NFL Week 17: Giants @ Redskins

This season has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for the New York Giants as they have been considered to be one of the best teams at times this year and also a bit of a disappointment at other times.

The Giants are no doubt a talented football team on both sides of ball, but have struggled to play consistently well from time to time and have been hit with two devastating losses over the last two weeks of the season.

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As if losing to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles in the final seconds of the fourth quarter on a DeSean Jackson punt return touchdown wasn’t bad enough, the following week the New York Giants were absolutely dominated from start to finish against a banged up Green Bay Packers team that lit them up for 45 points.

Obviously, both of these games work big wake-up call for this once playoff bound team as they realized things aren’t going get any easier from here on out. Not only did they lose the division title to the Eagles, but they might have also lost their chance at the playoffs as they will need a few scenarios to go their way in the final week of the NFL regular season in order to make it into the postseason.

Fortunately, the New York Giants are more than capable of winning their game against the division rival Washington Redskins this weekend, but will need to see the Green Bay Packers fall to the Chicago Bears in order to clinch a Wild-card spot in the NFC Conference.

So beating the lowly Redskins will most likely be fairly easy for Eli Manning and company, but the Packers falling to the Bears is something they will definitely keep their eye on as I can’t see Aaron Rogers and his squad losing a must win situation like that.

The beautiful thing about NFL football is that anything can happen at any time and even if you have the slightest chance of making the playoffs if not unheard of to see multiple scenarios go your way in the last week of the NFL regular season.

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As of right now, the New York Giants have been given a -4 point spread heading into their showdown with the division rival Washington Redskins.

Personally, I believe that’s ridiculous as the Redskins have one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season and will have absolutely nothing to play for coming into this game. Along with Mike Shanahan’s defense being among the worst in the league, their offense is a much better even though Rex Grossman has given them a bit more punch at the quarterback position.

It’s extremely hard to say that there are any true locks when it comes to picking winners in NFL matchups, but I would say this is definitely one of them as the New York Giants will almost certainly dominate the Washington Redskins from start to finish while covering the -4 spread with ease.

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NFL Week 17: Cowboys @ Eagles

The Dallas Cowboys are arguably one of the most popular teams in the NFL today with the huge fan base that can put enormous pressure on this team to succeed every week during the NFL regular season. Not only do the Cowboys have one of the biggest fan bases in the league today, but they also have a very demanding and flamboyant owner in Jerry Jones who also puts enormous pressure on this team to succeed.

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Coming into this NFL regular season, the Dallas Cowboys were considered to be arguably the team to beat in the NFC Conference as they were one most talented teams on both sides of the football.

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Unfortunately, the Cowboys were doomed from the word go as nothing went right for this team despite seemingly having all the right pieces to the puzzle in place to make it to the Super Bowl and become the first team in the NFL to be playing in a Super Bowl that they were hosting.

Along with consistently failing to live up to expectations week in and week out, the Cowboys have had their fair share of injury problems this season as perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo went down with a broken collarbone (out for the season) and promising young rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant suffered a broken ankle (out for the season).

Ironically enough though, it seems like the one thing that the Dallas Cowboys needed to turn things around was some drastic changes and a serious reality check. The biggest change the team made this season was firing head coach Wade Phillips and replacing him with Jason Garrett which has turned out to be a brilliant move.

Even though this season has been over for a long time for the Dallas Cowboys, they have played pretty well under Jason Garrett and could be a very promising team next season, but they will look to finish this season out on a high note by trying to the best of Andy Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17.

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Despite being arguably the most talented team on the offensive side of the football this season with MVP candidate Michael Vick under center, the Eagles will most likely be taking it easy in the final week of the NFL regular season as they have already won the NFC East division title and paved their way into the playoffs once again.

With that being said, this could be a game in which the Dallas Cowboys dominate from start to finish as the Philadelphia Eagles already said that Michael Vick will most likely sit out this one.

