Nov 26, 2010
Hope you all enjoyed the holiday football, but there are still 13 more games to be played, so let us take a look at them.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
The Packers are flying under the radar after a lot of Super Bowl talk in the preseason, but I think they’re probably the best team right now with their offense rolling and defense playing at a high level. The Falcons have obviously put together a nice little run and QB Matt Ryan is finally playing some consistent football. The big two differences I see in these teams are the rushing attacks and secondaries. Atlanta obviously holds the edge with Michael Turner in their backfield, but I think his numbers have masked the fact that they’ve struggled to run the ball consistently, and might have that problem again this week. While Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams are playing as well as any CB combo right now, I can’t say the same for the Falcons. Dunta Robinson is solid, but not spectacular and Brent Grimes seems to be targeted every week. This could be the difference in this game. Roddy White is definitely the best WR on either team, but the Packers are deeper and have Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings locked in right now. The Packers are a better team when they are at their best and should be able to handle the Falcons if they execute.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Through all the issues both of these teams have, they’re still in the hunt in what has become a mediocre AFC South. I’ve never been a fan of Vince Young and couldn’t quite figure out why everyone thought this guy could be a consistent, winning QB. His antics both on and off the field have been put up with for far too long and now they’ve caused unnecessary drama for a team that has a chance to make the playoffs. Rusty Smith looks like a Pop Warner QB, but at least he gets to face one of the worst secondaries in the league. I’d expect a big dose of Chris Johnson in this game and the Titans do too, but I don’t think they’ll be able to stop him. Tennessee continues to have trouble defending the big play meaning Andre Johnson is in store for a big day.
Carolina Panthers at Cleveland Browns
Oh my. Jimmy Clausen vs. Jake Delhomme. Let’s hope they throw the ball a combined 25 times and Mike Goodson and Peyton Hillis make this game watchable. Even if Jonathan Stewart is back from his concussion, I expect Goodson to play an important role in this game because he is quick and a good pass-catcher. Goodson should be active as a receiver with Clausen not having any real options outside of Steve Smith. This one will be ugly and probably close, but the Brown defense will give Clausen some serious problems so I’d expect them to pound with Hillis and eek one out.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills
Pittsburgh continues to put the ball in the hands of Ben Roethlisberger, as they believe he’s their best player, but that’s made Rashard Mendenhall an afterthought. However, it would make sense for the Steelers to feed Mendenhall the ball a lot against the Bills, who as we know, are one of the worst run defenses in the league. Having said that, Buffalo doesn’t have a pass rush, which will give Ben the time he needs to throw and he hasn’t had a lot of that in recent weeks as their OL has struggled. With Bill CB Terrence McGee banged up again and their secondary struggling, you have to believe Mike Wallace should continue his string of big-play performances. Stevie Johnson has been a great surprise this season, but expectations need to be lowered this week because Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under pressure and may not be able to produce in garbage time like he has all season.
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants
If Eli Manning could have picked a week to be without his top two WRs, it would have probably been this week. The Jaguar secondary is atrocious and they have no pass rush, which is good news for a Giant team that will start Mario Manningham and Derek Hagan and will be without C Shaun O’Hara and LT David Diehl. Manning has been hovering around the elite level all season, but we’ll see if he can do what his brother, Peyton, and Philip Rivers have done, and that’s continue to put up good numbers with injuries to multiple contributing receivers. I think he’ll be able to do it this week, but it’s going to be more of a challenge if he will have to do this for an extended period of time. Don’t expect much from the Jaguar offense against what should be an angry Giant defense coming off back-to-back losses to divisional opponents, especially with a banged up Mike Sims-Walker and Maurice Jones-Drew limited with his injury.
Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins
Welcome to the 2010 Drama Bowl. The Vikings finally pulled the plug on Brad Childress, but probably about a month too late. Sidney Rice led the team in receiving last week and had 10 targets, so we’ll see if he can increase his snaps this week and take advantage of the Redskin secondary I’ve been lambasting all season. Hopefully with the coaching change we see Adrian Peterson actually become more than just a background player in this offense since Childress apparently had no problem wasting AP in his prime. Donovan McNabb played well last week, but I think he will be in trouble with his OL continuing to have issues and the Vikings having solid, although underperforming pass rushers. I’m really intrigued to see what RB Keiland Williams can do, as he should get plenty of touches as both a runner and a receiver. He might be auditioning for the 2011 season.
