Week 14 continues and we've got some great games with playoff implications and plenty of teams just struggling to remain "in the hunt." Let's take a tour around the early afternoon schedule, shall we?
Baltimore at Washington (CBS): I have to say, I am shocked that Nantz and Simms won't be calling this game. This game has it all: a trumped up "rivalry" and a rising star. The Robert Griffin III bandwagon now has a waiting list and does not stop at all railroad crossings. He's a pretty popular guy, is what I'm saying. Anyway, can't you just hear "the battle for the beltway! Next, on CBS!" like, seconds after Nantz wishes all his friends a warm hello? I sure can. Not to worry, though, the underrated-at-football Marv Albert calls this one with Rich Gannon. So, when you realize that Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf are calling some other game, it literally could be worse.
San Diego at Pittsburgh (CBS): Nantz and Simms will be calling this one which seems to be more about CBS being in the bag for the old school and classily-owned AFC franchise than this being a game worth showcasing with your top broadcast team. I mean, San Diego is 4-8. Losers of four straight and seven of their last eight. So, you know, they are not a good team. It's possible I am discounting the national cache of Ben Roethlisberger, but, still. This game. I don't know about this game.
St. Louis at Buffalo (FOX): Here is a sentence that must make Rams fans grimace:
St. Louis will try to continue its playoff push by notching its longest winning streak since ending the 2006 campaign with three victories in a row, but can't look past a Buffalo squad also hoping to reach the postseason.
There is also talk in that article about two separate win streaks on the year. The Rams have five wins. So, you know, pretty sizable streaks going there. Buffalo also has five wins on the year but they are stuck behind the Jets in the deluded fan's best friend (or most dangerous enabler)—the "in the hunt" section of the playoff picture.
Dallas at Cincinnati (FOX): The Bengals are currently on the outside looking in—also "in the hunt"—after the Ravens blew the game against the Steelers last week. No worries, the Bengals will get a crack at both in weeks 16 and 17, respectively. First, though, come the Cowboys. A team's response to these things are always difficult, and just plaint weird to predict, so let's look at the game this way: Can Tony Romo out-duel Andy Dalton? The two have fairly similar traditional statistics, But Dalton has more touchdowns and fewer turnovers.
Kansas City at Cleveland (CBS): Oh, this is fun. Earlier in the week, Joe Thomas told reporters that ex-Brown and current Chief Peyton Hillis quit on Cleveland and was toxic during his protracted contract dispute with the team. Hillis fired back by calling Joe Thomas a crazy ex-girlfriend.
"Joe Thomas, he can have his opinions all he wants. It's kind of like a crazy ex-girlfriend, you know? It's been over a year. Get on with it."
Hillis said it's easy for Thomas to rip others for seeking a new contract when "you get paid $100 million by one team."
It's just a shame that these guys are both offensive players, could have been fun to watch.
Tennessee at Indianapolis (CBS): The Colts are the current owners of the first wildcard spot in the AFC. The Titans are the owners of the last "in the hunt" spot with a 4-8 record and bad tie breakers. Depending on how the rest of the week(s) shape up, the Colts will have to play at determined Houston Texans team twice in the final three weeks of the season—which kind of raises the stakes for the Colts today. #MUSTWINGAME
Chicago at Minnesota (FOX): Adrian Peterson will continue to add to his case for comeback player of the year, an important distinction to be sure. Seriously, though, it is kind of crazy he is doing what he is doing. He was seriously injured—torn ACL and MCL—in Week 16 of the 2011 season. it was just assumed he would miss a portion of this season, but less than a year later he is out there running around and looking exactly how we remembered him. And today, he gets to run against a depleted Bears defense that got blown up—176 rushing yards/5.5 yards per rush—by the Seattle Seahawks last week.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay (FOX): Looking at this from a glass half-full perspective, this is not a home game for the Eagles. It's sort of assumed that Andy Reid is out after the year because he's been there for so long. "He's been there so long, the players are not getting the message anymore." That sentence could be quoted from literally any telecast or article about Andy Reid. Yet Reid is still wheeling and dealing. Firing coordinators, bringing back other ex-coaches and hitching his wagon to a youngsters star. Maybe he's not going anywhere.
With the Eagles also second-to-last in the NFC with 20 sacks, coach Andy Reid decided to make yet another change by firing defensive line coach Jim Washburn and bringing back Tommy Brasher for his third stint with the team.
"He's all about the team," Reid said of Brasher.
Eh, maybe not.
Atlanta at Carolina (FOX): The Panthers are 3-9. I was going to write "The Panthers are a disappointing 3-9" there but, there's really not a "heartening 3-9" or "optimistic 3-9" or "so glad I haven't wasted another year of my life cheering for this stupid team 3-9." The Falcons on the other hand are currently dealing with the whole "don't win when it counts" routine with sprinkles of "yeah, the record is good but they've been lucky." Both things are technically true, I suppose, but there the Falcons are: 11-1 and two and a half games ahead of San Francisco for the top seed in the NFC.
New York Jets at Jacksonville (CBS): This makes me want to cry.
Photos via Getty