The only problem the Dallas Cowboys might have in this game is who they will have a quarterback after veteran Jon Kitna went down last week. Even with Kitna out though, I believe the Cowboys should be able to get the best of their division rivals this week and thus ending their disappointing season with a win.

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NFL Week 16: Saints @ Falcons – Monday Night Football

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons Mon. Dec. 27th 2010 8:30pm EST

The NFC South division has been arguably one of the toughest divisions to play in this season in the NFL as three of their teams have been amongst the best in the league this season with the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and division leading Atlanta Falcons being legitimate playoff teams

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Even though many people expected the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to drop off as the season progressed, Josh Freeman and company have played pretty well this season and have only just recently been knocked out of contention for the NFC South title.

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With the Bucs taking a back seat, the Saints and the Falcons are left to contend for the NFC South division title and in dramatic fashion as these two dominant squads will go head-to-head on Monday Night Football in Week 16 in a game where the division title will be on the line.

Fortunately for the Atlanta Falcons, win or lose this NFC South division showdown, Matt Ryan and company have already clinched a playoff spot, but the New Orleans Saints can’t say the same as they are fighting for their playoff lives right now.

Despite the defending champs having to give it their all they’ve got win the last two games of the NFL regular season, they may still be playoff bound as the NFC Wildcard could be in the grasp.

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No matter what the circumstances coming into this Monday night football battle for a division title, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons will not be backing down an inch to one another as these teams really don’t like each other and will know what this game means in terms of playoff positioning and bragging rights moving forward.

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Even though the New Orleans Saints have been able to turn it around this season and seemingly get back to form, no team in the NFC Conference has played better than Matt Ryan’s squad as they have won eight straight games coming into this matchup. Along with being near flawless on the offensive of side of the football, the Falcons also have a defense that will almost certainly test superstar quarterback Drew Brees and his potent offense.

As of right now, the Atlanta Falcons have been given the edge in this NFC South battle with a -2.5 point spread.

This game will be as tough to bet on as any in Week 16 as they will be a hard-fought battle from start to finish with both teams have a legitimate shot to win this football game. In my opinion though, I believe the Atlanta Falcons are just a better all around team this season and should come out on top when the final whistle blows.

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Is Mike Shanahan the right coach for Washington?

Since the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls in ’97 and ’98, former Denver coach Mike Shanahan has failed to duplicate the same type of success. He’s had talented quarterbacks (Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler) after John Elway retired and developed some pretty decent backs since Terrell Davis left. It still hasn’t translated into Super Bowl success for Shanahan though.

Now, his legacy is being questioned. His two rings are being questioned since he had Elway and Davis. Elway proved his greatness by single handedly carrying the Broncos to its first three Super Bowl appearances

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Even with Donovan McNabb as his quarterback in Washington Shanahan has failed to lead the Redskins to a meaningful season. The Redskins are currently third in the NFC East. He has clashed with his star players. First with Albert Haynesworth and now with McNabb.

Shanahan has realized that McNabb is not Elway. The perfection he demanded from Elway can’t be met by McNabb. Reports that McNabb has an injured hamstring are probably overblown. He doesn’t have an injury since the Redskins website reported that McNabb is perfectly fine. Shanahan is playing mind games with McNabb in an attempt to motivate him in some way to study tapes longer and practice harder.

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Shanahan also added that, “Quarterbacks never tell you the truth. He hasn’t scrambled a lot. I think it’s probably hurting him a little bit more than he’s indicating. Quarterbacks I’ve been around, they’ll never admit to being hurt, so I can’t tell you that for sure.”

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It’s not clear though if Shanahan is playing games with McNabb of with the media. Is he trying to confuse the Dallas Cowboys threatening to start Rex Grossman instead? Only offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and head coach Mike Shanahan know.

We’re not committing to tell you who the starters are at any position,” Shanahan said “They’ve got to get ready for a couple of players. That’s good for us.”

