Touch and destroy. It's the name of the game for the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
Week 13 is now upon us, and although it may appear to be an unlucky number on the NFL calendar, already many swirling questions are beginning to generate heading into this weekend's crucial, heart-stopping events.
What questions are simmering to the surface, exactly?
With the Patriots hosting the Jets, Andre Johnson escaping suspension, and Derek Anderson mouthing off like an untamed sailor, Week 13 should withhold some very interesting events over the course of the weekend.
Thanksgiving may be over, but let's get into the thick of it. Here are the Top 25 Questions for Week 13.
From criticism to comeback, the Jacksonville Jaguars have experienced an extraordinary season in 2010, after taking over first place in the AFC South back in Week 11 with a win over the Cleveland Browns.
If the good luck was flowing for Jack Del Rio's team though, it certainly wasn't this past weekend. A trip to the Meadowlands was always going to be tough, but looking back at the Jaguars' 24-20 loss against the New York Giants, a small ounce of doubt has begun to creep back in for AFC South fans.
For the most part, this doubt hasn't stemmed from the Jaguars players. David Garrard didn't exactly have a stellar day against New York, yet at the same time running back Maurice Jones-Drew remained light on his feet, rushing for 113 total yards on the day.
No, the doubt that has risen in the past week stems from the Jaguars' confidence, that appears to be "hit-and-miss" at the worst times this season.
So now, Jacksonville faces a crucial five weeks ahead. The Indianapolis Colts continue to struggle heading toward the postseason, and with the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans still shooting themselves in the foot, who knows how the South will wind up.
One thing is for sure though: the Jaguars must take advantage of that very same struggling Titans team this upcoming Sunday if they are to secure their playoff chances. Five weeks mightn't seem like much, but with Peyton Manning breathing down your neck, you'd better believe the heat is on.
The odd couple in Cincinnati originally appeared to be Terrell Owens and Marvin Lewis. Thirteen weeks down the track, however, third-year quarterback Jordan Palmer is now giving his older brother a run for his money.
Prior to yet another loss accumulated by Cincinnati on Thursday Night, Carson Palmer was originally a question to start the game, after nursing an injured foot in the days leading up to the event. After throwing for 135 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, you pretty much get the drift.
Looking back now, I guess a loss was always a strong possibility when facing the New York Jets at home. What wasn't expected though, was the fact that Carson Palmer's starting job could be facing some tough times in the remaining five weeks, as his younger brother looks to earn a chance.
Those of you that aren't too familiar with Jordan Palmer, right now he sits on 18 yards this season. Sure, it could be said that this is no way a beneficial move for the Bengals, but if Cincinnati want to mix things up a little in the next five weeks, maybe changing the quarterback position could mean all the difference.
It's something to ponder as the Bengals prepare for the Saints this week, and even though Carson Palmer started against New York, his sore foot is still causing some issues.
Will Jordan Palmer start?
Maybe; however, it is unlikely. If the Bengals remain without a win for the rest of the year, though, it could become a probability next year.
Speaking of foot injuries, Troy Polamalu has also endured a sore foot of his own that is limiting the star defensive player in Pittsburgh's practice sessions right now.
Unlike Carson Palmer, Polamalu hasn't let his foot injury affect his performance. In the past two games, Polamalu has been responsible for four of the Steelers' turnovers, a statistic that isn't all that unusual for a player of his caliber.
Still, the concern for Polamalu's health is very prevalent. Head coach Mike Tomlin has stated that he doesn't wish to rush Polamalu's return to practice, and would rather stay patient leading into a very possible postseason campaign.
So what is wrong with Polamalu, exactly?
According to sources, a strained Achilles tendon is causing the big man some angst. Therefore, the risk factor with such a fragile injury isn't to be taken lightly if you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Chances are Polamalu will play this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens purely because it isn't like No.43 to miss out on a big time division clash. If he were wise, however, he wouldn't go throwing himself around like he has in previous meetings with John Harbaugh's team.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had nothing but praise for Polamalu, saying, "He's all over the place." This weekend should be no different.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of God's biggest gifts to football this season. The days of the old, struggling 3-13 Arrowheads seems to have vanished for good, and we now take a look down the scope of the Matt Cassel era, complete with wide receivers.
