Week 13 means one big thing in the NFL. Yes, it is the last week of the fantasy football regular season, but more importantly we get three games on Thursday. It’s the most glorious day of the year for any hardcore NFL and food fan. You literally wake up, start eating food, turn on the Detroit Lions and don’t stop eating or watching football until your eyes shut. Unfortunately, that sometimes turns out to be 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Damn tryptophan-induced food comas.
This week, the scheduling gods have been very kind to us and we have a lot for which to be thankful. All three Turkey Day games are HUGE divisional match-ups with playoff implications on the line. Sunday nights matchup is for first place in the AFC West. And the Sunday 4 o’clocker may be a preview of the Super Bowl, pitting the two hottest teams in the NFL against each other. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks!
1. A Thanksgiving feast for the ages.
Thursday kicks off its action at 12:30 with the Lions hosting the Bears. Matthew Stafford has struggled the past few weeks, and the Lions are reeling. Eric Ebron hasn’t helped much, dropping just about everything that comes his way, but Megatron and Golden Tate are healthy and pretty darn good targets. Jay Cutler hasn’t looked like he’s had a grasp on the Bears offense in weeks, but the Bears find themselves at 5-6 and still very much in the playoff hunt. Taking down the Lions will put them one game behind them with one more match-up between the two left.
Seems like the NFC has been waiting all year for the 4:30 bout. The 8-3 Eagles head to Big D to take on the 8-3 Cowboys. Not many people envisioned Mark Sanchez to be at the helms of the Eagles on a playoff run, nor did they expect Sanchez to be the leader with LeSean McCoy struggling. They most certainly didn’t expect the Cowboys defense to be anywhere near as good as it is or for DeMarco Murray to stay healthy and threaten the 2,000 yard barrier. This is going to be a game for the ages.
While the first two games have all the makings of shootouts, the night game could be a defensive battle. Russell Wilson has owned Colin Kaepernick in their history of the NFC West. That’s the primary reason I like Wilson as much as I do! The Cardinals are going to struggle with Drew Stanton now injured and this division may be up for grabs. Both the Seahawks and the 49ers are tied at 7-4. Seahawks pull out a win in this one, guess who’s sneaking back into the playoffs.
2. And in first place… nobody.
Is there going to be a 6-10 with a home playoff game this season? Well, the NFC South is certainly trying their hardest to make it happen. This is a division in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are a mere one game a way from locking up the first overall pick in the NFL Draft with the worst record in the league, are only two games out of first place. I think even Thread member Sperry and all of his logical deductions would have a hard time making sense of that!
Mike Smith has a job this weekend, despite seemingly trying to tank the Falcons season. That’s the only explanation at how bad his late-game play calling has been this year. This Sunday, they take on the Arizona Cardinals in the Georgia Dome. Normally, it would be a must-win situation, but check this out: if every one in the NFC South loses out and the Falcons beat the Saints, the Falcons make the playoffs at 5-11. So, seriously guys, don’t try that hard and stick to your maybe the other guy will lose also game plan.
The Saints head to Pittsburgh in a tough matchup between a division in which no one wants to win (NFC South) and no one wants to give up first place (AFC North). The Bengals, Ravens, Steelers and Browns are separated by half of a game, so you can bet Big Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are going to be fresh and ready coming off a bye in this bout. Troy Polamalu is back as well, so the defense should honed in on Brees. Drew Brees will be Drew Brees (did you see my article on Brees this week? If not, you should right HERE), but how many points will he have to score with Rob Ryan’s anemic defense? This is a game that the Steelers could sleep on, but I think they come out victorious.
3. I love when NBC gets it right.
This Sunday night the Denver Broncos go to Arrowhead to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. This is a battle for first place in the AFC West. How amazing is that? The Broncos actually have some competition and the Chiefs are just one game behind Denver… despite being Oakland’s only win of the season.
How does Kansas City respond to the humiliation of losing to the then-0-10 Raiders on Thursday Night Football last week? They must put it behind them and stay focused on what has worked for them. That means Alex Smith hands the ball off to Jamaal Charles and then throw a touchdown off of Anthony Fasano‘s rump. Seriously, did you know Alex Smith hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass to a wide receiver since the summer time? Run, Jamaal, run!
The Denver Broncos need to let Peyton Manning be himself. They need to get healthy and it looks like they are doing so. Emmanuel Sanders should be back to 100 percent after playing last week coming off of a concussion and Julius Thomas claims his ankle is feeling better. The Broncos defense should be able to clamp down on the Chiefs offense, so Sunday night could be the Manning Show. I think this game is 27-24, and really either team could win it, but I put my money on the Broncs.
Game of the Week: New England at Green Bay.
This may be the game of the year, folks. These aren’t simply the two hottest teams in the NFL, they are the two most fun teams to watch in the NFL. When an offense is dropping 35 points weekly you know you’re in store for an exciting game. When TWO teams that have been dropping 35 points weekly are pitted against each other, well, that’s an NFL orgasm.
How about this, however? Both defenses have been playing exciting football as well. The Packers and Patriots defenses have been lighting up scoreboards with defensive touchdowns and punt returns almost every other week. So who makes the first mistake? Is it Tom Brady, who has thrown for 2,207 yards, 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions over their seven-game win streak? Or is it Aaron Rodgers,w ho has thrown for 865 yards, 11 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions in the three games since they were embarrassed by New Orleans? Eddie Lacy may be the x-factor in this one as he looks fully healthy and on a level of no other running back except maybe Charles.
Survivor Pick of the Week: I was a Shaun Hill interception away from my St. Louis Rams upset special agains the Chargers in San Diego. I even was pretty darn close in being spot on with Philip Rivers stats. This week take the Vikings. The Panthers are terrible, and they are even worse on the road. This is a layup.