With all the inconsistencies that the Redskins franchise has been through the past month it’s hard not to believe anything that comes out of Washington’s camp.

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Are the Jets overrated?

The Jets dropped another game last week, this time to the 6-6 Dolphins. After reeling off nine out of 11 wins the Jets were perennial Super Bowl contenders. They were the favorites. Rex Ryan and his boys became so confident that they started talking trash and almost assured a victory over the New England Patriots in week 13. All of that backfired when Tom Brady picked apart their secondary with four touchdowns and the Patriots humiliated them 45-3. Of course many thought this was just a minor speed bump en route to New York’s improbably Super Bowl run but their loss last week raised concerns.

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They’ve combined for a measly nine points in the past two games and allowed a total of 55 points.

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Now with the team looking headless they’ll have to face a Pittsburgh team on a four-game winning streak. A peaking Troy Polamalu is bad news for a struggling Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez was an honorable mention for league MVP two games ago. Now he’s the reason why the Jets are struggling. He has forced passes at times opting to throw the ball away instead of hanging on to it and taking the sack. Since he spent only one full year playing in college Sanchez has the tendency to commit to throws that he thinks he can make. Some call this swagger but this time it should be called inexperience and cockiness.

Blame also goes to head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan has failed to utilize Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson more. They’re slowly veering away from the identity they established a year ago — running the ball and playing hardnosed defense.

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It took some time but the league has caught up to the Jets. Their defensive sets have been figured out and Sanchez picked a superb time to go through puberty.

So are the Jets overrated? Probably not. They deserve the credit that came with their early success. Success down the stretch though will be dependent on their ability to adjust.

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NFL Week 15: Jaguars @ Colts

The Indianapolis Colts have been one of the best teams in the AFC Conference for quite some time now and seem to dominate the AFC South division every single season, but this year they have really struggled to get back to championship form, especially on the offensive side of the football.

Ever since the beginning of the NFL regular season the Indianapolis Colts have suffered injury after injury to some key players on offense and as a result four-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning has had a tough time getting the team back to the top spot in the AFC South division.

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Without a doubt the biggest blow to this Indianapolis Colts offense this season was when perennial Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark went down for the year with a wrist injury that required surgery. Once Peyton Manning’s favorite target was gone, the offense is never really been the same as new receivers like Pierre Garcon, Blair White and backup tight end Jacob Tamme has struggled to pick up the slack.

As a result the Colts struggling offense has really struggled to get back on track and Indianapolis will come into Week 15 with their backs against the wall as they will be facing the 1st place Jacksonville Jaguars in a must win situation if they want to make it back into the playoffs.

With the Jaguars sitting at 8-5 and the Colts at 7-6, the only way Peyton Manning and company can hope to get back into playoff contention is by winning the AFC South division title and without a win in Week 15, their chances are pretty much shot.

Obviously, the Indianapolis Colts are no stranger to must win situations or pressure like they will face this weekend on their home field Lucas Oil Stadium, but this may end up being the beginning of the end of their dominance within the AFC South. The only problem they will have in this matchup is that the Jacksonville Jaguars have played extremely well up to this point in the NFL regular season and finally have the dual threats of a dominant running game and a decent passing game.

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The one thing that the Colts defense will focus on more than anything this Sunday will be NFL MVP candidate running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Even though he hasn’t got the attention like Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick or New England Patriots gunslinger Tom Brady, Jones-Drew has been as good as it gets this season and will look to prove that point this weekend in Indianapolis.

As of right now, the Indianapolis Colts have been favorites come out on top in this AFC South division battle with a -4.5 point spread, but I have a feeling that there could be a huge upset here as the Jacksonville Jaguars finally seem poised to make a run at the playoffs and get the best of Peyton Manning and company.

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NFL Week 15: Broncos @ Raiders

The AFC West division has taken a back seat to all the other divisions in the AFC conference over the last decade or so, but this season or three teams within the division and are looking pretty good right now and could be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.

