Wednesday, 28 November 2012


1 (1) Houston Texans (10-1) - The Texans picked up a win over the Lions on Thursday and they can count themselves very lucky to have done so.  They had a lot of help from the officials and need to up their game.  They have been poor in the last two weeks and they will hope it's just a minor blip as they won't win many games in the playoffs based on those performances.  It often happens that a team peaks in the regular season and makes little impact in the playoffs and the Texans will be hoping that they're not that team.  Matt Schaub threw for 315 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  His leading receiver was Andre Johnson who caught 9 passes for 188 yards.  The star man was Arian Foster who ran for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

2 (2) Atlanta Falcons (10-1) -
The Falcons picked up another win to reach 10-1 for the season but they were pushed all the way by the Buccaneers.  There was never any more than six points between the teams and the game was won half way through the fourth quarter when Michael Turner ran 3 yards into the end zone.  The Falcons are on the verge of sealing the NFC South and then they can look to maintain their top seed in the NFC.  The Falcons have a good home record and will want to ensure the NFC playoffs have to go through Atlanta.  Matt Ryan threw for 353 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Julio Jones was the leading receiver, catching 6 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown.

3 (3) New England Patriots (8-3) -
New England picked up a Thanksgiving win over divisional rivals, the New York Jets.  This rivalry has been heated in recent seasons but the Jets have been poor and the result won't have as big an impact on the division.  When these teams have met in the last few seasons a trend has began to emerge.  There seems to be one tight game a season and one were the Patriots blow out the Jets.  This was the blowout and the tight game was the Pats overtime win in Foxboro.  The Pats look playoff bound and will pose a threat to any opponent.  Tom Brady was as good as always, throwing for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns.  His leading receiver was Shane Vereen who caught 2 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown.  Stevan Ridley had another big day on the ground, running for 97 yards and a touchdown.

4 (5) Baltimore Ravens (9-2) -
The Ravens picked up another win and once again it was less than emphatic.  The Ravens are 9-2 and look likely to win the AFC North and as things stand they would have a bye in the first round of the playoffs.  They hold the number two seed but the AFC is tight and there is just two wins separating the four divisional leaders.  They do need to keep winning to guarantee their bye.  On Sunday, Joe Flacco threw for 355 yards and a touchdown.  Torrey Smith was the leading receiver with 7 catches for 144 yards.  Ray Rice played well too and picked up 164 yards from scrimmage.

5 (6) San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) -
The 49ers picked up a good win over the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday.  The 49ers are having a good year and they don't seem to have been effected by Colin Kaepernick replacing Alex Smith at quarterback.  I predicted the 49ers for the Superbowl at the start of the year and I'd be happy enough to stand by that prediction.  They have a great defense, a great running game and whilst it's still early days I think they have upgraded their quarterback.  Kaepernick threw for 231 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  His leading receiver was tight end, Delanie Walker who caught 3 passes for 81 yards.  Frank Gore led the running game with 83 yards and also caught a touchdown pass. 

6 (7) Denver Broncos (8-3) -
The Broncos got the win on Sunday over the Kansas City Chiefs but it was far from impressive.  I felt the game could be tight if the Chiefs avoided turnovers and they did until the final play of the game.  Denver will be happy to have avoided the potential banana skin as they cruise toward the divisional title and the win keeps them in the race for a first round bye in the playoffs.  Peyton Manning threw for 285 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.  Demaryius Thomas was the leading receiver, catching 4 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.  Knowshon Moreno had a good day on the ground, picking up 85 yards from 20 carries.

7 (8) Chicago Bears (8-3) -
The Bears are back in front in the NFC North after a win over the Minnesota Vikings and a defeat for the Green Bay Packers in New York.  The Bears have a soft enough schedule that you could say with confidence that they will be a playoff team but the biggest question will be what seed will they hold.  If the playoffs were today the Bears would be seeded 3 but they are right behind the 49ers in second but are only just ahead of the Packers and they still have to play them at Soldier Field.  Jay Cutler was back in at quarterback for the Bears but didn't have to do much.  He threw for 188 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  The running game didn't do much much and was restricted to 2.9 yards per carry but Michael Bush still managed to get into the end zone on 2 occasions.  Brandon Marshall was the leading receiver, catching 12 passes for 92 yards.  The Bears defense got back on track and forced 3 turnovers.

8 (10) New York Giants (7-4) -
The Giants picked up a win on Sunday night at home to the Green Bay Packers and it looks as though the issues, whatever they were, have been resolved during their bye week.  The Packers are a tough opponent and are far from ideal for a team facing questions about their form.  The Giants clearly didn't let it get to them and they ran out easy winners.  Eli Manning was back on form and threw for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Hakeem Nicks led the receivers with 5 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.  The rushers also had a good day and were led by Andre Brown and Ahmed Bradshaw.  Brown ran for 64 yards and a touchdown.  Bradshaw had 119 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown. 

