It is not always the journey that takes its toll, it is the failure then to cross the finish line ….
Anyone who has ever participated in any type of endurance contest, will know it is always about the preparation before the event and in the lead-up what you as a contestant, have done to prepare yourself for that specific competition. The NFL season is simply no different , with a sixteen-week regular season schedule , that at times can seem like an eternity, not only for the players, but also for the fans themselves who will have to endure the highs and lows , as they go about supporting their respective teams . As the league enters its eleventh week , teams are now beginning to distance themselves from their divisional rivals, gaining the victories needed to assure them a berth in the playoffs . This weekend , when the Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) take on the Denver Broncos (8-1) at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado, a great deal will be on the line for both teams , as a victory for franchise will most certainly assure them of a berth in the postseason . In the case of the Chiefs, as led by head coach Andy Reid , he knows a victory almost assures his team that they are in the driver’s seat in terms of seeking to unseat the Broncos as the AFC West champions for this season.
Though I was not thoroughly convinced that the dismissal of Andy Reid by the Philadelphia Eagles was the right thing to do at the time. I fully understand the frustrations and reasoning behind the former head coach’s firing. Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman simply felt that Reid’s loyalty to the team’s quarterback Michael Vick was no longer worth the risk as the seasoned veteran had now become more of a liability , rather than an asset to the team. Vick’s stats over the past ten to fifteen games has simply borne this out , along with his inability to stay injury free,
While the Eagles continue their season of inconsistency , albeit that they are now in involved in a tight divisional race with the Dallas Cowboys (5-5) , in what I can best describe as being one of the worst divisional in the NFL simply by the records reflected of all four residents within the NFC East and the fact that all four are no better than .500 within the division . The fact that is quite possible , that the actual winner of NFC East could easily end up with an 8-8 record and make the postseason , not only adds insult to injury , but also once again shows how bad the division just happens to be , in terms of the quality of football being played. Now, the more docile of observers, may well choose to point out that injuries have played a part of what we the fans have observed within the NFC East this season . However, I would put it down to the ineptitude of the coaching on display and also the fact that a number of the players within the division are not as good as advertised.
As to this contest between the Chiefs and Broncos this game will be heightened by the health of Peyton Manning and his appearance, given his ongoing health issue by way of a high ankle sprain . Manning, long seen as one of the many faces of the NFL alongside perhaps his most famous peer and adversary , Tom Brady . Off to a tremendous start this season , Peyton Manning has simply set a pace not seen in the league in several years, as the player once again seems to be on a record pace for passing touchdowns in a season . It is my belief however, that the player would rather team success by way of a second Superbowl victory for Manning and a first for the Chiefs’ franchise, as well as, quite possibly adding to his mantelpiece of a fifth League MVP and a second Superbowl MVP award . By any measure, this contest will provide a spectacular ratings’ bonanza for the broadcast network .
It is extremely hard to discern, how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ (3-6) season has continued to spiral out of control. Although winners, of three of their last five games, the team sits at the bottom of the AFC North,where the divisional leader, is a still resurgent Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) . Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis , behind a young quarterback, in Andy Dalton and an offense that has proven to be resilient as they are explosive. Pittsburgh will face a stern test when they play host to the Detroit Lions (6-3) on Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon , in what is sure to be a highly competitive game . The Bengals meanwhile, will have as their guests, in-state and divisional rival the Cleveland Browns (4-5). Needless to say, Andy Dalton and his teammates will seek to further distance themselves from the Browns and Baltimore Ravens (4-5) within the division. Both contests, should prove to be very intriguing, with the outcome likely to predicated upon time of possession, and sound defense. Something that as of late, seems to be something a “lost art form “ , for a number of teams around the NFL, where there now seems to be an abundance childlike mistakes that have become profligate within the game.
To witness a Steelers’ team struggle as they have done on both sides of the ball, does seem to be troubling for a franchise, known to be stymieing on defense and one who has always sought to “pound the rock” and then use an efficient passing game to gain a positive result. This season , the plethora of problems seems to have been omnipresent beyond the team injuries and the complete lack understanding between the offense and defense. Never-mind, the fact, that Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin remains at his wit’s end, as to the lackluster performances of this team .
