoffs into the #8 seed! They would lose tiebreakers to both the Dolphins & Ravens forcing them out despite a 9-0 start! Then again, if the Chiefs finished 10-6, they would have went 1-6 in their last 7 games! I’d expect KC to win but it’s one week at a time & if Oakland does pull off a stunner then doubt creeps in.
How lucky have the Jets been this season? This team is 6-7 despite having a point differential of -111! The only team in the AFC with a worse margin is Jacksonville! The only team in the NFC with a worse margin is Washington! The Jets are even 5-1 in close games adding more to the luck theory! On the other hand, the Jets have the worst TO margin in the NFL at -18. This factor is largely luck influenced so imagine if the Jets were +18 in TO margin!? They might be 9-4 or 8-5! I don’t think the Jets are going to turn it around in Carolina. The Panthers are 5-1 at home while the Jets are 1-5 on the road. Despite playoff talk surrounding the Jets, their season is likely to end this weekend when they drop to 6-8. Carolina has a lot to play for still. Not only the NFC Wild Card but the NFC South championship if New Orleans slips a couple of times.
This game would be a lot more exciting if we knew going in it was Troy Aikman going up against Brett Favre. Instead we get Tony Romo against Matt Flynn. The return of Aaron Rodgers looks less & less likely but the Packers got a close win over Atlanta last week combined with Detroit losing so their playoff hopes are very much alive. Throw in the hapless Cowboys in December & all of a sudden Green Bay could be looking at 7-6-1 by the end of play Sunday. With Chicago on the road & Detroit hosting a desperate Ravens team, Green Bay could acend to the top of the NFC North with a victory! Dallas doesn’t have it quite so easy. Green Bay isn’t horrible & Philly is playin the 3-9-1 Vikings! The Cowboys control their own fate yet again. They get the Matt Flynn led Packers before the Kirk Cousins led Redskins. They win out, they win the East.
Not one of the more sexy games of the week but it has significant value for both squads. Interleague games are always sort of interesting at the end of the year. They don’t affect tiebreakers all that much outside of total record which means everything I suppose! Both Arizona & Tennessee need to win games. The Titans at 5-8 need to win out to make the playoffs. It’s that simple. What’s interesting is that the Titans have wins over Pittsburgh, San Diego & NY Jets. They are in good stead when it comes to tiebreakers although they don’t have wins over Baltimore & Miami. Their best their conference record can be is 6-6 so they need help. Arizona needs help too! At 8-5, the Cardinals would no problems getting into the playoffs if they played in the AFC, but they need serious help from both Carolina & San Francisco in order to sneak in.
I love this game! It’s not likely to be a national game when GB/DAL is playing at the same time, but this one is interesting. The Rams are 3-3 at home & two of those losses came by 12 points to SEA & TEN. The Saints are 3-3 on the road and we know they are a bit more vulnerable. The Saints do get the pleasure of playing in a dome though. The last time New Orleans came to St. Louis was 2011 when they beat the Rams 31-21, but this Rams team is better. Despite it coming against a 5-8 squad, the Saints have to know this is a must win game. A loss here combined with a Panthers win evens both teams out at 10-4 with the Saints having to travel to Carolina meaning a Panthers win gives them the NFC South crown. NO won’t lose to Tampa at home to end the season meaning that a win here virtually locks up the South for them.
Very meaningful game for the Bengals. The Patriots have back-to-back road games against the Dolphins & Ravens coming up and if they can falter once, then the Bengals can secure a 1st round bye in the playoffs as they have the tiebreaker over New England. I’ve said this a million times but it’s insanely important for Cincinnati to get this given how Andy Dalton plays on the road. A home divisional game could mean everything for Cincinnati getting to the AFC Championship game. Their final 2 games of the season are at home meaning a win in Pittsburgh could equal a 12-4 season & a likely #2 seed if NE stumbles. Although it’s likely Cincy would travel to Denver in an AFC Championship game, the cold shouldn’t hurt them & Cincy’d defense is pretty stout so anything could happen. Of course this is must win for Pittsburgh. Big game!
Must wins for both squads. Detroit very much needs to keep pace with the Packers & Bears in the NFC North, teams who don’t look like they are going away anytime soon. The Ravens actually find themselves as the #6 seed in the AFC so if they keep winning they’ll find themselves with the ability to defend their Super Bowl title. I’ve written about this before but I’m really starting to like this Baltimore team. The defense is solid & the offense has so much to work with. I can’t believe that Joe Flacco is the limiting factor just yet when it comes to the Baltimore offense. Baltimore has been atrocious on the road going 1-5 so this game should be challenging. Are the Ravens more a playoff team or more of a team like they were last week when they needed a miracle to beat Minnesota in Baltimore? This game might show us which.
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December 12, 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, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Week 15

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