[caption id="attachment_16828" align="aligncenter" width="496"] Elaine Thompson / Associated Press[/caption] Ok, so were past Thanksgiving now and the contenders and pretenders are starting to be sorted out. At the moment the NFC certainly looks like the stronger conference getting into the last five games of the regular season. Let’s have a look at the two games that we've got slated for Fox Sports this week.
Seattle Seahawks (6-5) @ Chicago Bears (8-3)Time & Date: Monday December 3 , 5:00am Coverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 2 HD w/Replay at 4:30pm on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 2 HD (See TV Guide for info) The Seahawks are on the skids a little, while the Bears got Jay Cutler back and were rolling happily towards the playoffs in their tough division. However, more key injuries for Chicago could hurt them badly. Seattle are coming off a terribleloss in Week 12. Playing against the Miami Dolphins, Leon Washington, Russell Wilson and the offence had a good game and were up 21-14 in the 4th quarter. Now, the vaunted Seattle defense should have been able to shut down a Ryan Tannehill (!!) lead offence, but they couldn't and gave up 10 points in the last 5:36 of the game to lose it 24-21. One hell of a dent to a team’s confidence. The Bears are a team riddled with injuries – Forte, Briggs, Tillman, Hester and Davis are all listed as questionable for this home game. Watch out for: The Seahawks defense to come out angry and try and avenge their horrible showing in the second half against Miami last week. Final word and prediction: This is a tough one to pick because of that Bears injury report. I think Forte will play, but Hester and Tillman probably won’t. I think this is going to be ugly and I see the Seahawks pulling one out thanks to a couple of big plays. Give me Seattle 14-10.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-2)Time & Date: Monday December 3 , 8:00am Coverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 2 HD w/Replay at 6:30pm on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 2 HD So thanks to some weird scheduling, we saw these two teams meet in Pittsburgh only TWO weeks ago! Until then, the Steelers had their season flying, but Big Ben Roethlisberger was injured and with Byron Leftwich at QB, they lost to the Ravens 13-10. The Ravens are 9-2, but they have to be considered lucky to be that high as FIVE of those wins have been by a field goal or less. Big Ben might play this game and goodness me, do they ever need him! The abject terribleness being served up by Leftwich and Batch has made my eyes hurt watching it. If the Steelers lose this one, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on them in the last four games of the year to make a playoff wildcard spot. The Ravens keep finding ways to look like a very ordinary team, but win every close game they play in. They seem to play up or down to their opponent – for example, they were fantastic against good teams like the Patriots, but terrible against the Steelers and San Diego. Watch out for: Ben Roethlisberger starting, or not. Without him, it’s near impossible to see this being competitive. Also note that a Ravens win would guarantee them a playoff spot, so they’ll be hungry. Final word and prediction: Who knows! But I think with the Steelers' QB troubles, I like the Ravens big here 24-6.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) @ Denver Broncos (8-3)Time & Date: Monday December 3 , 8:30am Coverage: (TBA if this game is to be shown on Fox Sports) Well now! Please allow me to quote a very good friend of mine…How ‘bout dem Broncos?! Denver has a FOUR game lead at the top of the AFC West and look to be cruising towards a Number 2, 3 or 4 seed in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Bucs are better than their record – they were really unlucky to lost to Atlanta last week and really should have beaten the Giants and Redskins earlier in the year. As it is, they’re fighting hard for one of the two wildcard spots in the NFC. Josh Freeman has his mojo back this year with 21TDs and only seven INTs. Along with Doug Martin, the rookie out of Boise State, (1050 yards and 9TDs), they've got the offence humming along and scoring an average of 28.2 points per game. Unfortunately, the defence has continued to stink so so badly this year. The Denver Broncos seem to have it all. Potent offence lead by a top-level QB? Check. Dynamic defence lead by a hungry front seven? Check. Watch out for: Manning vs the Bucs secondary. Tampa Bay ranks LAST in the league in total pass defence giving up an average of 316 yards per game for an horrific average of 8.4 yards per attempt. That’s just not very good. Final word and prediction: I really like the Bucs, they’re definitely a potential playoff team. But in Denver? With their pass defence being so bad? Ummm….no. I like the Broncos to win big in a high scoring air raid of a game, 42-28.
Ok kids! Enjoy the week's viewing and use the little box below to write stuff.