Coming into this season, both the Falcons and the Saints were thought of as contenders for not only the conference but the Super Bowl as well. New Orleans was getting their head coach back, one of the best in the league. The Falcons added a few pieces to an already potent offense. No one could have predicted that going up against each other in week 12, the teams would be on the exact opposite ends of the spectrum. The Saints are trying to keep pace with Seattle for the best record in the NFC while the Falcons’ first round draft pick gets higher and higher as the weeks go bye. So because of that, one would assume that last night’s game would be an easy one for Drew Brees and co. Leading a Saints offense that has looked nearly unbeatable inside of a dome but didn’t have as much firepower as we’re used to seeing last night. When indoors, anything is possible for the Saints. But last night proved how erratic the season has been, nearly impossible to predict. Thursday night games have a knack for being extra weird because the players are on a minimal amount of rest. Yes, the Saints won the game and a win is always a win, but nothing was overly impressive. Brees was effective but only showed a couple of flashes of brilliance. Jimmy Graham had his inevitable big plays and the run game did just enough. At the same time, the Falcons had enough of opportunities to make the game interesting but failed to so because frankly, they’re just a bad team. Atlanta is now guaranteed a losing season and only have a couple more legitimate shots at getting another win. The Saints on the other hand have their toughest stretch of the season, beginning next week in Seattle. Could very well decide the top seed in the conference. But there are still games to play before that.
The slate of this week’s games aren’t stealing the spotlight like they did last week but they’re just as important. Only four teams on bye (Seahawks, Bills, Eagles, Bengals) so lots of early games. The Panthers in Miami is the most important on paper. Miami is in the middle of the dogfight that is the second wild card spot in the AFC while the Panthers are trying to keep the pressure on New Orleans for the division and at the same time, stay in prime position the first wild card spot in the NFC. The Chargers can still salvage their season but they’re going into Kansas City against a pretty pissed off Chiefs team; could be ugly for Phil Rivers. Will the Jets continue to be the “Jekyll and Hyde” team of the season? Is there any reason to watch Jaguars-Texans? I’m wondering why more attention isn’t being paid to Colts-Cardinals. I’m excited to see how Andrew Luck does on the road against a really good Cardinals defense. The Cowboys at the Giants always gets interesting but for this game, I just want the Cowboys to get back on track while stopping the Giants’ win streak. Just goes to show how bad the NFC East is when the previously 0-6 Giants are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. The day finishes with a bang. Denver at New England features two of the better teams in the AFC and the NFL. Will we see another classic Manning vs Brady game?
I was tempted to take the Dolphins because they keep it close at home but the Panthers are just too good. Or how about the Bucs (+9) in Detroit? Revis Island somewhat containing Megatron? Mike Glennon being a little better than most expected? The Lions have not had a blowout win since they were in Cleveland. Can’t see Tampa Bay actually winning but why not, they keep it close.View All Photos ›