Last week was filled with lopsided losses and unpredictable blowouts all over the NFL, also known as "just another week," and it left what were assumed shoe-ins for the playoffs in need of wins.
The Bears began the season with such promise, playing dominant football on both sides of the field that left them at 7-1 halfway through. They’ve only won a game since, with their latest in Green Bay inciting an emotional press conference from Brandon Marshall.
Luckily for them, they’re facing an Arizona Cardinals squad in the midst of an identity crisis and one of the worst seasons in team history.
Unlucky for them, they’re facing the Cardinals at home, where just last week, they trounced division rivals the Detroit Lions 38-10.
But the Bears showed promise in their first half against the Packers until QB Jay Cutler gave rookie CB Casey Hayward his sixth interception of the year. The offense couldn’t get going in the second half, and Aaron Rodgers worked his trademark magic and kept the Bears off-kilter.
Ryan Lindley is not Aaron Rodgers, and Charles Tillman will spend the majority of his time covering Larry Fitzgerald. A turnover-prone Cardinals offense is ripe for this Bears defense that’s just looking for an excuse to return to form.
Expect the Cardinals defense to try and throw Cutler off again. Though University of Phoenix Stadium can be a volatile place for opposing quarterbacks, Cutler should be able to bounce back from his emotional performance and reel his offense in. Otherwise, the Bears' postseason hopes are gone.
The Seattle Seahawks are in an interesting position, with the possibility of spoiling the San Francisco 49ers' chances of getting a bye week and even taking the NFC West crown. The way they’re playing, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that it’s happened.
The last time these two teams faced each other, Alex Smith’s TD to Delanie Walker put the 49ers over Seattle in a close victory, and the 49ers have since turned to Colin Kaepernick with surprisingly positive results.
But this Seattle defense is clicking, Russell Wilson is playing like the Rookie of the Year and the Seahawks are running up scores.
The defense accounted for three turnovers against Buffalo, including a 57-yard interception return by safety Earl Thomas. When the 49ers return to CenturyLink Field, there will be enough energy in that stadium for the defense to capitalize.
The crowd is a major factor in causing false starts, and with Kaepernick’s recorded troubles receiving snaps under center, look for the Seahawks to give the 49ers starting QB one of the few bad games he’ll have all season.
The Washington Redskins are set to take the NFC East crown for the first time since the ‘90s, with only the Cowboys in their way to the postseason.
Well, that is if you discount those Philadelphia Eagles, which many already are.
The rebuilding Eagles were thought to have been in the midst of a surge with rookies Nick Foles and Bryce Brown leading the offence. Then they got trounced in the second half of their Thursday Night Football contest against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Redskins might be hesitant to play Robert Griffin III with so much riding on the game against Dallas, but they shouldn’t worry too much with fellow rookie QB Kirk Cousins under center.
Cousins led the Redskins to victory over the Browns on Sunday with an impressive second-half showing. He connected with Leonard Hankerson for both of his TDs, Alfred Morris ran two more TDs and the Redskins won by an impressive 38-21.
Cousins is exemplifying the wisdom behind coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to draft two quarterbacks last year. Despite RG3’s insistence to return to the field, the Redskins might not want him back until even after the Dallas game.