|Notes and Observations Week 11: Defense Leads Battered Patriots to Victory Over Bills 20-13||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win Despite Cannon’s Assassination Attempt on Brady||Patriots and Bills Set To Do Battle on Monday Night Football||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots vs. Rex|
What a week. The Giants continued their fall from grace. Tennessee is trying to mount what would have to be considered one of the largest NFL comebacks ever from 0-6. New Orleans came back again against a team they probably should never have been trailing by a lot. Even Tampa Bay got in on the action, becoming the last team to recollect the meaning of the word “victory.” Also, let’s not forget the NFC East’s title changing hands for the second week in a row. With the season now officially half over, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, November 10:
The Saints engineered yet another masterful comeback, this time against Carolina. For New Orleans, it’s nice to know that you’re able to recover and come back from big deficits. It helped keep them one step ahead of Minnesota for home field advantage and leaves them as one of two unbeaten teams in the NFL. New Orleans is on a roll that opponents will be hard pressed to derail.
The Vikings rested up on their bye week after successfully sweeping Green Bay at Lambeau. Up next is a home game against Detroit. Then Seattle. Then Chicago. Three straight home games against poor to mediocre teams? Minnesota’s salivating like a lion at the Coliseum right now. And that’s the Coliseum in Rome, not Detroit. Those Lions are no threat at all.
On Sunday night, Dallas marched into enemy territory in Philly looking to avenge themselves from last season’s embarrassment. And avenge they did. They took advantage of a Philadelphia decision to go for a field goal instead of a touchdown, down by seven fairly late in the 4th quarter. If Dallas keeps stepping their game up like this, they could be a legitimate dark horse threat come playoff time.
Both these teams are on a move; this past week Arizona won in Chicago 41-21 and Atlanta won at home against Washington 31-17. Both teams have identical 5-3 records and are hungry to further solidify their hold on the division (Arizona) and move up in the wildcard race and division (Atlanta). With two potent quarterbacks leading the chase, expect this one to be a high scoring shootout.
Peyton Manning and the Colts remained undefeated by taking down a determined Texans team 20-17. But they face one of their season’s stiffer tests next Sunday when they host their main non-divisional rival New England. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are almost certain to be Pro Bowl teammates, but next week they’ll duke it out in what could very well help determine home field advantage.
Denver fell apart Monday against the Steelers. After throwing only one interception all season (in a hail mary pass to end the first half against New England), Kyle Orton threw three against the Steel Curtain. Denver is now only a game ahead of San Diego in the division and is only in the #2 slot by virtue of a head to head sweep tiebreaker over New England and Cincinnati. The Broncos, like the Giants, could be coming apart at the seams.
The Chargers have clawed their way into the AFC’s final seed, which is the most unstable slot as of late. For the fourth week in a row, the #3 Bengals are in line to face a different opponent. The Chargers looked impressive in a literal last minute 21-20 win over the Giants, while the Bengals finished sweeping the Ravens 17-7. This would be an interesting match to watch; look for each team to score in the 20s in a close match.
Pittsburgh dismantled Denver in the second half, holding them without an offensive touchdown all game. New England plucked the thorn in their divisional side, Miami, 27-17, preventing the Wildcat from sinking its teeth into them late in the game. Pittsburgh is still fighting with Cincinnati for the Division, while New England has a chance to end Indy’s unbeaten streak and has a realistic shot to do the same in three weeks to New Orleans. That could give the Pats some much needed credibility going up against the champs.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, NFL Playoffs, Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers