By Josh Kramer
Peyton Manning’s days in Indianapolis may be numbered. Aaron Rodgers is putting up one of the greatest regular season bodies of work of all time. And Tim Tebow continues to shock the world. The NFL this year has been extremely unpredictable, but extremely fun.
As has become the tradition, we are once again having “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”
The participants this season are as follows:
TheSportsKraze (TSK) (defending champion)-Josh Kramer-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of “TheSportsKraze” and former ESPN intern.
CV3-Chad Vordenberge-An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.
CB-Craig Baker-A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.
DC-David Clark-A dedicated sports fan who was coached by TheSportsKraze on his fraternity flag football team. After playing for TheSportsKraze, he has developed a slow but steady motivation to show his coach who the real pick’em champion is.
After Week 13, here is the scoreboard.
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: It is another must-win game for the Jets. Almost every game is a must win for Rex Ryan’s crew.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Talk about two disappointing teams. Jacksonville’s inept offense goes toe to toe with a Tampa defense that would struggle to stop a cold.
New England Patriots (CB, TSK, CV3) at Washington Redskins (DC)
-The Word: I am going to go out on a limb and say that Brady will enjoy his visit to the nation’s capital.
Atlanta Falcons (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Carolina Panthers
-The Word: This is Cam Newton’s chance to show that he can lead the new and improved Panthers to a win against a solid opponent.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: I am glad that I am not an Indianapolis quarterback this weekend. Dan Orlovsky had fun against New England. Baltimore’s D is a whole new beast.
Philadelphia Eagles (CB, DC) at Miami Dolphins (TSK, CV3)
-The Word: The “Nightmare” in Philadelphia heads to South Beach to take on a Miami team that has played very solid football over the course of the last month.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Both of these teams are in the midst of downward spirals. Who will stop the bleeding first?
New Orleans Saints (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Tennessee Titans
-The Word: Tennessee has played better football as of late, but they have not faced any offense remotely resembling Drew Brees and the Saints.
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: In order to be a playoff team, you have to beat playoff caliber opponents at home. Here is Cincinnati’s chance to make a statement.
Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: If you have not jumped on the “Tebow Wagon,” you still have time.
San Francisco 49ers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Arizona Cardinals
-The Word: Though the 49ers have clinched the division, they are still playing for a first round bye and home-field. Do not expect a letdown from Harbaugh’s crew.
Buffalo Bills at San Diego Chargers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Five weeks ago, Buffalo was in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt. Now they are all but done, but can still play the role of spoiler, and ruin San Diego’s season.
Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Oakland’s loss last week to Miami really hurt. Expect a second straight L at Lambeau against the NFL’s best team.
New York Giants (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Dallas Cowboys
-The Word: When isn’t this NFC East battle fun? All eyes will be on the big D, as two bitter rivals battle it out for divisional supremacy.
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: St. Louis may be the most disappointing team in the NFL. Do not expect them to make it rain against Pete Carroll, Marshawn Lynch (AKA Captain Beast Mode), and Co. in Seattle.
Game of the Week: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
-When most people think of the best conference in football, they look no further than the NFC East. And sure it is not the best conference this year in terms of quality of teams, but it never fails to be the most exciting. Any conference that features four teams in big markets, who are bitter rivals, is always going to be fun. It just so happens this week that the top two teams in the division, separated by just one game, are going head to head on the primetime Sunday Night stage.
-If it wasn’t for Jason Garrett icing his kicker last week, there would be some separation, making this game less significant. But that is not the case. The Giants are currently on a four-game losing streak which has opened the door for Dallas to crawl back into the playoff picture. Luckily, the Giants always play their best under pressure. Tom Coughlin wouldn’t want it any other way. Despite the stellar home record of Dallas, I expect the Giants to shock Romo and Co. in the big D. Nothing ever comes easy in the NFC East.
Stat of the Week:
-12 and 9. The Giants have bested the rival Cowboys 12 of the past 21 times they have matched up. Including a wild 41 to 35 victory at Dallas last year. With rivalries, numbers and streaks tend to go out the window. So despite New York’s horrific last month not so impressive road record, I expect New York to deliver under pressure. Get ready for what should be an NFC East race that comes down to the final week, where coincidentally, these two bitter rivals face off again.
CV3: Giants/Cowboys will be exciting: The Gmen have an opportunity to take over the top spot in the NFC East without having a stellar record. Will they put Jerry’s ‘Boys to shame by preventing them from getting to the playoffs this year? They have 2 match-ups in the next 4 weeks. We will see.
CB: Game of the week for me is the Giants vs. Cowboys. This is a huge game for both teams. Most likely, the loser isn’t making the playoffs. I look for both defenses to give up big points this week. Eli Manning and Tony Romo could both have big days and eclipse the 300 yard mark. I look for this game to be a classic NFC East shootout.
DC: Romo versus Eli in the Big D. Eli believes he is an elite quarterback and I think he will live up to his own billing on Sunday night. Expect the Giants to handle business in the Big D. Also keep an eye on Cincinnati. This is a must-win game for the Who Deys.
TSK: My attention will predominantly be focused on two venues this weekend. Paul Brown Stadium and Cowboys Stadium. In Cincinnati, the Bengals looks to stay alive in the playoff picture in a must-win game against T.J. Yates and the streaking Houston Texans (winners of 6 straight). And in Dallas, divisional supremacy is on the line, as two bitter rivals go toe to toe at Cowboys Stadium. Cincinnati’s hopes rest on the right arm of rookie Andy Dalton, while the Giants will need a major performance from Eli Manning.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.