Don't get too ahead of yourselves, though.
Yes, believe it or not the Kansas City Chiefs aren't exactly a lock for the playoffs just yet. There are five weeks to go, and a ton of football to be played within the division, especially from below Todd Haley's standout team.
On the scary side for the Chiefs is the San Diego Chargers. Currently Norv Turner's team sits at 6-5 on the year, and after completely picking apart the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football, you'd best believe that San Diego's surge is here.
As for the other threat to the Chiefs, the Oakland Raiders, somehow Tom Cable's team has taken the foot off the gas a little in recent weeks. At one point in time, Oakland was sitting atop the AFC West, even though it was for only a short period. Now? The Raiders are struggling to keep pace with Kansas City, not to mention San Diego.
This week the Chiefs take a trip home to face the Denver Broncos. A loss and a Charger win would mean that the Chiefs would be bumped out of first spot leading into the two's Week 14 clash. It's tough times for Kansas City, and this is when the team's true colors will be evaluated.
Fortunately for Rex Ryan and the New York Jets, the injury bug has stayed well away from New Meadowland's Stadium this season. If Week 13 were indeed unlucky though, the Jets certainly need to start buying some lucky charms heading into this weeks game against the Patriots.
Three days ago news broke that the Jets may or may not be minus Damien Woody, Jericho Cotchery and Dwight Lowery. All three of these men have come down with some kind of minor injury, yet at the same time it doesn't look too threatening.
Firstly, right tackle Damien Woody has missed practice as he takes time off to recover from a sprained knee. Good news has come early, however, as Woody is expected to play this weekend in New England.
Secondly, wide receiver Jericho Cotchery has also been limited in practice as he recovers from a groin injury. Again, Cotchery hopes to be playing this Sunday against New York, even though his absence wouldn't be totally costly.
Last but not least, defensive back Dwight Lowery has returned to practice following a concussion sustained two weeks ago. His return is probable.
It's another lucky patch for the Jets, and to be quite frank, this is the type of luck that can often make Super Bowl champions. The AFC East is up for grabs on Sunday, and we all know that the Jets need a full strength side to tackle New England.
Beginners' luck failed Rusty Smith last week against the Houston Texans, when Jeff Fisher's Vince Young replacement threw for 138 yards and 3 interceptions in the Titans' 20-0 shutout loss.
For most teams that have faced this situation in the past, the head coach has made a decision one way or another. This time around for Tennessee, the most intelligent option for Jeff Fisher would be to start 16-year veteran Kerry Collins this weekend.
The thinking behind this possible move is simple—Kerry Collins has the experience to turn the rest of the Titans' season around. If you're looking for a more convincing thought, also take a look at the fact that Kerry Collins was responsible for the Titans' lengthy unbeaten record in 2008.
This season Collins has passed for 638 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. These stats may not be totally impressive, but at the same time Rusty Smith continues to struggle, even with some of the league's top-class wide receivers.
It's tough to say whether or not the Titans will reach the postseason, and chances are the Colts or the Jaguars will outdo Tennessee. Still, there is a lot to play for in the next five weeks, and with Vince Young entering the surgery room, Tennessee must stabilize themselves now for 2011.
Facing your rival team is hard, but facing your former team in a battle of the "weak" is just as tough.
Ah, Jake Delhomme, what would we do without you? The Browns have called upon No. 17 to do their dirty work for the next five weeks, but in an unfortunate turn of events, Delhomme has struggled to come through for Cleveland in every department.
On the weekend against the Carolina Panthers, the Browns nearly fell to the league's worst overall team. At the end of the day the scoreboard read 24-23, but at the same time Jake Delhomme's stat sheet showed 245 yards and 2 interceptions.
Heading into Week 13 now, the Browns have a pickle on their hands. Colt McCoy looks to be done for the year and with no Seneca Wallace readily available just yet, Jake Delhomme looks to be the only option for Eric Mangini.
Is it the safest gamble, though?
Definitely not. Cleveland has no other choice, however.
