Thoughts from Hispandrix
HOU@JAC: Get your barf bags ready, as this may easily be the worst Thursday Night Football Matchup of the year. As if I really have to spend this much time on this matchup, surely the Texans can end their 10-game losing streak, and prevent the Jaguars from getting on a winning streak?
MIN@BAL: I was one of the select few that was on the Ravens train for last week, and proved to be right, as they knocked off the rival Steelers at home. The Vikings went back and forth with the Bears, and eventually ended things in overtime from a Blair Walsh field goal. The Ravens currently cling to the final playoff spot in the AFC, so winning this game isn’t exactly imperative, but they can’t afford to lose. A lot of people like to put the defending Super Bowl champs under the microscope, but the Ravens are starting to catch a little bit of heat, and this win would help continue their streak.
IND@CIN: Finally, the Colts showed signs of life at home, pumping out a home victory against the Titans. Sadly, it was against their rival the Titans, which was the team that they got their last win prior to them looking horrid in Arizona & at home against St. Louis. The Bengals had a tough task winning in San Diego, but their defense has played extremely well, and for this reason, I see them continuing their winning ways. Let’s not forget that the Ravens are nipping on their heels.
ATL@GB: The Falcons ended their respective skid against Buffalo in Canada. Go Kilted Yaksmen! It wasn’t really what the Falcons did, it was what the Bills did, generously turning over the ball on deja vu like plays that shot them in the foot & butt. While they have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, they can still ruin the Packers dangling chances of getting into the postseason. Without Aaron Rodgers, this team hasn’t won. The last time they won a game was against the Vikings over a month ago. It’s Matt Flynn’s last chance at anything in my opinion, and we’ve seen that playing football in Wisconsin & Louisiana fares well for Flynn. He’ll need help, but I like the Pack to pull this one out.
CLE@NE: The Patriots traded leads with the Texans last week several times, and were nearly upset by them on the road last week. Josh Gordon made the Browns offense potent (did I really just say that?) against the Jaguars, and hats off to the lad for setting an NFL record, the first of its kind. While it’ll be extremely entertaining to see how the Patriots matchup against him, the fact remains that a 6-0 home record still counts for something. Pats.
OAK@NYJ: The Raiders were hoping for some upset magic on Turkey Day with Matt McGloin at the helm, sadly it never came. The Jets have been terrible. I don’t say that lightly either, as they’ve mustered a whopping 6 points in the past two games, and have had Geno Smith benched in both contests. Why I’m still spending time trying to analyze this matchup for you is beyond me. Raiders.
DET@PHI: This is going to be a hell of a game. The Eagles have caught fire, winning four straight games with Nick Foles at the helm. Be sure to listen for the ‘Nick Foles has not thrown an interception this season’ stat curse a few hundred times during the game. Aside from the Panthers, they’ve been the most impressive rebound team in the NFC, in my opinion. The Lions just bullied the Packers on Thanksgiving, putting up a 40-burger against the Cheeseheads, and currently sit high and mighty on top of the NFC North. This battle of 7-5 teams is sure to be a good watch, as they are both looking to get into the postseason. I like the Eagles to win. Look for a high scoring affair.
MIA@PIT: Remember the Dolphins starting 3-0 & the Steelers starting 0-4? Man, look how far we’ve come. The Dolphins (6-6) and Steelers (5-7) do battle, and this game still remains important for both teams. They will likely be the teams battling it out with the Ravens for the final Wild Card spot. It’s not that I am discounting the Jets, Chargers, or Titans, but track history shows the Steelers or Ravens would be favored finalists. If the Dolphins could only sneak in to get a victory at Heinz Field, but that is easier said than done. Look for the Mike Wallace returning home storyline. I’ll take the Steelers.
BUF@TB: Yeah, you’re in for a real treat watching the Bills (4-8) and Buccaneers (3-9). Hell, who am I kidding even? The Bucs have been the better team as of late, despite losing to Carolina. I’ll take them, and wonder if Gerald McCoy can get another multi-sack game.
KC@WSH: There’s nothing to prove for Robert Griffin III. Take a seat and get healthy again before your career ends in just your 2nd year. Both of these teams have been in a huge rut, as the Skins have lost four in a row, and the Chiefs have lost three in a row. The problem with the Chiefs has been their defense the past two games, as their offense has put up a good amount of points on the board. I like them to win in Kansas City to start to right the ship again, reminding us a tiny bit of why they were a 9-0 team to begin with.
TEN@DEN: Broncos. I can’t even give the Titans a fool’s chance to stop the scoring.
STL@ARI: Those Rams are sure tough to figure out. I didn’t think they’d go into San Francisco and win, and now they’re having to face another divisional opponent this week, traveling to the desert. The Cardinals are 5-1 at home, just remember that. However, the good news for the Rams? The Cardinals are 0-3 in the division as of now. I still have to side with the Cardinals.
NYG@SD: (Insert Eli Manning reference to being a Charger in the 2004 NFL Draft for a short time). A loss by either of these teams will likely throw them out of the Wild Card race, at least in reality. Mathematically, they would still have hope. However, the Chargers team that marched into Kansas City to beat the Chiefs at home just looked like das poop at home against the Bengals. As for the Giants, they got a good road victory against the rival Redskins, with all of the controversy I’m sure you haven’t stopped hearing about. The Giants have won four out of their last five, but after this game they have their work cut out for them: Seahawks, @Lions, Redskins. As for the Lightning Bolts, they’ve dropped four of the their last five, and they finish their schedule against every AFC West team. None of this matters anyway, because my spider senses say G-Men.
SEA@SF: I honestly think the Seahawks had their biggest game of the year last week against the Saints. Unfortunately for them, I don’t think they’ll pull of the big wins when it counts in the playoffs. With the resurrection of the 49ers offense, well mainly Michael Crabtree returning, it boasts for a good challenge for the Seahawks, if anything. Assuming the Seahawks don’t fall flat on their faces, they should win the NFC West, but I don’t see them winning here. If the Seahawks have anything going for them here, it’s the dreaded stat curse of them not winning in San Francisco since 2008. Let’s not forget the 24-3 embarrassment the 49ers suffered earlier this season either up in Seattle. 49ers.
CAR@NO: As always, look for my Keys to the Game article!
DAL@CHI: We finish Week 14 with a pretty good Monday Night Football Matchup. Get ready, because here comes every sports media favorite thing in the whole world. Dallas in December. It’s not a made up bunch of fluff either. Since 1996, Dallas is 28-41 in December. They’re on the same level of terribleness with the Raiders, Browns, and Lions in that category. They went 3-2 in December last season, but what you forgot, or what every Cowboys fan wants to forget is the fact they were snubbed by the Saints & Redskins for any type of playoff shot. In 2011, the team was 7-4, and would finish 8-8. That’s obviously just scratching the surface, but enough of that. The Bears suffered a frustrating overtime loss to the Vikings last season, and on a 2-game skid, they have to fight to just stay alive in the Wild Card race. The good news is that they come back home to play, where they beat the Ravens last time 23-20. I believe their offense should light up the Cowboys defense here, and look for the bonehead play that does the Cowboys in. Bears.