Wednesday, 14 November 2012


1 (2) Houston Texans (8-1) - The Texans went into the home of the 7-1, Chicago Bears and handed them their first home loss of the season.  Add that to the fact the Falcons lost this week and the Texans rightfully return to the top of the power rankings.  The Bears are a tough team to play against and Sunday night's victory can't be understated.  It was a huge victory for this Texans team.  They have laid a marker to the rest of the league and in my opinion, the team that beats them, wins the Superbowl.  Matt Schaub was restricted to 95 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Arian Foster was the key player for the Texans and ended up with 117 yards from scrimmage, including the game winning touchdown catch.   

2 (1) Atlanta Falcons (8-1) - The Falcons became the last team in the NFL this year to lose a game and the 1972 Miami Dolphins can finally crack open the champagne.  I never really thought the Falcons had a chance of emulating them and the loss could turn out to be a good thing for the Falcons.  With every win, the pressure was increasing and the Falcons can now concentrate on making their own history without the added pressure that comes with the unbeaten tag.  In Sunday's game, Matt Ryan threw for 411 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.  Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White both had 100 yard receiving games.  Gonzalez caught 11 passes for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns.  White caught 7 passes for 114 yards.  The running game was ineffective and was restricted to 2.6 yards per carry.  

3 (3) Green Bay Packers (6-3) -
Green Bay were on their bye week this week and they look like a team with a real chance of a Superbowl.  They were 2-3 at one stage but have now won their last four games, to reach 6-3.  This week they go to Detroit to face the Lions in a divisional clash.  The Packers have a difficult schedule but if there's one team that should never be wrote if, it's the Green Bay Packers.   

4 (6) New England Patriots (6-3) -
The Pats picked up a win against divisional rivals, the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills pushed them all the way and were unlucky not to win but the Patriots got over the line and go 6-3 for the season.  The Pats are starting to move clear in the race for the AFC East and it looks as though, the Belichick and Brady combination, will get another crack at the playoffs.  Tom Brady threw for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Stevan Ridley had another good game, rushing for 98 yards and a touchdown.  Wes Welker was the leading receiver, catching 6 passes for 74 yards. 

5 (4) Chicago Bears (7-2) -
The Bears are now 7-2 after losing at home to the Houston Texans.  Both defenses were on top but the Texans edged it, 13-6.  The Bears have a few difficult games coming up but they should have enough to secure a playoff spot but perhaps the bigger question is, will they hold off Minnesota and Green Bay to win the AFC North or go into the playoffs with a wild card.  Jay Cutler was knocked out of the game with a concussion and was intercepted twice early on.  Jason Campbell was able to do a better job of looking after the football but only managed 94 yards.  The rushers combined for 115 yards from 23 carries.  Brandon Marshall was the only Bears receiver to reach more than 9 yards receiving.  Marshall ended the game with 8 catches for 107 yards.   

6 (9) Baltimore Ravens (7-2) -
The Ravens finally let loose and ended up beating the Raiders by 35 points in a one sided game.  The Ravens are now 5-0 at home and they look to be cruising towards the playoffs.  Their biggest challenge will be whether they or Pittsburgh win the AFC North and it looks as though the prize could be a bye week, in the first round of the playoffs.  On Sunday, Joe Flacco had a good game, throwing for 341 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.  Dennis Pitta and Torrey Smith were his leading receivers.  Pitta caught 5 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.  Smith caught 2 passes for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Raiders done a good job of restricting the Ravens running the ball.  Ray Rice only managed 35 yards and a touchdown from 13 carries.  

7 (8) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) -
The Steelers won but it wasn't pretty and it came at a price.  Ben Roethlisberger left the game with serious injuries to his shoulder and ribs.  It's not known how long he will be out for but it looks like being a considerable length of time.  The Chiefs deserve a lot of credit for their performance in this game.  Their defense done a good job of stopping the Steelers offense.  They restricted Roethlisberger to a 50% completion rate for 84 yards and a touchdown.  The running game didn't have much more success and were restricted to 3.3 yards per carry.  The Steelers eventually got the win when Lawrence Timmons intercepted a pass intended for Dwayne Bowe and left Shaun Suisham a 23 yard field goal to win the game. 

