Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NFL 2016-17 MNF Review & Week 13 Preview

Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 13 - Well, the Packers finally woke up and showed some life after over a month. This scenario would not have been surprising at the beginning of the season, when everyone expected the Pack to cruise to another division title, or at least to another playoff berth. But at least they showed some intensity before it is potentially too late. Had they lost, they realistically would have had no shot. This win keeps some hope alive, although they will be fighting an uphill battle. For Philadelphia, this was as disappointing a result as they could have expected to have, because it sinks them still further into last place in the NFC East, and solidly has them standing on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in. 

Week 13 Preview

Thursday Night Football - Dallas Cowboys (10-1) at Minnesota Vikings - A second straight Thursday game for both teams. The Vikings just lost a heartbreaker to the Lions, and for the first time this season, lost first place in the division (although they were tied with Detroit for the prior two weeks). Now, they go up against the hottest team in the NFL, as Dallas is enjoying a franchise record 10 game winning streak. Surely, pressure is building week after week for the 'Boys, and you figure that, sooner or later, they will lose a game again. The question is whether this is that game, or not. The Vikings have tightened up a bit in the last couple of weeks, following that dreadful four-game losing streak. Also, they have home field advantage. But Dallas probably really wants to win this game, with some tough games against Tampa, at the NY Giants, versus the Lions, and at Philly coming up. So, they really need this win to stay hot. My guess is that they will eke this one out, as well. My pick: Dallas

Detroit at New Orleans - The Saints keep finding ways to win, and Drew Brees seems to have found some fountain of youth in the Big Easy this season. The Lions are tough, and they are a dangerous team, having earned the nckname as this year's "cardiac kids." However, while the Lions roar loudly in the Motor City, they are decidedly tamer on the road, and New Orleans is a tough place to play. The Lions can play well, and they will be a threat to win it if they keep it close. But something tells me that the Saints will be a bit too much for them in this one. My pick: New Orleans

Los Angeles Rams at New England - The Patriots are having an excellent season, once again, and appear on their way to another division title, although Miami is keeping it close enough that New England knows that they have to be careful, as they have little to no wiggle room. That is why they absolutely have to win this week, because they have some tough games remaining, and there really are no gimme's. The Rams are clearly overmatched, and it is hard to see how L.A. can even stay in this thing in the second half, or at least into the fourth quarter. They are hardly fighting for anything, while the Patriots remain hot, and have everything to fight for this season. My pick: New England

Denver at Jacksonville - The Broncos just might be in trouble. That loss to the Chiefs in Denver last week really hurt any chances of them earning a sixth straight division championship, and they are now tied with the Dolphins for that final playoff spot for the AFC, so it is not even assured that they will qualify for the postseason! However, help is on the way, because the Broncos will go to Florida to play the 2-9 Jaguars. This should be an easy win for the defending champs. My pick: Denver

San Francisco at Chicago - The 49ers played well at Miami last week, and very nearly pulled off a stunner, although it ended in heartbreak. The Bears also played their favored opponents, the Titans, tough last week. So, these two teams may very well be better than their combined record of 3-19 would suggest. Also, somebody is bound to win this game, right? San Francisco has been coming on a bit as of late, and are probably due for a win. Yet, Chicago has also improved their level of play in the past month or so, and they do have home field advantage, with this game being played in likely frigid Soldier Field. This one could probably go either way. My pick: Da Bears

Houston at Green Bay - The Texans blew a chance to really jump ahead in the division, and they might now have to pay the price. That said, the Packers are hardly what anyone thought they were going to be this year, so this could be a win for the visiting Texans, who need to end their losing streak posthaste in order to stay atop the weak AFC South. Green Bay is experiencing all kinds of problems, and the simply want to stop the bleeding at this point. A determined and focused Texans team could help prevent that from happening for yet another weekend, though. My pick: Houston

