Tuesday, December 21, 2010

JC's Take: NFL Week 15 Review

JC's Take: NFL Week 15 Review

Hey everyone! Welcome back for my review of the NFL from Week 15.

Team of the Week: Philadelphia Eagles
What else can be said that already hasn't been said? The Eagles were down 31-10 with under 8 minutes left and found a way to comeback and win. Mike Vick looked like the Vick you see in Madden. He was kind of like the Madden 04 Vick, the year he was on the cover and he was pretty much unstoppable in the game. He was finding open receivers late, and taking off out of the pocket like crazy. DeSean Jackson's punt return was a thing of beauty. He could have fallen on the ball after he bobbled it, but instead he found a hole and took off. This was a big win for the Eagles. They now hold the tiebreaker over the Giants by beating them twice, and only need one more win to clinch the division. I would not want to run into this team in the playoffs.

Game of the Week: New England 31  Green Bay 27
While the Eagles comeback was nice, they were getting dominated most of the game. The Packers/Patriots game was a back and forth affair. I thought for sure the Packers would get dominated without Aaron Rodgers, but they put on a nice performance. Matt Flynn looked capable of being a starting caliber QB in the league. The Pack didn't pull out the game, but they played well. It's just that the Patriots are such a good team that it was hard for Pack to overcome them. Tom Brady didn't have his best game, but he played well enough to win. And how about that return by Pats offensive lineman Dan Connolly? It would have been nice to see him score a TD, just for the celebration alone.

Dogs of the Week: New York Giants
This game just isn't on Matt Dodge. Did Dodge give up three touchdowns before that punt? No, no he didn't. Sure Dodge should have punted the ball out of bounds, but Jackson still bobbled the punt. Usually when a punt is bobbled guys from the other team are there either ready to pounce on it or make a tackle. But there was no one. The Giants entire team collapsed on Sunday. Now they have to go to Lambeau and win in order to make the playoffs. A loss there and they are on the outside looking in, and Tom Coughlin may actually be in danger of losing his job. This "Miracle in the New Meadowlands" could be a crushing blow to the entire Giants team.

Other Week 15 Thoughts:
-Chris Mortensen said on ESPN this week that Bill Cowher is ready to get back into coaching, and he has a list of three teams: the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, and Houston Texans. Before Sunday, it looked like the Dolphins and Texans jobs may be the only openings. Now, the Giants job could be in play. All of these owners are backing their coaches, but of course they will during the season. But Gary Kubiak is again missing the playoffs with Houston, Tony Sparano doesn't have Bill Parcells to protect him anymore, and Tom Coughlin just watched his team fall apart in front of him. Bill Cowher will coach again in 2011, and if I had to guess, I'd say he ends up in Houston. I think that is the only job of the three that is guaranteed to be open.

-The Colts finally looked like the Colts of old on Sunday. They took care of the Jaguars and now control their own destiny in the AFC South. This week they have to go to Oakland and beat a gritty Raiders team, which is no easy task at all. This doesn't take anything away from Jacksonville's season. They've played some good football this year, they just couldn't win this big one on the road. The Colts did an excellent job of shutting down Maurice Jones-Drew, and Peyton Manning didn't try to do too much. Their running game also finally came alive with Donald Brown getting over 100 yards. It may be a good thing for the Colts to be hitting their stride late in the season rather than early. They'll have to keep playing their starters for the rest of the year, and not rest them which could disrupt their rhythm. 

-Just when you want to leave the Jets for dead, they go on the road and take care of a very good Pittsburgh team. It seemed like they simplified the game plan for Mark Sanchez. They didn't ask him to doo a lot. He's still not ready to shoulder that much of a workload. They had to withstand a late rally attempt by Pittsburgh, but they did it just fine. You have to wonder if this is the win that finally rights the team. They've looked suspect all year, and a big win like this on the road could really turn things around. If they don't ask Mark Sanchez to do to much, they are a good team. Rely on your solid running game and strong defense to win you the game, not Sanchez.

-So how about that NFC West? All four teams in the division lost this week. The Rams and Seahawks remain tied on top with a record of 6-8. This means at best, an 8-8 team will win the division AND HOST a first round playoff game. I'm all for teams that win their division to make the playoffs, but neither of these teams deserve to host a playoff game. There should be a rule that if you don't have a record better than .500, you don't host a playoff game. More than likely the Saints will have to go play the winner of the NFC West, and they could finish with a 4 game better record than the NFC West winner. That's just wrong on so many levels. I think the Rams win it in the end. They have the most stable QB situation of the three and have the best defense. 

-It was quite the sight on Monday Night Football. That is how football in cold cities is suppose to be played. Not in some cushy dome, but outside in the elements. I don't understand why Brett Favre felt it necessary to go out their and play. Let Joe Webb go make an impression on the coaching staff. At this point, Favre is playing for nobody but himself. I really hope he doesn't comeback next year, unless he wants to tarnish his legacy even further. The Bears, meanwhile, rebounded nicely from their loss against New England. I for one did not think they would be alive this late. I didn't even think they'd make the playoffs. But now they are the NFC North Champions and are on track to get a first round bye. Mike Martz has done wonders with Jay Cutler.