8 (10) Denver Broncos (6-3) - Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos won again, this time beating the Panthers in Carolina.  The win will delight head coach, John Fox.  Fox spent nine years as head coach in Carolina, leading the Panthers to a Superbowl appearance.  His contract wasn't renewed after the 2010 season and Carolina's loss, is Denver's gain.  On Sunday, the Broncos defense were excellent.  They had 7 sacks, one for a safety and 2 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.  This Broncos team don't need their defense to score, as their offense is more than capable of winning games themselves but the fans will be starting to look toward the post season now and feeling quite good about their chances.  Manning threw for 301 yards and his leading receiver was Demaryius Thomas with 9 catches for 135 yards.  Manning looks almost guaranteed to be in the playoffs for the 12th time in his career and if they keep progressing at the rate they are, then they will be a very dangerous opponent for anyone.

9 (5) New York Giants (6-4) -
The Giants have now lost two straight, after a heavy defeat in Cincinnati.  They go into their bye week, this week and they look like a team who are in desperate need of it.  The bye week will help them and they will need to be fresh as they have a very difficult finish to the season.  Of their six remaining games, four of them have genuine playoff chances.  Eli Manning continued his recent bad form, throwing for 215 yards and 2 interceptions.  Andre Brown is showing signs of being a good running back, running for 65 yards and a touchdown from 9 carries.  Hakeem Nicks was the leading receiver, catching 9 passes for 75 yards.

10 (7) San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) -
The 49ers ended up tied with the St Louis Rams when neither side managed to score in overtime.  Ties are very unusual in the NFL and this was the first one since 2008.  A 49ers win would have gave them a chance of opening a gap on the Seattle Seahawks, at the top of the NFC West but they missed the chance and this race looks like going all the way.  The 49ers have a difficult schedule in their remaining seven games and this win could prove costly by the time the season ends.  Alex Smith started well, completing 7 of 8 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown but he picked up a concussion and his replacement, Colin Kaepernick wasn't as effective, completing 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards.  Michael Crabtree was the leading receiver, catching 5 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.  Frank Gore had a good game, running for 97 yards and a touchdown. 

11 (11) Indianapolis Colts (6-3) -
The Colts have now won their last four in a row after a comfortable victory over the Jaguars, in Jacksonville.  The Colts were never behind and never really looked like losing this one.  Coach Pagano should be very proud of his players, who have reacted brilliantly to his health issues after a bad start.  At 6-3 the Colts are two wins behind Houston but they have a great chance of a wildcard.  Andrew Luck led the team to victory, throwing for 227 yards and an interception, but more importantly, he had 2 rushing touchdowns.  The Colts picked up 138 yards rushing.  Reggie Wayne was the number one receiver, catching 8 passes for 96 yards.  

12 (12) Seattle Seahawks (6-4) - The Seahawks won again and are still perfect at home, having won all five of their games at CenturyLink Field.  The Seahawks are doing well and at 6-4 they have a good chance of reaching the playoffs.  Their remaining schedule isn't too difficult and they could end the season with ten or eleven wins.  That may even be enough to win the division and if they can get a home playoff game, they have a great chance of progressing.  Once again, Russell Wilson was solid, completing 12 of 19 passes for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Marshawn Lynch ran all over the Jets and ended up with 124 yards and a touchdown.  Sidney Rice was the leading receiver, catching 2 passes for 54 yards and 2 touchdowns.

