The Falcons are highly criticized for not being able to win in the postseason. This is a great opportunity to prove they are for real.
With only three weeks left in the season it's time to teams to step-up and secure a playoff spot or start looking forward to next season.
After a rough couple weeks I'm sitting at 132-76, I need to step it up.
Here's a quick look at this weeks games.
NY Giants at Atlanta - This is a great match-up of two teams with a real chance to make it to the Super Bowl. While Atlanta looks good for a first round bye, the Giants still have an outside shot. But the Giants play better as a wildcard so they don't really care.
The Giants are a little banged up but they just need to make it into the playoffs health. This franchise knows what matters and they have complete confidence in what they can do as a team. I expect a lot of passing from Eli with Bradshaw out. Look for Wilson work on screens so he can get into the open field.
The Falcons need to secure home field throughout the playoffs if they want to go to the Super Bowl. Matt Ryan is unbeatable at home, except in the playoffs. This is the Falcons year to show everyone they can win in the postseason, we'll see what happens.
I'll go with the Falcons at home.
Green Bay at Chicago - This is a match-up of two NFC North Teams that hate each other. You can always count on an interesting game when they two teams face off.
The Packers are dealing with some injuries, especially on an already weak defense. There's no question that Rodgers and the offense can score but their defense is in bad shape. When the players come off of injury we'll see what they can really do.
The Bears have looked great at times this year but they cannot protect Cutler. Cutler needs to win some award for getting his head smashed all season and dragging this team to the postseason. They cannot win the Super Bowl with this line but they can make the playoffs.
Bears win at home.
Washington at Cleveland - This is a match-up of two QB's drafted in the first round. The Redskins and RG3 have been getting all the press but the Browns are quietly getting things on track.
The Redskins are a dynamic football team but last week we saw what happens when a running QB gets caught. You can run a few times and not get hurt, but when you run a few hundred times in a season the odds of injury go way up. Will RG3 be able to play 16 games a season every year? The Redskins have to have this one to stay alive for the playoffs.
I have been extremely critical of the Browns this season. I predicted them to go 0-16 this year and have not given them any credit. I am still not sold on Weeden as a long term NFL Qb but, I must say that they are pulling it together late in the season. They have a few pieces on both sides of the ball. The new Owner needs to make some moves and fill the remaining holes. They're not winning the Super Bowl next year but they could be relevant in a couple years. For this franchise, I think that's a huge compliment.
Browns fans, this one is for you. I'm going to take the Browns at home figuring RG3 will not be able to perform his magic.
Minnesota at St. Louis - Adrian Peterson should be the MVP and comeback player of the year. If you take him off this team they win 2 games. He has no QB and now no WR help. Even without the injury he had last year this would be an amazing season. When you factor in the knee injury, it's historic.
The Rams get two more years to get things right under Fisher before I start criticizing them. I want to see what they do this offseason.
Jacksonville at Miami - The Battle of Florida. I've lived in Florida most of my life and this game is one of the reasons I get the Sunday Ticket. This will be one of the lowest rated games of the weekend.
The Jaguars need to figure out what they are going to do at Head Coach and QB. They also need to fill the stadium or get use to being called the LA Jaguars.
The Dolphins have a young QB and some pieces but they still have a lot of work.
I'll go with Miami just because they are at home.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans - This is a division game that should have influenced the division title in some way. The Saints are a disaster but the Bucs are a young team building toward a bright future.
Denver at Baltimore - Is this a preview of the AFC Championship? The Broncos are rolling with Manning in town and are proving that they are for real. The Ravens are struggling on offense and fired their coordinator. We'll see if that makes a difference for Flacco.
Indianapolis at Houston - This is an interesting game. The Texans are one of the favorites to win the AFC and the Colts have been the biggest surprise of the season. The NFL Schedule is interesting as this is the first of two match-ups in three weeks by two division rivals. The amazing thing is they could meet again in the Division round of the playoffs.
