Friday, December 18, 2009

Tripodi's Top Teams: Week 14

1(1). New Orleans Saints (13-0): Up 23-9, the Saints allowed Atlanta to come back and tie the game before winning it with a field goal. They've been making it close since blowing out the Pats, but they keep winning. Expect them to continue Dallas' December woes.

2(2). Indianapolis Colts (14-0): The Colts survived a battle with the Jaguars behind 4 touchdowns from Peyton Manning. It remains to be seen how they treat the rest of the season, in terms of playing their regulars.

3(3). Minnesota Vikings (11-2): Minnesota bounced back against Cincinnati at home, where they haven't lost this season. They shouldn't have much trouble with the Panthers this weekend.

4(5). San Diego Chargers (10-3): The Chargers just keep winning and they get what should be an emotional Bengals team this weekend. I think San Diego is the better team, but don't count out what playing for a fallen teammate can do.

5(4). Cincinnati Bengals (9-4): The tragic death of Chris Henry continues a tough season for Cincinnati, who also lost defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's wife earlier in the year. Emotions will be riding high this week in San Diego, and very few people will be rooting against the Bengals.

6(9). Green Bay Packers (9-4): Aaron Rodgers didn't throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 19 games, but Ryan Grant's 137-yard, 2-touchdown day more than made up for it. They will travel to Pittsburgh next week to face the struggling Steelers, who really have nothing left to play for after losing to Cleveland last week.

7(10). Philadelphia Eagles (9-4): The Eagles, particularly DeSean Jackson, killed the Giants with big plays. This week, they go against a 49ers team that forced 7 turnovers last week against Arizona. A win would go a long way to solidifying their division title hopes.

8(6). Dallas Cowboys (8-5): It doesn't get any easier for the Cowboys this December, traveling to New Orleans on Saturday night to face the undefeated Saints. After losing to the Chargers at home, an 8-6 record seems likely by this time next week.

9(7). Arizona Cardinals (8-5): Arizona missed their chance to clinch the division, turning it over seven times against San Francisco. They should get their offense back on track against the Lions this week.

10(8). Denver Broncos (8-5): If it wasn't for Brandon Marshall and his NFL-record 21 catches, the Broncos would've lost by far more than 12 points. This team needs to beat Oakland at home on Sunday or risk falling back to the pack in the AFC Wild Card picture.

11(11). New England Patriots (8-5): Randy Moss not trying? We've never heard that before, have we? Let's see how Moss responds to the criticism against Buffalo's improved secondary.

12(12). New York Giants (7-6): The Giants fell behind quickly and couldn't make up for it, as the Eagles exposed their holes in the secondary. They still have a shot, but it has to start with a win in Washington this weekend in what promises to be a tough divisional game.

13(14). Baltimore Ravens (7-6): The Ravens have alternated wins and losses since their bye week, meaning the Bears will come into Baltimore and dash the Ravens' playoff hopes by dropping them to 7-7. No, I don't see it happening either.

14(15). Tennessee Titans (6-7): The Titans rolled the Rams but Vince Young got hurt in the process. If he's fully healthy for this week's game against Miami, I think the Titans win at home. If not, Miami is more dangerous than people give them credit for.

15(16). Miami Dolphins (7-6): If the Dolphins can follow up their victory at Jacksonville with another road win in Tennessee, you have to look at them as the favorite for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC, as the Ravens are still inconsistent and the Jets didn't get any help from the scheduling committee.

16(17). New York Jets (7-6): The Jets get the Falcons at home this week and Matt Ryan is slated to play for the first time since Week 12. Too bad he gets to go against the aggressive New York defense. The Jets should shred the Falcons on the ground and if Mark Sanchez can limit turnovers like Kellen Clemens did last week, New York will move to 8-6.

17(13). Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7): They couldn't beat Miami and are staring at a .500 record after losing their first sellout of the season against the Colts. This team does what they have to do to stay in games, but losing their last two by a combined seven points has hurt their shot at the playoffs.

18(18). Atlanta Falcons (6-7): Atlanta will travel to the Meadowlands to try and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Matt Ryan's return gives them hope, but he was inconsistent this year even before he got hurt.

19(20). Houston Texans (6-7): After rolling Seattle, the Texans get another NFC West patsy in the Rams. This one might be worse than last week.

20(21). San Francisco 49ers (6-7): The San Fran defense was impressive in forcing 7 turnovers against Arizona. They will need to do the same thing to the Eagles if they expect to make it two wins in a row.

21(19). Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7): Will the Steelers roll over and die, letting Green Bay come into Pittsburgh and win? Or will they show that championship pride and play some football? I'm not convinced the Packers defense won't give that identity-lacking offense fits.

22(25). Washington Redskins (4-9): Don't look now, but the Redskins are playing good football. This week's home game with the Giants will be a good one, and New York better not take Washington lightly if they want to make the playoffs.

23(22). Carolina Panthers (5-8): The talented Carolina secondary took Randy Moss out of the game early, but it seems no one can stop Wes Welker. The more we see of Matt Moore, the more it becomes evident this team will need to draft a quarterback. The only question is who: Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen?

24(27). Buffalo Bills (5-8): The Bills beat the Chiefs. That's all I will say about that game. If Buffalo can manage to beat the Pats this week, it could set up a three-way tie in the AFC East if the Jets and Dolphins take care of business.

25(23). Chicago Bears (5-8): Jay Cutler has a new favorite target: Devin Aromashodu, who was targeted 12 times and caught 8 balls. Cutler will need all the options he can get heading into Baltimore, where the Bears can play spoiler against the playoff-hopeful Ravens.

26(24). Seattle Seahawks (5-8): I said I wouldn't be surprised if they buried the Texans? I don't know why I think this team is any good at times. They're just not, but I don't think Tampa Bay can exploit them for win number two.

27(26). Oakland Raiders (4-9): With Bruce Gradkowski likely out for the season, Charlie Frye will start this week over JaMarcus Russell. I don't think Frye can give this team the same spark Gradkowski did. Denver looks like a great survivor pick this week.

28(28). Kansas City Chiefs (3-10): The Chiefs lost to the Bills, and now they get to play the Browns at home. Will they make it two straight weeks of losing to teams as bad or worse than they are?

And now, I'm imposing a three-win minimum to earn a write-up. Sorry losers.

29(29). Cleveland Browns (2-11)

30(30). Detroit Lions (2-11)

31(31). Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12)

32(32). St. Louis Rams (1-12)

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