13 (13) Minnesota Vikings (6-4) -
The Vikings are now 6-4 and they may have an outside chance of the playoffs.  When I look at their results so far, with the exception of the Washington game, their three defeats have all came against winning sides, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay and Seattle.  Having said that when I look at their wins, they have only beaten one team with a winning record, San Francisco.  Of their six remaining games, five are against teams with winning records.  They are 1-3 against teams with winning records so it goes without saying that they will have to improve that stat to reach the playoffs.  On Sunday, Christian Ponder threw for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Adrian Peterson had a great game, running for 171 yards and a touchdown. 

14 (18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) -
The Bucs are 5-4 now after a good win against the San Diego Chargers.  It was a tight game but the Bucs defense came up big in the fourth quarter, intercepting Philip Rivers twice.  The interceptions led to 10 points for the Bucs and it ultimately won them the game.  At 5-4 the Bucs look to be in a race for a wildcard place but they still have to play the Atlanta Falcons twice, so the division isn't out of their reach yet.  The Bucs have won three in a row and will need to extend on that if they are to reach the post season.  Josh Freeman threw for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Doug Martin had another good game picking up 119 yards from scrimmage. 

15 (19) New Orleans Saints (4-5) -
The Saints had a massive win on Sunday over divisional rivals, the Atlanta Falcons.  The Falcons were 8-0 and it will have hurt them to have lost their perfect record to a divisional rival and particularly the Saints.  New Orleans still have a chance of a playoff place but they will have to do it the hard way as they have a tough schedule.  Four of their last seven games are against teams with winning records and if they are going to get enough wins, they will have to sort out their defense.  They are giving up 28.4 points per game and that's a lot of pressure to put on Drew Brees and the offense.  On Sunday, Brees threw for 298 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.  The running game finally got going and Chris Ivory was very impressive, running for 72 yards and a touchdown from 7 carries.  Jimmy Graham had a great game, catching 7 passes for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns.    

16 (17) Dallas Cowboys (4-5) -
The Cowboys picked up a much needed win in Philadelphia, over the Eagles.  The Cowboys are still in with a chance of the playoffs at 4-5 but they can't afford to lose any more than one or maybe two games.  Their remaining schedule is favourable and they only have one game against a team with a winning record, the Steelers in week 15.  On Sunday, Tony Romo completed 19 of 26 passes for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Felix Jones led a strong running game, picking up 71 yards from 16 carries.  The leading receiver was Dez Bryant who caught 3 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.   

17 (14) Detroit Lions (4-5) -
The Lions lost to divisional rivals, the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in a game that they really had to win.  At 4-5 they are still alive but in the NFC North, 4-5 isn't good enough.  With six of their seven remaining games against teams with a winning record, the playoffs look to be beyond the Lions this year.  The team has a lot of young talent and after reaching the playoffs last year, I thought they would have built from there but they seem to have gone backwards.  Matt Stafford threw for 329 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.  Calvin Johnson was his usual self and had a huge game, catching 12 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.  The running game was the weakness and was restricted to 60 yards from 17 carries. 

18 (21) Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) -
The Bengals got their season back on track with a big win over the New York Giants.  They had lost their last four but Andy Dalton was able to pick holes in the Giants defense and led the Bengals to a much needed win.  The Bengals now have a run of winnable games when they take on the AFC West.  Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego are all beatable and if the Bengals can come out of that with, at least, two wins, they will have a chance of an AFC wildcard place.  Andy Dalton threw for 199 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Unsurprisingly, AJ Green led the receivers, catching 7 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. 

19 (15) San Diego Chargers (4-5) -
The Chargers slip to 4-5 after losing in a tight game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The game was tight all the way through and was decided by two Philip Rivers interceptions in the fourth quarter.  One was returned for a touchdown and the other led to the field goal that put the seal on the victory for the Bucs.  The Chargers are now two wins behind the Broncos and they will need to win next week in Mile High, if they want to win the AFC West.  Rivers was having a good game until the fourth quarter and ended up completing 29 of 37 passes for 3 touchdowns and the 2 interceptions.  Ryan Mathews was restricted to 3.2 yards per carry.  The Chargers best performer was receiver, Danario Alexander, who caught 5 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. 

