NFL Week 12

No thread yet? Such a strange week, and so much to discuss! I’ll get the ball rolling with a rundown of the games this week. As before, I’ll rank them from least interesting to most interesting.

San Francisco (3-7, 0-4 away) @ **Arizona **(3-7, 2-2 home)
**Why I might turn it for background during a nap: **Ugh. Maybe before Troy Smith had that awful game last week he could have drummed up some hype, but now? Don’t you have to be a huge fan of one of these teams (I mean one literally, since the Cardinals have no huge fans) to even care a little about this game? And even if you were, don’t you look at this game and kinda start thinking about all the chores around that house that seem more fun and need doing?
**Why I won’t be watching, for sure: **Gotta do the dishes. Laundry. Mow the lawn. Alphabetize the lawn tools. Line up all the loose nails in that giant bucket and carefully return them in a neat, stacked, order.

Carolina (1-9, 0-4 away) @ **Cleveland **(3-7, 2-3 home)
**Why I might turn it for background during a nap: **No Colt McCoy, no Seneca Wallace… oh god! That means Jake is back! Ughhh… actually, that could be interesting… 55% Comp, 5.4 y/a, 1 TD 4 INT… No, not even a healthy dose of schadenfreude makes that interesting.
**Why I won’t be watching, for sure: **Carolina is a disaster, which brings up the interesting point of what to do with Jimmy Clausen and the soon to be first overall pick. Have we seen enough of Clausen to take a QB there? Probably not, and especially not with the risk averse decision makers in the NFL. But, you (hopefully) don’t get too many chances at the very top of the draft, and I don’t think you can tie yourself to a second round choice who hasn’t really shown anything yet… and when the most interesting thing about your team is what they’ll do with their near-guaranteed first pick, you really stink.

**St. Louis **(4-6, 0-4 away) @ Denver (3-7, 2-3 home)
**Why I might watch: **This might rank higher up if the Rams are at home, where they’re a competitive team. On the road against a pass happy team with a flimsy-ish pass defense? Probably not a close game. I guess the Brandon Lloyd story is kinda interesting though. He currently leads the NFL in receiving yards, can he actually take the crown? Of their remaining six games, 3 or 4 are winnable, which might leads to fewer attempts late in games. Kinda interesting to watch…
**Why I won’t be watching, for sure: **St. Louis is a couple years away and Denver has almost nothing to be interested in. Tebow? He’s only interesting in that I’m curious as to what the apologists would say in his defense if they started him over Orton, who has put up some really nice numbers this season in almost total secrecy.

**Miami **(5-5, 4-1 away) @ Oakland (5-5, 4-1 home)
**Why I might watch: **4-1 on the road against 4-1 at home! Something has to give! Of course the exception to that is Brandon Marshall, who clearly doesn’t give a shit. Is he hurt or just a frustrated diva? Reports are he might miss week 12 and even 13, but how about I jump spoil the surprise for you now; if Henne plays this week, Marshall will “tough” it out. I can’t really hate though, I wouldn’t want to run routes all day for a guy like Thigpen, knowing I won’t get a ball to catch without risking my life.
**Why I won’t be watching: **This is precisely the game I’ll turn on CBS Sunday morning and immediately go check to see what the price is for Sunday Ticket. Honestly, if it weren’t for the brutal games I listed before this being worse, I could not possibly care less. There is nothing, nothing, here I care about. Not one thing. I don’t have any fantasy players on either team, because, you know, aside from Darren McFadden earlier this season, none of them have done anything all season.

