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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NFL 10 Takes Tuesday

Wild on Sports
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NFL 10 Takes Tuesday
By Wild on Sports Analyst Billy Ball

Each week I give you my 10 takes from the weekend that was in the NFL.

1. The New England Patriots are in trouble. They are the #2 seed now, could have been the #1 if they had beat Miami, but at this point could still miss the playoffs....WHAT??? If they lose their final two (Baltimore, Buffalo) and Maimi wins their last two games (Buffalo, NY Jets), Miami wins the division and gets in. That would leave New England at 10-6. Assuming they lose to Baltimore to get this record, both the Ravens and Bengals would hold the head to head tie-breaker over New England leaving the Pats on the outside looking in.

2. If the season were two weeks longer, the Chargers would make the playoffs. This seems to be the case every year in San Diego, doesn't it? Phillip Rivers and the Chargers get off to slow starts, only to kick it into high gear and narrowly miss the playoffs. At 7-7 they are going to need to win out and get some help. Miami holds a head to head tie-breaker so they would have to lose twice. Baltimore is a little trickier. Either way it does not look good for Chargers fans at this point. I truly believe they will beat both Oakland and Kansas City in their final two games. That would give them wins in 5 of their last six to close out the year. Add two more games for the hottest team in the NFL and you never know what happens.

3. The Broncos defense is not good enough to win a Superbowl. Ryan Matthews ran all over them Thursday night. Phillip Rivers picked the secondary apart. If a team finds a way to hold Denver under 20 points in the playoffs (like San Diego did this week) they are guaranteed to win the game. The Broncos need to find a pass rush (maybe blitz Von Miller a time or two) and they need Champ Bailey back from injury. Without getting both of those done, they don't stand a chance.

4. The Giants need to make a coaching change. As much as I respect Tom Coughlin and his two Superbowl rings, it is time for a fresh face and a new way of doing business. It happens in all sports where change needs to be made for change sake. Hearing the same voice year after year, it slowly loses its effectiveness. There is a ton of talent on that team on both sides of the ball. There is no reason why that team should ever be 5-9 at this point in the season.

5. We will see Aaron Rodgers again this season, but shouldn't. Rodgers is a major competitor. Anyone watching the Packers-Cowboys game on Sunday would have seen Rodgers more or less acting as the offensive coordinator and firing up his team on the sidelines. Great teammate move. That same drive is what is going to push him to do everything in his power to get on the field again. The Packers should do themselves a favor and just come out and say they are shutting him down for the regular season. That collar bone needs time to heal. Aaron Rodgers is the franchise. Why risk further injury when your playoff hopes are slim to begin with and Matt Flynn has been doing a more than serviceable job in his absence. Look ahead Pack. You'll get another shot at it next year.

6. Kirk Cousins will be a starting QB Week 1 in 2014. The only question here is where. In a QB driven league teams will do anything they feel necessary to lock up a "franchise QB". Cousins showed this weekend why Coach Shanahan wanted to draft him all along. At this point Washington is too invested in RGIII to go away from him and I think he is a decent QB in his own right. What the Redskins lack this year is a first round pick, thanks to the RGIII draft day trade. Cleveland and St. Louis both are sitting there with two first round picks. I would not be surprised to see either of them dangle the second of those two picks to Washington for Cousins.

7. The Dolphins, Eagles and Packers will all make the playoffs. Those are the three big races at this point and those are my predictions. The Dolphins have the easiest road (@Buffalo, vs. NY Jets) and a ton of momentum having won three in a row at this point. The Eagles, I believe, are the best all around team of these three. They have a tough road (vs. Chicago, @Dallas) but I believe in Nick Foles and Chip Kelly. I also do not believe in Tony Romo. The Packers are going to get someone back from injury and that someone is most likely a Pro-Bowl caliber players. Both Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb are fighting their way back from Injuries (Rodgers- broken collarbone, Cobb - broken leg). Both are ahead of schedule and pushing the envelope but if either or both come back that could be a huge boost.

8. The Cowboys will never contend for a Superbowl as long as Jerry Jones is the acting GM. You need separation between church and state and the Cowboys just don't have it. I'm also not sold on Jason Garrett, but that's a different story for a different day. Jones is too much of a fan to properly put together a team. If you are the owner or GM you should not be on the sidelines during the game. He is too emotionally involved and that inevitably will kill the Boys.

9. The Seattle Seahawks are the best team in the NFL and there is a huge gap before the #2 team. OK, not going out on much of a limb here but give credit where credit is due. The Seahawks are a damn good football team. That defense is suffocating. The offense is efficient. They play in the toughest barn in all of sports. Yeah, that's a good combination. They got their first win of the season in New York. I'm thinking there will be a second one before it is all said and done.

10. Matthew Stafford broke the hearts of fantasy football owners all across the country last night. I was just laughing about this earlier this morning with the boss here at Wild On as he was telling me one of his buddies won his fantasy match-up because of the last second pick that Stafford threw last night. Wow, what a heartbreaking way to lose. I'm guessing his poor overall performance cost a number of people in their fantasy playoffs all across the country last night. That's the fun of fantasy football. You just never know what is going to happen. But seriously man, ouch.

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