The two teams within AFC West that seem to have the best chance of winning the division title at season’s end are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders, but the San Diego Chargers are still looming in the background and haven’t been knocked out of contention just yet as they were able to beat the Kansas City Chiefs (31-0) in Week 14 and get the best of the San Francisco 49ers (34-7) this past Thursday.

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Even though the San Diego Chargers are still hanging around and the Kansas City Chiefs are leading the way in the division, the Oakland Raiders have a very good chance of being playoff bound if they can continue to win football games in the NFL regular-season.

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Halfway through the NFL regular season, the Oakland Raiders headed to the Mile High City to take on the Denver Broncos in what was thought to be a hard-fought battle from start to finish as there is no love lost between these two division rivals.

Unfortunately, the Denver Broncos defense failed to show up in this matchup and the Oakland Raiders offense had a historic day as they scored a franchise best 59 points in the route of their division rivals.

In Week 15, the Denver Broncos will head to Oakland to get some revenge for their historic loss at midseason against the Oakland Raiders, but despite not be able to turn a negative into positive, the Broncos will come into this game in even worse shape than they were after they were in embarrassed by the Raiders earlier in the year.

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One intriguing part of this and AFC West showdown is that rookie quarterback Tim Tebow might get his first start in the NFL as Kyle Orton is a bit banged up right now. If Tebow is going to be the Broncos quarterback under center this weekend, Denver might have an outside chance of avenging their embarrassing loss.

Oakland Raider Football Player JaMarcus Russell

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With Tebow under center, the Broncos offense becomes that much more dynamic in the ground game and might just be too much for the Raiders to handle.

In my opinion though, no matter what the Denver Broncos do in this game or what players they put on the field, the Oakland Raiders will come out top by convincing margin and should cover the -6.5 point spread.

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NFL Week 15: Eagles @ Giants

Coming into this NFL regular season, the Dallas Cowboys were thought to be the team to beat in the NFC East division as they were an extremely talented football team on both sides of the field, but even though America’s Team has come on as of late, the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles are the only two teams left in the running for the division title.

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Ironically enough, the Eagles and the Giants were the two teams in the NFC East that were thought to be underachievers this season as Philadelphia got rid of six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb and no one knew what to expect in New York as the Giants were just awful in the second half of last season.

Fortunately, despite all the speculation and the changes to their franchises over the last two seasons, both of these teams are legitimate playoff teams right now and maybe even Super Bowl title contenders.

Even though one of these teams might be Super Bowl bound this season, only one of them can win the division title this season and that will most likely be decided this weekend as the Eagles will travel to New Meadowlands Stadium to take on the Giants.

Just a few weeks ago, the Eagles played exceptionally well against the Giants defending their home field in Philly as they came out with a convincing 27-17 and have been sitting in first place in the NFC East ever since.

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The emergence of NFL MVP candidate quarterback Michael Vick has been the main reason for the Philadelphia Eagles success this season, but even though Vick is getting all the attention right now, he wouldn’t have been able to do it without Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson and up-and-coming running back LeSean McCoy.

With these three players seemingly Pro Bowl bound this season, the Eagles have been flying high and seem like the team to beat in the NFC Conference behind Matt Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons, but they will have their work cut out for them this weekend as all the pressure will on them to come out on top against their division rivals.

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Even though a lot of people have considered the Eagles to be one of the top three teams in the league this season, they will come into this NFC East showdown as -3 point underdogs, but despite not being favored, I believe Michael Vick and company are playing at an extremely high level right now and should get the win and eventually the division title.

The New York Giants may have one of the best defenses in the league coming into this game, but they stand no match for the potent offense of the Philadelphia Eagles as I believe there could be a blowout in the making.

