Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NFL 2007 Week 12: NFC Edition

NFC EAST: Only one more day until the NFC Championship preview game, and the fans of two lame teams can’t get enough. Both the Cowboys and the Packers go in with one loss, though there isn’t a catchy phrase like “someone’s O has got to go” for two one-loss teams. Dallas is the superior team, and the game is theirs to win or lose. On Thanksgiving, granted that it was the Jets, they ran an efficient and balanced offense to the destruction of the Jets. They’ve proven, when need be, that they have the ability to drives together with both pass and run heavy games, and the fact that they can also run a balanced offense is pretty remarkable. Green Bay will put points up against their secondary, but Dallas will still win strong. The Giants are looking a lot like their AFC brothers right now. Eli Manning got humiliated by the Vikings’ defense, who would have won without a single point from the offense. The defense didn’t look so bad, but they can’t do a lot about the offense and their yearly collapse. The Eagles were so close to taking the Patriots out. I was rooting for former Duck AJ Feeley to show some heroics but, in the end, they were just another slice of pie for win-fat Patriots. At this point, they’ll probably have to win out to secure a playoff slot, but fighting it out with the Redskins will be tough, at least when they decide to show up. Throwing for 300 yards with only one touchdown sounds like Bronco statistics to me.

NFC NORTH: The other half of the preview of future Super Bowl losers did look strong on the road on Thanksgiving, but the Lions are ailing and not much of a match. This Thursday, Green Bay’s burgeoning run game will be cut short by Dallas’ defense, so it’ll be a pass, and points, fest. Green Bay will keep it close for a while, but barring more unlikely Favre heroics, Dallas will be in the clear lead for the NFC. Kitna and the Lions tried to evoke another “miracle,” but Jesus should have been smiling on them in the first half instead of just the fourth quarter. The Vikings’ offense remains inconsistent, and generally poor, without Adrian Peterson, but their defense played superb against the Giants. It was more than just the three interception TDs, they beat them up and down the field. It was pretty impressive and, with Peterson supposedly returning this week, Detroit should have a pretty hard time. Minnesota will have the ball a long time and, when the Lions have the ball, Kitna had better pray hard. The Broncos allowed the Bears back in the again and again until, finally, Chicago got the message and won the game. Without Devin Hester, would the Bears have any wins at all?

NFC SOUTH: With the poor play from the rest of the division, the Buccaneers have just about sealed up the north. They’re only two games up but, even though the Saints have gotten better since the start of the season, their play is too inconsistent for them to contend at this point. They’ve been able to hang on with Gradkowski in the lineup, and they’re hoping to have Garcia back in soon, which should be able to take them to the finish. The Saints were able to snap their two game losing streak, but a win this week against Tampa is imperative or they can forget about the postseason. The winner of this division will be the only team going to the playoffs, and it will be all but sealed up if they drop it. Carolina showed they have no business in the discussion anymore. Now at 4-7, and after a horrible beating from the Saints on Sunday, they have nothing but pride to play for. The Falcons appeared to try on Thursday for the first quarter, and then they realized that they were the Falcons and do not try. Atlanta was able to take advantage of a down-and-out Colts until Indianapolis realized who they were and slaughtered them after that. Atlanta doesn’t even have pride to play for anymore.

NFC WEST: The Seahawks may not be quite as bad as they seem, but they sure got lucky that Frerotte is playing for the Rams right now. I realize that the game was meaningless for St. Louis at this point, but that has to be one of the great chokes of the year. If Seattle gets Alexander healthy (good luck) by playoff time, they could have a shot, but they’re just too old, too spotty, and on the quick decline. Any strides Arizona’s defense has made this year looked to be moot the way they played against San Francisco. Everyone was saying that they would be special this year, but the ‘Niners have only been short bus special and, if a defense gives up 36 points to them, they should hang their heads in shame. San Francisco, to their credit, have finally gotten Vernon Davis back in the mix and…what’s this?...a decent game from Frank Gore? Wasn’t he supposed to be the season’s leading rusher? Oh, yeah, he plays for the 49ers. The Rams have wins now but, mostly, they aren’t looking any better than they did at the beginning of the season. They’ve had a lot of injuries and some bad luck, but they can’t fall apart when it counts; that’s for cowards.