Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NFL Week 12 Review


It's NFL Review Time!

Team of the Week: New Orleans Saints
-Sure they had a bye week to prepare for the Giants, but they absolutely dismantled them Monday night. They took a good Giants defense to the woodshed. Drew Brees was on his game last night. No sacks, no turnovers, no interceptions. Brees has a ton of weapons at his disposal and he knows exactly how to use each one. The Saints spread the ball out so much that you can't gameplan for just one weapon. The Saints defense under Greg Williams brings the pressure almost every down. Williams loves to blitz and isn't afraid to leave their secondary in single coverage. The Saints have a shot at the #2 seed with San Francisco losing this week. They won't get home field, but a bye week helps.

Game of the Week: New York Jets 28  Buffalo Bills 24
-Good back and forth game throughout. This game went a long way to helping out the Jets playoff chances, and probably put the nail in the coffin for the Bills. Mark Sanchez didn't play his best game, but he did throw 4 TD passes, including a great scramble and throw to Santonio Holmes with under 2 minutes to play. Sanchez also made a big throw to Plaxico Burress on 3rd and 11 to keep that drive going. The Bills had multiple opportunities to win late. Stevie Johnson dropped a wide open pass at the 20 that probably would have gotten the Bills inside the 10. On the next play, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw slightly behind an open Johnson in the end zone. It was a nice win for the Jets after losing two in a row. For the Bills, they have no one to blame but themselves after another crushing defeat.

Dog of the Week: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
-Lots of choices for this week's award, but this clearly goes to Suh. Suh stomped the arm of a Packers offensive lineman during their Thanksgiving day game. Suh has a reputation for being a dirty player, and clearly this incident didn't help. Suh originally claimed that he was trying to get his footing under him, which might be one of the worst lies I have ever heard. Suh later apologized, but he is still facing a suspension. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, Suh will be suspended for two games. The suspension seems just about right, I might have given him an extra game. This will definitely hurt the Lions defensively, especially going to New Orleans next week.

Other Week 12 Notes
-Lots of WRs have come under the gun this week, and deservedly so. I already talked about Stevie Johnson. His TD celebration was a bit excessive, and it cost the Bills field position. Then there is Eagles WR DeSean Jackson, who shied away from hits multiple times and it caused him to drop a few passes, including one in the end zone. Jackson was benched in the 4th quarter because of it. Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe jumped for a pass late in the 4th, but he never put his arms up and the ball sailed over his head into the arms of the Steelers secondary. You could label all 3 of these guys pre-madonna WRs, and they showed that label this week. Jackson probably won't be back in Philadelphia next year. Johnson is a UFA and may not be back in Buffalo. Bowe may not survive a potential coach change in Kansas City. Someone will sign these guys, but they have to deal with the excess baggage they potentially bring along.

-At this point, you have to feel sorry for the Houston Texans. Sure they are still 8-3, but now they lost Matt Leinart for the rest of the year with a broken collarbone. Now the Texans will rely on rookie T.J. Yates to lead this team into the playoffs. Yates wasn't bad in relief this week, but he was also playing the Jacksonville Jaguars. The good thing for Yates is that he is taking control of one of the better offenses in the league. He has a great two headed running attack with Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Andre Johnson is a playmaker at WR. The Texans defense is also one of the better defenses in the league. The Texans next two games are tough, home to Atlanta and at Cincinnati. A split there would be great. The last 3 are winnable: home to Carolina, at Indianapolis, home to Tennessee. 11-5 is doable, 10-6 should still win the AFC South. But can T.J. Yates really lead this team to the Super Bowl? Sorry, but I don't think so. The Texans had a chance with Matt Schaub, but not with Yates.

-Well, it looks like the New York Giants are destined for another late season collapse. They started off their brutal second half well after beating New England. But they've lost 3 straight and their loss to New Orleans is by far the worst loss yet. The Giants defense was just torn apart by Drew Brees. The Saints bottled up the Giants pass rush, and that exposed the Giants secondary. The loss of Ahmad Bradshaw has hurt the Giants offense as well. Eli Manning played well, but he can't do everything as well. Now the Giants get the undefeated Packers in New York this week. Even if the Giants lose this week, they still get the Cowboys twice and can win the NFC East. But the Cowboys are playing much better football than the Giants are. If the Giants don't get things right quickly, Tom Coughlin's head may be on the chopping block.

Hey I'm Just Sayin...
-Has Andrew Luck been fitted for his Colts jersey yet?

-Are the Bengals the only 7-4 team that can't sell out their home games?

-When will John Elway just learn to love Tim Tebow?

-I bet Kyle Orton wishes he was still in Denver.

-Who's starting the "When Will Tony Romo Choke" calendar?

