Oh week 13, you started with turkey and end with tribulation. As I attempt to punch out this column without shooting myself in the leg, I'm still wondering who thought it would be a good idea to schedule the Houston Texans against anybody on Monday Night Football December 1st. Well the Giants continue to roll while New York's other team shot itself in the foot on more than a few occasions at the rainy swampy Meadowlands. And speaking of foot/leg problems, New York's upstate team in Buffalo can't even muster a 20 yard field goal!
But let's start where we started on Thursday and if you didn't want to see the Lions play, don't worry you were in luck: they never showed up! Hard to believe this team was 6-2 last season with QB Jon Kitna taunting the Giants, whoops. I still believe the Titans are a solid football team, but best in the AFC other than record wise probably not.
The Cowboys are back to life but are they truly back? Well we're sure going to find out as they finish out against the likes of Pittsburgh, the Giants, Baltimore and Philadelphia. If nothing else these past two weeks they sure do look healthy and Jason Witten 9-115-TD absolutely blew up the Seahawks.
Think Arizona is happy to have left the NFC East? I'll give them the benefit of having played a tough emotional game against the Giants and having a quick turnaround and cross country flight to Philly, but when a team like the Eagles in such flux the week prior does you like that, well the Cards had better hope the road to the Super Bowl goes through the South. If and that's a big IF, the Eagles get by the Giants next week, I wouldn't rule out them running the table, they're always been big finishers in Decmeber under Andy Reid and even when they didn't make the playoffs last year it was no different.
The Miami Dolphins are 7-5 with a very realistic shot at 10-11 wins (Bills, 49ers, Chiefs, Jets), if Bill Parcells can go to the Lions and or Bengals and build a winner there, he needs his own Hall of Fame.
Are the Panthers back on track and does the Pack miss Reggie White more than Brett Favre?
Nobody falls off the wagon like the Buffalo Bills. As I said up top, Rian Lindell misses two field goals, including one from 20 yards out, guuuh, the shortest miss by a Bills kicker since 1981. And for those who would complain about playing a "home game" against warm weather division rival Miami (a legit gripe) in a dome in another country, I'll just say this, if you can't beat Cleveland and San Francisco at home and only put up three points to boot with your kicker missing a couple of what should be chip shots in your own stadium, you don't deserve to make the playoffs. Dick Jauron, from coach of the year to out on his rear?
There are some teams that just find a way to win and some teams just always seem to find the banana peel: case in point the Colts and Browns. The Colts with Peyton Manning don't even score an offensive TD and the Browns lose out on showcasing Derek Anderson as trade bait. Is Otto Graham available? Nope, he's dead... well then cross him off the list!
Ravens pound the Bengals 34-3, guess Cincy just got sick and tired of tying.
I'll take defense over offense any day: case in point, Tampa Bay over New Orleans.
Back to the champs, the one hallmark of consistency in the NFL. The Giants had 10 wins all of last year in the regular season and have 11 before December 1st. They're one of five defending Super Bowl champs to exceed their win total in the ensuing year, of those other four, three went on to repeat. I'm still waiting for the "tough" part of their schedule, as they've won six straight against teams with winning records. Depth over distractions: in the salary cap era where having quality backups is a luxury, the Giants are absolutely loaded. Great timing Plax, on the same weekend the Redskins honor Sean Taylor who was killed after getting shot last year, you do this? Well on the bright side I guess Michael Vick will have somebody to throw the ball to in prison.
Speaking of Vick, his old team is reaping the rewards of his departure quite splendidly. Oddly enough they faced the Chargers, who in essence dealt the pick that would become Vick for the pick that would become L.T. and as circumstances would pan out, Atlanta ends up with Matt Ryan and Michael Turner.
In this league you don't know nothin'! Last week the Chiefs were bludgeoned by the Bills, giving up over 50 points. The Bills then only put up 3 points against the 49ers. Then the Chiefs take out the Raiders, who a week before beat up the Broncos, putting 31 on the board. Then this week the Broncos smash the Jets by 17 on the road, those same Jets who knocked off the Titans quite swimmingly on the road and then those Titans proceeded to dismantle the Lions by 37. Did yer bookie get all of that?
Are the Steelers the best team in the AFC? Sure looks it. But can they win a big game at home? You heard me right, it seems like every time in a big spot this team plays at home they lose, save Jim Harbaugh's Colts coming up a miracle short in the 1995 AFC Championship Game at Three Rivers Stadium. An impressive win by the road warriors in New England, beating Dallas at home would put a lot of those worries to bed, as they have had far too many losses and close calls at home to date.
Is Adrian Peterson, Barry Sanders? Are the 2008 Vikings, the 1994 Lions? Lots and lots of similarities. Like the 2008 Senate race in Minny he just keeps going and going and going and...
Well another flesh wound free column is in the books, guess with tonight's game I'll just have to bite the bullet. And as always, be sure to tip the veal and enjoy your waitresses.