Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NFL Week 13 Recap: What We Learned & What to Expect

Thanksgiving is in the books, and the final stretch run of the 2013 season is upon us with playoff races tightening and coaches fighting to not only keep their teams relevant, but keep their jobs in 2014. It's a hectic time of the year, and a fun one as well, so let's take a look back at the week that was and what we can expect in week 14.

1) SEATTLE IS THE BEST TEAM IN FOOTBALL: To be honest I had my doubts about the Seahawks earlier in the year especially after the team struggled to beat both St. Louis and Tampa Bay, but they have remained consistently good, and won even the games they struggled in. However on Monday Night, the Seahawks put together a clinic, dominating the New Orleans Saints from start to finish. The Seahawks rolled up 429 yards and allowed only 188 on the evening. The game was virtually over before halftime with Seattle building a 27-7 lead.

The Seahawks are indeed the best team in the NFL -- and will close in on home field advantage throughout the playoffs in short order in the next few weeks. While, they still have to win the division -- they can basically do that next week in San Francisco, this is arguably the best Seattle team ever. I would be stunned if this team doesn't find itself in the Super Bowl come early February.

2) COWBOYS - EAGLES SHOWDOWN IS COMING: Like I wrote last week, the NFC East is coming right down to the wire, again, only this time the Cowboys and Eagles are both clicking on all cylinders. Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray brought Dallas back from the dead on Turkey day to beat the Raiders 31-24, and the Eagles held off the Cardinals 24-21. Nick Foles still has yet to turn the football over, after throwing three more touchdowns on Sunday. Both the Cowboys and Eagles are 7-5, and look destined to meet one another at 10-5 in week 17.

3) COACHES BELONG BEHIND THE WHITE LINE: Mike Tomlin this is for you. Tomlin is about to get a hefty fine for having his foot in the field of play when Ravens' kick returner Jacoby Jones came streaking by him on a kick-off. Yet, I think a fine is tame compared to the pounding Tomlin has taken on social media from Twitter to Facebook and Facebook Meme's -- he's gotten a lot of flack for this mistake.

Tomlin defended himself saying he lost track of where he was; was not trying to trip Jones, and didn't know he was on the field until he say himself on screen. We believe 'ya coach, but the meme's are funny.

4) MIAMI, PITTSBURGH, BALTIMORE NOW FAVS IN WILD CARD: No disrespect to San Diego, but six conference losses means it will be tough for them to get a wild card berth, even if they win the rest of their conference games. The Dolphins, Ravens and Steelers have a more sound footing in the wild card.

Miami helped its chances with a 23-3 victory over the Jets, setting up a mega showdown with the Steelers this week in Pittsburgh. The Dolphins are 2-2 since the Inconginto-Martin mess, and it is remarkable they have been able to stay this focused and stay in the playoff race. This game won't be easy, especially in Pittsburgh with the Steelers at 5-7, in need of a victory.

The Ravens, meanwhile, own tiebreakers against both Pittsburgh and Miami. They host the hapless Vikings this week, a sure win for the Ravens.

5) WHO IS THE WORST TEAM IN THE NFL? Kind of an odd question to ask, especially in the midst of the playoffs, but there are a number of teams getting ready for next April's draft right now, and scouts have been saying the 2014 draft figures to be the deepest, especially at quarterback. The Texans (2-10) currently have the fast track to the number 1 pick, but do they need a QB, especially with Case Keenum already developing? The Falcons (3-9), Buccaneers (3-9), Jaguars (3-9), Redskins (3-9) and Vikings (3-9) all figure to round out the top six picks at least. The Falcons don't need a QB, but defensive end Jadeveon Clowney could be there.

The Bucs don't figure to take a QB either with the development of Mike Glennon. The Redskins aren't replacing RGIII anytime soon. So that leaves the Jaguars and Vikings as teams most likely to take QB's early in the draft. This will be an interesting race to see who gets the number 1 pick. Don't discount the Jets (5-7), Raiders (4-8) and Browns (4-8) to get into the mix here as well as we come down the stretch.

6) GAME OF THE WEEK: CAROLINA @ NEW ORLEANS: The red hot Carolina Panthers, winners of eight in a row head on down to the bayou to take on the Jekyll and Hyde Saints at the Superdome. The Saints have been great at home -- winning four of their six home games by two scores or more. New Orleans is coming off a bad loss to the Seahawks, and will be out for vengeance against the Panthers.

Carolina has shown already that the moment is never too big for them. Their defense smothered the 49ers last month, and they beat the Patriots on MNF. The Panthers boast one of the NFL's best defenses, which will get tested on the fast turf on Sunday night.

HOT SEAT
1) Rex Ryan - Seat: RED HOT: Nothing has changed since last week for Ryan. He is really up against it now -- having benched Geno Smith for Matt Simms and the team still lost 23-3. The Jets are a poorly coached football team, that has been exposed as a team without a true quarterback. The Geno Smith pick was really John Idzik's but Ryan is going to take the fall for this if the season continues to unravel.

2) Gary Kubiak - Seat: HOT: The Texans need to get some wins in the worst way; they have not won since Week 2, and have lost games in bizarre fashion this year. This week's game in Jacksonville might be the Texans last shot a win this year. They have the Colts, Broncos and Titans left on the schedule. A major change is coming to Houston with regard to the coach and the offense.

3) Mike Shanahan - Seat: RED HOT: Now Mike Shanahan can't get the officials to give him a proper ruling on a first down play. Sunday's latest disaster for the Skins dropped Washington to 3-9. They had a 14-0 lead on the Giants, and couldn't hold on to it. We keep talking about the relationship between RGIII and Shanahan, but fact is, this team is not any good as a whole.

4) Leslie Fraizer - Seat: HOT: Nice to see the Vikes get a win against the Bears, but it doesn't change much for Fraizer who is probably done.

5) Mike Munchak - Seat: WARM: The Titians toughed it out against the Colts, but still lost 22-14. The status of their coach doesn't change -- mediocrity = so long.

6) Dennis Allen - Seat: WARM: He deserves a chance to really show his worth, but knowing the Raiders, Allen is history.

7) Jason Garrett: Seat: COLD: With each victory Garrett's seat gets that much cooler. A 7-5 record and in control of their destiny, Garrett will be safe with a few more wins and a division title.

TOP 5 TEAMS
1) Seattle (11-1)
2) Denver (10-2)
3) New England (9-3)
4) San Francisco (8-4) 
5) New Orleans (9-3) 

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