Well Eric is out slamming people all over the place for the national champion NYU Slam Poetry team, so he can’t be here this week, but he will be back soon. And speaking of people are coming back soon, I feel like I’ve got to give my two bits on this whole Mark Sanchez thing. (For those of you are not caught up, check out Eric’s great step-by-step guide to the Jet’s QB controversy, featuring Broadway performer Lin-Manuel Miranda.) The fact that Sanchez is projected to start on Sunday against Jacksonville is ridiculous.
I don’t care if he broke two ribs – if Tim Tebow can play, he should be starting this Sunday. How can people say that the Tim Tebow experiment failed in New York, when it never really happened at all? Tebow’s only thrown the ball seven times this year, so this fear of Tebow taking over the offense needs to end, and Rex Ryan needs to finally see if all that Denver magic can be replicated in New York. But enough talking about a 5-7 team, let’s get into this weeks’ games.
SUNDAY 1:00 PM
Ravens at Redskins
Its the Robert Griffin III show in Washington, D.C. this year, and even though his stats weren’t great last week against the Giants (163 yards, 1 TD) he still got the win, and now this Beltway rivalry matchup gets a lot more interesting. The Ravens have looked pretty ineffective at times, especially for a 9-3 team, and after losing to a Roethlisberger-less Steelers team, you have to wonder how they are going to match up with the dynamic RG3. I’m going with the Redskins here, in my upset of the week.
Rams at Bills
If the Rams could shut down every team the way they do against the 49ers, they would be resting starters for the playoffs already. But that’s not the case; they are 5-6-1 and are in 3rd place in the NFC West, and it is mostly due to Sam Bradford’s bad play at quarterback. It makes you wonder what might have been if the Rams had drafted Robert Griffin III with the second pick in this year’s draft instead of trading it away to the Redskins. Despite Bradford’s lackluster performances, the Rams have won their last two games behind excellent defensive performances, and I’m going with the Rams here again getting their third straight win against a struggling Bills team.
Cowboys at Bengals
Okay Dallas fans, I know you’re still trying to draw up a scenario where the Cowboys win out and get a wild card spot in the playoffs, but let’s be real, the total record of those four teams is 25-23, and one of those teams just knocked off the defending champs. Just go home Dallas fans, its not your year. I’m going with the Bengals here behind another stellar performance from the law firm BenJarvus Green Ellis and the Bengals’ top 10 defense.
Chiefs at Browns
What the Chiefs did winning last Sunday less than a day after linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself in front of head coach Romeo Crennel and other members of the front office was nothing short of inspirational. You have to think some of that team unity and pride continues into this week, and the Chiefs pull out another win for a team and city that has endured one of the most difficult seasons in sports’ history. But I just want to point out to anyone who doesn’t think football needs all these radical safety changes, think about this; in just the last year alone, six current or former NFL players have taken their own lives. Tell me that doesn’t have something to do with the way this sport is being played.
Titans at Colts
Like I’ve been saying the past few weeks, you can’t beat Karma. The Colts last second win over the Lions last week proved that again, and don’t expect anything different this week against the Titans. Just follow the formula; Karma+Andrew Luck+average or below average opponent=Colts win.
Bears at Vikings
The Bears were on pace a month ago to have one of the best defenses in NFL history, so what happened? Well first off Chicago had to play two of the best teams in the NFL, the Texans and 49ers, and the second issues was that Jay Cutler was injured, meaning the Bears defense was spending a lot more time on the field. Now there are definitely some other concerns, like Charles Tillman’s complete inability to shut down receivers, but the Bears should do well against the Vikings here to get a win.
Eagles at Buccaneers
I can’t talk anymore about the Eagles, its just too depressing, so its Buccaneers by default here. But with Josh Freeman and Doug Martin, that could be said for a lot of other match ups too, and I feel bad for any near-playoff team that has to go up against the Bucs this late in the season.
Jets at Jaguars
We’ve already been over the Jets, and as much as the Jets situation is a nightmare, its not nearly as bad as what’s going on Jacksonville. The Jags have bad quarterback options, an injured running back, and possibly the worst defense in the NFL. So as much as it pains me to say it, advantage goes to the Jets her e.