9 (4) Green Bay Packers (7-4) -
The Packers suffered a heavy defeat to the Giants in New York.  The game was over as a contest by half time and once again the Giants showed that they have the required tools to get the better of Green Bay.  The Packers are 7-4 for the season and should make the playoffs but the defeat has left them trailing the Chicago Bears at the top of the NFC North.  Aaron Rodgers threw for 219 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Jordy Nelson was the leading receiver, catching 2 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.  The Packers got a decent return from their running game.  Their rushers combined for 116 yards from 26 carries.

10 (15) Indianapolis Colts (7-4) - The Colts took another step towards the playoffs with a win over the Buffalo Bills.  There is a great spirit and togetherness in Indianapolis right now and when that happens, teams often play to the maximum of their capabilities.  The Colts should be safe enough for a wildcard place but the division is still within their grasp.  They are three wins behind the Texans but the teams meet in weeks 15 and 17, so two wins would give the Colts a great chance of winning the division.  Andrew Luck had another solid game, throwing for 240 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  His leading receiver was Reggie Wayne who caught 8 passes for 102 yards. 

11 (11) New Orleans Saints (5-6) - New Orleans dropped to 5-6 after losing to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.  The Saints have come back from an 0-4 start and a win would have put them in a great position to reach the playoffs but it wasn't to be and the Saints will have to do things the hard way.  The Saints have a tough schedule but I certainly wouldn't rule them out of nicking a playoff spot.  They face a huge trip to Atlanta on Thursday night and need to pick up a win.  On Sunday, Drew Brees threw for 267 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.  The Saints have struggled all year with their running game and managed just 2.8 yards per carry.  

12 (9) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) -
The Steelers have dropped to 6-5 after a poor performance in Cleveland against the Browns.  The Steelers were terrible and turned the ball over eight times.  Charlie Batch had a bad game and was intercepted three times but they also fumbled five times and things are starting to look very difficult for Pittsburgh.  Batch threw for 199 yards and the three interceptions.  The running game never turned up and averaged just 2.5 yards per carry.  At 6-5 the Steelers are still in a wild card spot but they won't stay there for long unless they can fill the void left by Ben Roethlisberger. 

13 (13) Minnesota Vikings (6-5) - The Vikings suffered a defeat to divisional rivals, the Chicago Bears on Sunday.  The defeat leaves the Vikings at 6-5, and outside the wildcard places due to their head to head records against Seattle and Tampa Bay.  The Vikings have a tough schedule and I can't see them keeping pace for a wildcard place in the playoffs.  On Sunday, the Vikings were second best and were well beaten in the end.  Christan Ponder had a poor game, completing just 22 of his 43 passes for 159 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Tight End, Kyle Rudolph led the receivers, catching 5 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.  Adrian Peterson had another good game, running for 108 yards from just 18 carries.

14 (17) Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) - The Bengals kept their playoff hopes alive with a good win over the Oakland Raiders.  The game was never close and the Bengals led 24-0 at half time.  Oakland got the deficit back to fourteen but the Bengals quickly responded and ran out easy winners.  Their schedule isn't too bad and they have a good chance of the playoffs.  As it stands they are just outside the playoff places due to their week 7 defeat to the Steelers but they play Pittsburgh in week 16 and the Steelers are having quarterback issues so the Bengals have a great chance of finishing ahead of them.  On Sunday the Bengals were led by their running game.  They picked up 221 yards from 34 carries.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis had another big day, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown.  Andy Dalton threw for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns.  AJ Green was the star receiver again, catching 3 passes for 111 yards. 

15 (14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) - The Bucs suffered a narrow defeat to divisional rivals, the Atlanta Falcons.  The Bucs were very unlucky and there was very little between the sides but it was Atlanta who took the win by a one point margin.  At 6-5 the Bucs are still in the race for the playoffs but the divisional title looks to be out of their reach.  They still face road trips to Denver, New Orleans and Atlanta so getting a wildcard spot won't be an easy task either.  Josh Freeman threw for 256 yards.  Vincent Jackson was once again, his leading receiver, catching 5 passes for 96 yards.  Running-back, Doug Martin was restricted to 50 yards from 21 carries but did manage to get 2 rushing touchdowns.

