Week 10

Unfortunately we will only be able to take a flying visit into what was another strange week in the NFL. But if you want more detail, have a listen to the podcast that will be out later this week.

Washington 27 Minnesota Vikings 34

Once again Griffin and Morris are looking like they are returning to form. But despite 281 yards through the air and 3 TDs and 0 Interceptions for RGIII, the Redskins still couldn’t do enough to beat an efficient Vikings team who were just good enough to take this game. Griffin seems to have gained both confidence and mobility as he made some impossible plays through the air and continued to attempt to injure himself on the ground. But in the end the game came down to Minnesota having 100% Redzone conversions using both Ponder and the unreal ability that Peterson has of getting yards most backs couldn’t. Whilst a good game for the Redskins and the Vikings, it might just be too little too late for both teams. They can however both look forward to much improved seasons next year if they keep up their current form.

Detroit Lions 21 Chicago Bears 19

A close game that will be remembered by Bears fans for poor coaching choices that could cost them the season. Cutler returned from an injury that should have had him side-lined for 4 weeks after just 2 weeks against a Lions Defence that will take all they can get and pushes it to the limit in terms of late hits. This meant that it wasn’t long before Cutler was limping and could add an ankle injury to the problems he had, had with his groin.  The problem Bears fans have however is with how long Cutler was kept in. After the NFC Championship game in 2010, there is no way Cutler will pull himself. The Bears Coaching staff should have seen that he was not giving the Bears the best chance to win and put McCown in, who in the dying minutes actually nearly brought the Bears level with an efficient drive down field. Now the Bears are waking up more beaten up than ever, with Tillman done for the season and Cutler now being week to week with his ankle injury. For the Lions it looked like Johnson and Bush had the Bears beat and although it’s a narrow margin, it is an important win that puts the Lions in control of the NFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals 17 Baltimore Ravens 20

This game is the ultimate example of how little any of the teams in the AFC North seem to want to make the play offs. Both teams made horrendous mistakes as they each tried to outdo each other with awful interceptions and bad decisions. The Ravens took control in the first half with a 17 point lead. But blew it in the 4th quarter, conceding 14 points including an improbable Hail Mary throw in the last 2 seconds which pushed this game to overtime. At this point it was Giovanni Bernard’s turn to make his mistakes as he essentially ran backwards and set up the Ravens with decent field position, meaning that despite swirling winds that had played havoc with Mike Nugent’s kicking, Justin Tucker would step up and win a  mistake riddled game for the Ravens. After looking solid for a good few games, the Bengals now look very beatable and seem to be their own worst enemy, with Dalton making silly mistakes and in this game throwing 3 Interceptions. This lull in form could very well cost them the division to a team like the Ravens who might just do enough to make the post season. That being said, Flacco himself seems to be struggling not to throw the other team and could still lose out to an opportunistic Browns team. One things for certain. They will face a huge challenge if they make the play offs.

Seattle Seahawks 33 Atlanta Falcons 10

It must be frustrating to be Steven Jackson. He leaves a toothless Rams team to join an exceptional Falcons team with unreal firepower…who all go down injured. The Falcons never looked like they could win this one. It is fair to say they have suffered their fair share of injuries, but the great teams find ways to win, which Atlanta definitely aren’t doing. As a result of the Offence not being able to get anything done, they always seem to lose the time of possession battle and the Defence spends a silly amount of time on the field getting exhausted, which Golden Tate took full advantage of. Tate stepped up as a no. 1 Receiver in the absence of Sidney Rice, who is now done for the Season. Lynch had another exceptional game and Wilson for the first time in weeks was able to get things done through the air. Whilst the Defence didn’t have a great deal to do, they did do a great job smothering an Offence that has very few weapons. Seahawks fans start to feel happier as their team appears to be getting hot at the right time!

Philadelphia Eagles 27 Green Bay Packers 13

2 weeks ago the Packers were top of my power rankings. Now they haven’t just lost Rodgers but also the backup QB, leaving them in  a sorry state, in free fall down nearly everyone’s power rankings and possibly out of the play offs at this rate. It’s not all doom and gloom for the Packers though. Boykin is clearly a legitimate Receiver and Eddie Lacy stands every chance of being Rookie of the Year if he can keep up the form he’s been enjoying. But that’s about it as they went down to a hot Eagles team. The Eagles look set to take control of the NFC East as the Cowboys suffered a huge blow against the Saint, a game in which they lost Defensive star Sean Lee. As stated, the Eagles are one of the hot teams and could very well force themselves into the play offs. Foles has mastered this Offence and is learning how to exploit Defences with superior pace and a set of weapons that are finally looking elite. The Defence gets a chance to rest while Foles makes short controlled plays before unleashing a long pass to a number of his hugely speedy Wide Receivers. From what I’ve seen, this team on their day might be able to beat pretty much any team in the league, making them a great play-off team.

St Louis Rams 38 Indianapolis Colts 8

As expected Tavon Austin led the Rams past Andrew Luck’s Colts who threw 3 interceptions in a 30 point loss. Wait. You weren’t expecting that? Yes after calling him out last week we finally saw the Tavon Austin we were promised in the draft, a unique player with unreal speed. Clemens continues to be thrower and does enough to keep the Rams in games. The Defence continues to impress and put constant pressure on Andrew Luck to make silly mistakes, which he rather kindly did. The Colts drive me crazy. They can play games against the Broncos and win, but can’t beat a couple of teams that have had pretty terrible records. There is a chance that this and their inability to run the ball could be down to coaching. That being said, this team probably shouldn’t panic just yet. They are still in the play offs and look in no danger of losing that. But if it is a flying visit to the post season then it really might be worth looking at.

