Victory is mine, victory is mine, great day in the morning, VICTORY IS MINE!!!! By "mine," I of course mean "the Green Bay Packers'," but WHO CARES, DALLAS LOST, ALL IS RIGHT IN THE WORLD.
I know, I've been gone for a bit. I took Week 17 off because I was sick -- and still depressed about the Cowboys making the playoffs -- but I am back and will carry you through the postseason. This week, we've got the Wild Card games, which only kind of went like I expected.
The playoffs are here! Congratulations to Allen for coming out on top of our regular season picks with a record of 42-26-1. As promised, each of us has done a full playoff bracket, which we'll be updating each week with game commentary. Here we go!
Despite it being my team, really, the game of the week is the Lions at the Packers. It has huge implications, which I will get into below.
The NFL picked the Bengals at Steelers to be the game of the week and flexed it to the Sunday Night Football spot on NBC. This game, too, has similar implications -- winning the division title. However, unlike the Lions/Packers game, it is a lot harder for the Bengals to get a first round bye. The Lions/Packers game has much more significance because the winner will get a first round bye. Plus, in the entire NFL, home field means more for the Hawks and the Packers than it does for any other team. No one wants to go through Seattle or Green Bay. Green Bay won every single game at home this year.
Lions at Packers 4:25PM EST: Holy crap, this is for all the marbles. Lions versus Packers for the second seed and NFC North champs. This is huge for the Lions (I don't care, Go Pack!). The Lions have not won the division in 21 years. Does that even compute? Twenty-one years. The Lions haven't even won in Wisconsin since 1991. What? How is that even possible? Man, tough break, Lions.
An even tougher break is losing your center, Raiola, because your team is a bunch of idiots. Honestly, why even stomp on the guy's leg? What does that prove? How does that serve your team? You were playing the Bears, come on! However, to me, that wasn't even the worst. The helmet-to-helmet by Detroit Lions defensive end Ansah to Jimmy Clausen was too much. Ansah clearly is leading with his helmet, plus, his hands and arms aren't even in the equation. It was a kill shot.
One of the reasons I don't like the Lions is because they are dirty, dirty players. People don't want to root for your team because no one likes a bully. I thought Jim Caldwell had stopped this narrative from taking place. Apparently, not. I'd love to see what kind of facial reaction he had in regards to the suspension of Raiola. Does Caldwell even have an expression outside of no expression? I'm not even sure why he has a headset on during the games. He barely talks into the damn thing.
The complete opposite of the Lions, personality wise, are the Green Bay Packers. Everyone likes Aaron Rodgers. He's competitive, but not a jerk. Jordy Nelson? A farmer from Kansas. He shakes hands with his team after he gets a touchdown. Eddie Lacy? Buys his parents a house after hurricane Katrina. Ah, that's why the Packers are one of the most-liked teams in the NFL. Sorry, Cowboys, you are not America's team anymore. The difference between the Cowboys and other teams is this. If you are not a Chiefs fan, you don't hate the Chiefs. As for the Cowboys, if you aren't a fan, you hate them. To reiterate, I'm not a Raiders fan ... but I don't hate them. I HATE the Cowboys. Someone should do a stat on that. (Proof can be found in the latest out of Dallas. Dallas is pushing for Romo to be the MVP. Cowboys, THAT'S WHY WE HATE YOU!)
I'm just making the case for our win based on a popularity contest. Look, I don't care how we get the win, I just want the win.
Panthers at Falcons 4:25PM EST: Despite these two teams being sub par, there is nothing like win and you're in. I would put this game above others. I mean, (shrug), the Bengals are in. I don't really care if they move around in seeding. Seeding, to me, doesn't seem as important in the AFC. Yet, win or go home, now that has HUGE implications! As long as you can make it in, you always have a chance. Look at that happened for Green Bay in 2010? They made it in as a wild card and then went on to win the Super Bowl. That's why this game is so important! The most critical thing is just getting in. I certainly wouldn't rule out the Falcons being able to squeak a win out in the playoffs if they get in. The Cardinals with their 3rd string QB are now beatable. The Cowboys? I'm not sold on them. They are beatable.
I'm rooting for the Falcons. I like Julio Jones. I like Fitzgerald. I like Matt Ryan, but, apparently, who doesn't?
Good lucks Falcons.
