By Danny Cox
Only a handful of weeks remain in the 2012 NFL season, and finally some things are starting to make sense. Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, but at least there are teams winning divisions and making it into the playoffs. The AFC and NFC are both starting to become a bit clearer now as to those that stand out and those that will be at home this January.
Had anyone told me at the beginning of the season that both the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets would not be in the playoffs…I would have told them they were nuts.
Then again, maybe it’s me?
Bye Weeks: All bye weeks are done
Thursday Night Football: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
This was a game that seemed easy to pick, but the Raiders just wouldn’t go away throughout. Eventually though, 310 yards from Peyton Manning and 119 yards on the ground from Knowshon Moreno kept the Broncos in front.
St. Louis Rams at Buffalo Bill
Buffalo has looked better this season than in recent years, but they’re still missing some big pieces of the puzzle. By now, one would think that the Rams would have built a better team around Sam Bradford. That hasn’t happened at all. The Bills though have shown promise.
Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals
Going to go out on a limb here and give the Bengals the victory. They are playing better this season than anyone expected, and their greatness has really come in the second half of the year so far. Dallas has too many problems and you never quite know when they’re going to not show up.
After last week’s emotional victory over the Carolina Panthers, the Chiefs have a very good shot at starting a winning streak. The thing is, Cleveland is on a two game winning streak of their own and have won three of the last five. That includes a victory over the Steelers two weeks ago. Still, I believe that Kansas City bands together again and Jamaal Charles runs wild once more.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Last season, the Colts looked like they were in the pit of despair and on the road to rebuilding. Then, their star quarterback for the last decade and a half was cut and went elsewhere. All seemed lost, but now they’re on the verge of the playoffs and all it took was a little “Luck.”
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Chicago has started to falter as the season has worn on, but they’re still looking good for the playoffs. Not two weeks ago, the Bears handily defeated the Vikings 28-10 at Soldier Field. Perhaps the Vikings fans are going to follow Chad Greenway‘s advice and get “super-duper drunk” so that the Metrodome can be a twelfth man.
A passed out twelfth man.
Pick: Da’ Bears
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of the more surprising stories of the season has been the emergence of the Bucs as true contenders in the NFC South. Atlanta is running away with things, but the Bucs solidified themselves as the number two team in that division. An even more surprising story this season is the complete and total demise of the Eagles. Expect serious house-cleaning, Philly style, in a few weeks.
Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins
The Skins pulled off a big upset of the Giants last week, but the Ravens are looking very good right now. Baltimore has a much better defense than New York, and they won’t allow RG3 as much freedom.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton, eh? Wonder if fans will still pay $300 for his autograph after this season. Sure, there were only like 75 or so that showed up to that, but still.
New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars
Here is where Tim Tebow comes to the realization that he’s not entirely sure which of these teams exactly the better choice was before this season started. Meanwhile, Rex Ryan may activate three quarterbacks this week. Oy vey!
Jacksonville is still awful.
Speaking of bad teams, Norv Turner will be looking for work soon. At least, if the Chargers organization has any smarts whatsoever then they will do what should have been done three years ago. Pittsburgh gets “Big Ben” back from injury this week and that’s just another nail in the San Diego coffin for 2012.
Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers
Expect Alex Smith to make a reappearing act if Colin Kaepernick has a first half that is similar to last week’s whole game. That was just ridiculous, but still, the Niners should be able to handle the Dolphins with either quarterback at the helm.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Surprising team of the year through the first four weeks? The Arizona Cardinals. Since then? The Seattle Seahawks. Losing eight in a row is just absolutely absurd, and anyone that watches the NFL has to wonder how the Cardinals started out 4-0 with victories over the Patriots, Eagles, Dolphins, and even these Seahawks.
The Saints have essentially realized by now that the playoffs for this year are not in their future. Yet, they have the ability to help play spoiler this week and dampen the Giants’ chances of getting into the postseason. Well, there is also the fact that the Saints have dominated the Giants in their last three meetings.
Meanwhile, Steve Weatherford believes that Sean Payton is communicating with the Saints via osmosis and a Ouija board, but he’ll retract that later on.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
What on earth happened to Detroit? Ndamukong Suh might as well drop the “bad boy” shenanigans and focus on getting more of his team to have their heads in the game. Packers take this one as Lions let out a quiet peep instead of a roar.
Monday Night Football: Houston Texans at New England Patriots
The “game of the week” comes on Monday night, and this could be one that ends up showing who may represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. New England has one of the worst defenses in the league while the Texans have a lot of weapons on offense. They also have a damn good defense that knows how to handle Tom Brady. Could this be the passing of the AFC dominance torch?
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.