Sports Opinion & Analysis

NFL Week 14 Games of the Week: Some of the Marbles

In Media, NFL on December 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

By Chris Carosi

There are 4 weeks left in the NFL season: shit is getting real. The AFC race is coming into focus way too early and the NFC is just getting more contentious. Some teams seem to be getting better and better as the season progresses (Denver, New England, Green Bay) while some are looking more vulnerable (Baltimore, Atlanta, San Francisco). Things will look even weirder after this Sunday, with the three of the four divisions in the NFC up for grabs. It’s too early to diagnose a damn thing, but it will be a fun day of football. Let’s take a look at the three games of the week for Week 14: “This One’s for Some of the Marbles”

#3 Dallas (6-6) at Cincinnati (-3) (7-5) 1:00pm ET

The Underachievers Bowl. Both of these teams’ identities revolve around beating the wrong teams and losing to the right ones er… losing to the wrong teams and beating the right ones? Whatever. Know this, Cincinnati’s playoff hopes are completely realistic and entirely possible at this point while Dallas is just trying to hold on. The Bengals have an easier path because the AFC is AWFUL. This is Dallas’s last chance, last dance. I think the spread is spot-on here. It will come down to clock management in a close game and we all know how clueless Jason Garrett is when it comes to that. The Bengals actually win an important game at home when it matters! Fact you didn’t know: the Bengals lead the league in sacks.

Cincinnati by 3

“Jerry Jones told me that if I stop the clock on a certain number, that player’s jersey sales will go up by 30%”

#2a Chicago (-3) (8-4) at Minnesota (6-6) 1:00pm ET

#2b Detroit (4-8) at Green Bay (-7) (8-4) 8:20pm ET

God bless the NFL scheduling people. This couldn’t be anymore perfect with 4 games left. The NFC North race has become really interesting. Green Bay sits in first right now after Chicago’s defense s*** themselves at home. Green Bay draws a much easier game than Chicago this week, but neither game will be straightforward. The forecast is looking like snow at Lambeau, which probably favors the Packers but these games can get wacky. The Lions are really only good at one thing: throwing the ball. In the snow, this will be a challenge but the Packers have a perfectly average defense (statistically speaking). What does this all mean? I have no idea.

Green Bay by 5

Chicago is playing well, all things considered, and were certainly the early favorite to win this division. Things are getting complicated and they can’t overlook the Vikings, who are a young one-dimensional team (and that team is Adrian Peterson). They’re clearly better than Minnesota, but if Minnesota’s pass rush can do anything at all, they will put so much pressure on the Bears running game. If you flip that scenario, it’s true that Christian Ponder is NOT Russell Wilson. So, what happens when the freely movable object meets the easily stoppable force? A close, low-scoring game and my UPSET SPECIAL!!!!

Minnesota by 2

“Haha, guys, I seriously have no idea what our quarterback looks like!”

Houston (11-1) at New England (9-3) (-3.5)

Wow, ESPN finally gets a good match-up. As I’ve said before, New England consistently gets too much credit by the media for smashing bad teams, and this year is no exception. They are very, very good at running up the score on basement-level teams. It’s true, it can be said that that is one of Bill Belichick’s prime directives (perhaps it’s THE prime directive). Houston has been doing the same thing, really, but to me they can’t be denied the somewhat hairy identity of “Best Team in the League” , despite their close victories against Jacksonville and Detroit. It’s clear that they’re very, very good on both sides of the ball.

What is also clear (and revealed through Vegas spotting the Patriots 3.5 points before the kickoff) is New England plays well in prime-time at home in the cold in December. Houston doesn’t necessarily need to win (their two match-ups with the Colts still loom), but they should give the Patriots all they can handle, considering the other thing we forget about New England: their defense is really bad. I would definitely take this bet.

New England by 2

Coach Belichick signals to his sniper in Section 24, Row I at Gillette Stadium.


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