Other important games are the Chargers at the Chiefs, and the Browns at the Ravens. For a more detailed account of what it will take for the Chargers or Ravens to get into the playoffs click this NFL.com link. It makes my head hurt, so thanks NFL for doing it for me.
What the hell, man? Week 15! The season is almost over! No!!!!!!!!!!
Thankfully the next three weeks should be fantastic.
These are the NFL Week 15 games to watch ...
Dolphins (7-6, 9th seed) at Patriots (10-3, 1st seed): I thought this would be a game of the week, and while I would very much enjoy watching it, when I researched playoff rankings, the Dolphins are currently the 9th seed. I'm not so sure they make it into the spectacular this year. So, if I am simply picking games based on playoff race, this puppy doesn't make it into week 15 games to watch. That makes me sad and that's why I am not erasing this as a slot in the game of the week. Love you Tannehill.
Broncos (10-3, 2nd seed) at Chargers (8-5, 6th seed): Everyone needs to stop with the Peyton is showing is age just because he didn't throw a touchdown pass. You know what, I take that back, he is showing his age, through maturity. He wants to win. If a rushing TD gets him that win, that's all he cares about. Dan Marino was the best of the best, never won a Super Bowl. Peyton wants the Super Bowl.
As for this game, the Chargers are barely holding onto that 6th seed. The Chargers will not take the AFC West division champs from the Broncos, so the Chargers really need to win this game by hook-or-by-crook to keep their wild card hopes alive. The Chargers, Steelers, Ravens are all 8-5. The Steelers (8-5, 5th seed), may or may not beat the Falcons, the Bengals (8-4-1, 4th seed) may or may not beat the Browns, but the Ravens (8-5, 7th seed) are going to beat the Jaguars. The Chargers still have the Niners (7-6) and the Chiefs (7-6, 10th seed) yet to go. The Chargers may be waiving bye-bye to their playoff hopes based on strength of schedule. Ravens have the Texans and the Browns left and the Steelers have Chiefs and Bengals. Ravens have the easiest schedule. Look for some movement over the next few weeks that does not bode well for the Chargers.
Niners (7-6, 8th seed) at Hawks (9-4, 5th seed): This will be such a good game. I hate the Niners, and I will love watching them implode during this game. I have never seen a bigger bunch of cry babies in the league -- fans and players included. The Niners should move over to the English Premier League where whining, flopping, and throwing your arms up in the air over the littlest infraction is common place. It's fine in soccer, it's been like that forever. That's not how you conduct yourself in the National Football League. Look at the Rams. People love the Rams because while they will not win the division or go to the playoffs, they conduct themselves with pride. The Vikings play every game with pride. Good for them and their fans. Niners fans are burning their Kaepernick jerseys. You know what? I bet the Niners of the past are glad that Candlestick closed. This new generation doesn't deserve to be associated with the glory of the past.
Cowboys (9-4, 7th seed) at Eagles (9-4, 3rd seed): This is the game of the week. Eagles (3rd seed), Hawks (5th seed), Lions (6th seed), and Cowboys (7th seed) all have a 9-5 record. That makes this game between division rivals that much more important and to a lot of teams. Clearly, the wild card is hotly contested which makes winning the division that much more crucial.
These two teams are pretty evenly matched, statistically speaking, save for passing. The Eagles come in at 8th and outrank the 18th overall Cowboys. However, some of those stats are due to Foles, and not Mark Sanchez. Cowboys already lost to Philadelphia at home and this game will be in Philly. I have no idea how Tony Romo's back is holding up, but I can't expect well. I'm sure in years to come he will be complaining of mind-numbing pain all over his body and will realize that it wasn't worth it at all. Some young punk will come on the Cowboys roster and Jerry Jones will be like "Tony who?" It's the sad state of affairs in the league, well, any profession. There is always someone there to take your place.
Just like someone very well may take the Eagles place as the 3rd seed.
Side note: Screw you Julio Jones for the ridiculous amount of fantasy points you obtained. You ruined my chances at a playoff spot. I hate you. Okay, not really, but come on!
What games should you watch NFL Week 14?
