There are four weeks left in this short season and all but one divisional race is separated by a game or less as Kansas City has a two game lead over San Diego and Oakland in the AFC West. If you aren't excited about the post season races then you probably came to the wrong Football site. If that's the case, may I suggest that you try Xtra Point Futbol, or as I refer to it, suicide for your eyes. Now on to the real Football......except in the case of the Carolina Panthers.
* You will notice that we've placed a number in parentheses next to each team. That number is the teams Power Ranking. To see the entire NFL Power Rankings (Net Points) for Week 14 or where that team stands relative to others, just click on the number.
(5-7) vs. (2-10)
At the beginning of the year, this would have been the most boring match up of the year. Both teams have being playing well of late though. The problem here is that Jake Delhomme will be starting for Cleveland again. I know the Make a Wish foundation likes to do great things for people but this is ridiculous. How much longer can they keep this Delhomme wish going?
Steve Johnson and Peyton Hillis square off as the most surprising players of 2010. Joe Haden has outplayed CJ Spiller so far this year as the best top 10 pick in for these two teams. What would be more fitting than, Hillis reaching his first 1,000 yard rushing 500 yard receiving season the same week that Josh McDaniels was fired? Cleveland will unleash the beast and ride Hillis to another win. - Browns Win 21-17
(10-2) vs. (1-11)
There are too many people talking about this being a trap game for the Falcons. This matchup features one of the best teams in the NFL against the hands down worst team. This is worst than David vs. Goliath, this is Mike Tyson in his prime against Screech from Saved by the Bell.
Matt Ryan has 20 more touchdown passes this year than Jimmy Clausen and the Falcons are a complete team while the Panthers resemble something that you could call a team. Atlanta will not get caught looking ahead to New Orleans. - Falcons Win 34-10
(8-4) vs. (2-10)
The seasons that Mike Vick, Tom Brady, and Philip Rivers have had so far are making people overlook how impressive Aaron Rodgers has been this year. Rodgers has the ability to get his team in the end zone in a seconds notice and has done all of this without an offensive line or an elite running game. How good would the Packers be with Ryan Grant healthy and Rodgers with time to think in the pocket?
Detroit has been in most games this year and would be winning a lot more if Matt Stafford could stay on the field. Brandon Pettigrew has gone under the radar of the mass media because of the record of the Lions and is an elite tight end and could put a Pro Bowl campaign together if he can consistently have the same QB. It's the last quarter of the season and Green Bay can't afford the loss. - Packers Win 37-31
(8-4) vs. (5-7)
New York Giants (8) vs. Minnesota Vikings (20) This game has been moved to Monday Night because of a blizzard in the Minnesota area. (Yes, they play in a dome, but no one can get to the field and there are safety concerns)
The Giants have to keep pace with the Eagles. If they can get their duo of running backs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs going, it'll be hard for the Vikings defense to stop Eli with his receiving weapons coming back.
I don't know if Favre is going pull out another miracle start, the extra time until Monday night will probably help him, but regardless I don't see the Vikings pulling out the win. Minnesota was dominant against the Bills last week but this isn't the Bills front four they are facing. Adrian Peterson will have to stay on the field and be highly productive for the Vikes to have any chance. - Giants Win 27-24
(2-10) vs. (9-3)
Normally in this rivalry game you can throw records out the window. This year that isn't the case. The Bengals are self destructing and it appears that the team members are more worried about where they'll be next year. Marvin Lewis is gone and you can expect a completely different looking team in 2011.
Pittsburgh has to be counting their blessings after a divisional win based on Baltimore not thinking in the final minutes. The Steelers are probably one of the most overrated defense but they can make you pay if you give Big Ben time in the pocket. I expect the Steelers to pound Mendenhall all day and take their shots with Mike Wallace over the top. - Steelers Win 31-20
(7-5) vs. (5-7)
Tough loss for the Bucs last week. I hate to see any team lose a critical game based on a questionable call. Aqib Talib is out and I see him as the key to their whole defense. McNabb should be able to make throws on a Bucs defense missing Talib.
Ryan Torain should be a go. James Davis racked up 80 total yards in his first game as a Redskin last week. This could be a power duo and it could open up the passing attack. The real question is how the Washington defense will respond with the Haynesworth drama. - Upset Alert Washington Wins 17-14
(6-6) vs. (9-3)
I think that most of the NFL fans without ties to the NFC West are pulling for the Rams to win this division. None of the teams are really good but a rookie QB willing his team to the playoffs makes for better football than a mediocre team with a mediocre veteran squad playing in January. How good would Bradford be in Dallas...scary!
The Saints keep winning but not impressively. Their team is starting to heal up but that could knock off chemistry. Chris Ivory is playing great but with Pierre Thomas coming back and Reggie Bush healthy, they could take carries away from Ivory. I think this will mess with the chemistry that they've just now got to. - Upset Alert Rams Win 26-24
(6-6) vs. (4-8)
I don't believe that there's anyone outside of Seattle or an insane asylum that's pulling for the Seahawks to make the playoffs. You would have to be a glutton for pain to want to watch this team play more than 16 games. They are so boring to watch. Watching the Seahawks is like watching a NBA game before the shot clock era.
