WEEK 13 NFL Round Table-
Last week saw some of the best performances of the year. The gang discusses how this looks to the casual observer and other issues.
1. Peyton Manning vs. Adrian Peterson: Better comeback season?
ARCHIE: AD has run rampant on his opponents this year. I have to give the better performance to AD just for the physicality of his efforts. The man is actually running over guys to gain additional yards. Even on plays he could cut the run short and save himself some punishment he still delivers big hits on defensive backs. In my opinion, his comeback is more impressive.
EJ: Going with Peyton here. Coming into the season, I felt that the Broncos would win the AFC West but I didn’t expect this type of season from Peyton. This is definitely the Peyton of old and not an old Peyton under center for Denver. 29 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, over 3,500 yards passing, and the second highest QB rating in the league. The 9-3 Broncos have already clinched the division, and could be in position for a first round bye if they can get into one of the top two spots in the AFC. Definitely an impressive season so far for Mr. Manning.
STEPHAN: Peyton Manning: He has led the Broncos to a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and completely dominated the AFC West. Peterson is having a great year, and I don’t think the Vikings would be anywhere near the playoffs without him. Peyton is back to his old self.
DAN: I have to say that it’s Peyton Manning. With the neck injury, he was told that he should have probably retired and a lot of fans also agreed that he should probably call it quits. But he’s going strong and leading the Broncos to an amazing season and Manning is playing like his old self (except for that Falcons 5 INT mishap).
2. Biggest Defensive letdown: Lions vs. Eagles.
ARCHIE: I am going with the Lions on this one. The Eagles are not looked to contend or make the playoffs this year with the sieve they call a defense. The Lions are supposed to be the bad boys of the North.
EJ: Both units are littered with big names, and both units are equally bad. The Eagles are 18th in total defense, while the Lions are 20th (according to ESPN). If forced to choose which unit is the bigger letdown, I’ll go with the Lions. Coach Jim Schwartz is a defensive minded coach. Defense should be his expertise but his unit routinely gives up big stats every week. If the Lions played marginally better on defense, the Lions would be having a much better season. This team has the top rated overall offense in the NFL but it’s getting little to no support from the defense.
STEPHAN: The key word here is “letdown.” It has to be the Lions. They were poised to have another great season and make another run at the post season. While the Eagles had disaster written all over them from day one. The Lions have been offensively in almost every game, but the defense has spoiled the party. I think with a better defense this team could be in playoff contention.
DAN: I have to say Eagles. Not only was it just this weekend, but ever since they fired their DC, Bowles has been awful and is driving their D into the ground including letting Tony Romo go 22-for-27 against them.
3. Should Mark Sanchez be demoted to backup for McElroy?
ARCHIE: Tebow is hurt so yes. McElroy’s time is here. In fact, even if Tebow was not hurt I think its Mac Attack time.
EJ: My gut says yes. My brain says no. Greg McElroy is a nice story, but if the Cardinals had anything resembling a capable quarterback against the Jets this past Sunday, the Cardinals would have won that game in the Meadowlands. McElroy’s 5-7, 29 yards, and a touchdown performance did give the Jets the victory but McElroy is no savior for the Jets season. Sunday at Jacksonville the starter should be Mark Sanchez, and if Tebow is active for the game in his hometown, he needs to be given more reps and be made a part of this offense. More so than he has been up to this point. McElroy should remain the #3 guy for now.
STEPHAN: What no Tebow? The answer is YES. Rex Ryan has to do something NOW if he wants to have any credibility for next season. The Jets are pretty much out of it right now, and he needs to take a good look at McElroy, or Tebow for that matter. Sanchez needs to be benched.
DAN: Yes. The Jets need to go with McElroy as the QB, Sanchez as back-up QB and Tebow as the 3rd string.
4. Can the Cowboys reach the playoffs or will they fold like a lawn chair?
ARCHIE: Dallas is currently one of those teams that could easily go out and win their last four games or just as easily lose all four. I’m thinking they will split and go 2-2. That will put them at 8-8 and just short of a playoff spot.
EJ: Dallas is 6-6 with games against the Bengals, Steelers, Saints, and Redskins to finish the season. That’s a tough road for a team just outside the 6th spot. It’s too tough actually. That’s why I think the Cowboys will fold down the stretch, and that will allow the Seattle Seahawks to take the final playoff spot in the NFC. The Seahawks remaining schedule of the Cardinals, Bills, Niners, and Rams is very manageable. A 10-6 finish for them is definitely not out of the question and 10-6 is what it could take to pick up the wildcard spots in the NFC this season.
STEPHAN: After the Giants loss Monday night, the Cowboys are a game behind the Giants and hold the tie breaker. Yes they can make the playoffs but it will have to be as the East division champion. The schedule favors Dallas down the road, so it is very possible they will win the division.
DAN: I think they’ll fold like a lawn chair, especially with Tony Romo at QB. He’s due for turning the ball over and the Cowboys collapse. It’s just what they do with Romo.
5. So, who wins the NFC North?
ARCHIE: The Bears will win 3 of their last 4 and win the North.
EJ: Going with the Chicago Bears. The key game for the NFC North will be the December 16th matchup against the Packers at Soldier Field. That game being in Chicago is what I believe will be the edge for the Bears over the Packers. Also, the Bears finish the season at Detroit. That’s against a Lions team that should have little to play for, and should have their minds already set on their off-season vacations. I like Da Bears to get to 11-5 and claim the 3 seed in the NFC.
STEPHAN: Green Bay Packers: The Packers are getting healthy, they currently hold the tie-break against Chicago, and they still have one game to play against the Bears who they have not lost to in the past five games. Green Bay has won 6 out of 7 games, and are rolling right now. The Bears are struggling both offensively and defensively. Both will make the playoffs, but the Packers take the North.
DAN: I still think the Packers are going to win the North. They’re better than the Vikings, they shut the Bears down and they’re currently winning the division right now (due to the tie-breaker).