Seahawks (8-4) at Eagles (9-3): For me, this is the game of the week. The Seahawks, while a little sluggish there for awhile, have really worked out the kinks. Seattle beating San Francisco in such spectacular fashion was awesome. Not only did it help Seattle in their playoff hopes, but it seems to have stirred the bear in the Niners camp. That loss was locker room poison for the Niners. Now the GM is apologizing for his daughter's tweets, people are calling for Harbaugh (Michigan just fired Hoke) to be traded, and now Colin Kaepernick is the worst quarterback and sucks. Jeez. I bet the Raiders would love to have the "problem" of having Harbaugh as their coach. He took them to the NFC championship game three years in a row. Colin Kaepernick? The kid has been using his legs this whole time with his happy feet and therefore is a little slow on the staying in the pocket curve that other quarterbacks have learned since Kid Kap has entered the league. He will learn his check downs.Yet, in the meantime, I fear the Niners playoff hopes have been dashed because of their internal inability to see the larger picture.
That's what makes this game so important. With a Seahawks win and a Cardinals loss, the Hawks will be tied in the division. The Eagles will then be 9-4 and will be in jeopardy of sharing the lead with the Cowboys should they win against the Bears. The Bears, while terrible, are not an automatic win. Should the Cowboys lose the Eagles will have a little bit more leeway.
Eagles had an impressive win with Mark Sanchez over the Cowboys. Cowboys better get their act together because wins won't come easy against the Bears and Colts, plus they have to face the Eagles again on Philly turf.
That's what is so exciting about this game. It's the time of year in football where so many scenarios can be played out. A loss for one team can mean a playoff for another. I love this time of year.
Ravens (7-5) at Dolphins (7-5): These two teams are both fighting for a chance to enter the playoffs. Right now, they are in a battle for the wild card. That could change with a Ravens and Steelers win. The Ravens still have a shot at being the North champ, but will still need this win to at least enter as a wild card. Dolphins, in my opinion, are only playing for a wild card. I like Tannehill ... a lot. I hope for a Dolphins win.
Steelers (7-5) at Bengals (8-3-1): This is still anyone's division in the AFC North. Both these teams have had their ups and downs this season. One week they look fantastic, and the next, awful. This is a game for those AFC North fans. It's a good one to watch.
I don't care who wins.
On a side note, your Go For Two writer as of Thanksgiving weekend now lives in San Diego. I won't ever stop being a Green Bay Packers fan, but have always looked forward to rooting for my "hometown". Sadly, that has never, ever happened for me. I did not like the Lions, even though I was born in Detroit. Then, I moved to San Francisco and abhorred the Niners. At least with the Lions I enjoyed going to the games and if the Packers weren't in the playoffs, I could be happy about the Lions doing well. That never happened with the Niners. They are too ridiculous. Now, sadly, my home team is the Chargers. Ugh. Why? Why Phillip Rivers?I have been very vocal about disliking the completely unlikable Phillip Rivers. Once Rivers is out of a job, I may be able to become a Chargers fan. Yet, until that day, I am still unlucky in my home teams.
Here are the week 13 games to watch.
Seattle (7-4) at San Francisco (7-4) Thursday 8:30PM EST: Whoa. This is a HUGE game. Like, super-duper, out-of-control, don't turn the dial HUGE. It has massive implications not just for the NFC West, but the rest of the NFC, well, save for the NFC South. The NFC South is just utter shit. The Lions, Packers, Seahawks, Niners, Cowboys and Eagles are all in the playoff race and those 2 wildcard spots are going to be really, really tough to get this year.
San Francisco has squeaked out some very close wins, games in my opinion, they did not deserve to win. Jim Harbaugh and company barely beat the Giants when Eli threw 5 interceptions. Then, the Niners barely beat Washington (17-13). This is not an impressive team. However, with wins comes a grace period. They have the ability to turn it around and get more definitive wins. Now is the time to start doing that as the Niners will face Seattle again December 14th.
This game is at home. If the Niners want to split the series, this is their best shot.
Niners may not be able to rely heavily on Frank Gore as Seattle only allows 88.4 rushing yards per game. Seattle is number 6 overall in rush defense. That means the Niners may be forced to pass more with Kaepernick. Kaepernick got a little lippy this week stating he will pass to whomever he wants.
Sherman had his most favorite rant when Kaepernick last threw to "whoever's open".
Sherman said "When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me."
Seattle needs to be careful of the sudden explosive play of the Niners. Even when the Niners look done for, they are not, like the game against the Saints. 1:34 left in the 4th quarter, 4th and 10, and Kaepernick saves the game, if not the season, with a 51 yard play to Crabtree.
This game will decide playoffs. Expect an insane level of play from both these teams.