AFC Playoff Picture
1. Houston Texans  8-3  vs Atlanta
2. New England Patriots  8-3  vs Indianapolis
3. Baltimore Ravens  8-3  at Cleveland
4. Oakland Raiders  7-4  at Miami
5. Pittsburgh Steelers  8-3  vs Cincinnati
6. Cincinnati Bengals  7-4  at Pittsburgh
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7. Denver Broncos  6-5  at Minnesota
8. New York Jets  6-5  at Washington
9. Tennessee Titans  6-5  at Buffalo

A big game in the AFC Wild Card race with the Bengals visiting Pittsburgh. A loss their by the Bengals opens up the last Wild Card spot for every team below them. The Broncos are playing the best football of all four of these teams in my opinion, but they have a rough schedule after Minnesota. The Jets are very hot and cold, and they could just as easily lose to Washington as beat them.

NFC Playoff Picture
1. Green Bay Packers  11-0  at NY Giants
2. San Francisco 49ers  9-2  vs St. Louis
3. New Orleans Saints  8-3  vs Detroit
4. Dallas Cowboys  7-4  at Arizona
5. Chicago Bears  7-4  vs Kansas City
6. Atlanta Falcons  7-4  at Houston
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7. Detroit Lions  7-4  at New Orleans
8. New York Giants  6-5  at Green Bay

Big games for all parties involved in the NFC Playoff race. The Packers/Giants and Lions/Saints match-ups could bring some separation to the picture. The Falcons face a big road game at Houston with them down their QB. Chicago looks to rebound against a down Kansas City team. And if I were the Cowboys, I wouldn't overlook the Cardinals. They are playing good football as of late and could play spoiler for the Cowboys.

THE COACHING HOT SEAT
1. Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville: FIRED!
-Early this morning Del Rio was fired as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Del Rio's record was 69-73 as Jacksonville's coach and was 1-2 in the playoffs. Del Rio has publicly blamed the team's offensive coordinator in recent losses, which is never a good thing to do. And now there are reports that Jacksonville has been sold. I find it difficult to believe the Jaguars will land a big time coach. Maybe Brian Billick if they get lucky. But they are more than likely looking at a coordinator promoted to first time coach.

2. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams
-Yes, the Rams have been decimated by injuries this year. Yes, they have had a difficult schedule. But there were high expectations in St. Louis this year after the team finished 7-9 last year and looked like a young, up-and-coming team in the process. But the Rams have taken a drastic step back this year. They have no one to protect Sam Bradford, and the defense gets continually burned by opposing running backs. Spags can't go 3 season with only winning 10 games. Expect a change. They may just promote Josh McDaniels, but the Rams may attract a good coach because of the young talent on the team. Jeff Fisher would be an ideal fit.

3. Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
-Norv Turner has always found ways to bring his team back after a slow first half of the season, but that isn't happening this year. The Chargers aren't the same Chargers they have been in years past. Philip Rivers looks off, and the defense can't get offenses off the field. Turner has had numerous opportunities to win the Super Bowl with this team, but that time is up. Turner and GM A.J. Smith are probably both gone this odd-season. That means a new front office will evaluate this roster of veterans and see who fits, and who doesn't.

4. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
-Philly fans are ready with their pitchforks. There was a very audible "Fire Andy" chant at the Eagles game this past Sunday. Reid seems to have lost control of his team. There is a clear disconnect with WR DeSean Jackson, and who knows the real story behind the injury to Mike Vick. The star-studded secondary hasn't lived up to the billing either. Reid is a good coach, and he might have faced to high expectations coming into the season. If Reid stays Jackson is probably gone. If it were me, I would keep Reid around. If he does get fired, he will probably get hired almost immediately.

5. Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-The Bucs were expected to be competitive this year after finishing 10-6 last season. With a 4-7 record this season, they will definitely finish with a worse record. Morris takes some of the blame for not continuing to build on a young offense that looked good last year. Josh Freeman has regressed a bit, and the defense can't stop anyone in the running game. With Ron Rivera turning the Panthers around into a fun team, the Bucs are staring at the division cellar if they can't get going and turn things around.

OTHERS
-Todd Haley, Kansas City: Haley's team has regressed tremendously since winning the AFC West last year. Losing Matt Cassel, Eric Berry, and Jamaal Charles hurts, but they aren't excuses.

-Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins: The team is playing better, but expect a change. Owner Stephen Ross wants to make a big splash and finally get people into the seats.

-Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts: No Peyton Manning and injuries have hurt, but if the team finishes 0-16, you almost have to make a change. Can't let that stain be on the team forever.

-Ken Wisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals: He finally got his veteran QB, but he has played worse than expected. The defense as a whole is a mess. Wisenhunt may not get another year.

Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh Steelers: Can the Bengals finally pass a big test?
Detroit Lions vs New Orleans Saints: Saints look to stay hot, Lions look to make a statement.
Green Bay Packers vs New York Giants: Can the Giants save their season with a huge upset?

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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