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NFL Week 14: Patriots @ Bears

New England Patriots @ Chicago Bears Sun. Dec. 12th 2010 4:15pm EST

Despite getting off to a slow start at the beginning of this NFL regular-season with a lot of questions on the defensive side of the football, the New England Patriots have proved all the doubters wrong at this point in time after they were able to absolutely dominate the division rival New York Jets the 45-3 rout which made Tom Brady and company the new first place team in the AFC East division.

Tom Brady
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After this extremely impressive victory over one of the best defenses in the NFL, the New England Patriots showed that no matter who they have on the offense of side of the football they can dominate any defense in their way, but that will be put to the test once again this week as they will go up against arguably the best defense in the NFL in the Chicago Bears.

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With perennial Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers staring him down all day long and putting constant pressure on the New England Patriots offense, NFL MVP candidate quarterback Tom Brady will have perhaps his toughest test of the season ahead of him.

Obviously, the matter what defense has been put in front of Brady he has come out on top and continues to prove that he just might be the best quarterback in the league right now, but whether or not he can get the best of this extremely stingy defense remains to be seen.

There is no question that the Patriots live and die with the pass as Tom Brady can throw it all over the field and without Randy Moss as a downfield threat, the offense has turned into something that thrives on the short pass, but the Bears defense concentrates on stopping the run as they only give up 84.9 rushing yards per game (2nd in the NFL).

With that being said, the Chicago Bears defense might struggle to contain Tom Brady in the pocket as they are 13th in the league at stopping the pass by giving up 215.4 passing yards per game.

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Personally, I can’t see any team in the league containing Tom Brady and this potent New England Patriots offense as they get everyone on the offense of side of the football involved and are always moving forward the matter what the opposition shows them.

Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears

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The Chicago Bears do have one thing going for them as they have been the only team this season to be able to contain the Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick, but with Brady the threat of his running the football is nonexistent.

As of right now, the New England Patriots will come into this matchup with the Chicago Bears as -3 point favorites. That is just about right on the money in my opinion as I really can’t see Brian Urlacher and company coming out on top in this one, but it should be a close game from start to finish.

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NFL Week 14: Dolphins @ Jets

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets Sun. Dec. 12th 2010 4:15pm EST

The New York Jets are coming off perhaps their biggest loss of the season against the division rival New England Patriots in which they only scored three points and were lit up for 45 points by Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes against this supposed lockdown defense.

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Not only was is lost devastating and the fact that this defense which is considered to be one of the best in the league were dominated, but as a result the New England Patriots are now considered arguably the best team in the league and the New York Jets have now slipped to second place in the AFC East division.

Fortunately, there is still a lot of football to be played in the NFL regular season as the New York Jets still have four games ahead of them, but they will most likely have to win all four games even if they have the slightest chance of being able to win their division title over Bill Belichick’s squad.

At this point in time that seems like the New York Jets are basically playoff bound even if they were to lose the next four games before the playoffs, but if they expect to be the Super Bowl title contending team they were considered to be throughout this season, they will have to continue to win football games in order to keep their confidence high heading into the postseason.

Earlier in the year, the Miami Dolphins were considered a team on the rise in the AFC Conference as their defense were able to contain some of the league’s most potent offenses, but injuries on the offensive side of the football have really started to hurt this team, especially at the quarterback position.

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Coming into this AFC East division showdown, the Miami Dolphins will be sporting the fairly mediocre 6-6 record and a sit in third place with in the division below the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. Even though they are above .500 and have one of the best defenses in the NFL, making the playoffs is stretch to say the least as even clinching a playoff in AFC Wildcard is a little bit beyond the realm of possibility.

Fortunately, Miami Dolphins will have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend if they can get the best of the New York Jets definitely showed signs of weakness last week in the blowout loss to the New England Patriots.

As of right now, the New York Jets are -5.5 point favorites to come out on top in this AFC East division battle, but even though the Miami Dolphins defense is capable of making this a close game, I believe Rex Ryan will have his squad ready to make a statement this week with a dominant victory over their division rivals.

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