By: Shawn Davis
Sunday night was a great night to be a fan! I watched the L.A. Galaxy capture the MLS Cup while also seeing The Rock return at WWE’s Survivor Series at MSG. You couldn’t tell that he hasn’t wrestled in over six years because he looked so sharp. The sports weekend also featured the amazing Dan Henderson/Mauricio Rua fight at UFC 139, Tiger Woods helping the U.S. clinch the President’s Cup and Tony Stewart clinching the Sprint Cup. Wow, a lot of cups were up for grabs this weekend and it’s a great time to be a sports fan – or a fan of cups.
Wait, this is my football column, right? Oh yeah, the Giants and Eagles faced off in the evening contest that confused me to no end. I didn’t trust either team because the Eagles have shown they cannot close out a game and the Giants play to their competition (they beat the Patriots and but also found a way to lose to the Seahawks) so I had no idea who to go with for my weekly picks. I went with the Giants and, well, you know the outcome. Here we go:
NY Jets 13 @ Denver 17:
Tim Tebow is 4-1 since taking over the team and the Broncos are 5-5 overall (which is second place in the AFC West). Those are the facts, people. Whether you’re a supporter of detractor of the guy – he wins games.
Can people stop talking about how “great” the Jets defense is? To be fair – well, somewhat fair – they suffocated the Broncos and if their offense showed up they would have blown the doors off this game but that didn’t happen now did it? They can compete, defensively, with any team in the league but last time I checked, offense is kind of important too.
Next week: Jets host Buff (5-5); Den @ SD (4-6)
Philadelphia 17 @ NY Giants 10:
Vince Young led an impressive 18-play drive – that took 9 minutes – to score the go-ahead touchdown late in the 4th quarter. Philly’s defense played like they should have played all year and Jason Babin sacked Eli Manning – causing a fumble which the Eagles recovered to end the game. Maybe the Eagles have a heartbeat, albeit a faint one.
The Giants are such a confusing team and one that has cost me more games than I care to mention, although the Eagles have cost me even more. What about Victor Cruz? Six catches for 128 yards and he ran a great route to catch the touchdown while burning Nnamdi Asomugha in the process. The Giants next three might decide their season (@ New Orleans; host GB; @ Dallas) so stay tuned. The Eagles get Brady next week; good luck with that.
Next week: Philly hosts New England (7-3); NYG @ NO (7-3)
San Diego 20 @ Chicago 31:
Good news? Chicago won five games in a row and is looking like one of a select few that can give the Packers a true test. Bad? Jay Cutler may be out for the rest of the regular season with a broken thumb. This was a great game to view and I appreciate how Mike Martz has been taking his “smart play-call” medication to consistently put his players in the right scheme.
I’ve never been the biggest rah-rah guy for Jay Cutler but I want to see him healthy. It’s not all bad because the Bears best-case scenario was earning a wildcard spot anyway, so all they need to do is fight for 10 or 11 wins and they should be fine; at that point Cutler will hopefully be healthy.
Next week: SD hosts Den (5-5); Chi @ Oak (6-4)
Cincinnati 24 @ Baltimore 31:
The Bengals lost last week to the Steelers and fell to the Ravens on Sunday afternoon. That’s what happens when the division’s top dogs come to town but I’m definitely impressed with this young squad. They had chances to tie and outright win both of these games and it does set this team up for the future. There are lessons in losses and the Bengals know they can compete in their division.
I was really surprised that Baltimore decided to actually play this game and not urinate all over the floor while looking to blame someone else for the smell. It was an exciting game and Flacco didn’t hurt them (like I thought he would). Torrey Smith caught six passes for 165 yards with a touchdown reception; that’s an average of 27.5 yards per catch, people. Talk about taking chunks of the field; I like it. I still don’t trust the Ravens though.
Next week: Cin hosts Cle (4-6); Bal hosts San Fran (9-1) on Turkey Day
Tampa Bay 26 @ Green Bay 35:
Tampa came to play, stood face-to-face with the champs, and walked away with a loss. Make no mistake though: the Packers had a scare put into them on Sunday and I think it will make them a better squad. Josh Freeman had a good game with 342 yards passing with 2 tds (and 2 ints) and he attacked the Packers defense the entire game. The highlight reel LaGarrette Blount run was right out of a video game and no one on the Packers seemed determined to try to take him down – I doubt it would have mattered anyway.