Kansas City at Atlanta - The Chiefs just earned a huge road win in Denver, and they have to be fired up. The Falcons, in the meantime, just dismantled the Cardinals, and are in the driver's seat in the NFC South. Both teams are in tight races within their division, and both have big showdowns and tough games to play in the near future. Both could really benefit from a win in this game. The Falcons are tough to beat, and have one of the best, most explosive offenses in the league. But something tells me that the Chiefs are tougher, and will prove it in this game. My pick: Kansas City

Miami at Baltimore - The Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, but they are facing another hot team in the Baltimore Ravens, who are fighting to stay in a first place tie with the Steelers. Miami did not play as well as they should have against San Fran last week, while the Ravens basically outlasted the Bengals. It will be a tough game, and either team could potentially win this one. My pick: Baltimore

Philadelphia at Cincinnati - The Eagles are fighting for their playoff lives, while the Bengals are already realistically, but still unofficially, eliminated. Cincy was a very steady contender for the last few years, but this season has been a disaster for them. They have home field, though, and that should count for something. Still, I suspect Philly takes this one. My pick: Philadelphia

Buffalo at Oakland - The Bills are back to winning, but they will now have to go on the road to face one of the hottest and most surprisingly successful teams in the league this year in the Raiders. The defense is tough, but can they really contain the silver and black? Oakland has some tough games coming up against divisional opponents, so they really cannot afford to lose this game. My guess is that they won't. My pick: Oakland 

Tampa Bay at San Diego - The Buccaneers are sneaking up on people and playing surprisingly well. Then again, so are the Chargers. But Tampa Bay has so much more to fight for right now, and they seem to find some surprising ways to win. That said, the Chargers keep surprising other teams, as well. This could go either way, but I suspect San Diego comes up with the goods at home in this contest. My pick: San Diego

NY Giants at Pittsburgh - The Giants are coming into this game with their longest win streak since the 2011-12 Super Bowl run, but they face perhaps their stiffest challenge yet since that began, as they go to the Steel City to face the Steelers. On paper, New York took care of winless Cleveland convincingly last week, although that game was quite a bit tougher then they likely expected it to be. It will not get any easier a couple of hours to the east, when they take on Pittsburgh. The Steelers are again hot with two straight wins following those four straight losses, and they are tied for first place with Baltimore, so they need this win. The G-Men, in the meantime, have the second best record in the NFC, yet they need this win to keep within striking distance of the Cowboys, who always threaten to run away with it. With both teams needing the win, it comes down to hunger, focus, and execution. The Giants have had plenty of that lately, and despite this being a tough game, I am sticking with my team. My pick: NY Giants

Washington at Arizona -  The Cardinals are very hard to figure, although it seems to be getting easier to figure them out this season. This was a team that many favored to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Now, they are fighting just to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Washington, meanwhile, currently hold that last playoff position if the season ended today, so this game certainly has playoff implications. The good news for Arizona is that they are playing this one in the desert. The bad news is that they are playing a much hotter team, and potentially the better team. My pick: Washington

Sunday Night Football - Carolina at Seattle - A rematch of last season's divisional title game, when the then 15-1 Panthers jumped out to a stunning 31-0 lead over the Seahawks, before Seattle clawed their way back into it, although that comeback fell just short in the fourth quarter. For this game, however, you have to expect that the advantage goes to Seattle, as they enjoy home field advantage, and are poised to win the NFC West again. Carolina has not had many breaks this season, and it is hard to imagine why that break would come in the Emerald City, against a team of the caliber that the Seahawks are. More struggles for Carolina, as the Seahawks bounce back from last week's disappointing loss at Tampa Bay. My pick: Seattle

Monday Night Football - Indianapolis at NY Jets - The Colts are kind of a hard team to figure, while the Jets have consistently under-performed for several seasons now. The major advantage that the Jets have is home field advantage. Andrew Luck is expected back, although if he will be back at 100 percent is anybody's guess. The Jets really got last season's success going with a road win at Indianapolis, so they are capable of winning this. Plus, they probably want to overcome the sting from the home defeat to New England this past weekend. Still, the Colts have a lot more to fight for, so they very well may take it. Yet, I think at some point, we will see some teams play the spoiler role, and that is what the Jets may be this week. My pick: NY Jets

No comments:

Post a Comment