Perhaps if the Browns were still in a position to make the postseason, the debate surrounding Jake Delhomme under center would be heavily argued. Since we're 13 weeks in, though, and the Browns stand at 4-7, most folks aren't too concerned.
The loyal Dawg Pound now takes a trip to Miami on Sunday, when they will face the Dolphins in a game that could help the Browns possibly make a .500 record on the year. The Dolphins haven't been the toughest team about town, but they too are looking to stay above the winning mark.
Jake Delhomme is the likely option, even though Browns fans mightn't like it.
Being a stranger to controversy may suit the Indianapolis Colts or New Orleans Saints just fine, but when it comes to the Denver Broncos, this is a topic that enjoys lingering over Josh McDaniels' head each and every regular season.
It's that time again football fans, when we prepare for another offseason of Josh McDaniel's questioning in regards to his head coaching job. This time around though, the Broncos management have stated that they are "standing behind" McDaniels 100 percent of the way.
Call me a fool, but we've all heard this a million times over. The Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings both stated that they stood behind Wade Phillips and Brad Childress, respectively, only to turn around and fire their head coach several weeks later.
So what makes McDaniels such a protected species? Is it his 3-8 record on the year? His inability to draft successful players? Or his poor coaching methods in just about every game?
I guess some of that has to do with it.
In all reality there is no real answer to his question just yet. As for the "safety" of McDaniels' job, let's just say that the Broncos may think twice about making this statement if they wind up with a total of three measly wins on the year.
Bronco fans are tired of it, and the Mile High is becoming Mile Low in the blink of an eye. Bring in Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher, because McDaniels is surely skating on thin ice at the end of this year.
Disappointments come in all shapes and sizes during the span of a regular season. Two that we never expected to see this year, though, came from the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.
Before we touch on the negative aspect of this debate, both Oakland and Washington have had very promising seasons. The Raiders were never expected to perform so well this season under Jason Campbell, and as for Washington, Mike Shanahan has given every Redskin fan hope for the future.
There is a downfall, though.
The main argument to be had here stems from the playoffs, as both the Raiders and the Redskins have shot themselves in the foot recently leading up to the postseason.
In Washington's case, the Redskins have no chance at all to make the postseason. The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants continue to slug it out atop the NFC East, and with the Redskins stumbling their way toward the end of December, January football isn't in Mike Shanahan's travel plans.
Luckily for the Oakland Raiders, though, things aren't all that dull. The Kansas City Chiefs currently rule the AFC West, but Tom Cable's team sits at 5-6 and can still make up for their 33-17 loss against Miami on the weekend.
Who has been more disappointing?
The Redskins, by far. After dominating the Cowboys in the early stages of the year, quarterback Donovan McNabb looked certain to lead Washington to the promised land, only to be benched three months down the track and become extremely turnover prone.
Don't discount the Raiders, they still stand a chance. The Redskins, on the other hand...well, let's just say this season is highlighted with both good and bad aspects.
We've all been saying it for the past two months, but poor old Buffalo, they just can't get the job done.
Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12, the Bills were faced with one of the biggest upset opportunities of the season after drawing an overtime showdown with Steel City, only to slip up yet again and lose by a field goal.
They say big things come in small packages, and that couldn't be more true for the Bills. This season could be labeled as a bust, but the fact that the Bills have lost more close overtime games than one man could count leaves 2011 a promising sign ahead.
What remains in store for the next five weeks, though?
More than likely a few more defeats capped off with some determination and persistence like no other. Buffalo takes on the Minnesota Vikings away next week, so expect another tightly played game against a rejuvenated Vikings team.
The 2011 season is in the distant future, and like many other teams mentioned, the Bills do still have work cut out for them. Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a breakout year, and with Shawne Merriman joining the lineup next year, Buffalo could turn their tedious ways around.
The free agency debate has plagued DeAngelo Williams for quite some time now, but Panther fans will be pleased to know that their star rusher isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Sticking to his roots, DeAngelo Williams has chosen to remain in blue and black. The Panthers are having a horrid year right now, and with no stern quarterback standing up, Carolina are slowly but surely becoming this decade's struggling team.
So with the good news, it all seems to be smiles and happy times around Carolina, right?
