Kansas City Chiefs – After the way things ended in December and January of this past season, I strongly believe that Kansas City is on the rebound, and adding Moss could help quarterback Kyle Orton. It’s been a while since the Chiefs had a top-notched receiver, and certainly he’s someone, despite being 35-years-old, who could help Kansas City compete in a rather weak AFC West division.
Chicago Bears – He’s played a majority of his career against this particular squad, and clearly, the Bears need someone to help quarterback Jay Cutler. The Bears receiving core isn’t exactly the greatest in the NFL, so again, adding Moss could definitely help Johnny Knoxand Devin Hester, as well as the running game.
The NFC West Division – All four teams, (Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and St. Louis Rams) have money to spend, and could use a receiver like Moss. The 49ers would probably be ideal for him, but so would the Cardinals. If he lands a job with Arizona, it would most likely help their quarterback find more options.
A quick overview of the division races in the NFC with five games remaining…
This is a two-team race between the Cowboys and Giants. As of now, Dallas has a one-game lead, but these teams still have to play each other twice down the stretch: the first matchup is in two weeks, the second is the season finale. It will ultimately be those two games that decide the division winner. The other note from the East: Philadelphia [4-7] gets my vote for biggest disappointment in the NFL, at least for the moment.
You know the headline here: will the Packers go undefeated? Their five remaining games are against the Giants, Raiders, Chiefs, Bears and Lions. Three of them are at home. Four of those teams are over [.500], (KC being the exception) so it’s hardly a given that Green Bay will fly through them. The Lions are Bears are both in the thick of the wild card race at [7-4]. They split the head-to-head meetings this season. But Chicago has questions at quarterback, while Detroit will have to play the next two games without Ndamukong Suh, thanks to his “stomping” job against the Packers on Thanksgiving Day.
Here’s another two-team race. The Saints and Falcons are separated by one game. Both teams are peaking at just the right time. New Orleans has already beaten Atlanta in the Georgia Dome (in the “Mike Smith 4th Down Gamble” game.) The second meeting is the day after Christmas on Monday Night Football.
That game could be for the division title.
The 49ers can wrap up the division with a win at home Sunday against the Rams. San Francisco also has the inside track to a first-round bye. The one game that sticks out on their remaining schedule is a Monday night game against the Steelers on December 19th. Jim Harbaugh gets my vote for Coach of the Year, though it might be hard to bypass Mike McCarthy if the Packers go undefeated. Remember that tremendous game between the Saints and Packers on opening night? Wouldn’t you love to see a rematch in the NFC Championship game? I hope I’m right.
If the Ravens are going to be deemed one the best teams in the NFL, then they need to beat the 49ers on Thanksgiving.
Baltimore has struggled this year against under performing squads like Arizona, Jacksonville, and Tennessee, but has somehow managed to defeat Pittsburgh twice. The Ravens defense continues to impress and has held opponents to roughly 25 points per game and 344 offensive yards, as well as bailed out quarterback Joe Flaccotoo.
San Francisco’s offense has averaged roughly 26 points and 323 offensive yards per game, while quarterback Alex Smithhas recorded 13 touchdowns and is on pace to match his career high from the ’09 season, (18 TDs). Running backs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunterhave combined for seven rushing scores and 1,154 yards on the ground, so expect the 49ers offense to challenge a Ravens unit that will most likely be without linebacker Ray Lewisfor the second straight week.
Finally, this matchup will also mark the first time in league history that two brothers, who’re head coaches, will face-off against one another.
FUN FACT – If San Francisco wins this holiday clash, it’ll be the first time the 49ers reached 10 wins since the ’02 season.
Prediction – Expect both squads to come out of the gates with loads of energy, but once it’s all said and done, I expect the Ravens to give their home crowd an early holiday present – their eighth win of the season. Baltimore 20 – San Francisco 14
After six weeks of the NFL’s current season, we’ve learned a lot, and witnessed some amazing moments. However, we’re far from over or throwing in the towel, especially since we have another 10-weeks remaining of the regular season.
