The Giants couldn't be facing their longest divisional rivals at a worse time. The Redskins finally rid themselves of the incompetent Vinny Cerrato, replacing him with Bruce Allen. Bruce is the son of Redskins legendary Hall Of Fame head coach George Allen. The Redskins players will be playing for their 2010 jobs, knowing Allen will be looking to get rid of more dead weight in the organization.
The one chink in Washington's sound defensive armor is they can give up long passes. New York's Eli Manning should look long often to his young receivers. The Giants really need this win to keep afloat in their division, but the NFC East has a long history of bottom dwellers ruining the playoff hopes of their known foes.
Some rivalries are just historical for many reasons. The 61 times the Redskins have defeated the Giants is the third most wins they have had versus any other team. The Giants 88 victories over Washington tops their list of head to head victories. They have faced each other just twice in the playoffs, splitting a victory for each. Both wins propelled the victor into the NFL Championship game.
Perhaps the most famous game between the two is the Redskins 72-41 win in the 1966 season. Both of the Giants quarterbacks, Gary Wood and Tom Kennedy, threw for more yards than Redskins Hall Of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen. Though the Giants quarterbacks threw for three touchdowns, they also tossed five interceptions. Jurgensen threw three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Giants out-gained the Redskins by 48 yards and had nine more first downs, but their committing four more turnovers cost them. Safety Brig Owens returned both a fumble and an interception for a touchdown. Factor in running back A.D. Whitfield's three touchdowns, Hall Of Fame wide receiver Charlie Taylor's two touchdowns, and cornerback Rickie Harris' 52 yard punt return for a score, and one can see why the 113 points scored that day is the most in NFL history.
With the Giants record currently sitting at 7-6, a loss would virtually bury all hopes for the post-season. While the 4-9 Redskins playoff hopes died long ago, they won't be playing with nothing to lose under the watchful eye of the newly hired Allen. Expect this game to be closely contested like many others have been in the past.
Redskins 24 Giants 20
The Cowboys need this game to stay in the playoff hunt, and so the coaches have a better chance of keeping their jobs in 2010. The problem is that they are facing the undefeated Saints who are intent on reaching perfection.
Saints 41 Cowboys 30
Ravens 27 Bears 21
The Patriots have looked almost dull the last month, which does not bode well for a team trying to gain momentum into the playoffs. The Bills have played much better football after they changed coaches. If New England doesn't win this game, especially in sound fashion, then no one will be looking for them to go far into the post season.
Patriots 27 Bills 17
The Cardinals are very good on the road, and the Lions are fresh off a game they got blown out in. This is a match up of one team who as Super Bowl dreams against a team looking forward to 2010.
Cardinals 41 Lions 17
The only question here is who will play with pride and who wants the better draft pick.
Chiefs 27 Browns 24
The Falcons season is over, but the Jets are still hanging onto playoff hopes by a thread. Expect the Jets to win the battle in the trenches, because they will want it more.
Jets 24 Falcons 20
If you love smash mouth football, then tune into this game. Both teams rely on the run to win, but Miami has a slightly better defense. Tennessee needs Chris Johnson to explode and carry them to victory, something he has done a great deal of this year.
Dolphins 27 Titans 21
Both teams are making plans for next year. The Rams may play their rookie quarterback again, but Houston is the better squad.
Texans 34 Rams 13
The 49ers still have very slight playoff hopes, but the Eagles are looking to win the NFC East and gain momentum.
Eagles 26 49ers 17
The Raiders are like a yo-yo. You never know which team will show up. Denver needs this to keep up on the heels of the red hot Chargers.
Broncos 31 Raiders 17
Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers
Game Of The Week
The Bengals come into this game with a heavy heart over the recent death of teammate Chris Henry. Though they have a hold on their division, they did not play well last week. A death in the family either inspires a team to rally or crumbles them completely. Facing the Chargers days after Henry dying makes the Bengals task even harder. San Diego has won 16 straight games in December. A streak I think stops now in memory of Henry.
Bengals 34 Chargers 30
The Packers have been playing good football lately, while the Steelers have not. The defending champions will not be easy to beat, because they are mad at their recent performances, but Green Bay can win if they have some semblance of a running game.
Packers 27 Steelers 24
This is a battle of the two 1976 expansion teams. Much like then, neither team will go to the playoffs this year.
Seahawks 27 Buccaneers 14
Panther fans may be witnessing the end of the John Fox Era. The team has played poorly all year, and a change of head coaches may be eminent. The Vikings are coming off an impressive drubbing of a very good Cincinnati team, and look to keep the ball rolling forward into the playoffs.
Vikings 37 Panthers 20
Last week I went 12-3, and am 130-59 overall.
The NFL news this week, besides the unfortunate death of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry, is how the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints are both closing in on accomplishing undefeated regular season records. Both teams have stated they will attempt to close the deal at full force, though the Colts rested several key defensive players throughout the entire game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Thursday.
Both teams have good defenses, and excellent quarterbacks. What separates the Saints from the Colts is the offensive line and running game. Indianapolis has not run the ball well often this year, and have relied on the arm and brain of quarterback Peyton Manning. New Orleans uses Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell as their primary runners, but lately the versatile Reggie Bush has provided them an extra excellent weapon in their deep offensive arsenal.
If these teams end up staying undefeated and meeting in the Super Bowl, the Saints would probably be slightly favored. Though Miami Dolphins great Mercury Morris is hoping this does not occur, so he can keep breaking out the champagne, this match up would help the NFL greatly. It has been a mostly mediocre season, thanks to all the rule changes and constant replays, so a Saints versus Colts battle would truly help wash out the stale taste of the 2009 season.
NFL Power Rankings
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Minnesota Vikings
4. San Diego Chargers
5. Philadelphia Eagles
6. Cincinnati Bengals
7. New England Patriots
8. Denver Broncos
9. Dallas Cowboys
10. Green Bay Packers
11. Baltimore Ravens
12. Arizona Cardinals
13. New York Giants
14. Miami Dolphins
15. New York Jets
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
17. Tennessee Titans
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
19. Atlanta Falcons
20. San Francisco 49ers
21. Houston Texans
22. Seattle Seahawks
23. Buffalo Bills
24. Chicago Bears
25. Carolina Panthers
26. Kansas City Chiefs
27. Washington Redskins
28. Detroit Lions
29. Oakland Raiders
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
32. Saint Louis Rams
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