I firmly believe that the Amish beliefs came about after one Sunday, Ezekiel and Hezakiah came in and saw a NFC West match up and promptly band TVs in their religion. They decided their kids should never have to see the sin that they put on TV that day. I don't blame them. I would rather churn butter than watch Matt Hasselback vs. Alex Smith. - Upset Alert - Anybody who watches this. San Fran Wins 3-2
(3-9) vs. (3-9)
Breaking down these last two games have me questioning my career choices. I can't wait to see which of these teams gets to 4 wins first. Seriously though, it's always fun to see what an interim coach can do. Especially like the Broncos' Eric Studesville. He didn't come from a coordinator position like Leslie Frazier or Jason Garrett.
There are a couple storylines on Arizona side. A week after the Cardinals said that rookie QB, John Skelton wouldn't play this year, he will get the start. Like my NFL Rage article stated, fans know better than coaches. I wouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be the QB of the future. Also, Larry Fitzgerald vs. Champ Bailey is worth watching.- Broncos Win 28-17
(6-6) vs. (9-3)
Miami had a heart breaking loss to the Browns. The Jets were embarrassed by the Patriots. It's hard to see how teams will respond to beat downs like the one the Jets got. The Dolphins are just a mediocre team though.
New York will say all of the right things but I expect them to come out flat in this game. A loss like that makes the best of us second guess ourselves. I still stick by my assessment that Mark Sanchez is only a game manager. He'll manage a loss today. - Upset Alert Dolphins Win 23-17
(8-4) vs. (4-8)
Philly is the most exciting team to watch play. Mike Vick has so many weapons to depend on, including himself. Philly almost let a team with a horrific defense steal a game from them last week. That makes me wonder if they are getting over confident.
The loss of Dez Bryant will turn out to be more costly than the loss of Wade Phillips and Tony Romo combined. Dallas will stay in this game but look for the screens and the underneath routes to Lesean McCoy to be the deciding factor. - Eagles Win 30-27
(8-4) vs. (5-7)
Baltimore has all of the tools to go to the Super Bowl, they just don't play like they believe in them. They seem to play down to their competition and not put teams away. The problem with leaving teams close in games is that you can have a play like what happened against Pittsburgh cost the team a win.
Houston is in desperation mode and knows that if they can win the last 4 games of the season like last year, they'll have a great chance at winning the AFC South. They'll treat this game as their Super Bowl. They always hang around in games and Baltimore allows teams to hang around. Glover Quin and Jason Allen have stepped up in the secondary and this could be all the team needs to turn close losses into close wins. - Upset Alert Texans Win 27-21
"Water Cooler" Games
(6-6) vs. (7-5)
The Raiders are still alive for the divisional crown but they have to win this game. Jacoby Ford might just be the fastest man in the NFL and he'll have a field day with the Jaguars secondary that couldn't cover Henry Ford. The Raiders were at their best when Darren McFadden was unstoppable, earlier on this season.
Jacksonville fans are upset with me because I don't give this team any respect for being in first place. Well good news Jags' fans, your team is about to prove me right. Oh, I'm sorry, did you think I meant good news for you. Nah, they are the most overrated team in the NFL. If the Raiders put a spy on MoJo and stack the box, then Oakland wins this easily. - Raiders Win 23-16
(8-4) vs. (6-6)
Matt Cassel had his appendix removed. I had the same thing done a few years ago but I had the evasive, 'I'm not a NFL QB' procedure. I could hardly get out of the bed for days. His procedure was a lot less evasive but I still can't imagine, wanting to send your QB out there against 300 pound lineman and have him risk taking those hits.
San Diego was handled last week and they didn't play to their level. I don't expect a repeat performance. This is a 2 for 1 game, win it and they are right back in the thick of the race. It doesn't matter if Matt Cassel or Brodie Croyle is in at QB, San Diego will concentrate on stopping the run on 'D' and Philip Rivers will score at will on offense. - Chargers Win 35-17
Game of the Week
(10-2) vs. (9-3)
This is going to be a proving game. New England has been lights out but people want to know can this team continue to be this dominant or did they just have all of the stars aligned against the Jets. Chicago has been the most second guessed team in the NFL. I still don't know if I consider them as a top 3 NFC team.
Tom Brady has annihilated defenses. He just marches this offense up and down the field with ease against the top defenses in the NFL. If he can do it again against the Bears, after the way he did it against the Steelers and Jets, then I might have to pick the Patriots as Super Bowl favorites. Danny Woodhead has been doing in New England what Lesean McCoy is known for in Philly. I bet the Jets wish they had a player capable of that. DOH! I'm just glad the Raiders have started winning. Could you imagine if the Raiders tanked this year and the Pats would have a top 10 pick to go with their other 1st round pick.
The Bears defense is the key in this game. They have to do what the Steelers and Jets couldn't. If Chicago can't slow down Brady, than the Bears won't have a chance. Jay Cutler should be able to have his way with this defense but if he falls back into his old way of forcing throws, rookie CB, Devin McCourty could add more interceptions to his season total of 6. I'm lost on how this game is going turn out. I can't go against the Patriots after what they did to that Jets 'D'. - Patriots Win 30-26 DISCLAIMER, they are projecting 18 degrees and 40 mph winds for this one which could be a huge factor in the Bears favor.........
I'll be back next Sunday morning week for Week 15 of NFL GameDay. Don't forget to check out NFL Rage mid week where I vent my frustrations at some of the dumbest calls and decisions from this week's games. NFL Gameday - It's easy like Sunday Morning! - Jayson Braddock
Jayson appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com.
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