NFL Week 14: Chiefs @ Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers Sun. Dec. 12th 2010 4:15pm EST

Every single season the San Diego Chargers have been known to be notoriously slow starters as they just can’t seem to get things firing on all cylinders in the first half of the NFL regular season, but even though the same thing has happened this year as they lost five of the first eight games, Philip Rivers and company have found it tough to win games against divisional opponents like the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Matt Cassel, a player on the Kansas City Chief...

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Obviously, no team in the AFC West division has had trouble beating the Denver Broncos besides the Kansas City Chiefs, but the San Diego Chargers are 0-3 against both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders this season.

With that being said, the San Diego Chargers are in danger of the longer being the dominant team with in the division as the Kansas City Chiefs lead the way with the Oakland Raiders not too far behind them.

Coming into Week 14, the Chargers will have one last chance to contend for the division title as they will be hosting the Chiefs at home in San Diego.

Usually, when the Chargers are playing on their home field at Qualcomm Stadium they are as tough to beat as any team in the league as they are 4-2 at home this season, but they are coming off a devastating loss to perhaps their most heated division rivalry against the Raiders who convincingly beat them on their home field with a 28-13 victory.

The Chargers beginning to struggle and losing to a team like the Raiders on their home field, Norv Turner’s team seems to be pretty unpredictable at this point in time as they can either come out and play like the best team in the NFL or a team in desperate need of serious changes.

Philip Rivers on the sideline of the 2008 Char...

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As of right now, the Kansas City Chiefs will be the underdogs heading to San Diego with a point spread of -7 against them, but even though the San Diego Chargers are poised to get back on track this week against this team, I believe the Chiefs are more than capable of pulling off the upset.

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The one problem that the Kansas City Chiefs will face this weekend is at the quarterback position as Matt Cassel’s playing status is up in the air after undergoing an appendectomy this past Wednesday.

Although the Kansas City Chiefs have failed to say whether or not their starting quarterback will be under center this weekend, even if he isn’t backup Brody Coyle will be willing and waiting to take the reins and lead this team to their ninth win of the season.

So in my opinion I believe the best bet in this AFC West divisional showdown will be to take the Kansas City Chiefs at +7.

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NFL Thursday Night- Week 14: Colts @ Titans

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans Thurs. Dec. 9th 2010 8:20pm EST

As Super Bowl favorites coming into this one of the regular season, four-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts couldn’t wait to get this year started as they were still feeling the sting of getting beaten by the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints last February.

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 28:  Peyton Manning #1...
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Unfortunately, the season got off to a rough start as the Indianapolis Colts loss to their division rivals Houston Texans in week one and whether or not this team was a legitimate Super Bowl title contender was questionable at best.

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Every single season the Houston Texans seem to give Peyton Manning and company a run for their money as they matchup with the Indianapolis Colts as good as any team in the league, but it was quite a surprise to see the team that almost went undefeated last season get beaten in the first game of the year.

Even though the loss to the Houston Texans was hard to swallow for Jim Caldwell and his squad, the Indianapolis Colts were able to bounce back with a convincing 38-14 win over arguably one of the best teams in the NFL and the New York Giants.

Despite the win over the Giants being seemingly just what the Colts needed to get back on track, Indianapolis suffered injury after injury and have failed to play consistently well throughout the entire season.

In Week 13, the Indianapolis Colts played host to one of the most disappointing teams in the league and the Dallas Cowboys, but in the Jason Garrett era, America’s Team has come to life and become a force to be reckoned with once again this season.

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 24:  Kerry Collins #5 ...
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Needless to say, despite being the underdogs as they have been over most of the season, the Dallas Cowboys were able to give the Indianapolis Colts a run for their money from start to finish and eventually took this game into overtime where they came out with a 38-35 victory.

This loss to the Cowboys was just another indication of how banged up this Colts team really is right now and how desperate they are for a win as they are sitting in second place in the AFC South division with a disappointing 6-6 record.

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Coming into Thursday night’s matchup against division rival Tennessee Titans, the Indianapolis Colts will have a perfect opportunity get back on track as they will be facing a team that is has fallen to pieces over the last few weeks of the season and have lost five straight coming into this matchup.

Not only is the Titans offense one of the worst in the league right now as they are 31st in passing yards, but their defense is a much better as they can’t seem to stop anybody from lighting up the scoreboard.

With Peyton Manning coming to town and the Indianapolis Colts in desperate need of a win to get back in contention for the AFC South division title, the Tennessee Titans will be in serious trouble on Thursday night as they will almost certainly get blown out by convincing margin.

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Are the Colts done?

The Indianapolis Colts have dropped four of their last five games, most recently to the streaking Cowboys. Injuries have finally caught up to the veteran team and even Peyton Manning’s talents can’t overcome them.

Manning himself is slumping. Throughout week 9 Manning has thrown 13 interceptions and only nine touchdowns. His teammates are banged-up. Tight end Jacob Tamme and receiver Reggie Wayne didn’t practice today and Joseph Addai and Austin Collie were limited.

