The NFL is heading into its final month of the regular season and Foxtel has Australian fans covered with three live games in Week 13. So set the alarm clock for 5am, sit back relax and enjoy the action!
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
When and Where: Monday December 2, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IndianaCoverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 (via Foxtel), 5:00 am AEST Who would have thought it would be these two teams that were battling for the AFC South crown? The Titans despite a losing record have been a surprise packet this season and are in contention for a wildcard spot. The Colts were expected to be playing second fiddle to the Texans this season but have again surprised the NFL. The Titans last second win against the Raiders kept their season alive. Ryan Fitzpatrick lit it up on offense, aided by two very impressive young receivers in Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright. Kenny Britt's future in Tennessee is looking very dim, he should be gone next year. While the Titans pass defense is still one of the most underrated in the league, their lack of pass rush against a weak Oakland offensive line is concerning, giving Andrew Luck time is something you do not want to do. The Colts were woeful last week. Their performance against former coach Bruce Arians was probably their worst in the Pagano/Grigson era and prompted owner Jim Irsay to tweet furiously. The Trent Richardson trade should now be officially labelled a bust and the loss of Reggie Wayne has this offense asking many questions. Meanwhile the defense which rattled Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson earlier this season has disappeared. The good news however is that Andrew Luck and Chuck Pagano have a 100% win record together following a loss. The last time Jim Irsay tweeted at the teams disappointment they beat San Francisco on the road. Food for thought. Watch Out For: Safety Antoine Bethea is no longer a perennial pro bowler. Bethea has been abysmal this season and his form may warrant a release or trade at seasons end. He needs to turn his form around with a big performance at home. Final Word and Prediction: The Colts have been one of the hardest teams to predict all year. Andrew Luck is 100% after a loss and there is no way you go against that. A win here keeps them in contention for a top two seed in the AFC. Colts 28 - 24
Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers
When and Where: Monday December 2, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
Coverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 (via Foxtel), 8:25 am AEST
One playoff team faces a potential wild card playoff team. This is a real test for the Bengals as they lo0k to end the playoff hopes of the resurgent Chargers. The Bengals need the win to extend their lead over the Baltimore Ravens and the Chargers need that win to catch the Ravens. With four home games left in the schedule, the Chargers control their own destiny
On the road to San Diego is a tough road trip. It has already claimed the scalps of the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys. The Chargers defense is certainly not the best in the NFL so Dalton and Green should capitalise on that and have a big game. The defence will need to stop Rivers and that aerial attack and avoid getting into a shootout. Rivers in a shootout is tough to beat, especially if your Andy Dalton.
Of all the 5-6 teams in the AFC the Chargers look like the one team that could give the playoffs a shake up. The win against the Chiefs at Arrowhead was very impressive. It looks like Philip Rivers has finally found a guy he can trust to throw to, it has been lacking since Vincent Jackson left. Keenan Allen has surged into Rookie of the Year Award contention with his outstanding play. Allen along with Danny Woodhead has the Chargers passing attack ranked fourth in the NFL. The Bengals rank sixth in pass defense, definitely the key battle in this game.
Watch Out For: Danny Woodhead has been a great addition to the Chargers. The Jets are regretting letting him go with his ability in the passing game (would have helped Geno Smith A LOT). Woodhead has seven touchdowns and against the tough Bengals secondary, Rivers will lean on the agile back heavily in this one.
Final Word and Prediction: The Bengals are a tough team to beat but so is Kansas City at Arrowhead and the Chargers marched in and did just that. I expect that momentum to carry and the Chargers pull a Bengal out of a hat.
Chargers 21 - 20
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins
When and Where: Monday December 2, FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
Coverage: LIVE on ESPN, 12:20 pm AEST
Its safe to say that both of these two will not feature in the playoffs. Both teams though have a lot to gain at remaining competitive until the end of the season so this should be quite an entertaining game. Both teams have key players that may possibly be Free Agents at seasons end so getting some quality game time and film on them will help make decisions when the curtain is drawn on 2013.
The Giants had their winning streak destroyed last week with some Romo clutch magic. The Giants defense was quite impressive but their offense was unable to exploit a weak Dallas secondary enough. Despite the emergence of Rueben Randle the passing game of the Giants has been very disappointing this season. They are ranked 24th in the NFL in passing touchdowns, this is the game for them to reestablish that passing game against the 27th ranked pass defense of the Redskins.
The Redskins season has been far from ideal. After showing so much promise last season the team with so much potential is simply not getting the job done. The media have been quick to blame RG3, they shouldn't. With any second year quarterback you have to expect some decline and especially those coming off a serious leg injury who missed the entire off season and pre season. RG3 has been pounded every week by oppositions defensive lines and this should be no different. Kudos to him though, he just keeps getting back up and fighting.
Watch Out For: WR Rueben Randle has been a shining light this season for the Giants and will most definitely take Hakeem Nicks spot next season. Against this pass defense, Eli Manning will look for his new favourite target.
Final Word and Prediction: I expect the Giants to get out to an early lead but RG3 will remind Redskins fans what all the hype was about and rally the Skins to a comeback victory. He deserves it.
Redskins 28 - 27
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