Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NFL Week 14 reflections

1) Tebow does it again (or did Marion Barber do it) - It’s truly amazing how the Broncos keep winning when they are consistently put in statistically unfavorable positions in the 4th quarter. The Chicago game was especially absurd considering all the Bears needed was for Marion Barber to go down in bounds at the end or regulation or not fumble in OT and they win. Instead, Tebow marches the troops twice and Matt Prater kicks two game 50-yard FG’s to win the game. Incredibly (considering they started 1-4), Denver appears poised for a playoff berth now with a one game lead and tiebreaker edge on Oakland. The only problem: Pittsburgh or Baltimore waits in the wildcard round.

2) No One wants the NFC east or wildcard spots – Last week, every NFC wild card contender lost. Little changed this week by way of performance. Atlanta and the NY Giants needed massive comebacks to win and Detroit made a miraculous goal line stand to defeat the Vikings. The Bears collapsed with help from Marion Barber and the Cowboys self-destructed thanks to horrible clock management. But the fact is, no one looked good or made a statement. At this point, Atlanta looks secure as long as they take care of business against the lowly Bucs and Jags, but everyone else has a ton of work left. It will be interesting to see if anyone shows up next week.

Atl (8-5) vs Jax (4-9)

Det (8-5) at Oak (7-6)

NYG (7-6) vs Wash (4-9)

Chi (7-6) vs Sea (6-7)

Dal (7-6) at TB (4-9)

3) Seattle and Arizona should have played the first half of the season!After terrible starts (Sea 2-6 and Ariz 1-6), both teams sit precariously at 6-7 with 5 teams ahead of them for the two wild card berths. Both teams salvaged their season the same way: with terrific defensive efforts (Ariz 17.5 ppg last 6 and Sea 14.8 ppg last 5) and consistently effective special teams units. Neither team has stellar QB play, but they have bruising rb’s in Lynch and Wells, respectively, that help control the clock. Had the season started in November, these teams would be right in the playoff mix; unfortunately, they might have started playing a little too late. It will be interesting if both teams win their next two games setting up a potential meaningful finale at Arizona in the season’s final week, but numerous teams need to lose for that to happen.

4) Houston keeps on winning – Despite injuries to several of their best players in Mario Williams, Matt Schaub, and Andre Johnson, the Texans continue to find a way to win ballgames. They have currently won 7 straight, including these last two with their third-string QB in TJ Yates against above .500 competition. They continue to play terrific defense and dominate teams with their spectacular offensive line. Currently, they are still in position to receive a 1st-round bye in the playoffs, and with a less-than-daunting schedule remaining (vs Car, at Indy, vs Tenn), expect the Texans to remain a factor in the AFC home-field scenario.

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