Miami Dolphins at Oakland Raiders
If anyone has a clue what the Dolphins are thinking with their offensive gameplan, can you let me know? Not even trying to run it last week with Tyler Thigpen making his first start in two years was insane. Chad Henne looks like he’s got a shot to play, but he probably won’t have Brandon Marshall. I hate the Raider passing game, but they’ve been rushing the passer well and should run it a ton. Oakland can win this one big if they stop the Dolphin rushing attack (if they actually try to run) and get Darren McFadden going early and often.
Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks
Matt Cassel doesn’t turn the ball over and has a WR in Dwayne Bowe who is absolutely dominating right now, which means big trouble for a shaky and banged up Seahawk secondary. Seattle does play better at home, but they’re too inconsistent for me to really trust, especially going against the great RB combo of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles. If you have the Chief defense, start them this week. Matt Hasselbeck has played better, but even he admits that Mike Williams brings something to the table that his other receivers don’t possess. With Williams not expected to play and the running game looking very mediocre behind a bad OL, I don’t expect Seattle to get much going on offense.
St. Louis Rams at Denver Broncos
The Rams hung with the Falcons, one of the best teams in the NFL, for most of last week’s game. Sam Bradford has been solid all season and hasn’t really had a truly bad game, as you might expect from a rookie starting from Week One. His receiving corps continues to improve and might have Danario Alexander back in the lineup. They can beat the Broncos, but they absolutely must get pressure on Kyle Orton or else he will carve up the below-average Ram secondary, as we’ve seen teams do often in the last few weeks. Knowshon Moreno isn’t really someone I’d feel great about since the Rams do a good job stopping the run and Moreno doesn’t create.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens
The Bucs have feasted on a weak schedule this season, but will truly be tested when they head to Baltimore on Sunday. Their secondary has held up fairly well, but I think the Ravens will test them this week and I have a feeling we finally see Donte Stallworth make a big play against the vulnerable TB safeties. This should be a nice matchup for Ray Rice, who should run the ball a bunch and be active as a receiver as well. The Buccaneer passing game should operate as normal and both Josh Freeman and Mike Williams should have good performances against a bad Raven secondary.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
The Bears have survived playing great defense and getting a mediocre effort from their offense. You can’t beat the Eagles that way. Chicago’s secondary has gotten by despite not having much talent, but they will be in serious trouble against the great receiving duo of Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, especially if the Bear pass rush doesn’t get consistent pressure on Michael Vick. The Eagle defense will be a real test for a Bear OL, which has found a way to keep Jay Cutler off the turf. I don’t’ expect that to continue and Cutler will probably try to make too many plays, which leads to interceptions. These teams may have the same record, but the Eagles will prove they are legit contenders while the Bears are just pretenders in what should be a very one-sided matchup.
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are a mediocre football team. We know they don’t have a great defense, but their offense can no longer carry them. The running game hasn’t been good in years, but they’ve been able to get away with it because Peyton Manning and the passing attack have typically been great. That’s not the case anymore with TE Jacob Tamme being the most consistent receiver they have. Reggie Wayne finally had a big game last week, but Pierre Garcon has been up-and-down and Austin Collie is out once again because of a concussion. On the flip side, the Chargers get Vincent Jackson back and he’s reportedly looked great in practice over the last few weeks. Charger DC Ron Rivera continues to do a great job with scheme despite not having a lot of talent to work with and that’s kept the Chargers in the hunt in the AFC West. I think we have two teams going in opposite directions with the Chargers looking like a very dangerous group going down the stretch.
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
This Monday Night Football game is so bad I’ll be heading to Philly to watch the return of the King of the Ring at Monday Night Raw. Derek Anderson vs. Troy Smith is another terrible QB matchup this week, but both guys could put up some decent numbers since both of these secondaries are very beatable. The difference in this game should come down to the RBs. Arizona’s tandem of Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells has disappointed all season and will struggle against the solid 49er run defense. Frank Gore should do whatever the hell he pleases since the Cardinal defense is probably the worst in the league. The Niners could be a decent reach play for defense this week as they can get to the QB, especially against ther Cardinal OL, which has allowed 3.5 sacks over their last four games. I’m glad I’ll be able to fast forward through this one on Tuesday.
Thanks against for reading and make sure you post any questions you have here in the comments section or send them over to me on Twitter: @MattCamp23. Good luck in Week 12!