The Detroit Lions and Jim Schwartz will seek to take advantage of the fact that with the Chicago Bears without Jay Cutler once again, as the Bears’ signal caller seeks to recuperate from an injury . It will also be a similar case, for the Green Bay Packers and their loss of Aaron Rodgers , as these two players have always been the focal points of their respective teams’ offensive strategies . Detroit will hope to make this advantage count , in their contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
When the Philadelphia Eagles play host the Washington Redskins (3-6) on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, in a divisional game . This is likely to be one of those contests , where the game is likely to be extremely enthralling or a monotonous bore . I am inclined to be believed, that it will be the latter! The Redskins for their part, have simply regressed with neither Mike Shanahan or his son, defensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan being able to provide a succinct explanation as to why the team has been so pitiful this season . One could attribute that to the numerous injuries suffered by the team over the course their schedule , or as everyone seems to believe quarterback Robert Griffin III is not yet back to full fitness and playing at the level exhibited last season and during the playoffs . From my own standpoint, I believe that the Redskins and the coaching staff in particular, simply became lazy , complacent , over-confident and choosing to rest on their laurels , after the accomplishments of 2012.
With Robert Griffin III now suggesting that the last placed Redskins within the NFC East and their 3-6 record , are quite capable of still making the playoffs . I am beginning to wonder, if the second year player , is simply displaying a kind of false bravado on his part, to excuse his own poor play over the course of this season or is it, that he truly believes that over the remainder of the team’s seven games the Redskins are quite capable of winning five of the possible seven contests in question to achieve that feat ? Given the team’s play and the lack of commitment shown, I simply do not believe that they can attain that goal ! There has been no evidence, to suggest, that they have it within them collectively, to actually defeat the Eagles this upcoming Sunday.
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports
By Brian Skinnell , Yahoo Contributor
COMMENTARY | There is a big difference between being 3-6 in 2012 and being 3-6 in 2013. Last season, the Washington Redskins were in much better position to make a playoff run. Due to the current state of the team, they’ve got a lot more work to do to duplicate that magical run.
This past weekend, star quarterback Robert Griffin III spoke with plenty of confidence to reporters regarding Washington’s playoff chances. He told The Washington Post that the team still believes and that they aren’t giving up. While that’s all fine and well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. The Redskins have their work cut out for them if they want to return to the playoffs.
The Special Teams Must Improve
All season long, it’s been one special teams headache after another. The coverage units have been poor and a few teams have defeated Washington thanks to the Redskins’ poor effort on special teams. Sav Rocca has had moments of brilliance as a punter, but he’s been somewhat inconsistent, as well.
There are three facets to the game of football: offense, defense and special teams. In order to be successful and win football games, you need to dominant in all three facets. For Washington, they certainly haven’t done that on special teams and that must get better if they want to make a playoff push.
The Defense Needs to Tighten Up
Much like the special teams, we have seen plenty of inconsistent play from the defense. Against the Denver Broncos, we saw them put together one of the best halves of the season only to throw it all away in the second half. The same can be said for their second-half debacle in Minnesota where Washington surrendered 20 unanswered points in their loss to the Vikings.
Statistically, Washington has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They rank 26th in pass yards allowed (274.8 per game) and are 18th in rush yards allowed (113.8 per game). They give up an average of 388.6 yards per game which ranks them at 27th.
Let’s return to our three facets of football. We’ve established Washington’s inability to take care of the special teams facet of the game, and it’s fair to say they are having trouble getting it done defensively. The offense has played well, but last time I checked, one-out-of-three equals roughly 33-percent, which is a failing grade. In the NFL, that’s nowhere near close enough to win a football game.
The Schedule Isn’t in Their Favor
It’s not a stretch to say that Washington needs to win-out in order to make the postseason, something that will be extremely difficult to do. In the final seven games of the season, the Redskins will have to face the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons and 49ers aren’t having great seasons, don’t underestimate their offensive prowess against a lackluster defense.