Unfortunately for all Carolina fans reading this, there is of course the slight chances that DeAngelo Williams changes his mind, and pulls a LeBron James on us all.
First and foremost, the chances of Williams leaving would come down to the next five weeks. Carolina's schedule isn't exactly easy, and if the Panthers do head into the offseason break with only one win on the year, the thought of another team could become an option for No. 34.
Secondly, DeAngelo Williams is a hot name on the market. Teams are always looking for a solid rusher, and although the "top dogs" may already have their main man, many other franchises would think twice about signing Williams.
It's a tough situation for the Panthers, but at the end of the day DeAngelo Williams is doing right by his team. Letting the Panthers know bright and early is extremely promising, so lets hope this scenario doesn't wind up like Julius Peppers this time last year.
Forget meeting the Mets, greet the NFL's new best NFC team: the Atlanta Falcons.
Facing a tough task last weekend against the Green Bay Packers at home in the Georgia Dome, the Atlanta Falcons took the Packers for a ride, and crushed any hopes of a last-minute win with a late field goal in the dying stages of regular time.
Aside from the main story that unfolded from this monumental victory, the bigger picture now shows that Matt Ryan is indeed a clutch quarterback. Leading up to the game winning attempt, Matt Ryan delivered numerous clutch throws to place the Falcons in field goal position, and ultimately won the game for Mike Smith and his offense.
It's not over until the fat lady sings, though.
With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now playing host, the Falcons head down south to take on their division rivals in a prime opportunity to further capture the division title.
As for the question at hand, it does remain to be seen. If one thing is for sure, Matt Ryan's 2,715 yards and 19 touchdowns are a very promising factor leading up to this NFC South showdown at Raymond James Stadium.
Clutch, cool or stylish, call Matt Ryan whatever you want—he really is the best NFC quarterback next to Michael Vick this season.
Weak, depressing and almost laughable—that's the NFC West to a tee this season.
To think back to preseason predictions, it is almost unfathomable to realize that we once called the San Francisco 49ers a lock out West. Thirteen weeks into the year, the 49ers now stand a chance to take over the division, and perhaps enter the postseason with a below .500 record.
In San Francisco's way is the Seattle Seahawks. Up and down, in and out the Seahawks have experienced a milestone year capped off with uncertainty, and a whole lot of kinks to iron out when the season is over.
Before we jump the shark and look into the offseason, however, how would the winner of the NFC West fair in the postseason?
The most important thing to consider here, is the fact that the St. Louis Rams are far from out of contention. Sitting at 5-6 on the season, St. Louis has plenty of time to cap off their Week 12 win over Denver with a victory over Arizona to bump back up to .500.
As easy as it is to be optimistic though, the playoffs could be the ultimate disaster for the winner of the West. The NFC is extremely strong this year in every other division, and you almost have to feel sorry for whoever the Seahawks, 49ers or Rams get placed up against.
Things could change, and stranger things have happened, but right now it isn't a very favorable scenario.
Two straight losses have left the Indianapolis Colts reeling in the month of November, after Jim Caldwell's team has finally shown fatigue and lack of skill after losing so many key players to the injury list this season.
Speaking of Jim Caldwell, as usual, the blame has instantly been pinned on the head coach. It isn't like Colts fans to blow things out of proportion, but for a franchise that is used to winning a hefty amount of games each year, Caldwell's coaching methods have been put under the microscope.
To go ahead and say that Caldwell is on some kind of a hot seat right now would be an overstatement. Let's not forget that this is the same head coach who led Indianapolis to the Super Bowl last year, and nearly got the job done yet again for Peyton Manning and company.
But as positive as the Super Bowl factor does seem, it also adds salt to the open wound of Indianapolis this season. The runner-up spot behind New Orleans in early February doesn't sit right with some Colts fans, and many faithful blue and white supporters have criticized Caldwell from that very moment.
Is he the problem in Indianapolis?
Certainly not. The injury list has taken out several of Peyton Manning's go to targets this year, and with no Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai or 100 percent healthy Austin Collie, Indianapolis has had to rely on backup players.