Chargers at Steelers
I don’t know what witch doctor they need to go to, but Ben Roethlisberger needs to be healthy now for the Steelers, because the Pittsburgh offense is producing absolutely nothing right now. Luckily the Steelers get a bit of a break playing against the Chargers, who have lost their last four and six of their last eight, and they will get the win this week to stay in the playoff race. Chargers fans, just get back to the beach, you need not pay attention to this one.
Falcons at Panthers
Matty Ice does it again, and the Falcons pull out another win. You have to start wondering though, when will the magic end for Atlanta, because all of these close wins aren’t going to be good enough come playoff time. Not to mention this is happening against one of the easiest schedules a team could have. If I was an NFC playoff team, I would be dying to play the Falcons this January, but for now, I’m still going with the Falcons against the lowly Panthers this week.
SUNDAY 4:05 PM
Dolphins at 49ers
Well the 49ers must be happy not to play another game against the Rams this season, San Francisco was starting to look a little like the Mike Singletary 49ers last week. But now its time to get back to normal, and what better team to do that against than the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill, who’s helped Miami to the league’s 23rd ranked passing offense. And for those calling for Alex Smith, give Colin Kaepernick a break, he’s only started three games, of course he’s going to make some rookie mistakes. Smith may have that experience, but he doesn’t have the deep pass ability and run game that Kaepernick can provide. Niners get the win behind Kaepernick and the defense, and get back on track towards the playoffs.
SUNDAY 4:25 PM
Cardinals at Seahawks
Well how about those Seahawks? Russel Wilson threw for nearly 300 yards, the defense stepped up, Marshawn Lynch ran well, and all of that against a pretty good Bears team. The Seahawks don’t just have their sites set on a Wild Card spot anymore, they actually think they can catch the 49ers and win the NFC West. That’s probably getting a little ahead of themselves, but don’t let their 7-5 record fool you; when the playoffs start, the Seahawks will be a legitimate Super Bowl contender, now that Russel Wilson is playing like an elite quarterback. As for the Cardinals, well its probably not worth it to go to in depth when they only scored two field goals last week in the whole game. Seahawks get the win.
Saints at Giants
A year ago this would have been the matchup of the week, but the Saints are no where near the quality of last year’s team and are nearly out of the playoff picture at 5-7 after last week’s loss to the Falcons. The Giants are also coming off of tough l
oss of their own, losing by one to RGIII in Washington, D.C. So does that mean the November swoon is continuing into December for the Giants? I don’t think so, especially not this week playing at home. Eli Manning is going to use that loss as motivation, and the Giants win in New York, finally ending even the most ardent Saints’ fan’s playoff hopes.
SUNDAY 8:00 PM
Lions at Packers
I can’t believe we went through all of November and never mentioned Aaron Rodgers’s facial hair. From the creepy mustache to the horseshoe, Rodgers could easily pass for a Williamsburg hipster if wasn’t wearing a Packers jersey. Its just to bad Movember is over because seeing Rodgers’s ridiculous facial hair behind his face mask could have entertained me for years. And the mustaches seemed to help, because Rodgers has been playing out of his mind the last month, leading the Packers to six wins in their last seven games. The Lions, decimated by last week’s loss to the Colts as time expired, are going to be disappointed again, because there is no way they can stop the Packers offense at Lambeau Field. Packers win.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Texans at Patriots
Now this is what you call a Monday Night Football game. You’ve he two best teams in the AFC squaring off in Foxborough, you’ve got the one and only Tom Brady, and you’ve got two teams in desperate need of a win… oh wait, both these teams already clinched a playoff spot? Well you can’t have everything, and there will still be a lot of motivation for these teams to win and secure a higher seeding in the playoffs. The Patriots have been playing like the best team in the NFL the last couple of weeks, and if they can win big here against the Texans, then they have to be the Super Bowl favorites. The key will be pass defense for both Houston and New England, who rank 19th and 29th respectively. If the Patriots give Matt Schaub 300 yards and a couple TDs, its going to pretty difficult to win. Still, I’m going with the Patriots because of the veteran experience and home field advantage. No matter what I can’t wait to see this one, it should be a classic.