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The NFL now, no longer having a win-less team , the question now becomes which franchise is likely to have the dubious privilege of ending up with .the worst record in the league ? At present, the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) both share that dubious distinction with a 1-8 record apiece.. Is either team better than their respective records suggests? Well, given the fact that it was not until week ten > before either team was able to notch their very first victory of the season should tell you a great deal about teams and how their schedules have over the course of this year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have as their guests , on Sunday, their divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons , who themselves are going through a season of missed opportunities and under-achievement . It is pretty much safe to say that this being a contest of utmost importance to both teams, with a great deal being at stake beyond quite possibly the long-term futures head coaches Mike Smith of the Falcons and Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Suddenly, with the Buccaneers’ defense playing a lot better after the team’s 22-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins , during which they held their woefully inept opponents to minus two yards of rushing offense and a meager two-hundred and thirteen yards of total offense for the AFC East based franchise. I am not so sure that Tampa will be able to repeat that type of performance against a Falcons’ team looking to rebound after being completely manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks in a lopsided 33-10 loss . As to what that says about a team, who last season was seen as one of the prohibitive favorites in the NFC, only to once again fall short with another understated performance by Matt Ryan in the postseason, in an NFC championship game loss to the San Francisco 49ers . Ryan, who alongside Tony Romo , might now be the most ” overrated quarterback “ currently . playing in the NFL and certainly one of the most overpaid given the lack of postseason results from both players .
Needless to say , my own observations concerning the Dallas Cowboys will simply evolve around the continued idiotic statements of the team’s owner Jerry Jones , because in terms of taking the franchise and team seriously , they are about as heartwarming and welcomed as a pandemic outbreak of the Ebola virus. The Cowboys have simply found ways , each week over the past five years to p have killed the meaning of the word ” quality” and talent when it comes to their brand of football , along with a coaching staff that is simply bereft of creativity and talent !
The Jacksonville Jaguars will now seek to win their second consecutive game of the season and push their win total for the year season to two , when they meet the Arizona Cardinals . Personally, I believe that if the Jaguars can keep that figure below five, then in all likelihood, they will be favored to obtain the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft . With a plethora of talented said to be primed and ready amongst those who will undoubted declare their eligibility , I do not believe that there will be a need for Jaguars’ GM David Caldwell to be heeding any advice from either Mel Kiper or Todd McSDhay , as to whom they (Jaguars) should be taking as their first pick overall , much less their entire allotment of picks in 2014 .
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As the season ends enters the final quarter of the .regular season games’ schedule , what are you hoping to witness as the finals games and the scenarios are played out ? Also which teams do you believe will be a making serious surge down the final stretch of the season ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of the site !
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) Mike Munchak head coach of the Tennessee Titans is seen here walking the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NFL game played on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts in Nashville , Tennessee ,. Indiana would go on to defeat Tennessee 30-27 in what was a highly competitive game between the two AFC South teams. AP Photo / Wade Payne ……
(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts rushes for a touchdown during the game played against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night , 14th November, 2013. The victory strengthened the Colts’ position at the top of the AFC South , with five games remaining in the regular season . AP Photo / Wade Payne …..
(3) Donald Brown (31) of the Indianapolis Colts evades Michael Griffin (33) of the Titans as he makes it into the end-zone after a six-yard touchdown run against the Tennessee Titans in a Thursday night game . AP Photo Wade Payne ….
(4) Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid is seen here on the sidelines talking to the team’s quarterback Alex Smith during a regular season game. Reid and the Chiefs will be taking on divisional rivals the Denver Broncos as the Kansas City Chiefs look to preserve their unbeaten record in a week eleven match-up between the two AFC West teams. Getty Images North America / Eric Patterson ……
(5) Robert Griffin III, quarterback of the Washington Redskins is seen here with head coach Mike Shanahan . Having made the postseason in 2012 , the Redskins are likely to miss the playoffs this season as they currently reside in the lower rung of the NFC East with a 3-6 record . Griffin believes that the team can make a spirited run and gain a playoff berth within the NFC at the climax of the 2013 NFL season . Getty Images / Mark Harris ……
Chloe Vevrier . More tools in her “tool chest” than even she would care to admit. More of Vevrier below .
Can she ride side-saddle ? Or does she prefer bareback ? As that is what I would like to know !