Things should turn around in the next weeks, but an uneasy feeling has swept over Lucas Oil Stadium with the playoffs so close. Sitting behind Jacksonville at 6-5, the Colts now stand a shot to slip back to a level .500 this week with a loss to Dallas.
Cellar dwellers last season to 7-4 in 2010, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers easily take the cake for the "Most Surprising" award this season, after turning their previous woes around in the blink of an offseason.
At the moment it seems to be all smiles and happy times throughout Tampa Bay, right? The Bucs have a winning record, the NFC South is still up for grabs, and most importantly Raheem Morris has transformed a team eligible for serious playoff contention in the upcoming years.
That only scratches the surface though.
No, as easy as it is to focus on the positive for the Bucs, one small nitpick still remains for Tampa Bay's glory season, and funnily enough it stems from the quarterback position.
To bring up a fairly unmemorable game for the Bucs, last weekend against the Baltimore Ravens featured a mediocre performance from Josh Freeman. Passing for only 162 yards and 1 touchdown, No. 5 struggled throughout the entire opening half as a strong Baltimore Ravens defense got the better of a still-developing young quarterback.
If you choose to look at Freeman's performance on the weekend and deem him a lousy passer, don't, because he has had a phenomenal season. Putting truth to the test though, the question now remains to be seen if Freeman can bounce back from a poor Week 12 run, and play the same kind of football he has been playing all year long against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
This is obviously easier said than done, and just ask Aaron Rodgers what it is like to face the Falcons right now. Still, it is a favorable task for Freeman, and he can certainly redeem himself with a big weekend ahead.
Going unnoticed has always been a San Diego Charger trait. Allowing their top flight quarterback to miss out on a possible MVP nomination, though? That's almost a crime against nature.
Don't let the headline fool you here, because Michael Vick has been a standout in 2010. What still manages to surprise many people however, is the plain and simple fact that Philip Rivers continues to go unmentioned in the MVP debate 13 weeks into the year.
Currently, Philip Rivers' resume speaks for itself. If 3,362 yards and 23 touchdowns don't float your boat, take a look at the fact that Rivers sits as the second best overall passer in the league this season, and has also managed to place the Chargers offense at the No. 1 spot with five weeks remaining.
A flick of the wrist a stern Peyton Manning like audible, Rivers is fast becoming a sleeper pick to steal the award this season, if he doesn't steal top spot in the AFC West first.
It was never going to be easy for the Green Bay Packers this season, but if expectations have ever hurt a team's chances at the playoffs, the preseason thought of the Super Bowl has surely deterred the Packers a little this year.
Giving credit where credit is due, Aaron Rodgers was a star on the weekend. The Atlanta Falcons posed a tough task for Mike McCarthy's team, and when Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson in the corner of the end zone to tie the game late in the forth quarter, most Packer fans felt confident that their team could perhaps pinch a victory down south in the Georgia Dome.
That wasn't to be however.
Instead of advancing as the NFC's best team, the Packers slumping and concerning special teams allowed Atlanta to return the late quarter kick off for a big return, and offer the Falcons a field goal attempt to win the game.
So now following a loss, Green Bay returns to the drawing board with a 7-4 record in hand, and states at the blatant factor of the Chicago Bears sitting atop the NFC North with little over a month to play this season.
Fortunately for Green Bay, they aren't a team that is known for panicking. The Packers still have plenty of time to regain the division lead, and with two winnable games coming up against San Francisco and Detroit, the green and gold could be back on top in no time.
The playoffs aren't out of reach, and if we learned anything last season, it was that the Packers are at their best when time is running out.
Head coach Tony Sparano may be on the hot seat in Miami, but if you're a Patrick Ramsey fan, surely you are questioning why the Dolphins signed the eight-year player, only to release him on waivers this time yesterday.
Hot seat or not, Tony Sparano appears to have made the right move here. Chad Henne had a very promising game last weekend against the Oakland Raiders, which saw No. 7 pass for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns against a persistent Tom Cable outfit.
Putting a dampener on Henne's big game, though, the Dolphins no longer stand a shot at the playoffs. The New England Patriots and New York Jets are set to go head to head this Monday Night, and even though Miami sit above .500, the Dolphins have slumped too far behind at this point in time.
