The Eagles are not playing to their talent level this season. Some of it can be attributed to injuries but I put most on the playcalling and decisions by the coaching staff. The Eagles offensive line is devastated, could any QB and RB make plays for this team?
I'm sitting at 84-49 heading into the weekend. I need to have a huge run to get over .750 for the season.
NY Giants @ Cincinnati - The Giants are coming off a tough home loss last week to the Steelers. I think last weeks events caught up to the Giants. I think their routine during the week with practice and meetings was thrown off and it ended up costing them in the game. The fact that they were able to play as well as they did is a testimony to how mentally tough they are. Giants fans shouldn't take anything away from this loss, they'll be fine.
The Bengals have not matured as much as people thought in the second year of Dalton/Green era. Cincinnati hasn't beaten a good team and are struggling. They have a couple winnable games left on the schedule, but they're not making the playoffs.
Tennessee @ Miami - The Titans are falling apart and let Chicago hang 51 on them last week. They are finally getting the ball to Chris Johnson and he's producing. Other than that, there isn't much to get excited about. The Jake Locker era hasn't been given a chance but I've never thought he could play NFL QB.
The Dolphins are a nice surprise this year and lost a tough one against an emotionally charged Colts team. I still don't buy Tannehill as a QB but they have a good defense and they can run the ball. There are a lot of holes to fill with this team to really compete, but they're holding their own and competing.
Detroit @ Minnesota - The Lions lost the first match-up at home when the Vikings were off to a hot start. These teams are headed in different directions now. The Lions have put together a few solid wins and starting to get things together on offense. I know they beat a bad team last week but the best news is that they didn't play down to their competition. If Leshoure can really run the ball, that will help the offense. They still need to cover the secondary with smoke and mirrors and pressuring the QB with the front four. As a Lions fan I don't see them going anywhere this season, if they can even sneak into the playoffs.
The Vikings started off hot and were one of the biggest surprises of the season. A running game, defense and solid QB play was leading the way. AP is still playing well but Ponder has become the QB we all expected him to be. They can't keep throwing WR screens to Harvin all season, teams will shut that down. They need more production from the QB if they want to go anywhere.
Going with the Lions on the road, as a Lions fan this is a must win game.
Buffalo @ New England - The Bills are a very inconsistent team. Some weeks they run all over the field, some they can't move the ball. Some weeks Fitzpatrick looks like a starting QB and some week he's a mess. Their defense isn't doing them any favors either.
The Patriots are doing what they do every year, roll through the regular season. Gronk is a stud and Ridley can run the ball. They can only go as far as the defense will carry them this postseason.
Pats post whatever score they want this week.
Atlanta @ New Orleans - The Falcons continue to win every week and are playing well in all aspects of the game. Everyone keeps asking the same question, can they continue this in the postseason. I'm one that won't buy into this team until I see them continue it in the postseason.
The Saints beat a bad team last week in the Eagles. They started off to a really slow start and have suffered without their head coach. I don't think they are back and they still have a terrible defense. Don't put too much into beating Philadelphia.
Atlanta wins on the road.
San Diego @ Tampa Bay - The Chargers have four wins against some of the worst teams in the NFL, don't let their record fool you. I don't know where the strength of this team is, what they are trying to do and where they are going. They need to clean house after the season.
The Bucs found a solid RB in Doug Martin last week. Can he continue that every week with the injuries on the O-Line, that's the big question. This is a solid young team, but a few years away from going deep in the playoffs.
Bucs win at home.
Denver @ Carolina - The Broncos and Manning are in the middle of a three game winning streak and they have a ridiculously easy schedule the rest of the season. Their game @ Baltimore is their toughest game remaining. The offense is on the same page, they just need to get the defense playing at a high level. Good thing for Manning they'll run away with the west and, with their weak schedule, they might be able to get a first round bye. This season, no AFC team is solid on both sides of the ball so they could go far in the playoffs.
The Panthers finally showed up last week and won a game. Cam played solidly, didn't turn the ball over and the offense was ok. This team has bigger issues than winning a game or two to closeout the season. Will their coach get fired, who's back with the team? These are huge issues that need to be addressed.