Patriots (9-2) at Packers (8-3) Sunday 4:25PM EST: The Patriots versus the Lions game told us a lot about the Patriots. The Lions had the best interior line in football and Brady still had 4-5 seconds to throw the ball. When Brady has that much time to throw the ball, someone is going to get open. In fact, there were times during that game when receivers were not covered at all. The receivers know their routes and execute them well. The Pats offense has really gelled in the last few weeks. It is very hard to defend against a perfectly timed comeback route. The attack of the Patriots is the short passing game. They move the chains and take time off the clock -- keys to beating the Packers by keeping Aaron off the field.
If that isn't scary enough, the Pats can also chew up Aaron's time on the field with their run game. Blount had 2 TD's against the Lions and 78 yards. The week before, Jonas Gray rushed for 199 yards and had four touchdowns. The Patriots BENCHED HIM against the Lions because he was late to practice. Who benches a guy with that kind of production? The mother-fing Patriots do.
Yes, the Packers have an amazing offense and can totally handle this game. They just have to be on the field to do that.
That puts the game on our defense.
Oh, yeah. Crap.
Broncos (8-3) at Kansas City (7-4) Sunday 8:30PM EST: Broncos are only slightly favored for this AFC divisional game. However, let's not forget that the Broncos are still 8-3 and have Peyton at the helm. With a gun to your head, who do you pick Alex Smith over Peyton Manning. Never in the history of the world would that happen.
Yes, the quarterback is not the entire team, so it's a different scenario when one tries to pick the winner of this game.
Denver has wavered in their run defense, allowing 228 yards on 54 carries. That bodes well for Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles. With Denver's number one weapon Julius Thomas perhaps still sidelined with an ankle injury, Denver could also struggle on the offensive side of the ball.
This game will give us NFC fans a chance to look at an important AFC match up. Should be a good game all around.
NFL Week 12 games of the week.
Dolphins (6-4) at Broncos (7-3): This is an interesting game because Miami is in the playoff hunt, while the Broncos have been showing some breaks in the armor. Miami's defense will be tested by the Broncos. It will be a big game for AFC fans. I like both these quarterbacks, but Peyton always has my heart. Go Broncos.
Cardinals (9-1) at Seahawks (6-4): Division rivalry at its best. The Cardinals have the best record in the entire league and they deserve it. Whether it is with Carson Palmer, everyone's every man, or Drew Stanton, this offense wins games. Arizona has a next man up philosophy that isn't just all talk. They work it. Once Bruce Arians was the next man up, and he made the most of the opportunity, so when he says it, he means it.
Arizona has an amazing offense and defense, although, I am a bit surprised that the defense is only ranked 13th overall. Seattle will have their hands full.
For all of Seattle's hype this year, they are struggling to win games. However, they do win them, which is all you need to get into the playoffs. I'm not sure what is going on with Seattle. They still have the number one running game in the league, which is how they beat my Pack, but the pass game has been a bit lacking.
Richard Sherman plays on the right side of the field, and only Aaron Rodgers is better than Drew Stanton (statistically) throwing to the right side of the field. That will make for an interesting match-up.
I want the Cardinals to win, well, because I like 'em. I also need Seattle to keep losing so my Packers have a shot at a playoff wildcard slot if they don't win the division this year.
Lions (7-3) at Patriots (8-2): For me, this is the game of the week. You have the number 1 AFC seed playing against the number 2 NFC seed. I typically don't like crossing the streams of AFC and NFC games, but this one intrigues me. Plus, this is the last of three brutal games for the Lions. They won against Miami, and, thankfully, lost to the Cardinals. The Patriots prove to be the toughest challenger remaining for the Lions until the Lions meet the Packers in the final game of the season at Lambeau (thank merciful god for that). This will be a big scouting game for the Packers. Packers will want to see how the Lions perform against the Pats, not only to see what the Patriots expose as weaknesses of the Lions, but also to see how the Lions play the Pats. The Packers have the Patriots in week 13 (the following week). We need to learn all we can from this game.
The Packers need the Lions to lose this week. It's our best chance at taking possession of the NFC North. This is crucial this year, as the playoff picture is congested with contenders like Seattle and San Francisco. Man, did the Packers need the Niners to lose last week against the Giants. BTW, I wouldn't be so snickering-happy, Niners. You almost lost to the Giants when Eli threw 5 interceptions. You should not be proud of yourselves, at all.
As for the rest of the games this week there are a ton a garbage games this week. They don't even merit mentioning.