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The last of NFL unbeatens fell victim to their first loss last weekend as the Jets knocked off Tennessee. Super Bowl Champion Giants remain top dog in our All World All Sports NFL Power Rankings. Here's our top 10:
1) New York Giants (10-1)
2) Tennessee Titans (10-1)
3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)
4) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)
5) New York Jets (8-3)
6) Carolina Panthers (8-3)
7) Arizona Cardinals (7-4)
8) Baltimore Ravens (7-4)
9) Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
10) New England Patriots (7-4)
Applying pressure: Washington (7-4), Dallas (7-4), Indianapolis (7-4).
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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!
It's time for our weekly predictions. A few surprise upsets are primed for the making this week.
Tennessee (10-1) @ Detroit (0-11): The time is ripe for Detroits 1st win of the year. Titans coming off their 1st loss could be looking past this game. Detroit roasts Tennessee, 33-23.
Dallas (7-4) @ Seattle (2-9): Dallas had better be prepared for this game. Seattle could be dangerous as key players are finally healthy enough to contribute. Dallas D is susceptible. Turkey day upset #2. Seattle 33-28.
Arizona (7-4) @ Philadelphia (5-5-1): Cardinals to wrap up division after wiping up disheveled Philly 41-7.
San Francisco (3-8) @ Bills (6-5): Bills need this game or their season is done. Buffalo delights home fans, 23-16.
Baltimore (7-4) @ Cincinnati (1-9-1): Ravens D will handle toothless Bengals, 21-3.
Indianapolis (7-4) @ Cleveland (4-7): Indy is on a 4 game tear after most of us wrote them off as over the hill. Cleveland lost Quinn for the year. Manning has biggest passing game of the year. Indy 36-10.
Carolina (8-3) @ Green Bay (5-6): Carolina's attack too strong for weak GB D. Green Bay is on life support after last week's loss. Panthers roam, 35-27.
Miami (6-5) @ St Louis (2-9): Miami coming off huge loss to division foe New England must win to stay alive. Rams defense will give Ronnie Brown huge holes to run thru. Dolphins bounce back, 27-17.
New Orleans (6-5) @ Tampa Bay (8-3): Bucs homefield will slow down Saints passing game. Bucs prevail, 23-21.
Giants (10-1) @ Washington (7-4): Redskins need this game in a crowded NFC. Giants hands down best in NFL. NY over Skins, 27-23.
Atlanta (7-4) @ San Diego (4-7): Atlanta's passing attack should have no problems vs SD. Charger players suffering through season of great disappointment. Falcons soar 38-20.
Pittsburgh (8-3) @ New England (7-4): Game of the week. Steelers offense hasn't clicked yet they keep on winning. Defense is tough as it gets. Pats offense is beginning to gel. Pats win at home, 30-23.
Denver (7-5) @ Jets )8-3): Broncos passing game has struggled. Jets suddenly a team on a mission. Favre has put together one of his personal best 3 game streaks. It'll be 4 after picking apart the Broncos. Jets 37-24.
Kansas City (1-10) @ Oakland (3-8): Who cares? game of the week. Oakland 27-22.
Chicago (6-5) @ Minnesota (6-5): Battle of NFC North division leaders. Great matchup on paper. Minnesota holds the edge with Peterson running at home. Vikes 26-24.
Jacksonville (4-7) @ Houston (4-7): Loser becomes AFC South's cellar dweller. One never knows what kind of effort to expect from these underperfomers. Houston in my blind Eeny Meeny Miny Mo pick... 20-17.
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Here we go again. Philadelphia Eagles mid-season struggles have become the norm in recent years. So has bandwagon loads of finger-pointers directed at QB Donovan McNabb... again.
McNabb's entire career has been surrounded by controversy. All sorts of questions and insults have been hurled his way. To his credit, he's weathered the storm...
Ironic how things work sometimes. McNabb became Philadelphia's starting QB back in 1999. This franchise never had such a string of success before his arrival. Yet, he's probably been singled out more than any other player in Eagles history.
Considering the lack of a coherent supporting cast... McNabb enjoyed a great career right up until running out of steam with 3:00 minutes to go in Super Bowl XXXIX (lost, 24-21). Only once did Philadelphia go out and sign a stud wide receiver (Terrell Owens). They made it to the big dance but imploded when Owens/McNabb fued went public. Owens was soon shipped out of town without finding any replacements.
Philly's offensive line has become so thin they're rarely successful on 3rd and short runs. Pass protection for McNabb has rarely been above average. Eagles Offensive Coordinators rarely open up defenses by calling deep passes. And far too many critical dropped passes during DM's entire tenure.
