The Games to Watch Sunday
Ordinarily I would tell you the best NFL game to watch this weekend was the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Baltimore Ravens. This has been the longest and most physical rivalry in professional football. The Ravens are the original Cleveland Browns, and they have continued to nurture both hate and respect for each other. But the Steelers are not expected to have “Big Ben” back behind center, so the game will most likely be one-sided.
When the schedule was released it paired the Eagles and Cowboys on Sunday night’s game. Individually neither team is worth watching, and facing each other should be a game of mediocrity. Philadelphia is starting a rookie quarterback who has a lot to learn. Michael Vick is still suffering physical problems related to a concussion. As for Dallas, Tony Romo’s decision making is very questionable, but, then, so is his coach’s, Jason Garrett. Besides, neither one of them will be in the playoffs.
The best game will not be played on Sunday. Monday Night Football features the New York Giants at the Washington Redskins. Eli Manning led the Giants to a win in the Superbowl last February, and I have seen no reason to think he can’t do it again this year. A win on Monday night will be determined by which defense shows up. They have the best defensive line in the game, but they don’t always prove it on game day. For the Redskins, Robert Griffin III is one of the greatest offensive weapons in football. He is an accurate passer with a very strong arm, and is the team’s best rusher. When running back Alfred Morris is bursting through defensive lines he is a threat and allows RG III more versatility to call a variety of plays which are limited when they are one dimensional.
With the playoff picture becoming clearer each week, there are several match-ups that have no meaning except to the teams playing them.
The Cardinals should survive against a low quality New York Jets team that has no quarterback, and a failing coach. The Colts, even with a rookie quarterback, have developed into a team that, unlike last year, no one really wants to face. They should win against a Lions team that has no leadership and no consistency, (and the dirtiest player in football). The team I consider the best in football, the Houston Texans should easily defeat the Tennessee Titans who are in the process of finding themselves. The 49ers, who now have a quarterback that can throw the ball down the field, and has excellent running ability should easily defeat the St. Louis Rams. The Packers should have little problem defeating the Minnesota Vikings, with the exception of running back Adrian Peterson, who may be the “comeback player of the year”. The Seahawks and Bears could be entertaining. You never know what Jay Cutler will do, good or bad. But the Bears need to win, stay in first place, and stay in position to have at least one home game in the playoffs. Tampa Bay plays in Denver. This game too may be worth watching, at least the first half. Peyton Manning is at home and getting better every week. As for the Jaguars and Bills, who cares? I’m not sure their fans even watch anymore. The Panthers are at the Chiefs. With the event that happened Saturday morning, no one is sure what to expect. The Browns visit the “black hole” in Oakland, and once again, who cares? I suppose the Oakland fanatics will. The Patriots are at the Dolphins. Need I say anything more? Lastly, the Bengals go to San Diego. This game has some merit, but not for the Chargers. Cincinnati has a chance at a wild card spot and should win over another team with an overrated quarterback and an ineffective coach.
I know, I know, everyone has an opinion. I agree, and these are mine. We all pick games where our favorite teams are in action. And most of us pick winners based on emotion and not logic. That’s why I don’t bet on them anymore.
Whoever you watch, enjoy. The season is rapidly winding down. I never know what to do after February.