Oakland @ Baltimore - The Raiders defense was embarrassed last week by a rookie running back. They haven't beaten a good team and I don't know where they are going. Some of their players can put up solid fantasy points, that's the best thing I can say about them.
Joe Flacco isn't doing much to change the minds of his critics. He is not an elite QB. If the Browns could score a TD, they would have won last week. The best thing the Ravens can do this week is hand the ball off to Ray Rice 40 times and see if he can rush for 300 yards.
NY Jets @ Seattle - Here we go with another week wondering what the Jets will do with Tim Tebow. I predicted in the preseason that the Jets would start Tebow coming out of their bye, looks like I was wrong. I do expect Tebow to start at some point this season. I don't think Sanchez is a great QB but you can't put this one him. He has no supporting cast and the talent has deteriorated every year since he arrived. This team needs a complete offensive overhaul, starting with the line.
The Seahawks are grinding out wins with a good defense, elite RB and solid rookie QB. They're not going to win the division but they can hang around for a wildcard by beating up on St. Louis and AZ.
I'll go Seattle at home.
Dallas @ Philadelphia - This should have been a great match-up of two teams competing for the NFC East title and possibly a top playoff seed. Instead, we're looking at a two teams struggling. The Cowboys are actually a lot closer to being a complete team than Philadelphia. I look at this roster and see talent on both sides of the ball. For me their struggles come down to coaching and play calling. With these WR's, Witten and a running game there is no reason the Cowboys shouldn't score 24 points a game. There is no other excuses; it's scheme, play calling, in game adjustments and just plain coaching.
The Eagles are imploding. I am shocked at how bad the offensive line played against the Saints. Vick was hit within two steps of the line. This is another instance of Andy and Marty not making adjustments. I'm not a coach but I know enough to know, with their terrible line, they need to keep a TE in to block and just run the ball. Until that happens, they're not going anywhere.
Because my fantasy team needs it, I'll go with Dallas on the road.
St. Louis @ San Francisco - I'm giving Fisher a pass this season, we'll see what he can do after a year. I do like their talent on defense and I think Bradford can play but he gets one more year to prove it. They need some help at WR. I think this will be their last chance to trade Jackson for any type of value. They should move him for some draft picks and let him play for a contender.
San Francisco is still my pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. They're a complete team and Smith is playing well. Their brand of football can travel anywhere and survive in any type of weather. They are playing for home field throughout the playoffs.
Houston @ Chicago - This is the premier match-up of the weekend. Houston needs to prove that they are an elite team and can hang with the NFC. Schaub and the offense will be tested against a great Bears defense. Houston needs to make sure they don't turn the ball over and if they do, they need to stop Chicago from returning it for a TD. Houston needs to pressure Cutler and their weak offensive line. If Houston can get to Cutler and hit him, he'll go into his shell and start chucking interceptions all over the field.
The Bears defense may have more TD's than the Chiefs offense. They are getting turnovers and turning them into points. This is keeping the pressure off of Jay Cutler and the offense. Cutler is responding by putting up some great passing numbers. I like the connection of Cutler to Marshall, they just need to keep the other guys in the mix so the defenses have to respect them. If the line can protect Cutler, and that's a big if, they'll be fine this week. However, if Cutler gets knocked around and gets upset, it could get ugly.
I'm going with the Bears at home but, if Cutler doesn't get protection he could throw 5 INTS.
Kansas City @ Pittsburgh - This cannot be the MNF game. The Chiefs are terrible this season and it starts at the QB position. Someone that couldn't start in college or in the NFL doesn't become a franchise QB in one season. The Chiefs entire organization and team is headed for an overhaul.
The Steelers won a big game last week on the road. I do think the Giants were affected by their unusual week in New York. The Steelers need to protect Big Ben and run the ball if they want success. They've been doing that recently but I need to see it a few more weeks before I completely buy in.
This game shouldn't be close. Steelers win.
Teams are starting to be eliminated from the playoffs and there are some must wins for bubble teams this week. This is why the NFL is the best sport on earth.