Revisiting the Weekend

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Revisiting the Weekend

4-0 on the weekend, you know I couldn’t be happier. 20-12 heading into the final stretch before things start to heat up with three games on Thanksgiving Day. Another 4-0 mark next week would put me 10 games over .500 and be just the cushion I need to start making all kinds of crazy picks. But that’s a whole three days away. Before I start dreaming about next week, I have to revisit last weekend. It was pretty competitive as only one of the games I predicted ended with a 10-point margin. Just in case you missed anything:

 

Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys

What I predicted …

Cowboys 27-17

What I said would happen …

“Tony Romo and the Dallas offense will try to bounce back from last week’s one touchdown performance and Washington could be the perfect opponent. In their last three games, Washington has allowed scores of 40, 75, 30, 58, 67 and 57 yards. For big-play specialists like Felix Jones and Miles Austin, a rebound could definitely be in the cards. Dallas is a team known for two things: big plays and pressuring the passer. In the last few weeks, Washington has been known for several things but mostly: allowing big plays and failing to protect the passer. Washington will be up for the game but with so many gaps in their play the last few weeks, Dallas will bounce back and chop down the Skins.”

What actually happened …

The Cowboys won 7-6. The game went as no one expected and was one of those old-school-classic-three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust-type of game. Dallas got their ground game going with 153 yards but Romo and the passing offense was terrible for the second consecutive week but kicked into high gear when they needed to. Trailing 6-0, Romo led the ‘Boys on a nine-play, 60-yard drive that concluded with Romo shaking off a sack and finding Patrick Crayton in the end zone for a 10-yard score. It was another disappointing loss for the Redskins, who outplayed Dallas until the last 2:41 of the game.

My reactions …

People are ready to write the Cowboys (7-3) off after two solo touchdown performances but sometimes you have to give credit to the other teams. They played a Packer team that was on borderline desperation mode and needed the game more than the ‘Boys did a couple of weeks ago. Dallas then came back to play longtime rival Washington, who knows the Dallas’ players and game plans inside out. Even with two subpar performances, they still went 1-1 and still lead the NFC East. Just for an added bonus, they get the Oakland Raiders this week and then will have 10 days off before they take on the New York Giants. Things actually couldn’t be better right now in Dallas unless the back injury that Romo suffered against Washington lingers. Stay tuned…

Washington (3-7) continues their lost season and will have to go with a couple of third-stringers in their offense after two more season injuries against Dallas. Running back Ladell Betts and offensive guard Chad Rinehart left early with leg injuries but it was still a valiant performance for Washington. Their defense played their best game of the season and if the team can continue to manufacture strong performances like they’ve produced in the last couple of games, Washington could finish on a high note.

 

Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants

What I predicted …

Giants 34-16

What I said would happen …

“Atlanta will need to attack New York’s secondary if they want to win. New York has allowed eleven touchdown passes over the course of their four game losing streak. Without Turner though, Atlanta loses the threat of play-action and the Giants will be allowed to tee off on Ryan. Atlanta isn’t the strongest defense but they aren’t the worse. Against New York however, the Falcons will have to be prepared to stop the run because the Giants will be sure to reinforce the run coming off four consecutive losses and a bye. This is a game New York has to win and a team in desperation mode coming off a bye week shouldn’t be picked against.”

What actually happened …

The Giants won 34-31. New York held off a late Atlanta run after leading 31-17 to start the fourth. New York got a 36-yard field goal in overtime to break their four-game losing streak. Eli Manning posted his first 300-yard passing game at home and his two big passes in the overtime set his team up to capitalize on a win. Atlanta showed a lot of courage playing without leading rusher Michael Turner but lost for the fourth time in the last five weeks.

My reactions …

The Giants (6-4) got a much needed win and can now focus their sights on a strong finish to end the year. After a four-game slide, New York is only a half game out of first place in the NFC East and will go on the road to take on the reeling Denver Broncos on Thanksgiving night. If the G-men can knock off the Broncos, they’ll get an opportunity to take over first place in the division when they host the division-leading Cowboys in two weeks.