20 (26) Tennessee Titans (4-6) -
The Titans punished the Miami Dolphins' errors on the way to a blowout victory in Miami.  The Dolphins turned the ball over 4 times and each one led to points for the Titans.  In total, Tennessee picked up 20 points from turnovers.  The Titans are still in with an outside chance at 4-6 but I think they would do well to win more than three of their remaining games and 7-9 won't be good enough.   Jake Locker threw for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Titans best player on offense was Chris Johnson.  Johnson ran for 126 yards and a touchdown.
21 (16) Miami Dolphins (4-5) - The Dolphins suffered a heavy defeat to the rampant Tennessee Titans in Miami, on Sunday.  They lost by 34 points and played a big part in their own downfall.  They turned the ball over 4 times and the Titans punished them, ending up with 2 touchdowns and 2 field goals from the turnovers.  The Dolphins needed the win to stay in touch with the Patriots and are now two games behind and will need to beat the Patriots in both of the games between the sides.  Ryan Tannehill threw for 217 yards and 3 interceptions.  Miami needed to run the ball in this game but only ran it 15 times after falling behind early.  Brian Hartline was the leading receiver, catching 8 passes for 79 yards. 

22 (23) St Louis Rams (3-5-1) - The Rams were involved in the NFL's first tie in four years, when both, they and the 49ers, failed to score in overtime.  The Rams will be annoyed that they failed to win the game and they will be particularly annoyed that they did kick the game winning field goal but the snap was too late and they picked up a delay of game penalty.  In the NFL things like that should not happen and the clock should never be an issue when kicking a field goal.  It was a costly error and one the Rams could have done without.  Sam Bradford threw for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Steven Jackson ran for 101 yards and a touchdown.  Danny Amedola had a great game, catching 11 passes for 102 yards.

23 (20) Arizona Cardinals (4-5) - The Cardinals were on their bye week this week and it was much needed for a team who have now lost their last five after a 4-0 start.  The Cardinals have completely collapsed after that great start and surely they will be looking to recreate that early season vibe in their week off.  The schedule doesn't look great for them and they start a difficult run of games with a trip to Atlanta to face the Falcons who will be looking to bounce back after their first defeat of the season. 

24 (24) Washington Redskins (3-6) -
The Redskins were on their bye week this week and will be disappointed to have only picked up three wins so far.  RG3 has been exciting to watch but he hasn't done enough to turn the Redskins into a winning football team.  The Redskins will fancy their chances of getting a win next week against the struggling Eagles.  Washington still have five divisional games to come which gives them an outside chance of the playoffs but they can't afford any more defeats. 
25 (22) Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) -
The Eagles lost again but for the first week since the Giants victory in week 4, I am taking positives from the game.  Mike Vick picked up a concussion early on and was replaced by rookie, Nick Foles.  I thought he done well.  A lot of people will look to the interception that led to a touchdown and the sack which led to a fumble in the end zone and another touchdown but I prefer to look at the positives.  Foles took his first ever NFL snaps on Sunday.  He had absolutely no time on the field this year before Sunday and he done ok.  He completed 22 of 32 passes for 219 yards, a touchdown and the interception.  There are veterans who fumble the ball when hit with a sack and the interception deflected off two players before being caught.  In my opinion he was unlucky and the rest of his play showed a lot of encouraging signs.  If I had any say, I'd like to see Foles start for the rest of the season as the Mike Vick era looks well and truly over.  The Eagles leading receiver was Jermey Maclin who caught 8 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.  LeSean McCoy had a decent game, running for 82 yards at 5.1 yards per carry. 