Yet, I do wonder if anyone imagined that after six weeks, the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers would be a combined, [10-2]?
Here’s another question – who truly believed that the Cincinnati Bengals would eventually trade quarterback Carson Palmer?
Finally, did anyone expect the Philadelphia Eagles “dream-team” to implode after six weeks?
Overall, there’s been a bunch of surprises, but in this particular column, it’ll be my duty to breakdown some teams that have raised some eyebrows, as well as look ahead to the remainder of the season.
Biggest Surprise Team:I certainly have enjoyed watching Detroit and San Francisco, but the team I am going to select for this particular category is the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo has been dreadful over the past few years and yes, they’ve had some fast starts, but between quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back Fred Jackson, as well as a defense that’s forced numerous turnovers against Tom Brady and Michael Vick, I’d say, they’re cooking and onto something.
Yet, despite their two recent losses against Cincinnati and New York, the Bills will certainly want to regroup quickly, especially since their remaining schedule features a variety of playoff bound teams, such as Dallas, New England, New York, San Diego, and Tennessee. They should certainly pick up a few more wins against Denver, Miami and Washington, and will most likely compete for an AFC Wild-Card spot too.
All in all, the Bills have been a lot of fun to watch, but we’ll have to wait and see if this is yet again another year of a “fast start” or possibly the start of something new.
Biggest Flop Team:Hands down, this award goes to Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Backup quarterback Vince Young should have bit his tongue this past summer when he told reporters that Philadelphia was “the dream team.” The Eagles have played horrendous on both sides of the ball, but managed to pick up an important win last weekend against Washington. Philadelphia certainly is a talented group, but if they keep playing haphazard football, don’t expect a championship to be delivered anytime soon.
Vick and his receivers need to get on the same page, while the defense has to figure out ways to stop their opponents. Expect the Eagles to pick up the slack in the coming weeks, but overall, they have a lot of ground to make-up.
Who’s more likely to clinch a postseason birth? Buffalo, Detroit, San Francisco or Tennessee?
Again, I have enjoyed Buffalo’s wild ride, but my best guess is the San Francisco 49ers, who practically have the NFC West locked up. Arizona, Seattle and St. Louis have been complete flops, which have allowed the 49ers the opportunity to distance themselves from the pack. San Francisco has been quite impressive this year, especially against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a few weeks ago, (sorry, Brian Willwerth) and should certainly hang onto win their division, especially since they have five divisional contests remaining, which include two against the winless Rams.
Best AFC Team:As much as I want to pick the Baltimore Ravens, who have demolished their opponents thus far, I am going to pick the New England Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Wes Welkerhave been a deadly one-two punch, while second year tight ends Aaron Hernandezand Rob Gronkowski have helped with the run game.
As far as their defense, well… it’s getting better. Against the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets, the secondary, which is one the worst in the NFL played quite well, while the front seven pressures both quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez and Tony Romo.
This week, the Patriots will enjoy a much needed bye week before they travel to Pittsburgh. If New England can keep grinding out wins, expect this team to finally end their recent playoff drought.
Best NFC Team:This is an easy one – the Green Bay Packers.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgersand the Pack have been on a roll this season, and are certainly on pace to return to the Super Bowl. Yet, it’s only been six games, so I think we need a few more weeks to decide how good this Packers team is, but as of Oct. 20, 2011, I’m going to say, they’re the best the NFC has to offer this season.
Possible Super Bowl Prediction:Earlier this summer, I didn’t have a chance to predict a possible Super Bowl matchup, but now, I am going to say it’ll be between the Packers and Patriots. Both teams are committed to winning, as well as have two of the best quarterbacks in the game that are completely clutch in the fourth quarter. Green Bay’s defense might be a tad bit better than New England’s, but all in all, I’m anticipating a Super Bowl XXXI rematch in Indianapolis, Indiana this February.