Luck is proving that he's the real deal, leading the Colts to come-back after come-back. Yes his INT's are high but no other rookie is being asked to carry his team like Luck. If he was making 20 attempts a game he wouldn't have this big turnover numbers. I'm shocked at how well this team is playing and Luck is having a historic season. He has to be in the mix for MVP.
The Texans are rolling through the regular season but they have had some bumps in the road. I think it's good for this team to have the Patriots riding them for the top seed and showing them last week what a championship team is supposed to look like. The road to the AFC Championship game looks pretty rough. I picked the Texans to play for the Super Bowl this season and I'm going to stick with that prediction. They need to get their defense shored up in the next few weeks if they want to realize that goal.
Detroit at Arizona - I'm a Lions fan and I'll admit this is going to be a tough game to watch. The Cardinals have a good defense but can't handle 8 turnovers, they mailed it in last week. The Lions are putting up some big yards and some points but it's mainly in garbage time. The Lions have to address their defense and WR depth this offseason. Some depth at Offensive Line is always good too.
The Cardinals were embarrassed last week and I still don't understand how an NFL team cannot find one person to play QB. There are 315 Million Americans and there are only 31 people that can play starting QB? This team terribly miss-managed their QB situation this offseason and they're paying for it big time. Someone should lose their job for letting this happen.
Lions better win or I may destroy my TV.
Carolina at San Diego - This is a match-up of two underachieving teams. The Panthers are a young team with talent but poor coaching and no defense. The Chargers are an old team with no real identity and coach that's way over due to move on. This game doesn't mean much but Cam is always exciting to watch. At least the Panthers will get a nice vacation.
Seattle at Buffalo - The Seahawks are playing a lot better than I expected this season and the Bills are a lot worse. I'd like the Seahawks defense and running game before the season started but I questioned their QB and WR situation. I've been impressed by Wilson's play and they have put together a decent WR group. With their defense and running game they should be able to keep things tight in the postseason. If they had some home playoff games I'd be tempted to pick them to make the NFC Championship game.
The Bills gambled on Fitzpatrick and lost. They also spent a lot on defense that didn't pan out. This team needs to rebuild from the Head Coach down.
The Hawks win.
Pittsburgh at Dallas - This is a match-up of two franchises that should have playoffs berths locked-up, if the playoffs were a popularity contest. Unfortunately for these two teams you have to earn it on the field. I give the Steelers a pass, when your franchise QB goes down all bets are off. The fact that the Steelers are still alive in the playoff hunt just how tough this team and their coach are.
The Cowboys are the exact opposite. They have a lot of flash and names but no leadership and a weak head coach. The Cowboys remind me of the guy you golf with that can hit it 350yds off the practice tee. When you get to the first tee box all you have to do is mention the water on the right and they'll put a box of balls in the lake. They have no mental toughness and no leadership. They need to make some big changes.
Kansas City at Oakland - This are some outstanding games this week and some ridiculous one. I will only tune in to this game if I see Pryor on the field for the Raiders.
Not much to say here. I'll go Raiders at home.
San Francisco at New England - This week is full of great match-ups and this is another one. NBC hit the lottery on this match-up. I predicted the 49ers to win the Super Bowl this season and I'm still feeling good about it. This could be a preview of that game.
The 49ers are moving forward with their young QB and I like the decision. This is a defense first, run oriented team. Kaepernick gives them a strong arm and running option at QB that gives them some more firepower.
The Patriots proved once again that they are still the top of the AFC Class. If they can get the defense to play well, they'll win another Super Bowl.
Pats win at home and I can't wait to see this game.
NY Jets at Tennessee - This cannot be the MNF game. ESPN is going to spend this time talking about Tebow and probably previewing the postseason. This game could not mean any less to the playoff picture.
The Jets should have moved on from Sanchez when they had the chance last week, now they're forced to play him. I expect Sanchez to go 9-23, 115yds 1 TD and 2 INT. That's a terrible line, but one the Cardinals would take.
The Titans have some talent and at times looked good this season. They need to do an evaluation of everything from Head Coach to QB this offseason.