Oakland Raiders 20 New York Giants 24

And just like that after a streak of 3 wins the Giants are back in the play-off hunt. Ok it’s unlikely, but this Defence is finally playing at a decent level and kept Pryor, who has been playing out of his skin to less than 150 total yards. What this game highlighted in terms of the Raiders is a couple of things. 1 this team look different without McFadden, no matter how fragile he is, he is definitely a difference maker. Unfortunately it looks like the Raiders might have slipped into their own ways and are now looking very beatable. Expect things to get worse in Oakland before they get better. One final point about this game. Andre Brown is back for the Giants and looked as explosive as he did before he got injured, making up for the clear deficiencies that Eli has been exhibiting. That being said if this team make the play offs, they might just cause a little stir.

Buffalo Bills 10 Pittsburgh Steelers 23

Is it too little too late for the Steelers as they pick up a victory against a Bills team that is on a downward spiral. Roethlisberger has been rumoured to have asked for a trade away from the team that has struggled of late, but was back on form to lead his team to victory against one of the best secondarys in the game. After what can only be described as an ‘ear-bashing’ last week, the Defence picked up its game and held an explosive offence to one TD. Despite this result I think the Bills arrow for the coming seasons is pointing up and the Steelers could be on the way down, due to a little unrest and an aging Defence. Both these teams will have to go some to make the play offs.

Jacksonville Jaguars 29 Tennessee Titans 27

It’s happened!!! They won. Even despite their best efforts to hand the game to the Titans in the dying minutes. So what was the difference? Defence. Whilst the Offence continued on their lack-lustre path, the Defence played like the unit we hadn’t seen since the start of pre-season and managed to help the team hold on to take their first win. If it wasn’t bad enough for the titans to take a loss to the Jags, it looks like Jake Locker (who went down injured), is now out for the remainder of the season, leaving the Titans Offence looking pretty toothless with a Chris Johnson that is really struggling this season. The Jags, well they could not get another win all season and it probably wouldn’t matter too much as they now eagerly anticipate the draft next year to improve this team. That being said. Good win Jags!

Carolina Panthers 10 San Francisco 49er 9

I could talk for hours about this game. But I’ll keep it short. It does appear that teams are finally figuring out Kaepernicks game. But it is important to remember he was up against one of the best Defences in the league. So here’s what I think might have happened. No one believes the play action any more. The way Kap ran this Offence, heavily relied on the Defence biting on the play action, giving him time to get the ball a wide open yards after catch Receiver. What’s happening is, realising that Kaepernick has accuracy issues and realising how heavily he relies on play action, teams are now just rushing him, forcing him to make mistakes not giving him any time to make a decent decision. This could be fatal for Kaepernicks career and real worry for the Niners in play offs. On the Panthers side of the ball, this would be considered a good result and a decent test for a Defence that looks better and better with each game. Make no mistake, this Panthers team is very much for real and will be in the running for a play-off spot.

Houston Texans 24 Arizona Cardinals 27

I think it is fair to say the Texans have faced some adverse conditions this season and no more so than this week, with Kubiak in hospital, Foster out and being down to their back up QB Case Keenum. Actually that last one, really isn’t a bad thing. If last year was the year of the Rookie QB, this is the year of the Backup QB, with none looking more impressive than the Texans QB. Despite another great game from the 2nd year QB, Keenum who threw 3 TD’s it wasn’t enough to win the game, despite Arizona regularly throwing the ball back to them. The real difference was what was done with the turnovers, which saw Arizona take a fumble back for a score, showing that this Defence is on the verge of greatness once again. It is also worth pointing out that the Texans losing Foster means a whole lot less than it used to.

Denver Broncos 28 San Diego Chargers 20

A close game here between 2 in form Offences. Peyton continued his insane season with yet another 4 TD game and whilst throwing 0 interceptions. This was really the key in this game as Rivers played pretty well, but nowhere near to the level of Manning. The level that Manning is playing at is meaning it is nearly impossible to win a game if you make virtually any mistakes. The Thomas Brothers (as they shall now be known), both played great games and are both looking simply ridiculous with Yards after Catch. Finally the Broncos Defence looks strong and managed to force Rivers to make a few important sill mistakes. All in all this Broncos team have to go into the Chiefs game feeling pretty confident they could get the win and force the ’72 Dolphins to pop the Champagne.

Dallas Cowboys 17 New Orleans Saints 49

This could be the game I lost faith in the Cowboys and it is mostly down to a truly awful Defence. Seriously it could be the worst in the league. That being said Romo and the Offence didn’t have a great game, particularly DeMarco Murray who continues to stink up the pitch. The Saints did that thing where they included every aspect of their Offence and Brees made every piece look unstoppable. The Defence played well and this week they managed to stop the run game compared to the issues they had in the Jets game. All in the all, this Saints team looks like they might have what it takes to be Superbowl Champs and will continue to win big against the teams that are considered challengers.

Miami Dolphins 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22

There is little to say about this game that hasn’t already been said, but let’s start with the obvious. The Dolphins only ran for 2 yards. Leaving the Dolphins starters struggling to get anything going behind a now dodgy O-line. The Defence continued to play well but had no answer for a quick paced Tampa attack. Basically the Dolphins have some serious worries on the Horizon and it might mean a change in coaching. One final point about the Bucs Defence, who all played exceptionally well can actually feel like they earned their money to day.