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In The Trenches: Week 15 Thoughts

Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:45 pm
 
Primetime Thoughts

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Change in the script.

Undefeated No More-I think I speak for everyone in saying that Kansas City was the team most likely to give Green Bay its first loss on the season.  Just kidding, now in all serious, where did that come from?  The Packers offense has torched every defense they’ve faced, it seemed close to impossible that a decimated Chiefs team, a vastly depleted unit with an offense working around no-name quarterbacks and third-stringers across the board on both sides of the ball, could even put a scare into the Packers.  This was pegged as a race to 17 points, one that the Packers could win in their sleep.  At least that’s what everyone thought.  Whether it was Romeo Crennel providing a spark, or everyone taking the Packers game as their Super Bowl, Kansas City stepped up in a major way.  The Chiefs had scored 10 points or less in their previous 6 games, or a total of 45.  That’s an average of 7.5 points a game, or roughly how many points Aaron Rodgers will lead Green Bay to on his first few drives, if not more.  The rest is history, Mercury Morris pops some champagne and Green Bay got a serious wake-up call.  This may not be the worst thing for the Packers.  Not that it has become evident, but when you haven’t lost a football game in over a calendar year, it’s quite possible to become a tad complacent in thinking you can’t be touched.  The concern and media frenzy around the undefeated season is over, which will benefit Green Bay.  Any player from the 2008 New England Patriots Super Bowl team can tell you that much.

Up Goes Colts-It was a day of firsts, as Indianapolis ended any possibility of becoming winless team No.3 in NFL history with a 27-13 win over the Titans.  The only news here is that the Colts allowed the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings to pick up a game, as both are one back of the top pick in the draft at 2-12 with two weeks left.  This race for the cellar may come down to the final week after all.  On the other hand, I’ve been skeptical of Tennessee being a playoff contender all season.  I don’t think anything speaks to that more than losing to a winless team by two touchdowns.  The Titans are only 1 game out of the playoffs, but I’m ready to send them on their merry way.

Down Goes Tebow-Who was suprised to see SportsCenter lead Monday’s showing with questions about Tebow being the long-term answer in Denver?  That would be nobody.  The Broncos magical run took a screeching halt after Tom Brady and Bill Belichick handed it to them, 41-23.  It was highly unlikely Tebow would be able to keep up with Brady as the two styles of offense are not anything close to each other; Tebow with a run-heavy approach, Brady with the aerial assault.  This comes as no shock, but it’s a shame to see all the backlash Tebow is receiving, none of which is his own doing.  While I don’t feel he is ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, I can still respect the dedication and effort he puts in to the game.  It’s not his fault that ESPN is so inclined to lead with Tebow every day, whether it’s the day after a game or the middle of the week.

Oh When The Saints Go Marching In-One of the best passing attacks in the NFL vs one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.  The over/under for the Saints Vikings game was 53.5.  The only question was whether the Saints alone would surpass that margin.  They fell up just short in their blowout win, 42-20, over the Vikings.  Drew Brees was okay, going 30-for-42 with 412 yards passing and 5 touchdowns.  The game itself didn’t give us any lessons we didn’t know already; the Saints are a threat to the Packers in the NFC while the Vikings are not.  But with the Packers loss, Drew Brees becomes a threat to Rodgers for the MVP award.  His numbers are comparable to Rodgers, if not better. 

TD’s: Rodgers- 40 TD’s, Brees- 37. 
Yards: Rodgers- 4,360 yards, Brees- 4,780. 
Completion %- Rodgers- 68.1, Brees- 71.5. 

Big Rotten Apple-The New York Jets and New York Giants were both in position to strengthen their playoff aspirations.  Both decided not to show up.  As bad as both are, one of them will probably win next week.  No, not because I’m that confident in either, but because they faceoff next week.  The Giants lost miserably, 23-10, to the Redskins in a game believed to be theirs for the taking.  Hakeem Nicks dropping a touchdown pass early had to be an omen for the GMen.  Santonio Holmes gets the dunce cap this week, not only for his two turnovers, the interception goes to Mark Sanchez, but Holmes dropped a catchable ball, but for his excessive celebration penalty.  Santonio, if you’re going to celebrate, not only should you be winning, or not losing by three scores, but you should probably learn the dirty bird first.  That was ghastly.  Presumably, one of these teams leaves MetLife Stadium with a win next Saturday. But we can’t put a tie past these two bumbling, stumbling teams.

Bears? More Like Cubs-This 4-game losing streak has all but ended the Chicago Bears playoff hopes at 7-7.  But one things for certain: Jay Cutler and Matt Forte are the heart and soul of the Chicago Bears offense.  Without them, Chicago is, well, inept.  That much was clear after the Seattle Seahawks stomped all over them, 37-14.

Texans Trip Up-Cam Newton knows how to put points on the board, so you figured Houston would allow a few scores, but the Texans offense was expected to score on the Panthers offense-friendly defense.  Except they didn’t, at least not enough, as Houston lost, 28-13.  The Texans are a game back of New England for the top seed in the AFC, but are still in contention for a bye week.

Buffalo No Soldiers-That 5-2 start is a distant memory, right besides those Jim Kelly days.  Head Coach Chan Gailey continues to stick by Ryan Fitzpatrick despite his struggles since signing the contract extension.  That makes him one of, a few supporters remaining?

Lions Pull it Out-The Lions are one win away from clinching the playoffs after yet another comeback win.  Where this one ranks, I’m not sure, but a 98-yard drive in 1:35 has to go pretty high on the list.  The Lions passing attack is no joke as Calvin Johnson is a man among boys while Stafford looks to be on his way to becoming an elite quarterback.  Johnson had a madden-esque 9 catches for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 28-27 win.  As for the Oakland Raiders, you remain one game out of the playoffs, but when you blow a two touchdown lead with less than 8 minutes left in the game, do you really deserve to make it?

Ravens, Roadless Warriors-Talk about being homesick, the Baltimore Ravens have a bad case of just that.  All four losses by Baltimore have been on the road, the latest a 34-14 drubbing by the San Diego Chargers.  The Ravens got a treat from Head Coach John Harbaugh’s brother Jim as San Francisco beat Pittsburgh.  Baltimore has the tiebreaker from sweeping the season series.  It’s a lucky break because the Ravens don’t look to be much of a threat in the playoffs if they have to do it on the road.

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