16 (12) Seattle Seahawks (6-5) - Seattle drop to 6-5 for the season and 1-5 on the road after a defeat to the Miami Dolphins.  The Seahawks led for large parts of the game but Miami tied the game with 5:14 left and kicked the game winning field goal as time expired.  At 6-5 the Seahawks are still in the race for a wildcard place but their chances of winning the NFC West are almost certainly gone.  Russell Wilson had another good game, throwing for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He also picked up 38 yards from 5 carries on the ground.  Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch was unable to match Wilson's rushing display and he picked up just 46 yards at 2.4 yards per carry.

17 (23) Washington Redskins (5-6) -
The Redskins got the win in Dallas on Thursday thanks to a huge second quarter when they scored 28 unanswered points.  The Cowboys came back in the second half but were unable to get close enough and the Redskins ran out winners.  The Redskins season will hang on the outcome of their next two games when they host the Giants and the Ravens.  If they can win those two then they have a realistic chance of finishing 10-6 as they finish with the Browns, the Eagles and the Cowboys again.  In Thursday's game Robert Griffin III was the star of the show.  He threw for 311 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception.  His leading receiver was Pierre Garcon who caught 5 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.  Alfred Morris had another big day on the ground, rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown. 

18 (16) Dallas Cowboys (5-6) - The Cowboys were beaten by the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.  The Cowboys left themselves too much to do after a bad second quarter and ran out of time in their comeback.  The Cowboys won the second half 28-10 but they lost the first half 28-3 and it was too deep a hole to get out of.  At 5-6 the Cowboys are still alive but need to start picking up wins.  Their remaining schedule isn't too bad but they do face four teams who have at least a small chance of being in the playoffs.  Tony Romo had another mixed day, throwing for 441 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.  Dez Bryant had an excellent game, catching 8 passes for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns.

19 (18) Detroit Lions (4-7) - The Lions are now 4-7 after they suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the officials / Houston Texans on Thursday night.  I thought the refs were very poor and not just on the big issues but on a few of the lesser ones too.  Obviously, the biggest mistake was the Forsett touchdown.  Jim Schwartz deserves the heat he is getting but the refs have to get that call right.  It wasn't even close and his elbow and knee both touched the ground.  The punt in the first half was another bad call and in my opinion those decisions cost the Lions the win.  Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford was excellent, throwing for 441 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He had two receivers who had one hundred yard games.  Calvin Johnson caught 8 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown.  Ryan Broyles had the best game of his career, catching 6 passes for 126 yards. 

20 (24) Miami Dolphins (5-6) - The Dolphins are up to 5-6 for the season and still have a chance of reaching the playoffs after a win over the Seahawks.  Their remaining schedule is very difficult though and they will have to do it the hard way.  In Sunday's game, they came back from seven behind in the fourth quarter and ended up winning it on a Dan Carpentar field goal as time expired.  Ryan Tannehill threw for 253 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Davone Bess was his leading receiver, catching 7 passes for 129 yards.  Miami had a good day on the ground and their rushers picked up 189 yards.  Reggie Bush led the way with 87 yards and a touchdown.

21 (20) San Diego Chargers (4-7) - The Chargers drop to 4-7 after a tough overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens.  The Ravens kicked a field goal as time expired to take the game to overtime and then won it courtesy of another field goal with 1:07 left in the extra quarter.  Philip Rivers threw for 228 yards and a touchdown.  Danario Alexander led the receivers, catching 5 passes for 74 yards.  Ryan Mathews led the rushers, picking up 72 yards. 

22 (21) Buffalo Bills (4-7) - The Bills lost on Sunday to drop to 4-7 and all but end their playoff hopes.  They haven't the most difficult of remaining schedules but I have saw nothing from them that makes me believe they can win enough games to get into a wildcard slot.  CJ Spiller has had a bit of a breakthrough year and looks like having his first 1000 yard rushing season.  The Bills could be a team for the future.  I had predicted the playoffs at the start of the year for them but it looks like they aren't there yet but there are signs they are going the right way. On Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 180 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Steve Johnson was the leading receiver, catching 6 passes for 106 yards.  Spiller had another big game and picked up 107 yards from 14 carries.

23 (26) St Louis Rams (4-6-1) - The Rams picked up a win over the Cardinals in Arizona to get their first win since week 5, which was also against the Cardinals.  I can't see the Rams making the playoffs this season but the win sets them up nicely for their last five games.  Their schedule sees them play four teams with winning records so although they are unlikely to be in the post season themselves, they will play a big part in deciding which teams will be.  Sam Bradford threw for 205 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.  Chris Givens had a good game, catching 5 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.  Steven Jackson had a big game on the ground, rushing for 139 yards from 24 carries. 

