JC's Take: NFL Week 13 Review
Hello everyone! Here's my review of anything and everything from Week 13 of the NFL!
Team of the Week: New England Patriots
-If there was any question about who the best team was in the AFC, the Patriots answered that last night. They absolutely dominated the Jets in every aspect of the game last night. Tom Brady looked like the MVP quarterback he was a couple of years ago. He was finding open receivers almost at will. The defense, which was young and had been giving up big yards and points, absolutely shut down a very good Jets offense. The Patriots are now in the driver seat for home field in the AFC. They do have a tough schedule down the stretch, still having to play Chicago and Green Bay, but if they play like they did last night, they shouldn't have to worry about anything.
Game of the Week: Dallas Cowboys 38 Indianapolis Colts 35 (OT)
-This gets the nod over Baltimore/Pittsburgh. The game was more entertaining. The Cowboys jumped out to an early lead because of two Peyton Manning pick-sixes. The Colts fought back though, because the Peyton Manning of old showed up and brought his team back. I can't fault Peyton for the overtime INT. That was just smart coverage on Dallas part. The defense, though, can't allow a ten minute drive like they did in the 4th quarter. And then after they held Dallas to a field goal, took a penalty that allowed the Cowboys three more cracks at the end zone, to which they got. Props to Dallas for not giving up after the Colts took the lead back after a blocked punt that was recovered for a touchdown. The Colts are in some serious trouble and now essentially need to win out in order to make the playoffs, and that may not still be enough in the end.
Goat of the Week: New York Jets
-Usually I like to save this spot for fired coaches, but even Josh McDaniels doesn't get the nod over the Jets. After Rex Ryan talked all week about how good his team was and how the Patriots should fear him, they laid a giant goose egg against them. That'll teach them to keep their mouth's shut. I thought the Jets were still a team that needed to prove themselves against a good team, and they had this chance and blew it. The Patriots in Week 2 are the only team with a winning record that the Jets have beaten all year. They better hope Mark Sanchez doesn't suffer a late season collapse, or that LT's age finally catches up to him. They still have to play the Bears and Steelers. Rex Ryan better learn to keep his mouth shut, because if he keeps giving teams "Bulletin Board Material", then they'll get the same treatment they got last night for the rest of the year.
Other Week 13 NFL Notes:
-Yet another coach that can't last the season. I was really surprised to hear that Josh McDaniels was fired this late in the season. I thought McDaniels would last at least the rest of the year. This firing just proves that you can never take an NFL executive at his word. Just last week, Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen said McDaniels was safe and would be around next year. Now he's on the unemployment line. I think McDaniels has a great young football mind and will get another coaching job sooner or later. I actually think he may end up coaching in college for a few years before a potential return to the NFL. He's from the Belichick coaching tree so you know he has the smarts. Meanwhile, Denver may already be regretting the firing of Mike Shanahan two years ago. Now, if there's a lockout, Denver will be paying three coach's salaries. That's a lot of money down the drain.
-Brett Favre was knocked out of the game after the third play from scrimmage against the Bills. Favre rolled out to pass and was hit hard from behind by Arthur Moats. The ball popped in the air and was intercepted. Favre is considered questionable for this weekend's game. But if I'm coach Leslie Frazier, I really consider letting Jackson finish out the season. Frazier is coaching to keep this job next year, so why not see if Jackson is the guy you want under center next year. You know Favre won't be back, so why not see if Jackson is your guy. I know Favre wants to get to 300 straight starts, but there comes a time when you have to do what's best for the team and its future. Jackson didn't play bad, so why not see what he's got. Unless Vikings management has already decided to not re-sign Jackson, there's no reason to not let him play the rest of the year out.
-Just when you think the Chargers are ready to take control of the AFC West, they go out and lay an egg at home against the Raiders. The Chargers number one offense in the league was shut down by a less than stellar Raiders defense. The Chargers are usually always solid in December, so to see a performance like this is quite surprising. Now the Chiefs have a two game lead in the AFC West with four games remaining. That's bad news for any AFC Wild Card team. Out of all three of these teams, Arrowhead is definitely the toughest place to play for opponent. The cold combined with a great home crowd can be very intimidating.
-That Ravens/Steelers game Sunday night was defintiely a slugfest. It's what is expected when these two teams play each other. But both teams also looked a bit sloppy at times. That broken nose for Big Ben looked nasty, especially in HD. But now the Steelers control their own destiny in the AFC North. If they win out they'll get a first round bye. The Steelers still have offensive line issues which somehow need to get fixed, especially if they want to keep Big Ben healthy the whole year. Their secondary is also getting passed on way too much. They need to work on that if they don't want to get knocked out in the first round. But they deserve props for a hard fought win. Troy Polamalu proably deserves some consideration for MVP because of the way he has been playing recently.
-The Falcons probably put to rest any doubt that they are the best team in the NFC after that win in Tampa. They came back from ten down to win on the road. They still have to play the Panthers twice, which is almost two guaranteed wins. But with the way Matt Ryan has been playing recently, it's almost too hard to bet against them. They're a dangerous team at home and have proved they can go out and win on the road. The Bucs, meanwhile, lost ground in the playoff race and now need to win out to have any sort of chance. They couldn't beat a proven team all year. It's not to say they aren't good, they are a young team who performed way better than anyone thought this year. They'll be a dangerous team come next year.
1. Atlanta Falcons (10-2, #1 last week)- Until they lose, they stay on top. Matty Ice looks like the real deal. They might be the new favorite to get to the Super Bowl in the NFC.
