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2014 NFL WEEK 12 – GAMES OF THE WEEK

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Finally we get a game between Arizona & Seattle! Arizona enters the game 9-1 on a 6-game winning streak & they seem impermeable to adversity at this point. Lose Carson Palmer? No big deal? Lose Larry Fitzgerald last week against a 7-2 Detroit team? No big deal. How much longer can Arizona hold up? Fitzgerald might not play this week! What we do know is that Arizona is a defense first team so maybe the offense doesn’t matter? What does matter is Seattle winning this game. At 6-4, the Wild Card looks to be the only option & their schedule is too tough down the road to drop home games even if the opponent is 9-1.
I’m really interested in seeing how the Detroit O-Line does against the New England pass rush. The Lions have given up 31 sacks which is the 6th most in the NFL. Their -5 in sack differential is really saying something given how dominant the Detroit defense has been! That goes to show you just how TERRIBLE the O-Line has been. New England ranks 15th in sacks as a defense which isn’t fantastic and they are without Chandler Jones, but you have to think Belichick is going to dial up the pressure on Stafford. I might think this game differently if Detroit could play to their offensive potential, but my guess is a Patriots blowout.
According to Football Outsiders’ Team Efficiency Rankings, Denver is the best team in the NFL while the Dolphins are the 4th best. Normally that would make this the marquee game & maybe it should be. I like looking at this game from a strategic point of view if I’m Denver. I’m not saying a loss here would be good, but I think the Broncos can lose this game & still be in good shape. It’s unlikely they’ll get the #1 seed now that they lost to St. Louis. But would it be to their benefit for Miami to grab that #5/#6 seed in order to get the Dolphins in New England for a divisional round game? I’m guessing Denver wins, but it’s a thought.
A great game to think about! With their loss to the Bengals last week, the Saints accomplished something I NEVER thought would happen. First they lost 2 straight games at home! That’s INSANE in the Brees/Payton era. The other thing I thought would never happen is Atlanta leading the NFC South which they do at 4-6! I can’t BELIEVE the Saints would drop 3 straight at home, but the Ravens seriously need a win here. The AFC North is a logjam but the Ravens can’t keep losing games. If they do lose to the Saints, then the Browns & Bengals have to lose which is conceivable I suppose, but I would think the Ohio contingent looks good.
Raise your hand if you had the Browns & Falcons has 2 of your 8 division winners before the season began! It could actually happen! I’m not entirely sure what to think about this game but it will be a really intriguing match up if Mike Smith can adjust his offensive philosophy & gear the Falcons towards the run (which Cleveland can’t stop) instead of relying on the pass (which Cleveland is borderline great at stopping). It might be time to let Steven Jackson get more than 12 carries a game. It sounds crazy but both teams could use the win to stay in their divisional races. Plus a win for Atlanta at least moves them closer to .500.
This has the making of being a disaster. In their last 2 games against the Bears & Eagles, the Packers have averaged 54PPG while allowing just 17PPG! Now you throw in the Vikings who will have a rookie QB going without much of a running attack & you can see guys like Clay Matthews & Julius Peppers foaming at the mouth. Minnesota has allowed the 4th most sacks in the NFL so I think this one gets UGLY early & with Minnesota looking like they’ll face a huge deficit, they’ll rely on the pass even more. That’s a culmination of a lot of bad things going Minnesota’s way. Still, it’s Packers/Vikings & the Vikings defense isn’t bad so there is that.
The Cowboys should roll over a hapless Giants squad which is exactly why the Giants most likely will pull out a ridiculous type victory. New York comes into this game having lost their last 5! They did put up quite a fight last week at home in a 16-10 loss to the 49ers, but this has the look of an organization in transition. HC Tom Coughlin looks done. If he’s done I wouldn’t be surprised if GM Jerry Reese is done. Eli Manning looks like a 33-year old QB who is already over the hill. The Cowboys have everything to play for, but these Giants/Cowboys games are tricky. I don’t think the G-Men go 3-13 although I don’t see how Dallas lose unless they gag!
These are exactly the type of games you’d expect the Bengals to lose! Before last week’s improbably 27-10 win over the Saints in New Orleans, the Bengals were 2-3-1 in their last 6 coming off a terrible home loss to Cleveland 24-3. I figured that was the nail in their coffin especially with them traveling to the Bayou. Instead they win, get to 6-3-1 & now lead the AFC North again! This week they are at Houston who just beat Cleveland. Houston is a ball hawking sort of team that can run the football, something the Bengals can’t stop very well. Putting the game in Andy Dalton’s hands means turnovers which I think means a Houston win.
