Well it’s finally happened, it only took 14 weeks but every NFL team is finally off the mark for wins and losses. In the space of around 5 minutes the results became official in Kansas City and Indianapolis as the Colts won their first game all season and the Packers suffered their first loss. So for this week’s recap I thought it would be good to lead off with how both teams got to their respective firsts.
Big Game Breakdowns
Indianapolis (27) d. Tennessee (13)
This is actually a really disappointing thing for fans who have a sense of humour like mine. It was always great to heckle Dan Orlovsky for never having won a game he took a snap in during his NFL career but that is no longer the case as he provided a steady influence for the Colts offense to compliment Donald Brown’s breakout day. The entire team stepped up as the defense hassled Matt Hasselbeck into two interceptions and kept the Titans without a touchdown for almost the entire game. After the Titans scored their lone touchdown on the day the Colts finally managed to make the killer play that had eluded them for the entire season to this point. After blowing several leads in the final quarter Donald Brown (with some big time blocking help) broke an 80 yard touchdown run to return to a two score lead on the Titans.
Kansas City (19) d. Green Bay (14)
Green Bay just didn’t seem to be able to get going in this one as they made far too many mistakes despite the opportunities given to them. Kansas City played really well, especially considering what was expected of them in this one and it certainly doesn’t hurt interim coach (& all around good guy) Romeo Crennel’s chances of keeping the job full time. Where the Chiefs looked hungry and determined the Packers seemed flat and almost timid, the most glaring example of that came on the Leonard Pope play early in the fourth quarter when it looked like he had fumbled but the Packers just didn’t challenge the play when they had a good chance of getting it overturned. In his first full game of action Kyle Orton looked impressive as well avoiding major mistakes, completing a good percentage of his passes and keeping the Chiefs (somehow) in the playoff run.
Detroit (28) d. Oakland (27)
I suppose that answers my questions about the resiliency of the Detroit Lions then, coming back from two scores down yet again to top Oakland. Calvin Johnson meanwhile continues to show why he is the best receiver in the league going for 214 yards and two scores as the passing game was forced to carry the day after the run game was shut down by the Raiders. Oakland’s offense had a great day as Carson Palmer picked apart the Lions secondary completing 75% of his passes but was let down by his defense. I have to admit though, when Janikowski was lining up his 65 yard attempt to win the game, I thought he was going to make it. Back from his suspension Ndamukong Suh got his hand up and got enough of the ball to stop it going through the posts.
Thursday Night Football
Atlanta (41) d. Jacksonville (14)
There was a major talent gap between these two teams and it showed, I’m really wondering about Blaine Gabbert’s skills at this level.
Saturday Night Football
Dallas (31) d. Tampa Bay (15)
Another blowout on the NFL Network, Tampa gave it a great shot but they just weren’t good enough.
Miami (30) d. Buffalo (23)
Reggie Bush is on fire (cue the Kim Kardashian jokes) and he destroyed the Bills in the snow here.
Seattle (38) d. Chicago (14)
Absolute domination here for the Seahawks, Caleb Hanie looked a lot better when it was just a memory of his NFC Championship performance last year.
Carolina (28) d. Houston (13)
The entire Texans team suffered a massive letdown after claiming their first playoff berth in franchise history.
New Orleans (42) d. Minnesota (20)
Drew Brees had 5 touchdowns before Christian Ponder had 5 completions, need I say anymore?
Washington (23) d. New York (10)
The Giants decided this would be a great week to shoot themselves in the foot after a big win last week in Dallas. Washington meanwhile is fighting their way to the end of the year.
Cincinnati (20) d. St Louis (13)
The Bengals get a big win here but they look anything but convincing doing so.
Arizona (20) d. Cleveland (17)
This really should not have been a close game but well done to Cleveland for keeping it close.
New England (41) d. Denver (23)
It took a while but the Patriots defense got going and managed to shut down Tebow and the Broncos offense. I’m still wondering why Denver stopped running the ball when they were having so much success doing so.
Philadelphia (45) d. New York (19)
The Eagles finally find a run of form coming down the home straight, they need some help to make the playoffs but don’t discount that happening.
Sunday Night Football
San Diego (34) d. Baltimore (14)
This was a thorough beat down of the Ravens that raise more questions than it answers. The unfortunate thing for San Diego is another game like this to finish off the season may force them to endure another year of Norv.
Monday Night Football
San Francisco (20) d. Pittsburgh (3)
So clearly this was a case of one Harbaugh brother helping the other out and receiving a reciprocal favour. John Harbaugh gave Jim some inside information on beating the Steelers and Jim proceeded to do his brother a favour by beating their division rivals.
Picks Record: 10-6 (150-76 on the season)
The Playoff Picture
As it Stands – Team [Division] – Projected Finish:
In the Tournament
1- New England Patriots 11-3 [East] – 1st
2- Baltimore Ravens 10-4 [North] – 2nd
3- Houston Texans 10-4 [South] – 3rd
4- Denver Broncos 8-6 [West] – 4th
5- Pittsburgh Steelers 10-4 [North] – 5th
6- New York Jets 8-6 [East] – OUT
Outside Looking In
7- Cincinnati Bengals 8-6 [North]
8- Tennessee Titans 7-7 [South]
9- Oakland Raiders 7-7 [West] – 6th
10- San Diego Chargers 7-7 [West]
11- Kansas City Chiefs 6-8 [West]
In the Tournament
1- Green Bay Packers 13-1 [North] – 1st
2- San Francisco 49ers 11-3 [West] – 2nd
3- New Orleans Saints 11-3 [South] – 3rd
4- Dallas Cowboys 8-6 [East] – 4th
5- Atlanta Falcons 9-5 [South] – 6th
6- Detroit Lions 9-5 [North] – 5th
Outside Looking In
7- Seattle Seahawks 7-7 [West]
8- Chicago Bears 7-7 [North]
9- New York Giants 7-7 [East]
10- Arizona Cardinals 7-7 [West]
11- Philadelphia Eagles 6-8 [East]
The MVP Race
Predicted Winner: Aaron Rodgers (GB)
It’s really not a matter of debate, he has had a great season but he needs to finish strong to hold on because the contenders are closing fast.
Drew Brees (NO)
Tom Brady (NE)