Still, there is a lot to play for if you're a Dolphins fan, and even though stabilizing your team for next season doesn't sound overly riveting, it is good to see Chad Henne back under center after a midseason hiccup.
Barring any kind of Chad Pennington comeback next year, Henne's job is safe for now. If the main man in Miami wants to solidify his job for next season, though, the sooner Brandon Marshall returns to a 100 percent status, the better.
Following in Jason Garrett's footsteps last week was the victorious Leslie Frazier, the new interim head coach for the Minnesota Vikings this season.
Stroking the hairs on his "chinny, chin, chin" may have been a trait of Brad Childress, but the authority and discipline that Frazier seemed to in store in the Vikings last week painted the picture of Minnesota's potential future.
Kicking it off on the right foot, the most promising sign of the Vikings 17-13 win over the Washington Redskins was Brett Favre's display. Sure, 172 yards is incredibly low for a man of Favre's stature, but it was nice to see the interception column not exercised for once this season.
Away from Brett Favre, the Vikings also appeared to be a team again. No silly plays or mistakes, and most importantly, no frustrated looks of desperation as Favre—or anyone else, for that matter—made their way toward the sidelines.
Leslie Frazier now prepares for the Buffalo Bills this weekend, who gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a run for their money a week ago. Buffalo aren't to be taken lightly, but neither is Leslie Frazier, as both look to be the real deal in 2011.
It wouldn't be the regular season without a few choice words, would it? Of course not.
In case you missed the frustrated and overly angry Derek Anderson following the Arizona Cardinals embarrassing Monday Night Football loss to the San Francisco 49ers, you are in for quite a treat should you watch the film.
While it wouldn't be appropriate to quote the footage word for word, Derek Anderson later apologized in the upcoming days, stating that he "lashed out" against a questioning reporter.
This weekend the Cardinals will take on the St. Louis Rams, in what is sure to be another telling tale. More to the point though, Derek Anderson really needs a convincing performance to his name, rather than chuckle on the sidelines followed by a Herm Edwards like rant.
Judging by how Arizona's season has unfolded, this may be a event to come by. Until the game kicks off though, let's all hope that Anderson can contain himself on and off the field for the rest of the year.
Worrying about the Chicago Bears' wide receiver problem was a much-talked about event during the course of the offseason. Whether it was Devin Hester's questionable talent or Johnny Knox's uncertain year ahead, the Bears were no easy prediction when September kicked off.
With an 8-3 record 13 weeks down the track, all of that worry has amounted to nothing. Chicago sit atop the NFC North surprisingly, and seeing as though both Devin Hester and Johnny Knox have accumulated for 1,060 yards and 4 touchdowns together, the Bears receiving game is really coming together.
Being fair to the man that has made all of this happen, though, Jay Cutler is worthy of a mention here. Kyle Orton may look like the better quarterback following the trade this season, but that isn't to discredit Cutler's turnaround season, that has seen him pass for 2311 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Windy City no doubt erupted last week when Devin Hester posted 86 yards against the Eagles, and when he tore apart Philadelphia's secondary, memories of the Bears' 2006 Super Bowl run began to flash by.
We won't jump that far ahead just yet, but it's nice to see the Bears with a receiving game. Jay Cutler could fall flat on his face anytime soon, yet at the same time something seems different about these Bears, and it stretches much deeper than an 8-3 record.
For some folks this question is just like asking, "How does an injury to Babe Ruth affect the New York Yankees?" Only this time around, the 49ers don't have a Lou Gehrig like player to rely on just yet.
On Monday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals, a big time win was the fortune for Mike Singletary, although a minor loss to his star running back came as a result hours after the game.
According to sources, Frank Gore has endured a hip injury that will requite surgery, and isn't looking likely to return to the team this season. In all likelihood, Frank Gore will return next year, but with these type of injuries to an aging player, you never know what the full outcome will be.
In the time being, the 49ers will have to make good use of replacement backs Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon. On the positive side for Westbrook, older NFL fans gained some joy out of seeing the veteran rusher enter the endzone on the weekend, yet at the same time Westbrook is far from 100 percent healthy himself.