1-4 in their last five games, Atlanta (5-5) needs a break and quick if they have any intentions on qualifying for the postseason. They’ll get one next week when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but home games against the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints mean there’s no room for slippage. Atlanta has to come out of the next three weeks with at least a 7-6 record for a chance at qualifying, 8-5 would be excellent but Atlantians shouldn’t cross their fingers.

 

Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens

What I predicted …

Colts 28-24

What I said would happen …

“Baltimore’s best chance to win may come down to a shootout between Manning and sophomore QB Joe Flacco. The Ravens’ offense has been struggling recently, averaging 11.5 points per game in the last two weeks. The Colts’ secondary is depleted however, and behind the backing of a raucous crowd that despises everything associated with Indianapolis, the Baltimore offense could undergo a revival. But even if they do get into a shootout, Manning has the moxie and weapons to win that battle. Regardless of how depleted Indianapolis’ secondary is, Manning is going to keep them in the game and just like he’s shown all season, if you keep him around enough, he’ll get you in the end.”

What actually happened …

The Colts won 17-15. Trailing 17-15, Flacco was leading the Ravens on a comeback drive before throwing an interception at Indy’s 13-yard line with 2:42 left in the game. Baltimore’s defense played a strong game, limiting the explosive Colts’ offense to only 17 points but (as has been the theme for much of the year) a missed field goal by newly-signed Billy Cundiff cost Baltimore a chance at taking a 15-14 lead in the third quarter. A field goal by ex-Raven Matt Stover gave Indy the late and final lead and the Colts kept their 19-game regular season winning streak alive.

My reactions …

The Colts (10-0) continue to find ways to win games. Whether it’s through a shootout or a defensive grudge match, Manning and Co. can’t be beaten right now, literally. Thanks to the Tennessee Titans upset win over the Houston Texans on Monday night, the Colts have pretty much wrapped up the AFC South division. How soon they start resting players will depend upon how soon they can secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC, which looks more and more promising by the week. Stay tuned…

Baltimore’s chances at postseason qualification remained idle after both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals lost last weekend. Baltimore will get a banged up Steeler team at home next week for a shot at taking over second in the AFC North. The Ravens (5-5) aren’t without injuries of their own, having lost starting corner Fabian Washington for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Next week’s game against Pittsburgh will already be a huge rivalry game but with playoff seeding on the line, it’ll be the biggest game of the year for both teams. Stay tuned…

 

San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos

What I predicted …

Chargers 28-16

What I said would happen …

“San Diego is catching the Broncos at the perfect time with Orton’s status questionable and their defense second guessing what they’re doing. Trying to contain the Chargers’ offense is close to impossible right now, especially with LaDainian Tomlinson starting to come on. Rivers and a running game is the recipe for the victory and San Diego will be ready to take advantage of now suspect Bronco team.”

What actually happened …

The Chargers won 32-3. San Diego blasted Denver, getting revenge from a nasty loss to the Broncos on Monday night a few weeks ago. Denver’s offense couldn’t get started and even resorted to bringing in a hobbled Orton in relief of the ineffective Chris Simms before rookie running back Knowshon Moreno fumbled on the goal line with Denver trailing 13-0. The Chargers took back first place from the once surging Broncos and left Denver looking at the possibility of missing the playoffs after starting 6-0.

My reactions …

San Diego (7-3) is flying high. The Chargers will play Kansas City and Cleveland in the next two games with a chance of expanding their lead over Denver and putting a strong bid in for home-field advantage in the playoffs. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown against Denver and appears to be coming on strong in the second half of the Chargers season. Chargers QB Philip Rivers is playing at a high level right now and might be the third best quarterback in the AFC behind Manning and Tom Brady.

Denver (6-4) is a ship sinking and it will be interesting to see if anybody jumps overboard. Moreno and emotional receiver Brandon Marshall got into a brief shouting and shoving match after Moreno’s fumble. The Broncos get the Giants and Colts in the next few weeks so things could possibly get a lot worse. Although Orton finished the game, his health is obviously still in question and the defense has fallen off significantly since their strong play earlier in the season. A loss this Thanksgiving night against the Giants would signal a full collapse for the Broncos and could be the nail in the coffin for Denver’s season. Stay tuned…

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