26 (28) Buffalo Bills (3-6) -
The Bills have now lost three games in a row but that doesn't tell the full story.  They were unlucky to lose by a point to the Tennessee Titans, then pushed the Houston Texans all the way before the Texans added a flattering look to the score late on and then this week, they pushed the New England Patriots all the way and were in the red zone needing a touchdown to win in the dying seconds, when a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass was intercepted by Devin McCourty.  The Bills had 481 yards of offense and restricted the Pats to 347.  They would have won the game but penalties and turnovers cost them.  They turned the ball over 3 times and they had a ridiculously high, 14 penalties which cost them 148 yards.  Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 337 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.  Fred Jackson was the leading rusher, running for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Steve Johnson caught 6 passes for 86 yards. 

27 (25) Oakland Raiders (3-6) -
The Raiders suffered a heavy loss to the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday.  The score was 55-20 and the game was never tight.  Oakland don't look like a team who are capable of putting together the sort of run that would be required to get them into the playoffs.  They are very inconsistent and although i think they will win a few of their remaining games, it won't get them into the wildcard race.  Carson Palmer threw for 368 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.  The running game struggled again, averaging just 3 yards per carry.  The leading receivers were Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey.  Moore caught 4 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.  Heyward-Bey had 5 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. 

28 (27) New York Jets (3-6) -
The Jets are 3-6 now after losing their third consecutive game.  They were well beaten in Seattle, by a score of 28-7.  I can't understand what is going on in Rex Ryan's head.  Surely he must realise by now that Mark Sanchez is not the answer.  Sanchez is a terrible quarterback.  His pass completion has been below 50% in five of the Jets nine games this year.  Doing it once or twice is bad for an NFL quarterback, but in more than half of your games, is completely unacceptable.  It will cost Ryan his job unless he changes things.  This week, Sanchez completed 9 of 22 passes for 124 yards and an interception.  Shonn Greene led the rushers with 58 yards.   

29 (30) Cleveland Browns (2-7) -
The Browns were on their bye week this week.  The Browns started 0-5 but have gone 2-2 in their last four games, losing to the Colts and the Ravens, who both look playoff bound.  Next up is a trip to Jerry's House to face the Dallas Cowboys.  This Browns team have potential and I wouldn't be surprised if they got at least another three wins, this year. 

30 (29) Carolina Panthers (2-7) -
The Panthers have dropped to 2-7 after being on the receiving end of a masterclass from the Broncos defense.  Cam Newton was sacked 7 times and intercepted twice as the Broncos cruised to a comfortable win.  Sacks and interceptions aside, Newton had a decent game.  He threw for 241 yards and 2 touchdowns but it was the interceptions and a sack that led to a safety, that will have annoyed Newton.  The Panthers running game was practically shut down and they only managed to pick up 52 yards from 21 carries.  The Broncos best performer was tight end, Greg Olsen.  Olsen caught 9 passes for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns.

31 (32) Kansas City Chiefs (1-8) -
The Chiefs were better on Monday and ran the Pittsburgh Steelers all the way but they fell short in overtime.  After four good quarters of football, it was another turnover that let them down.  Matt Cassel tried to pass to Dwayne Bowe but Lawrence Timmons intercepted it and took the ball to the 5 yard line and all that remained was for Shaun Suisham to kick the game winning field goal.  The Chiefs can definitely take positives from the game and on that form, they could definitely pick up a few wins before the season ends.  Their star player on the day was running back, Jamaal Charles.  Charles ran for 100 yards and a touchdown.  Matt Cassel was disappointing at quarterback, completing just 11 of 26 passes for 154 yards and an interception.

32 (31) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) -
The Jags are now 1-8 for the season and 0-5 at home after a defeat to divisional rivals, the Indianapolis Colts.  The Jags were without Maurice Jones-Drew due to injury and it meant their running game was practically non-existent.  Rashad Jennings had 27 yards from 11 carries and his longest run was just 4 yards.  The Jags gave away 10 penalties and it cost them 115 yards.  The only positive for the Jags was the passing game.  Blaine Gabbert, who left the game injured, and Chad Henne combined for 330 yards and a touchdown.  They did have 2 interceptions but the fact they were able to move the ball will be taken as a good sign.  C Shorts III caught 6 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

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