Against the Rams, the Broncos, Seahawks & 49ers are 1-3. Against everyone else, those same 3 teams are 18-8! St. Louis by the way is a 4-6 team who is actually 1-5 against teams not named Denver, San Francisco & Seattle. The Chargers are 6-4 so they look like a team St. Louis will get up to play! San Diego needs the win to stay close to Kansas City & Denver. They knew going in Denver would be a problem, but what the Bolts didn’t count on was Kansas City being this good which makes the Wild Card more difficult to attain. Their schedule down the way is tough so they need to win home games against teams they should beat.
I keep going back to it, but when the chips are down it really does look like the 49ers get tougher. They’ve won 2 straight after going through intense criticism after back-to-back losses to the Broncos & Rams. Maybe losing to the Rams isn’t so bad! Either way, the 49ers now have a chance to win 3 straight with Oakland coming up. Win those two & SF is 8-4 with a home games against the Seahawks mixed in which could mean 9-4/8-5. As for Washington they simply will not win with RG3 at the helm. He’s 1-3 as a starter this year & so far he’s 14-22 as a starter & I don’t see how he improves. Jay Gruden looks solid but he needs a QB.
This game would be A LOT better if Oakland was really good as Chiefs/Raiders game are one of the precious gems of NFL rivalries. It simply doesn’t get much better unless you are talking Cowboys/Redskins or Cowboys/49ers or Colts/Patriots or Steelers/Raiders. It’s one of the best if not the best when both teams are dominant. That is also why this game is a bit tricky. Oakland enters the game 0-10 and I have a hard time believing they’ll finish 0-16. This is a rivalry game. It’s in Oakland & the Raiders have been close on multiple occasions. KC should win, but they’ve won 5 straight. Aren’t they do for a loss, assuming they aren’t a division champion type squad?
I hate this game for both the Jets & Bills, but a lot more for the Bills. I think it sucks that the city of Buffalo gets screwed out of home games that are moved to Toronto for whatever monetary reason that screws the fan base. I also think it sucks that when weather gets bad, the Bills get their games moved to Detroit which again causes them to have one less home game. Oddly enough, it’s only a 4 hour drive from Buffalo to Detroit & the Lions are out of town. That’s actually a lot closer than New York City or Philadelphia. Pittsburgh is close than Detroit but the Steelers are at home being on a bye week which would have precluded it being a potential site for the game. Why not Cleveland?
I think the Eagles have to win this game & I think they do, but the Titans all of a sudden become a much more interesting team with Zach Mettenberger throwing passes instead of Charlie Whitehurst. The Titans almost got a big upset over Pittsburgh last week but ultimately fell 27-24. I’ve been saying all season that the Titans are one of the most boring teams in the NFL, but that somewhat changes with Mettenberger. Bishop Sankey is doing a decent job & you can do a lot worse on the edge than Justin Hunter, Kendall Wright & Delanie Walker. I’d be shocked if Philly loses the game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Tennessee keeps it close.
In their first 4 games of the season, Jacksonville went 0-4 with an average score of 15-38. In their last 6 games the Jaguars are 1-5 with an average score of 17-22. It would look like Jacksonville has gotten a lot better & I think they are improving, but it’s misleading. In their first 4 games, Jax lost by a 15-38 average score. In their next 3 games they were 1-2 with an average score of 16-13! The offense was just as bad but the defense improved. In their last 3 games they are 0-3 with an average score of 18-30. The defense is bad again, but not quite as bad as the beginning of the season. Denard Robinson has emerged as a good RB which could give a struggling Indy team problems, but the last time these teams played, Indy rolled 44-17.
Chicago is 4-6. Tampa Bay is 2-8. Need I say more? I’m not sure there is any reason whatsoever to watch this game. Things seem to be imploding in Chicago although the Bears were able to get a win last week beating Vikings 21-13 at Soldier Field. What is somewhat worth watching is that if the Bears are the team we thought coming into the season then their schedule sets up really well for them. They can win out save a road game against Detroit. If they win out they’d be 10-6. If they lose to Detroit they’d still make it to 9-7. I don’t think that’s enough to get into the playoffs, but a 10-6/9-7 record probably saves HC Marc Trestman’s job. Maybe…..
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November 23, 2014 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Big Games, Buffalo Bills, 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, Must See Games, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Week 12

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