One Very Big Game
This is the last week of the 2012 NFL regular season. Very few of Sunday’s games have relevance. Playoff positions are almost decided, and we know who will be in and who will be out for the most part.
The Bears play the Lions in Detroit, and the Packers are in Minnesota to face the Vikings. Both Chicago and Minnesota have a 9-6 record, and are in contention for one of the final playoff spots in the NFC. If both the Bears and Vikings win or lose, the Vikings win the tie breaker because of a better divisional record. My money’s on Chicago who faces the less talented team.
An important battle is the AFC is for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Atlanta has clinched it in the NFC, but Houston, New England, and Denver all have an opportunity to be at home based on who wins and loses on Sunday.
The Houston Texans are in Indianapolis to challenge the Colts. Indiana has been a somewhat surprising team and has clinched a playoff birth with a 10-5 record. Divisional rival and AFC south champion Houston, can secure home field with a win. Superstar Colts’ rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, and an ever-improving defense won’t make it easy for them.
The Chiefs are at the Broncos, and the Dolphins are playing the Patriots in Foxboro. Denver and New England should both win easily. Kansas City and Miami both have losing records, and are the visiting teams in two very tough places to win.
I believe Denver has the best opportunity to secure home field. Houston has been struggling with an ineffective offense, and playing in Indianapolis which has a returning coach who was fighting leukemia, will have to bring their “A” game to win. Denver should have little trouble with a Kansas City team that has shown little consistency on offense or defense. New England should win, but they would still be one game behind Denver.
Last but not least, the most interesting game of the week. As Faith Hill sings at the beginning of each game, “I’ve been waitin’ all day for a Sunday night”.
The final regular season game brings the Cowboys to Washington. It couldn’t be a bigger game for either team. The victor between the Cowboys and Redskins becomes the NFC east champ. If both Minnesota and Chicago lose, a Washington loss would still guarantee them at least a wild card birth before they take the field. If Dallas loses, the Cowboys are out of the playoffs. New York has an outside chance to become a wild card, but Dallas, Chicago, and Minnesota must all lose.
So it comes down to a question that is on everyone’s mind: “Can Tony Romo win a big game”? As one sports writer put it, “When it’s time to go, Romo usually goes home”. Is it fair to blame the quarterback if his team loses “the big one”? Partially. In past years Romo has failed badly, but a large amount of the blame must be placed on head coach Jason Garrett. He has had one of the most talented teams in the league for two years. I have often questioned his decisions and clock management. I’m uncertain if Dallas has the mental toughness to succeed at a higher level.
Personally, I’m just a little sad the season is coming to an end. That said, I believe the “second season”, the playoffs, will be hard fought and well worth setting aside an entire day to watch them. Prepare your snacks early in the morning, and get ready for some hard hitting, and some great plays by the most physical athletes in the world.
News Correspondent-The Guardian Express