New England (8-2, 3-2 away) @ Detroit (2-8, 2-2 home)
**Why I might watch: **This game is the perfect Thanksgiving day appetizer; the first few bites are extremely tasty (Brady picking apart a bad defense, delicious) and get you ready for more… except it’s over before you know it (like, the 2nd quarter) and the entree never gets there soon enough (2 more quarters of this??) and you start to feel more full than you should.
Why I won’t be watching: Every year I try to make excuses out of helping with the Thanksgiving preparations because, a) I’ll set something on fire and, b) I’d rather watch football. This year? I’m not sure. You could argue Detroit keeps this close at home, but then again, you could argue anything (and the talking heads on Fox News and MSNBC prove this every night), but it still won’t happen.
Pittsburgh (7-3, 4-1 away) @ Buffalo (2-8, 1-4 home)
**Why I might watch: **No idea. I had this game ranked much higher until I just now saw it and realized I have nothing interesting to say about this game.
Why I won’t be watching: Alright, we all know parity is the name of the game in the NFL, but last week was kinda brutal for the underdogs. The only underdog to actually win was Buffalo, and they played Cincinnati, not exactly a far superior team. Maybe Washington was a bit of a surprise, but not much of one. If you discount the Western divisions, where putridity is the name of the game instead, there exists a fairly clear delineation in every division between the good and the bad. There are a surprisingly small number of average teams out there.

Wait, am I supposed to talk about the Pit/Buf game here? Er, well, Pittsburgh fans are the most obnoxious fans in the league and Bills fans are the emo kids who actually are depressed instead of just trying to piss off their parents… so I feel sorry for them. Kind of a lame party here, I think I’ll bail.

**Tennessee **(5-5, 3-2 away) @ Houston (4-6, 2-3 home)
**Why I might watch: **Our first divisional game (The NFC West no longer qualifies)! Randy Moss! The 32nd ranked pass defense! Showtime!

Seriously though, if the best Randy Moss could do against one of the worst pass defenses in the league (Washington), without 2 of the starters in their secondary, was zero fucking catches and one pass interference penalty… he’s pretty much done after this, right? If he doesn’t do something this week, anything, he’s basically gone, right? I know I won’t be starting him on my fantasy team…
Why I won’t be watching: You know, I think there’s a lot to like in this game. Chris Johnson, Randy Moss (maybe), Arian Foster, Andre Johnson… but I still feel kinda “meh” about it. They’re both mediocre teams that can’t get anything going. The Vince Young thing is interesting… but I just don’t feel strongly about this game. This game reminds me of an And One street hoops game. Tons of freak athletes, lots of upside, but in the end nobody really gives a shit what happens.

**Minnesota **(3-7, 0-5 away) @ Washington (5-5, 2-3 home)
**Why I might watch: **Bonus points for the potential interim head coach bump. If the Vikings can get motivated and pull things together a la Dallas, they could be in line to play a major role as a spoiler at the end of the season. They’ll play the Giants and Bears at home in consecutive weeks, then the Eagles in Philly immediately after. All three teams figure to be right in the middle of their playoffs races.
Why I won’t be watching: I can’t stand Brett Favre. I can’t. But, because we haven’t heard enough from him, here’s his injury report: “Brett Favre (elbow, shoulder, flu, old, blue balls) was limited in Vikings practice Wednesday.” We’re all pretty sure he’ll play at this point, but either way, he’ll make sure to let us know.
**Cincinnati **(2-8, 1-4 away) @ New York Jets (8-2, 3-2 home)
**Why I might watch: **The Jets, a team who constantly needs OT or a final minute drive to put away inferior teams; against Cincy, a team that gets roasted every week and somehow keeps the score close until the end… and the Jets face their biggest rival and the most important game of the season next week at New England? That’s just about the definition of a “trap game.” If the Jets were on the road, I’d honestly take Cincy here. As it is, close game, but the Jets sneak out another one.
Why I won’t be watching: I’ll almost certainly be in a turkey-induced coma at this point, and good thing, because Carson Palmer stinks.
•Combined record of the teams the Jets have beaten: 30-50
•Combined record of the teams the Jets needed 2 OTs and a last minute TD to beat over the last three weeks: 9-21
•Record against teams (3) with a winning record: 1-2, and all three games were at home.
•In conclusion: Wait and see before anointing this team.