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The four-time MVP may be forcing passes a little bit and trying to do too much. He doesn’t seem to trust teammates that are newly integrated in the offense. He’s been panicky in the pocket and misreading defenses all over the place. Manning can feel the pressure of letting this season slip away.

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 29:   Quarterback Peyto...
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Even his former coach Tony Dungy noticed it. “He is not used to making mistakes that cost his team games. What is happening is he’s pressing too much.”

Even with their recent struggles the Colts are still second in their division. They have three games against division rivals remaining and just might steal the division title from the Jaguars. Don’t hold your breath though because the Jaguars’ last two games are against a dysfunctional Redskins team and a struggling Texans team.

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It’s a right move for coach Jim Caldwell to let his players rest instead of practice. Caldwell believes that the Colts can still turn things around. “It’s pretty simple. All we have to do is look at what we do at this time of year,” Caldwell said. “We have to be able to string four together in order to get that done. I don’t think there’s anything more plain than that.”

If anything, it’s not safe to bet against Manning under any circumstance. It’s the regular season for crying out loud. We know that Manning is an exceptional season performer. Now, if this was the playoffs it would be a different story.

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1. Tom Brady

I had to double check to make sure that Tom Brady has won only one MVP award. I seriously thought he had at least two. Of course, it’s tough to argue against the magnificent seasons of Peyton Manning, but Brady is a better winner. Manning can keep all the MVP trophies he wants. Still, Brady deserves the recognition this season. He is second in the league in QB rating (105.8), has thrown 23 touchdowns against only four touchdowns. And most importantly the Patriots are 9-2. If he can lead the Patriots to a win over the Steelers, you can’t argue against Brady. Well, except against his hair.

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2. Michael Vick

Vick is a legitimate MVP candidate. He has lost only one game as a starter, which brings his record to 6-1. Just hours ago he led the Eagles to a comeback win over the Texans and finished with 302 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown. Numbers don’t show the whole story though. He made big plays down the stretch despite absorbing punishment the whole game.

3. Philip Rivers

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins 08...
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Rivers is by far the most important player to his team. He has virtually no weapons to work with and is still one of the league leaders in passing yards. Only once Rivers has failed to throw for more than 200 yards. But the Chargers are going to have to win the next five games for Rivers to have a chance to win it.

4. Arian Foster

From a statistical standpoint, Foster is right up there. He has no chance to win it though because the Texans have dropped five of their last six games. It’s a shame that Foster’s chances are hurt by Houston’s inability to protect leads. He doesn’t only excel in the backfield but also as a potent screen receiver.

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5. Mark Sanchez

All of us know that the Jets’ success is dependent on their defense, but Sanchez deserves some recognition. He has protected the ball and has executed the offense down the stretch. He’s not the level of Manning, Brady and Rivers but he knows how to win.

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Green Bay Packers fall to Matt Ryan and the red-hot Atlanta Falcons

Heading into Week 12, the Green Bay Packers and the red-hot Atlanta Falcons were set to do battle in what might be a preview of the NFC Conference championship game. Not only are these two teams arguably the two best teams in the NFC Conference right now, but this game was to determine which team could live up to the hype and come out on top.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan at a roa...
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Even though the Green Bay Packers have played really well as of late with four straight wins coming into this matchup against the Minnesota Vikings (28-24, 31-3) twice, New York Jets (9-0) and the Dallas Cowboys (45-7), Aaron Rodgers and company were facing arguably their toughest challenge of the season against Atlanta Falcons who had won four win in a row as well against the Cincinnati Bengals (39-32), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27-21), Baltimore Ravens (26-21) and the St. Louis Rams (34-17).

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Not only was this game huge to say the least for the Green Bay Packers in terms of competing with the best of the best in the NFC Conference, but it also had divisional implications for Mike McCarthy’s squad as the Chicago Bears were in first place heading into Week 12 and ultimately beat Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles (31-26) to remain in first place.

Obviously, the Bears had yet to play the Eagles and the pressure wasn’t on the Packers just yet, but the Cheeseheads definitely had it in the back of their minds coming into this matchup as a loss would mean they would be in an uphill battle in the NFC North moving forward.

Despite a dominant performance by perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers who threw for 344 yards, two touchdowns (no interceptions) and ran for 51 yards and a touchdown, it just wasn’t enough to hold off Matt Ryan and company who played some flawless football and came out with the 20-17 victory.

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 05:  Quarterback Aaron...
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Matt Ryan might not have had a huge day numbers wise with just 197 yards and a touchdown, but he was as accurate as a star quarterback could be completing 24 out of 28 passes on the day. Not only did Ryan have a Pro Bowl caliber performance, but he was backed up by an impressive performance from running back Michael Turner who rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

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The one thing that was evident in this game besides the fact that the Atlanta Falcons are without a doubt the real deal and well on their way to a NFC South division title was the Green Bay Packers continued lack of a ground game. Yes, Aaron Rodgers had a good day running the football with 51 yards, but he is no Michael Vick and shouldn’t be running the football as much as he has.

Without running back Ryan Grant coming out of the backfield, the Green Bay Packers have become one dimensional on offense and that may ultimately be their downfall come playoff time or down the stretch in the regular season.

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