2. New England Patriots (10-2, #2)- And they are the Super Bowl favorites in the AFC. They look as good as the Pats teams of Super Bowl pasts, and that's bad news for the AFC.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3, #7)- They jump up because of their gutty win on the road in Baltimore. Big Ben is one tough SOB.
4. Chicago Bears (9-3, #5)- The schedule makers do not like them. Their last four games: New England, @Minnesota on Monday night, NY Jets, @Green Bay. That's tough sledding.
5. New Orleans Saints (9-3, #6)- They avoided the trap game against Cincinnati by capitalizing on their mistakes. They probably deserve a home playoff game, but the rules won't allow it.
6. Baltimore Ravens (8-4, #4)- They had the game in their hands and let it slip. Now they need to regroup and not let this game affect the rest of their season.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-4, #7)- Nice bounce back win on short rest against Houston. Their offense just needs to keep doing what they're doing and they'll be around in January.
8. Green Bay Packers (8-4, #9)- Those had to be some of the ugliest throwback jerseys I've ever seen. If the Packers keep wearing those I don't want them to make the playoffs.
9. New York Jets (9-3, #3)- Eventually their string of luck was going to run out. They ran into a team that could finish and got whooped. Now they need to regroup and find their swagger again.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4, #11)- Their defense won them the game against Denver. They have a nice two game lead in the AFC West, but still have to play Oakland and San Diego again. But its there's to lose.
11. New York Giants (8-4, #13)- Going back to their run game was smart with injuries at WR. Eventually, however, teams will stop that and make Eli beat them. Then the Giants need to worry.
12. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5, #14)- The division is now there's to lose. They just need to hope that they don't falter late. The real question is: How many people in Jacksonville know how good this team is?
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5, #12)- With so many teams losing and underperforming, I can't drop them too far. The Bucs have been a pleasant surprise this year, but please no more creamsicle jerseys.
14. St. Louis Rams (6-6, #17)- Another road win for a young team. Now comes the big test; going on the road to play New Orleans.
15. Oakland Raiders (6-6, #19)- A season sweep of their rivals San Diego keeps their playoff hopes alive another week. Great performance by their defense to shut down the Chargers offense.
16. San Diego Chargers (6-6, #10)- They couldn't afford that slip up at home against Oakland. It's a rarity because the Chargers play their best football in December.
17. Indianapolis Colts (6-6, #15)- They're not used to playing desperate in December. Maybe that's why Peyton is trying to do too much.
18. Cleveland Browns (5-7, #21)- If you own Peyton Hills and are still alive in your fantasy league I'll give you some advice: PLAY HIM NEXT WEEK AGAINST BUFFALO!!!
19. Miami Dolphins (6-6, #16)- This may be another team looking for a new QB in the off-season. Lets just hope they don't do another Dante Culpepper over Drew Brees type of choice.
20. Seattle Seahawks (6-6, #23)- That's the Marshawn Lynch Seattle expected when they traded for him. They kept pace with the Rams in the NFC West race.
21. Dallas Cowboys (4-8, #25)- This is where I don't like the Rooney Rule. Jason Garrett had done more than enough to win this job full time.
22. Minnesota Vikings (4-8, #26)- Another team playing hard for their interim coach. But their QB dilemna will be too much off a distraction down the stretch.
23. Houston Texans (5-7, #18)- Close again against Philadelphia. But close probably won't be enough for Gary Kubiak to keep his job at the end of the year.
24. Washington Redskins (5-7, #20)- So Daniel Snyder, how's that $100 million dollar investment of Albert Haynesworth working out for you?
25. Tennessee Titans (5-7, #22)- It appears the Jeff Fisher era is over in Tennessee. I was never a fan of the Titans (see: Music City Miracle), but I respect Jeff Fisher as a coach.
26. San Francisco 49ers (4-8, #24)- Time for Mike Singletary to dust off his resume.
27. Buffalo Bills (2-10, #27)- A set back for an improving Bills team. They still have talent holes that need to be filled.
28. Denver Broncos (3-9, #28)- With no McDaniels, Tim Tebow may be done in Denver as well.
29. Arizona Cardinals (3-9, #29)- Larry Fitzgerald watch: 4 games.
30. Detroit Lions (2-10, #30)- Waiting for next year, just like they were at this point last year.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (2-10, #31)- They shot themselves in the foot again against New Orleans, the story of their season.
32. Carolina Panthers (1-11, #32)- Hey, they were winning at one point this week!
Coaches Hot Seat RANKINGS!!!
1. John Fox, Carolina
2. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati
3. Mike Singletary, San Francisco
4. Jeff Fisher, Tennessee
5. Gary Kubiak, Houston
AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
1. New England Patriots (10-2)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5)
5. New York Jets (9-3)
6. Baltimore Ravens (8-4)
7. Oakland Raiders (6-6)
8. San Diego Chargers (6-6)
9. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)
10. Miami Dolphins (6-6)
NFC Playoff Picture
1. Atlanta Falcons (10-2)
2. Chicago Bears (9-3)
3. Philadelphia Eagles (8-4)
4. St. Louis Rams (6-6)
5. New Orleans Saints (9-3)
6. New York Giants (8-4)
7. Green Bay Packers (8-4)
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
St. Louis Rams vs New Orleans Saints: Possibly the Rams biggest test all year.
New England Patriots vs Chicago Bears: How will the Bears handle the worst part of their schedule?
Kansas City Chiefs vs San Diego Chargers: Last gasp for the Chargers fading playoff hopes.
That's all for today. Tomorrow I'll be back with a year end WWE Awards Blog.
Until next time,