Saturday, December 12, 2009

The two games you have to watch this weekend

Cincinnati vs Minnesota

I was stunned by what I saw on NFC matchup this morning: Sharp was stunned when Baldinger picked the Bengals. Sharp questioned him very closely on this one. Frankly I am stunned that he is stunned. I question how Sterling can question that pick.

Nobody mentioned the 10 ton elephant in the room: E.J. Henderson, the Vikings All-Pro Middle Linebacker just got killed by friendly fire. He will not be in the lineup this weekend, or for the rest of the year. Given this fact, I don't see how you can favor the Vikings. When I saw Henderson go down against the Cardinals, my first thought was: "They are going to get killed next week against the Bengals."

The Bengals are perhaps the most
aggressive running team in the NFL. The stats say it is the New York Jets. I will tell you the Bengals do it better. They have nasty offensive line, and they fire the ball right up the middle with Cedric Benson, Larry Johnson, and former Ram fulback Brian Leonard. If you think they are going to miss an opportunity to run where they like to run, right where E.J Henderson isn't, you are absolutely crazy.

Call me foolish. Call me irresponsible. Call me a dreamer. I just don't like the thought of a
mediocre defense, without its all-pro Mike Linebacker, trying to stop the Bengals running game. This is the most dangerous match the Vikings will face before the playoffs. I think it is a game they are unlikely to win. If you think the 49ers gave them some troubles...

There remains an irrational and unjustifiable level of exuberance & optimism around the Vikings and their chances for a Super Bowl birth. We need to remember that the Saints are the only undefeated team in the NFC. The Vikings just had their asses handed to them by those sneaky Cardinals. In the process, the Vikings suffered some major carnage. The sneaky Cardinals are once again poised to upset in the NFC tournament. They are more talented than the Vikings, especially on defense, and especially now. The matchups between the Saints and the Vikings, don't favor the Vikings.

In all seriousness, both of these teams could end up in the Super Bowl, theoretically. However, I would tell you that the Bengals have a much better shot than the Vikings. I say that based on the Colt's lamentable history of early exits in the playoffs. If the Colts get waylaid, the Bengals can go all the way.

San Diego vs Dallas

I don't know what to say about this one. You have two teams with opposite records in December. Dallas just came off a fluky loss (two plays turned that game towards NY) and the Chargers are riding a hot streak. Both teams badly need a victory to stay ahead in their divisions. Both teams are playing extremely well.

These are argubaly your two most tallented teams in the league. A few years ago, during their 14-2 2006 season, the Chargers put 12 men in the Pro Bowl. A few years ago, during their 2007 season, the Cowboys topped that with 13 in the Pro Bowl. This is the biggest contest on the board, and it should be exciting as hell.

I would tell you that this is a pick'em game based on the breaks, ref calls, and the bounces. If I have to pick one, I'll take the Cowboys because I believe the Chargers defense is still suspect.