|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|
With the sixth week done, we saw plenty of shakeups. Buffalo and Detroit dropped their games, while the Bucs, Giants and Patriots all took over their divisions. The Eagles stopped their slide, while the Rams, Colts and Dolphins are the remaining winless teams. Only the Packers remain perfect. At this stage, only the 49ers have a lead greater than 1.0 games in their division. Plenty’s going on right now, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, October 18:
What more can be said about the Packers? They held St. Louis to a field goal and showed once again why they’re the team to beat this year.
If there were any doubts about the 49ers, let them be erased now. San Fran slowed down Detroit’s high octane offense and found a way around their massive D-line. No wonder Jim Schwartz was so mad. San Francisco so far is far better than anyone expected, even me.
Tampa Bay just won this match-up on Sunday, 26-20. Tampa has shown their ability to play with the best; they just haven’t had much experience in one-and-done scenarios. The Saints‘ playoff expertise will need to be utilized completely if they want to win on the road in this one.
The Giants showed great moxie in winning a very entertaining game against Buffalo. In such a close game, home-field advantage can really help. Buffalo was finally held without a pick, but Detroit doesn’t need to rely on that with their ferocious defense. With Detroit’s loss hard-fought and New York’s collapse against Seattle, look for Detroit to overwhelm the G-men in this one.
Once again, Tom Brady showed why he’s the one quarterback you want for your two-minute drill. New England can never be counted out, coming back to beat Dallas in a thriller. The defense still gives up plenty of opportunities, but with interceptions always a threat, even early turnovers from Brady himself won’t be a death sentence.
Baltimore challenging for the division has become one of few constants in football. This time, they held back Matt Schaub and the Houston offense, expected to win the AFC South with Peyton Manning incapacitated. Baltimore is very good even on the road, so when they’re this high up in the seeding, they’re a force to be reckoned with.
San Diego was off for Week 6, as opposed to Buffalo‘s tough loss to the Giants. True, Buffalo has much less playoff (and winning) experience than San Diego, but San Diego is a very big passing team. And we’ve seen what Buffalo can do against them (just ask Tom Brady and Michael Vick). If Buffalo can keep their interception machine well-oiled, they have a very good chance of pulling off the major upset.
Cincinnati pulled off a good win over Indianapolis (like that’s hard to do) while Tennessee only needed to remain idle to lead the division. Both teams are doing very well this season; both new quarterbacks are leading the charges. This is actually one of the closer games of the opening round; one errant pass could very well mean the difference. Of course, home-field advantage never hurt either. But it’s still very, very close.
Tags: NFL Playoffs