**Kansas City **(6-4, 1-4 away) @ **Seattle **(5-5, 3-1 home)
**Why I might watch: **KC is currently first in the AFC West but Oakland and the red hot Chargers are on their tails. They absolutely need this game but it’s about as bad a situation as they could get. They aren’t great on the road, and Seattle has as good a home field as there is. Sneakily interesting game here.
Why I won’t be watching: Well, there’s Seattle, who has almost nothing to get excited about. And there’s always the frustration with watching Thomas Jones get carries over Jamaal Charles. At what point does Charles have to reach to get the majority of the carries? Nine yards per carry? Ten? Eleven and the corpse of a linebacker on every carry? Fucking Thomas Jones…

Jacksonville (6-4, 2-2 away) @ New York Giants (6-4, 3-2 home)
**Why I might watch: **Solid records on paper, probably an utter beatdown on game day. Jax gets a fortunate break that their awful pass defense won’t have to go up either of the top 2 WRs for the Giants. Probably not enough to keep it close though, but you can never tell with Eli Manning. December is by far his worst statistical month in this career, and we’re a week away. It’s not a stretch that the Giants seasonal late-year swoon is starting a little early this season.
Why I won’t be watching: No Hicks, no Smith, Bradshaw demoted… there isn’t much here for me. Eli Manning is really not very good in November and December. I still expect them to win, and they need to capitalize on this easy stretch of the schedule (vs. Jax, vs. Was, @ Min) in order to stay afloat in the NFC East. They’re just good enough and if they beat the teams they should beat, they can finish the season 10-6. Might not be enough this year, but it’s a good finish.
•Eli Manning’s career record in Nov. and Dec.: 23-29.
New Orleans (7-3, 3-1 away) @ Dallas (3-7, 1-4 home)
**Why I will watch: **Well, Dallas responded. Gotta hand it to them. Of course, they beat the Giants, who still haven’t beaten anyone of consequence, and Detroit, but that’s better than before. Just in time for their games against the Eagles, of course. I fucking hate the Cowboys. They’ll get a real test this week though, and they have a very good chance considering how they handled the Saints last season. They had Romo then, though.
Why I might not watch: Only turkey and family keep me from this one, it’s the only game that has any potential this holiday.
•Everyone loves to mention how much talent Dallas has. Can you imagine them with a top 3 pick? Are they doing a disservice to themselves by rallying in a lost season? Best case scenario is they beat the Saints, beat the Colts, split with Philly, and beat Washington and Arizona… they’re 8-8. I’m all for moral victories, but I think I’d rather have the pick.

Tampa Bay (7-3, 4-1 away) @ Baltimore (7-3, 4-0 home)
**Why I will watch: **Nobody trusts the Bucs yet for some reason. Wait, I know the reason, they haven’t done anything yet. Congrats on being the bullies of the league, Tampa. Picking on all the teams smaller than you and shying away from the bigger kids who come to play. Nicely done. Why don’t you finally pick on someone your own size?
**Why I might not watch: **The most impressive thing Tampa has done this season was only losing to Atlanta by 6 in Atlanta. That says a lot… though unfortunately it says a lot both ways. The football fan in me wants to see them handle the Ravens here… but it would be an extremely critical win for the Bucs in the NFC. If they lose here and against the Falcons and Saints, but beat Washington, Detroit, and Seattle (in Tampa), they’d end up 10-6. They would be the second 10-6 team eliminated from the playoffs, while the NFC West and AFC West each probably send an 8-8 or 9-7 team in. Nice. But if they win any of those three games against tougher opponents and still take care of business at home… the wild card situation becomes extremely tight. As in, nobody outside of the South likely gets one.
•Number of Bucs wins this season: 7
•Number of wins against teams with a winning record: 0
•Combined record of teams the Bucs have beaten: 17-53!

San Diego (5-5, 1-4 away) @ Indianapolis (6-4, 4-0 home)
**Why I will watch: **Okay Chargers, it’s your time of year again. You still have to earn your way and prove it this week, but we know you have it in you. I love this matchup for so many reasons. Hot team going into a tough place to play with little success all season on the road. Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers. Vincent Jackson back. These teams are strangely similar in that they both pass and defend the pass and neither runs very well. They have both even suffered tons of losses at the WR and TE position.
Why I might not watch: Okay, here I go. Out on a limb. You coming?

This is the last “Peyton Manning” season we see from him, ever again. I know he’s had to deal with tons of injuries to his receivers, but I’ve seen enough of him this season to know he’s just not very sharp. Something about him is wrong this season. Subtly wrong, but wrong. I can’t ever remember Peyton missing so badly on routine throws (for him)… ever. I watched him against Philly bounce 10 yard outs and sail the deep middle 15 yards beyond his guy. I’ve seen his patented shuffle step in the pocket fail more than I can recall. Not just for sacks, though he’s on pace to finish with the second most in a season in the last 7 years, but just throwing off his accuracy. And his arm strength seems to be dipping.

His average season is 64.8% comp, 4212 yards, 30.5 TDs and 15 INTs. I’ll say next season he finishes closer to 63%, 3700 yards, 26 TDs and 20 INTs. And he misses a game. Because I’m crazy like that.

Philadelphia (7-3, 4-1 away) @ Chicago (7-3, 3-2 home)
**Why I will watch: **Big win for Philly, big test for Chicago. The Giants game wasn’t as close as the score or the 4th quarter indicated, but it ended up close. And for as long as I can remember, that’s a game the Eagles lose. This isn’t a very experienced team, so I don’t know what’s boosting them in tough situations, but they’re winning the tough games. Finally.

It’s going to be real interesting to see how Vick plays in the cold weather. When his athleticism was held in check (like against the Giants) he struggled. Teams are figuring out how to defend him (make him scramble to his right, spy him that direction, hold the edge). The honeymoon is over. We all got to witness a truly fantastic performance over the first half of the season, capped by his game against Washington where he was as good as a quarterback has ever been. Now the real games start. Can he adjust? Can he win without running? Can he continue to limit his mistakes and turnovers? Can he stay healthy??

As for Chicago, I’m still not sold on them yet. They stuff the run so well they can defend the pass effectively. But their offense is a big problem. And this offense, against this Philly defense, could quickly become a nightmare for Chicago. I mean, Jay Cutler in a Mike Martz offense against the team with the most INTs in the league and top 10 in sacks? But I will say; beat Philly and you have your second impressive win this season. You’re legit then.

Why I might not watch: It’s a worrisome matchup, but I’m strangely confident. Naturally that means the Eagles lose a 13-12 game where Philly is whistled for 19 penalties for 295 yards and I quickly abandon my effort to avoid being so vulgar and vocal during Philly games.
•The Eagles are tops in the NFL, by a significant margin, in turnovers +/-. They’re +15, the next two teams are tied at +10.

Green Bay (7-3, 3-2 away) @ Atlanta (8-2, 5-0 home)
**Why I will watch: **Best game of the week. Green Bay has seemed to quickly regain the form they had when they were a consensus preseason Super Bowl team. As they get healthier, they get more dangerous. But their record is slightly misleading. Their only quality wins are against Philly in week one (where Kolb was the starter, stunk, and got hurt. Vick wins that game had he started it, without question) and against the Jets, which was a solid win if not for their complete lack of offense. So basically, they haven’t done much. One good half against Philly and half their team played well against the Jets. Their last two wins, while impressive on paper, were against teams who were at their absolute bottom, the worst they’ve each looked in years.

Caveats aside, it’s simple. Atlanta, at home, is as good as anyone in the NFL. Beat them there, you’re a top 2 team in the NFL in my eyes, maybe the top team. Lose, and you’re still a flawed team with unlimited upside and very little real world achievement.

