NFL Week 17: Giants @ Redskins

This season has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for the New York Giants as they have been considered to be one of the best teams at times this year and also a bit of a disappointment at other times.

The Giants are no doubt a talented football team on both sides of ball, but have struggled to play consistently well from time to time and have been hit with two devastating losses over the last two weeks of the season.

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As if losing to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles in the final seconds of the fourth quarter on a DeSean Jackson punt return touchdown wasn’t bad enough, the following week the New York Giants were absolutely dominated from start to finish against a banged up Green Bay Packers team that lit them up for 45 points.

Obviously, both of these games work big wake-up call for this once playoff bound team as they realized things aren’t going get any easier from here on out. Not only did they lose the division title to the Eagles, but they might have also lost their chance at the playoffs as they will need a few scenarios to go their way in the final week of the NFL regular season in order to make it into the postseason.

Fortunately, the New York Giants are more than capable of winning their game against the division rival Washington Redskins this weekend, but will need to see the Green Bay Packers fall to the Chicago Bears in order to clinch a Wild-card spot in the NFC Conference.

So beating the lowly Redskins will most likely be fairly easy for Eli Manning and company, but the Packers falling to the Bears is something they will definitely keep their eye on as I can’t see Aaron Rogers and his squad losing a must win situation like that.

The beautiful thing about NFL football is that anything can happen at any time and even if you have the slightest chance of making the playoffs if not unheard of to see multiple scenarios go your way in the last week of the NFL regular season.

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As of right now, the New York Giants have been given a -4 point spread heading into their showdown with the division rival Washington Redskins.

Personally, I believe that’s ridiculous as the Redskins have one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season and will have absolutely nothing to play for coming into this game. Along with Mike Shanahan’s defense being among the worst in the league, their offense is a much better even though Rex Grossman has given them a bit more punch at the quarterback position.

It’s extremely hard to say that there are any true locks when it comes to picking winners in NFL matchups, but I would say this is definitely one of them as the New York Giants will almost certainly dominate the Washington Redskins from start to finish while covering the -4 spread with ease.

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NFL Week 17: Cowboys @ Eagles

The Dallas Cowboys are arguably one of the most popular teams in the NFL today with the huge fan base that can put enormous pressure on this team to succeed every week during the NFL regular season. Not only do the Cowboys have one of the biggest fan bases in the league today, but they also have a very demanding and flamboyant owner in Jerry Jones who also puts enormous pressure on this team to succeed.

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Coming into this NFL regular season, the Dallas Cowboys were considered to be arguably the team to beat in the NFC Conference as they were one most talented teams on both sides of the football.

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Unfortunately, the Cowboys were doomed from the word go as nothing went right for this team despite seemingly having all the right pieces to the puzzle in place to make it to the Super Bowl and become the first team in the NFL to be playing in a Super Bowl that they were hosting.

Along with consistently failing to live up to expectations week in and week out, the Cowboys have had their fair share of injury problems this season as perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo went down with a broken collarbone (out for the season) and promising young rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant suffered a broken ankle (out for the season).

Ironically enough though, it seems like the one thing that the Dallas Cowboys needed to turn things around was some drastic changes and a serious reality check. The biggest change the team made this season was firing head coach Wade Phillips and replacing him with Jason Garrett which has turned out to be a brilliant move.

Even though this season has been over for a long time for the Dallas Cowboys, they have played pretty well under Jason Garrett and could be a very promising team next season, but they will look to finish this season out on a high note by trying to the best of Andy Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17.

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Michael Vick during a game against the Baltimo...

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Despite being arguably the most talented team on the offensive side of the football this season with MVP candidate Michael Vick under center, the Eagles will most likely be taking it easy in the final week of the NFL regular season as they have already won the NFC East division title and paved their way into the playoffs once again.

With that being said, this could be a game in which the Dallas Cowboys dominate from start to finish as the Philadelphia Eagles already said that Michael Vick will most likely sit out this one.

The only problem the Dallas Cowboys might have in this game is who they will have a quarterback after veteran Jon Kitna went down last week. Even with Kitna out though, I believe the Cowboys should be able to get the best of their division rivals this week and thus ending their disappointing season with a win.

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NFL Week 16: Saints @ Falcons – Monday Night Football

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons Mon. Dec. 27th 2010 8:30pm EST

The NFC South division has been arguably one of the toughest divisions to play in this season in the NFL as three of their teams have been amongst the best in the league this season with the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and division leading Atlanta Falcons being legitimate playoff teams

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Even though many people expected the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to drop off as the season progressed, Josh Freeman and company have played pretty well this season and have only just recently been knocked out of contention for the NFC South title.

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With the Bucs taking a back seat, the Saints and the Falcons are left to contend for the NFC South division title and in dramatic fashion as these two dominant squads will go head-to-head on Monday Night Football in Week 16 in a game where the division title will be on the line.

