Wednesday Morning QB (Week 14)

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Week 14 is done and that means the NFL prepares for the final stretch of the playoff race with only three game left in the season. At this moment is where the true predictions of the Super Bowl begin to fill the NFL conversation. After a long season teams are beginning to see the future as they are either looking to 2013 or to a playoff spot. It is an interesting time where every game becomes more important for a number of teams who are fighting for their playoff spot. As teams continue to fight for their playoff spot teams begin to emerge as legitimate threats in earning a spot in the Super Bowl. Some teams have been at the top of the league all season but many times this does not translate into a long playoff run. 2012 is a perfect example as the Green Bay Packers went 15-1 in the regular season and then lost in their first playoff game to the New York Giants. The Giants represented the exact opposite of the Packers in the season as they would take the most important thing into the playoffs. The Giants would come on late in the season and take their late success to the Super Bowl and would win their second championship in three years. It was a lesson in the most important aspect of any playoff run, momentum. Momentum is a funny thing as it can rarely be measured and for some it means nothing more than just something that people say. It is much more than just a sports cliché though as momentum does exist. For those of you who watch sports constantly like myself you know what momentum is. It is just a feeling that can happen in a game that makes it seem like everything is going your way. Close calls seem to go your way, bounces all land in your hands and suddenly you are winning games that you shouldn’t. It is one of the biggest parts to many games and at this time in the season it is an extremely important part to a successful playoff race. The last two years have shown the advantages of momentum leading into the playoffs. The Green Bay Packers and New York Giants were not the best teams in the 2010 and 2011 seasons but they got hot at the right time. Both teams came into the playoffs on massive hot streaks that could not be stopped. They would take their end of the season hot streaks into the playoffs and to Super Bowl Championships. It has been an almost constant in championships over the years as the hottest teams going into the playoffs have the best shot. It is not necessarily about where these teams finish as much as it is about how they finish. This year there are a few teams who are looking to be that hot team at the end of the year. There are some teams who continue to be great like the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos but they are not the most intriguing. Although these teams can win the Super Bowl this year the more interesting teams are the ones that are continuing to fight for their spot in the playoffs. The AFC has two teams that are an interesting story as the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals are both still fighting for a playoff spot but are playing well at the end of the season. Both have 4-1 records in the last five games and although they do not win with overpowering performances but they are on the right track. In the NFC the teams to watch could be the teams to watch could be the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Washington Redskins. All of these teams are still fighting for a spot in the playoffs and all are in a good spot to have a hot streak leading into the playoffs. The last three weeks will reveal a lot for the playoff race as some teams will stumble into the playoffs while others will begin a great run into the playoffs. It all comes down to these last weeks as the playoff race comes down to the wire once again in the NFL.

 

Four Quarters:
(Four Quick Thoughts on Week 14)

Another Week Another Tragedy
Only a week after Jovan Belcher was involved in a murder suicide the NFL was rocked by another tragedy when Jerry Brown was killed in a car accident when his teammate and friend Josh Brent crashed his car while driving under the influence

The Return of the RB
With the passing game taking full focus in the last few years the running backs have been kept out of the conversation but they are coming back with Adrian Peterson leading the charge and only a few big games away from the rushing record

Bounty Case Finally Done?
Paul Tagliabue had his say in the Bounty Scandal finally ending the season long saga as he would take away the suspensions to the New Orleans players but keep the fines essentially claiming that they did something wrong but with not enough proof to justify the suspensions

The Death of the Kickoff
As the week began in the NFL a strange thought was thrown out as the NFL announced that they would consider the removal of the kickoff from the game when they look at the rules for next year meaning that the most exciting play in football may be short-lived

 

NFL Standings 

American Football Conference
Division Leaders:
1. y-Houston Texans (.846)
2. z-New England Patriots (.769)
3. z-Denver Broncos (.769)
4. Baltimore Ravens (.692)
Wild Card:
5. Indianapolis Colts (.692)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (.538)
In the Hunt:
7. Cincinnati Bengals (.538)
8. New York Jets (.462)
9. Cleveland Browns (.385)
10. San Diego Chargers (.385)
11. Buffalo Bills (.385)
12. Miami Dolphins (.385)
13. Tennessee Titans (.308)
Out of the Running:
14. Oakland Raiders (.231)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (.154)
16. Kansas City Chiefs (.154)

 

National Football Conference
Division Leaders:
1. z-Atlanta Falcons (.846)
2. San Francisco 49ers (.731)
3. Green Bay Packers (.692)
4. New York Giants (.615)
Wild Card:
5. Seattle Seahawks (.615)
6. Chicago Bears (.615)
In the Hunt:
7. Washington Redskins (.538)
8. Dallas Cowboys (.538)
9. Minnesota Vikings (.538)
10. St. Louis Rams (.500)
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.462)
12. New Orleans Saints (.385)
Out of the Running:
13. Carolina Panthers (.308)
14. Detroit Lions (.308)
15. Arizona Cardinals (.308)
16. Philadelphia Eagles (.308)

z-Clinched Division
y-Clinched Playoff Spot

 

Key Scores:
Washington Redskins 31 – 28 Baltimore Ravens (OT)
– It was another great rookie performance for the Skins but it wasn’t Griffin who finished off the game as an injury put Kirk Cousins in the game with the game in his hands and yet another rookie came out to send the game to overtime with the Redskins coming out on top in OT

 

Philadelphia Eagles 23 – 21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– The Eagles were in a long drought as they were in the midst of an 8-game losing streak while the rumours of big changes swirled around but the losing streak would stop thanks to a last-minute drive by Nick Foles that ended with a winning TD pass

 

San Diego Chargers 34 – 24 Pittsburgh Steelers
– The Chargers had not won a regular season game in Pittsburgh in the last 15 trips to the city and this year did not seem to be looking better as they would come to Pittsburgh on a losing streak but they still pulled out the win and spoiled the return of Ben Roethlisberger

 

Seattle Seahawks 58 – 0 Arizona Cardinals
– Yet another week meant yet another QB for the Cards who went with John Skelton but nothing would help as the Seahawks forced mistake after mistake in an impressive win that would help to legitimize their playoff rush

 

Next Week:
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears (December 16th; 1:00 pm EST)
– This could be it as the NFC North will come down to one game as the Bears need a win to keep their hopes of winning the division alive while also staying in the wild card spot while the Packers are looking for another division crown

 

Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens (December 16th; 1:00 pm EST)
– The resurgence of Peyton Manning continues as he has led the Broncos into the playoffs in his first year as a Bronco as they look to improve their standing with a win against the Ravens who are still looking to clinch their spot in the playoffs

 

Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills (December 16th; 4:05 pm EST)
– The Seahawks are in the midst of a legitimate playoff race and they will go to Toronto to get one step closer to a playoff berth as the Bills will host yet another game in the Bills in Toronto Series looking to recover an all but lost season

 

San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots (December 16th; 8:20 pm EST)
– There are no breaks in the end of the Patriots’ schedule as they will face another top contender in what many may see as the Super Bowl preview as the Pats welcome one of the top NFC teams in the Niners

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