As for Anthony Dixon, the rookie running back has had a quiet year due to competition, but does have 72 yards and 2 touchdowns to his name. Chances are Dixon will take most of the carries in Gore's absence, especially with the playoffs becoming a possibility in the next five weeks.
Gore's injury comes at a rough time, and this just about sums up the 49ers season. Still, San Francisco is one game away from taking over the NFC West, and even though the Green Bay Packers are no easy task, stranger things have occurred this year.
Collar bone injury and all, Tony Romo geared up during Cowboys practice this week, and reportedly engaged in some "light passing" ahead of his team's game against the Indianapolis Colts this upcoming weekend.
Given the severity of Romo's injury and the non-urgent events of this season, chances are the Cowboys won't rush Romo's return at all in 2010. What is a promising sign, however, is the fact that Romo is recovering quickly, and could perhaps step in for one or two snaps toward the very end of the year.
While on the topic of the Cowboys, Dallas now seem determined to rely on Jon Kitna for the remainder of the season. On Thanksgiving Kitna had a big time game against the New Orleans Saints, passing for 313 yards, but failed to record and touchdowns.
Waiting and watching is the name of the game, and until Tony Romo returns, the Cowboys are still a major question. If this event is to occur next season, though, at least Dallas knows how capable Jon Kitna is, if Romo does fall to the turf in 2011.
For now, Romo could return briefly, but it's a slim possibility.
Swinging punches Manny Pacquiao-style, testy cornerback Cortland Finnegan pushed the limits against one of the league's top receivers last week, when he more or less got up in the "grill" of Andre Johnson, spurring a rare fight in the NFL.
At the time, the brawl seemed to be heading the way of Ron Artest vs. The Palace. Luckily, NFL officials stepped in, and although Johnson threw in a couple of jaw dropping upper cuts, no real damage was sustained.
While it all seemed to blow over rather quickly, we all knew that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would have a few things to say in later hours. To the surprise of many, Goodell didn't suspend either player, and instead issued a fine to Johnson and Finnegan.
But was the NFL right in doing this?
A brawl may not be a usual occurrence in the NFL like it may be in professional hockey, but seeing as though it was a mutual fight caused by some hostile words and a little push and shove, no suspension was necessary for two players showing raw emotion.
Don't be surprised to see both Johnson and Finnegan think twice about fighting again anytime soon, and it sure would be interesting to see Johnson take on someone bigger and stronger than him—say, Charles Woodson or Darrelle Revis?
That's for another time, though.
No suspension needed, and a good call by the NFL. Let's see if the emotion continues to flow in Week 13.
Monday Night Football played host to a rather boring affair in Week 12. Luckily, this week's events should make up for this scheduling blunder, as the New York Jets head to the New England Patriots for the top spot in the AFC East.
Currently, New York and New England are at their peak this season, each with 9-2 records. And even though both teams have endured a couple of hiccups along the way, it has become painfully clear that these really are the two best teams in the AFC this season.
On one hand, you have the Jets, who are ranked 11th in both pass yards and points scored. Mark Sanchez was a little shaky toward midseason, but luckily Santonio Holmes has earned his paycheck this season, turning on the afterburners as the weeks progress.
Opposite New York this Monday is of course the Patriots, who look fantastic on offense with the No. 1 point-scoring team in the league. Randy Moss who? That's the question Patriot fans have forgotten about as Deion Branch, Wes Welker, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and tight end Rob Gronkowski continue to pay dividends.
With this all said and done now, who takes home the victory?
Last time these two teams met back in Week 2, the Jets snatched a 28-14 victory, even though the game was a lot closer than the scoreboard indicated. This time around, expect it to be just as close, especially since the Patriots do have home field advantage.
Finally, keep an eye on the defense, because more often than not these big games turn into a defensive battle. The Packers trip to Atlanta proved this statement true last week, and now the Jets and Patriots must try and limit the opposing offense whenever possible.
Rex Ryan is confident about the Super Bowl as usual, and Bill Belichick has kept quiet as he schemes his usual plan. It's typical Jets-Patriots football, so expect the normal showdown once again this weekend.