Speaking of passes... free ones have been giving to the coaches again this season. It was Andy Reid's play calling at the end of three contests which cost this squad 3 potential wins (vs Chicago, Washington, Giants). Philly's running game has been pretty bad all year yet Reid went for 3rd/4th and short runs each time the game was on the line and guessed wrong. Each time the Eagles were stopped in late game changing situations. McNabb had unspectacular yet solid games in those contests but wasn't trusted to get the mission done.
Much of McNabb's recent heat began in an overtime tie in Cincinnati when he famously stated he didn't know OT's could end in tie's. Follow that up with Reid benching him this past weekend only trailing by 3... it's evident there's a rift. McNabb has had critical moments of mental lapses. It appears his not spotting open receivers has coaches and teammates second guessing. Fans now too since this is starting to become a media circus.
All eyes will be on Philadelphia, Reid & McNabb on Thanksgiving day. It'll be a battle of the birds between Philadelphia vs Arizona. Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is challenging Dan Marino's single season passing mark of 5,084 yards. Arizona plays inspired football... Eagles do not.
When Philly loses... they'll be too far behind in the playoff race to contend. McNabb will face a full frontal attack for his remaining days as an Eagle. Philly front office would be wise to dump Reid too.
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San Diego Chargers (4-7) fans must be sick to their stomach's after suffering thru another gut wrenching defeat. Sunday night's 23-20 last second loss to Indianapolis (7-4) was San Diego's sixth defeat of the year by 7 or less points. It also marked their 4th loss of 3 or less. It gets worse... four losses when leading or tied within the final 2:00 to play.
Head Coach Norv Turner's team was predicted by many to dominate AFC West play. Experts also picked SD as an odds on favorite to reach the AFC Championship Game. After a 3-1 pre-season, these guys seemed ready to play until drowning in NFL quicksand.
Anyone who remembers a movie starring Gene Hackman and Keannu Reeves, The Replacements, might recognize the term "Quicksand". Reeves character describes quicksand as: "Ok lets say your playing and you think everything is going fine until one thing goes wrong..... and then another and another but the harder you fight back the deeper you sink till you can't move, can't breathe because your in over your head like quicksand."
That statement sums up the Chargers almost season. 4th quarter football has become quicksand to San Diego. Sunday's game saw SD claw back from a 20-10 deficit. On the game tying drive, after an unsuccessful 3rd down try, a yet to be identified player or coach called timeout with the game clock running instead of letting time tick off. Norv Turner was visibly livid saying one of those little not made for tv words over and over while wearing out the sidelines. The Chargers were granted a timeout with around 1:36 to play before kicking the game tying field goal. Peyton Manning promptly marched his Colts down field for the game winner as time expired.
SD tried to shake it off week 2 in Denver. An early game questionable fumble went against the Bolts wasn't reviewable because of official review equipment failure (BOGUS). Denver retained possession setting up their first td and 7-0 lead. In the games final moments with SD up 38-31, Denver QB Cutler scrambled out of the pocket and lost the football. The ref incorrectly ruled incomplete pass after it was clearly a fumble to everyone except those wearing zebra costumes. Denver maintained possession and scored woth :24 remaining, trailing 38-37. SD then lost when Denver Coach Shanahan gambled and won on a successful 2 point conversion. Chargers lose 39-38. 0-2. Oh yeah, for good measure the refs went up to Coach Turner when the teams were leaving the field telling him "We messed up!" Too little too late.
Week 5. SD had regrouped to 2-2 (or so they thougth) playing in Miami. 4th quarter, SD trailing 17-10, LT gets stuffed by a Miami goal line stand from 4th and 1. SD never got closer than Miami's 46. Quicksand re-appears.
Week 8. SD travels to London vs New Orleans. More headaches. Trailing 37-32, SD marches downfield on a potential game winning drive. QB Rivers gets intercepted with 1:09 left to go. 3-5.
Week 11 in Pittsburgh. Leading 10-8, SD couldn't stop a final Steelers drive. Give up game losing field goal with :15 left. 11-10 defeat is the first ever in NFL history. At 4-6, quicksand is now neck high.
Week 12. Start writing epitaph's for San Diego. Scratching and clawing their way back into the game. Losing it because of bad clock management 23-20 on the final snap.
It's been a bad dream for this team. Way too many close defeats. This could easily be a 10-2 team. Bad breaks all year long including at least two games where poor decision making by NFL referee's figured into game results. Poor coaching, poor ball control, pathetic clock management, injuries to key players, refs and near misses. It's a game of inches and these guys have been on the just missed side all year long.
I wonder how many bettor's have become sick when winning tickets become losers within seconds?
This type of season either strengthens or completely destroys teams. Norv Turner has done it again. Taken over a team on the verge of potential stardom... and wrecked it.
Will the front office panic and trade off players? Fire Turner? It'll be a long off season of reflection for an entire organization committed to winning.
San Diego's 2008 demise ranks high on my list of NFL teams who were expected to win. One of the leagues most talented teams will be sitting at home watching the playoffs on tv instead of participating...