Fortunately for the Atlanta Falcons, win or lose this NFC South division showdown, Matt Ryan and company have already clinched a playoff spot, but the New Orleans Saints can’t say the same as they are fighting for their playoff lives right now.

Despite the defending champs having to give it their all they’ve got win the last two games of the NFL regular season, they may still be playoff bound as the NFC Wildcard could be in the grasp.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan at a roa...

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No matter what the circumstances coming into this Monday night football battle for a division title, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons will not be backing down an inch to one another as these teams really don’t like each other and will know what this game means in terms of playoff positioning and bragging rights moving forward.

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Even though the New Orleans Saints have been able to turn it around this season and seemingly get back to form, no team in the NFC Conference has played better than Matt Ryan’s squad as they have won eight straight games coming into this matchup. Along with being near flawless on the offensive of side of the football, the Falcons also have a defense that will almost certainly test superstar quarterback Drew Brees and his potent offense.

As of right now, the Atlanta Falcons have been given the edge in this NFC South battle with a -2.5 point spread.

This game will be as tough to bet on as any in Week 16 as they will be a hard-fought battle from start to finish with both teams have a legitimate shot to win this football game. In my opinion though, I believe the Atlanta Falcons are just a better all around team this season and should come out on top when the final whistle blows.

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Is Mike Shanahan the right coach for Washington?

Since the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls in ’97 and ’98, former Denver coach Mike Shanahan has failed to duplicate the same type of success. He’s had talented quarterbacks (Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler) after John Elway retired and developed some pretty decent backs since Terrell Davis left. It still hasn’t translated into Super Bowl success for Shanahan though.

Now, his legacy is being questioned. His two rings are being questioned since he had Elway and Davis. Elway proved his greatness by single handedly carrying the Broncos to its first three Super Bowl appearances

Washington Redskins Cheerleader
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Even with Donovan McNabb as his quarterback in Washington Shanahan has failed to lead the Redskins to a meaningful season. The Redskins are currently third in the NFC East. He has clashed with his star players. First with Albert Haynesworth and now with McNabb.

Shanahan has realized that McNabb is not Elway. The perfection he demanded from Elway can’t be met by McNabb. Reports that McNabb has an injured hamstring are probably overblown. He doesn’t have an injury since the Redskins website reported that McNabb is perfectly fine. Shanahan is playing mind games with McNabb in an attempt to motivate him in some way to study tapes longer and practice harder.

ASHBURN, VA - JANUARY 06:  Mike Shanahan answe...
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Shanahan also added that, “Quarterbacks never tell you the truth. He hasn’t scrambled a lot. I think it’s probably hurting him a little bit more than he’s indicating. Quarterbacks I’ve been around, they’ll never admit to being hurt, so I can’t tell you that for sure.”

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It’s not clear though if Shanahan is playing games with McNabb of with the media. Is he trying to confuse the Dallas Cowboys threatening to start Rex Grossman instead? Only offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and head coach Mike Shanahan know.

We’re not committing to tell you who the starters are at any position,” Shanahan said “They’ve got to get ready for a couple of players. That’s good for us.”

With all the inconsistencies that the Redskins franchise has been through the past month it’s hard not to believe anything that comes out of Washington’s camp.

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Are the Jets overrated?

The Jets dropped another game last week, this time to the 6-6 Dolphins. After reeling off nine out of 11 wins the Jets were perennial Super Bowl contenders. They were the favorites. Rex Ryan and his boys became so confident that they started talking trash and almost assured a victory over the New England Patriots in week 13. All of that backfired when Tom Brady picked apart their secondary with four touchdowns and the Patriots humiliated them 45-3. Of course many thought this was just a minor speed bump en route to New York’s improbably Super Bowl run but their loss last week raised concerns.

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They’ve combined for a measly nine points in the past two games and allowed a total of 55 points.

Head coach Rex Ryan conducting a New York Jets...

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Now with the team looking headless they’ll have to face a Pittsburgh team on a four-game winning streak. A peaking Troy Polamalu is bad news for a struggling Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez was an honorable mention for league MVP two games ago. Now he’s the reason why the Jets are struggling. He has forced passes at times opting to throw the ball away instead of hanging on to it and taking the sack. Since he spent only one full year playing in college Sanchez has the tendency to commit to throws that he thinks he can make. Some call this swagger but this time it should be called inexperience and cockiness.

Blame also goes to head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan has failed to utilize Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson more. They’re slowly veering away from the identity they established a year ago — running the ball and playing hardnosed defense.

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It took some time but the league has caught up to the Jets. Their defensive sets have been figured out and Sanchez picked a superb time to go through puberty.

So are the Jets overrated? Probably not. They deserve the credit that came with their early success. Success down the stretch though will be dependent on their ability to adjust.

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