NFL Guardian Report: Bengals vs. Steelers, Saints & Cowboys, Giants, Ravens and More…

Only Two Games Left, Some Matter

NFL Guardian Report: Bengals vs. Steelers, Saints & Cowboys, Giants, Ravens and More...After Sunday there will be one game left in the regular season. Most of the playoff picture is clear, but some are still in doubt. And some of the games matter for individuals, and some could just be fun.

The 1 p.m. EST games that have relevance are expected to be very entertaining.

The Cincinnati Bengals will be in Heinz Field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are both in range of capturing the last playoff spot in the AFC. If the Steelers win, they will have the same record as the Bengals, but will have eliminated Cincinnati because they have beaten them twice.

The Bengals and Steelers are teams that lack cohesion for 60 minutes. The Steelers have the number one defense in the NFL, but they are towards the bottom in takeaways and sacks. The Bengals defense is good, but does not always appear to play for all 4 quarters.

The offense for both teams possess the players and ability to score. But sometimes they show a lack of effort. Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger both have talented receivers, but Dalton holds the edge because his know how to catch the ball. In order to get a completion, “Big Ben” may have to throw the ball hard enough to stick in the chest of his receivers.

The Saints are visiting the Cowboys. Tony Romo is playing his best football for Dallas, and DiMarco Murray is back at running back to give them more balance. They have to win, the NFC East is still undecided.

New Orleans has found itself. Drew Brees once again has his team running on all cylinders. This could be a shootout.

Later in the afternoon, the New York Giants travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens. The Giants are in a three way tie in their division. Eli Manning is having difficulty at a time of year when he usually excels. The Giants are once again in search of a running game, and their defense appears to lack intensity.

I don’t know what to say about the Ravens who have had great difficulty in the second half of the season. There are two questions to be answered. Can Joe Flacco have one complete game and score enough points to win? Part “B” of that is, will Ray Rice get the ball enough times to put them into position to win? My other question is, how will their aging defense react to Flacco’s best pass, the long ball? Could be fun to watch.

Two games, with possible implications, offer great fun for the fans for other reasons as well.

In an early afternoon game, the Minnesota Vikings are at the Houston Texans. Houston is in the playoffs as the winner of the AFC South. Minnesota can make it as a wild card team. But what to watch here is “Super Back” Adrian Peterson.

Recovering from serious knee injury at the end of last season, many predicted that we might have seen him play his last game. The opposite has occurred. He will surely reach 2000 yards this season. With two games to go, he already has 1812 yards. What is a definite possibility is that he could surpass Eric Dickerson’s all time record of 2105 yards, accomplished in 1984. He would have to average just over 146 yards per game to accomplish all time greatness.

But the Houston Texans’ defense will have something to say about it. One of the best in the NFL, the Vikings’ offensive line will have to be at the top of their game to free Peterson.

Lastly, the San Francisco 49ers are playing the Seattle Seahawks. San Francisco has a record of 10-3, Seattle 9-5. The 49ers should win their division, but the Seahawks are still in position.

Any team playing in Seattle is confronted and challenged by the noise and the crowd. Quarterback sensation Colin Kaepernick led San Francisco to a win in New England last week, not an easy thing to do. But Seattle is at the top of their game at the end of the season led by “too small”, but terrific and effective rookie, Russell Wilson.

This has been the best season for fans that I can remember, and it’s not quite over. Chill the beer, grab your chips and dip, and warm up the recliner. Sunday will be fun.

James Turnage

News Correspondent-The Guardian Express

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