Next week: TB @ Tenn (5-5); GB @ Det (7-3) at Turkey Day
Carolina 35 @ Detroit 49:
I thought I was playing Madden 12 when I was looking at this one. This is MY type of scoring barrage! Who needs defense? All I care about is the scoreboard lighting up and they moved it like the slots in Vegas.
Good? Detroit can overcome huge deficits. Bad? They keep playing themselves into huge deficits. I doubt that’s the best recipe for longevity…I may be wrong. I have to mention halfback Kevin Smith – in his return to the team that drafted him, he had 201 total yards with 3 touchdowns to torch the Panthers.
Next week: Car @ Indy (0-10); Det hosts GB (10-0) on Turkey Day
Dallas 27 @ Washington 24:
I am convinced the Cowboys want to give Jerry Jones a stroke. I found it gracious of Cowboys coach Mike Shanahan to call the critical timeout to help his team knock-in the game-winning field goal. Oh no, wait, he coaches the Redskins and he BAILED out Tony Romo from calling a timeout (the ‘Boys didn’t have) and getting a penalty to push the game-winning kick back 15 yards; smart.
Next week: Dal hosts Mia (3-7) on Turkey Day; Wash @ Sea (4-6)
Oakland 27 @ Minnesota 21:
Carson Palmer is looking more comfortable as each game passes and the Raiders are playing with a level of confidence not present in Oakland since they went to the Super Bowl in 2003. Michael Bush is continuing his stellar play by having another 100 yard rushing day – and allowing fellow halfback Darren McFadden to get healthy. I like what Oakland has been doing over the last 2 weeks.
Next week: Oak hosts Chi (7-3); Minn @ Atl (6-4)
Buffalo 8 @ Miami 35:
The Bills 3-game swan dive is murdering all hope their great fans had for this season. I have a soft spot in my heart for Western New York but they do have their Sabres, right? Look past the Dolphins if you want, at 3-7, I would take them over a lot of teams with better records – and I would not be shocked if they knock off the Cowboys while the turkey is coming out of the oven.
Next week: Buf @ NY Jets (5-5); Miami @ Dal (6-4) on Turkey Day
Arizona 7 @ San Francisco 23:
Alex Smith is not a game manager; he makes plays for this team. He’s not burdened with having to win games solely on his ability but he’s a vital cog in the machine – not an ancillary piece.
Next week: Ari @ Stl (2-8); SF @ Bal (7-3)
Seattle 24 @ St. Louis 7:
Seattle pissed me off and beat the Rams! The Seahawks have been screwing up some games where I was sure they would get crushed. I need to get my head examined, apparently, before I put in my weekly picks.
Next week: Sea hosts Wash (3-7); Stl hosts Ari (3-7)
Jacksonville 10 @ Cleveland 14:
Maurice Jones-Drew taunted the fans after a touchdown by doing the LeBron James talcum-powder toss. Bad move. The Browns taunted the Jaguars with the final on the scoreboard.
Can someone please get my boy, MJD, off the Jaguars? Please?
Next week: Jac hosts Hou (7-3); Cle @ Cinn (6-4)
Tennessee 17 @ Atlanta 23:
Chris Johnson is not back, sorry for thinking that! I watched a lot of sports this weekend so please forgive me. Atlanta came out and played in such a way that had so many talking heads picking them for the Super Bowl this season, too bad they didn’t get the memo earlier in the year.
Next week: Tenn hosts TB (4-6); Atl hosts Minn (2-8)
Kansas City 3 @ New England 34:
The Chiefs led 3-0 after the first quarter of play was in the books; take a look at the final score. There’s nothing else to say.
Next week: KC hosts Pittsburgh (7-3); NE @ Philly (4-6)
Dan Henderson vs. Shogun:
This fight made me jump up like I was juiced up on sugar about six times. It was almost too brutal to enjoybut it was probably my favorite UFC fight ever. The fact that Henderson was awarded the unanimous decision was dubious, at best, as I felt it should have been a draw. Either way I’m glad I got to view it!
I’ll return next week with the Week 12 rankings and show my ineptitude in my pick-league (by documenting my overall record) so you can understand why I’m always complaining about the Ravens, Giants and Seahawks.