24 (19) Tennessee Titans (4-7) -
Tennessee are now 4-7 for the year after a defeat in Jacksonville.  It was the Jags first home win of the year and it almost certainly ends the Titans playoff hopes.  The Titans have a tough schedule and I can't see anything better than a 6-10 finish for them.  In Sunday's game, Jake Locker threw for 261 yards, a touchdown and 2 interceptions.  Chris Johnson ran for 80 yards from 21 carries.  The game was tight and ultimately turnovers cost the Titans their chance of a victory.

25 (28) Cleveland Browns (3-8) - Cleveland picked up their third win of the year with a big win over divisional rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Browns defense will take most of the credit as they forced eight turnovers.  That's a good performance by any standards and the offense were just about able to complete the job.  The Browns won't make the playoffs but we have saw, in flashes, some good things about this team for the future.  Brandon Weeden threw for 158 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  His leading receiver was Josh Gordon with four receptions for 60 yards.  Trent Richardson was the best performer, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown. 

26 (22) New York Jets (4-7) - The Jets are now 4-7 after a heavy defeat to their big rivals, the New England Patriots.  At 4-7 the Jets are clinging onto their hopes of a playoff spot but it is looking increasingly unlikely that they will be able to get the wins required to get there.  Their remaining schedule is very weak and they don't have any more teams with a winning record left to play but it would be a big ask for a team who haven't won back to back games all year, to go on a five game winning streak.  Mark Sanchez had a decent game, completing 26 of 36 passes for 301 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Shonn Greene had a good day on the ground, running for 71 yards from 14 carries.  Jeremy Kerley led the Jets receivers with 7 catches for 86 yards.

27 (29) Carolina Panthers (3-8) -
The Panthers got their third win of the season after a 30-22 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia.  The game was always tight but the Panthers stepped things up in the fourth quarter and got the win.  The Panthers dominated time of possession and were deserving winners.  Cam Newton was the star of the show and reminded the NFL of the type of player he is.  He threw for 306 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He also led the Panthers in rushing, picking up 52 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Brandon LaFell was the leading receiver and caught 3 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. 

28 (25) Arizona Cardinals (4-7) - The 2012 Arizona Cardinals must have suffered one of the biggest collapses in NFL history.  Surely there can't be many teams have started 4-0 and then lost seven on the bounce.  I'm sure it's not something the franchise will be proud of but it's certainly an unusual record.  The team have struggled at quarterback since Kevin Kolb got injured and Ryan Lindley struggled on Sunday.  He threw for 312 yards but he was intercepted four times.  In the NFL you can't throw four interceptions and expect to win games.  The Cardinals leading receiver was Andre Roberts, catching 9 passes for 92 yards. 

29 (30) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) - The Jags got their first home win of the season with a 24-19 victory over the Tennessee Titans.  The win could cost the Jags their chance of the number one draft pick but their fans will just be delighted to have finally picked up a home win.  It's been a bad year for the Jags but they should be picking early in the draft again this year and will get the opportunity to build for the future.  Chad Henne threw for 261 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.  Cecil Shorts III was the leading receiver, catching 4 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.  

30 (27) Oakland Raiders (3-8) - Oakland suffered another heavy defeat and drop to 3-8 for the season.  In seven of their eight defeats they have lost by more than seven points and their season looks to be well and truly over.  They have a soft schedule remaining but at 3-8 they are too far back and even five straight wins might not be enough.  On Sunday Carson Palmer had a poor game, throwing for just 146 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Marcel Reece was their best player, running for 74 yards from 15 carries but it wasn't enough as the Bengals ran out easy winners. 

31 (31) Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) - Kansas lost again and find themselves alone at 1-10 with the NFL's worst record.  The next three games will most likely decide if the Chiefs are going to have the number one pick in next years draft.  They face Carolina, Cleveland and Oakland so there is definitely a good chance of a few wins but they will have to cut out the turnovers.  They only had one turnover this week and it was an interception on a Hail Mary as time expired.  They were able to run the Broncos close so it shows how vital the turnovers have been.  Brady Quinn threw for 126 yards and an interception.  Jamaal Charles had a good game and ran for 107 yards.

32 (32) Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) -
The Eagles drop to 3-8 and I can't imagine that anyone is particularly surprised based on their recent performances.  Nick Foles completed 16 of his 21 passes for 119 yards.  The Eagles star performer on the day was Bryce Brown who done a great job at running back.  Brown ran for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns from his 19 carries and he looks to be a good prospect.  Unfortunately for Eagles fans, he was the only positive in another miserable night.  The season is gone now and as a fan I wouldn't be totally opposed to the idea of Philly ending the season at 3-13 and put all our eggs into next season.  Hopefully, Andy Reid will be gone by then and whoever the new coach will be given some decent young talent to work with.  One player they won't have is Jason Babin.  Babin was released yesterday in what I can only describe as the latest in a long line of bizarre decisions made by the Eagles this year.   

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