Atlanta has similar questions on their resume, actually. And how they’re ranked above the Eagles in most power polls despite losing handily to them is a fucking travesty. Where Atlanta has an advantage here is that they’re, again, great at home and have a fast track for home field throughout the playoffs. This is a real test for the Falcons though because their secondary is very vulnerable and Green Bay can chuck it as well as anyone. But a victory here is a huge statement, without doubt.
Why I’d have to be imprisoned not to watch: I’ll not miss a snap of this game if it’s on.

I suppose we differ on the definition of “quality wins” then, because they’ve also had blow out wins against Buffalo, Dallas, and the Vikings. While the win itself isn’t all that impressive, how they won and, more importantly, how they played, certainly was.

But it is certainly the most exciting game this weekend. I’ll probably try and watch the Eagles/Bears game just to see if the Bears are for real (their defense certainly is, their offense, not so much). I’d love to see the Eagles just blow them out of the water, except I also hate Vick.

None of the games today really register on my meter. I’d love it if the Lions beat the Pats (they won’t), the Cowboys simply get crushed, and the JETS, well, who cares about that game? I’ll catch bits and pieces, but barring a Lion surprise, I’ll not be parked in front of the TV.

I only get a chance to watch a couple of NFL games each year, and this Sunday I will be plopped down in front of the TV watching Atlanta/Green Bay.
It is one of the things that I will be thankful for today.

I don’t think Carson Palmer stinks, he’s having a slightly above average year. Its the guys in the trenches on both sides of the ball that stink, as well as the coaching/playcalling.

You mean Andre Smith hasn’t been the run blocking machine anchoring the line like he was supposed to be? Why I’m shocked, SHOCKED to hear that.

Hey! I’m a huge Cardinals fan. :smiley:
I’ll actually have to miss the first half. There’s no way on Earth I’ll be able to get out of work early on a Monday after a holiday weekend.

Pats @ Lions. No white shirts on the field? Rare. Exciting. Additionally, the Lions are up 14-3!

Got a good game going here. Lions are holding their own.

Hopefully they can play a complete 60 minute game. Their secondary needs a lot of work though.

Well, yeah. He’s out for the year (again) with a foot injury that required surgery. When he did play this season he played well enough on many plays.

I expect a penalty with the refs saying “because it is the Lions”.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kickoff from the other team’s 40.

You have to hand it to the Pats - they made a good come back for a big win.

Wow that was a heck of a game. Dallas stayed in it as long as they could. I was rooting against them, but give them credit for playing hard.

2 good Thanksgiving games. Even the Lions showed up (for 3 quarters at least). When was the last time that happened?

While the Bucs’ record is certainly a bit misleading, the loss to Atlanta wasn’t just by 6 points; they had 3rd and goal at the Falcons’ 3 with 2:44 to play, and couldn’t get in.

LeGarrette Blount is a beast outside the last five yards of the field, but he runs tentatively in goal line situations. Kind of reminds me of Fred Taylor; all that size, all that power, but just doesn’t have good goal line instincts.

aaaaaaand the Bengals collapse in yet another winnable (but weird) game.


Happy Thanksgiving NFL Bengals style. These are both tearjerkers.

Chris Henry’s organ donation special with his wonderful mother:

In memoriam to Vicki Zimmer, Bengals defensive coordinator’s wife who died suddenly last year:

The word around here is that if they do wind up with it, the Panthers would take Luck at #1 if he comes out. That would mean they drafted 4 QBs with their last 11 picks, including the 3 they took this year (even if they don’t really plan to use Edwards at QB.) Clausen really hasn’t had much of a chance, but the feeling is that they wouldn’t pass on Luck. They need more than just a QB though, so if at all possible, I’d like to see them trade the #1 for a package of picks.

Since I so loath both TO and OchoCinco, I can always get behind a Bengals loss - but I was kinda rooting against the Jets.