It’s not finals week yet in the NFL but playoff aspirants around the League are gonna’ have their mettle thoroughly tested when action in Week 13 resumes on Sunday.
Home cookin’ never tasted so good in this weekend’s marquee match-ups.
Atlanta (7-4) @ Houston (8-3) (1:00 EST / FOX)
QBs are dropping like flies in Houston as T.J. Yates (3rd signal-caller in as many weeks) tries to keep good times rolling. Expect lots o’ pressure from Falcons feisty front four as they try to swat T.J. to the turf. Ever since Atlanta lost to arch-rival New Orleans late last season and then folded in PS (GB), inconsistency marks their play. Texans simplify and utilize solid run-game (Foster / Tate), vast receiver-corps and top-notch defense at home.
Denver (6-5) @ Minnesota (2-9) (1:00 / FOX)
Confidence. It’s the watchword for NFL 2011. Some QBs have it (Brady / Ben / Rodgers / Eli), some are getting it (Cam / TT / Dalton / Sanchez). Players who believe in themselves and teammates who feel it. That’s one ingredient. But a formula for chemistry (GB / NE) calls for a hefty dose of skill. There’s full faith & credit in the Broncos’ huddle but the skill-set’s in the midst of evolution. The Vikes are a mess but the crew’s talented (QB Rosenfels is a nice pick-up), the dome is home and Christian’s growing into the job.
Vikings win the Faith Bowl.
Cincinnati (7-4) @ Pittsburgh (8-3) (1:00 / CBS)
Beating the Steelers at Heinz Field in December is one tall task. Sure, Bengals have the confidence thing going but like Denver, come up a tad short in the talent department. Big Ben aggravated the thumb-injury this week but he’s making the adjustments (they say).
Green Bay (11-0) @ NYG (6-5) (4:15 / FOX)
If Falcons are inconsistent the G-men are Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. One week Eli’s the best thing since sliced bread, next week he plays like a rookie. The Pack’s a juggernaut but have an Achilles heel: a pedestrian run-game. That, and a defense which too often has trouble finding their opponent’s jugular might spell doom. Chill the bubbly ‘72 Dolphins. Mr. Coughlin has no fear of the green & gold. He’s got a ring to prove it.
Detroit (7-4) @ New Orleans (8-3) (8:20 / NBC)
Lions should benefit from the absence of Mr. Suh and the weird, childish distraction he’s become. But his repeat-offender status exposes a weakness of the Detroit coaching staff. Saints are finding their rhythm and want to make amends for last season’s flame-out (v. Seattle) and the Clash of Titans that should’ve taken place in January against Green Bay.
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.