1. Atlanta Falcons (12-2, #1 last week)- They can leave no doubters about being tops in the NFC with a win next week against New Orleans.

2. New England Patriots (12-2, #2)- Dan Connolly may become their new kickoff return man. I'm sure Bill Belichick will find a way to make it work.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4, #5)- They're a scary team, plus they've beaten the Falcons. I don't want to see them in the playoffs.

4. Chicago Bears (10-4, #7)- Why do teams punt to Devin Hester? They have a big test next week against the Jets.

5. Baltimore Ravens (10-4, #6)- They relied on Ray Rice in their win against New Orleans. He's their best weapon, and gives them their best chance to succeed on offense.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4, #3)- They're back in a dogfight in the AFC North. They can't slip up down the stretch. But with the Panthers and Browns down the stretch, it shouldn't be a problem.

7. New Orleans Saints (10-4, #4)- They didn't play bad against the Ravens, but they couldn't finish the job. They have a big showdown with Atlanta next week on MNF.

8. New York Jets (10-4, #12)- A nice bounce back win after two bad losses. And they didn't even need the help of coaches on the sideline to do it.

9. San Diego Chargers (8-6, #11)- They're playing well enough to deserve to be up here, but they still may not make the playoffs. They'll look back at their early season struggles for blame.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5, #14)- They took care of business on the road against St. Louis. They're in the driver seat in the AFC West. 

11. Indianapolis Colts (8-6, #15)- Are they back? It looks like it. They can't slip up this week on the road against Oakland.

12. Green Bay Packers (8-6, #10)- Matt Flynn was good, but that was some bad clock management at the end of the game. That's on Mike McCarthy.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6, #9)- They're good luck streak ran out in Indy. Now they need even more luck to have a shot at the playoffs.

14. New York Giants (9-5, #8)- That collapse could cost the Giants their season, and Tom Coughlin his job. Huge game next week at Lambeau.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6, #13)- They finally slipped up against a cupcake team, and it probably cost them any shot at the playoffs.

16. Oakland Raiders (7-7, #18)- They keep winning, but now they need some help to stay alive in the AFC West. But they face a tough Colts squad this week.

17. Dallas Cowboys (5-9, #21)- Tony Romo finally went on IR today. Now he has time to plan his big wedding.

18. Miami Dolphins (7-7, #16)- Chad Henne looked like Trent Edwards on Sunday. A new coach probably wouldn't keep him around.

19. St. Louis Rams (6-8, #17)- They have the most stable QB in the NFC West, which gives them the best shot of winning it. 

20. Buffalo Bills (4-10, #27)- Sure it's a big jump, but they're 4-2 in their last six and playing better than anyone below them. They could be a good football team next year.

21. Tennessee Titans (6-8, #26)- It was a nice moment seeing Jeff Fisher give the gameball to Mike Heimendinger, their offensive coordinator battling cancer.

22. San Francisco 49ers (5-9, #20)- Thinking of starting Akili Smith at QB this week.

23. Cleveland Browns (5-9, #19)- Eric Mangini is now on the hot seat list.

24. Seattle Seahawks (6-8, #22)- Currently calling ESPN about the availability of Tim Hasselbeck. 

25. Houston Texans (5-9, #23)- How is a team with so many weapons on offense this bad?

26. Minnesota Vikings (4-10, #24)- Leslie Frazier doing everything he can to blow shot at a full time coaching gig.

27. Detroit Lions (4-10, #29)- They finally ended their road losing streak, and if they can stay healthy, they may end their playoff drought next year.

28. Washington Redskins (5-9, #25)- So about that Donovan McNabb contract extension...

29. Arizona Cardinals (4-10, #28)- The sad thing is, if the Seahawks and Rams didn't play each other in Week 16, they'd STILL be alive in the NFC West.

30. Cincinnati Bengals (3-11, #31)- T.O. is done for the year. Another failed experiment.

31. Denver Broncos (3-11, #30)- Tebow didn't look bad in his first start. These next two will determine if the new coach will keep him around next year.

32. Carolina Panthers (2-12, #32)- Jimmy Claussen may not make it to Christmas with his family after the Steelers defense gets through with him.

1. John Fox, Carolina
2. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati
3. Gary Kubiak, Houston
4. Jeff Fisher, Tennessee
5. Eric Mangini, Cleveland
6. Mike Singletary, San Francisco
7. Tony Sporano, Miami

1. New England Patriots 12-2: clinched playoff spot
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-4: clinched playoff spot
3. Kansas City Chiefs 9-5
4. Indianapolis Colts 8-6
5. Baltimore Ravens 10-4
6. New York Jets 10-4
7. San Diego Chargers 8-6
8. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-6

1. Atlanta Falcons 12-2: clinched playoff spot
2. Chicago Bears 10-4: clinched NFC North
3. Philadelphia Eagles 10-4
4. St. Louis Rams 6-8
5. New Orleans Saints 10-4
6. New York Giants 9-5
7. Green Bay Packers 8-6
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-6

Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
1. New York Jets vs Chicago Bears: Jets are in with a win
2. New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers: Winner has inside track on Wild Card spot
3. New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons: Falcons looking to silence any remaing doubters.

That's all for today. Nothing tomorrow. Week 16 picks Thursday.

Until next time,
Justin C  

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