Saturday, November 26, 2011

NFL Week 12 Games to Watch: The Main Course

I hope you’ve recovered from your turkey coma and Black Friday shopping to enjoy a weekend of leftovers and football.  There were some great games on Thanksgiving, and we have more to look forward to tomorrow and Monday.  This week’s GTWs are a divisional matchup between two teams heading in opposite directions, and a battle royale between perennial NFC leaders.

Denver Broncos (5-5) @ San Diego Chargers (4-6) (Sunday, 4:15 PM ET, CBS):  This is the tale of two teams:  one has won four of five after a change at the helm; the other has lost five in a row being led under the leadership of an 8-year veteran.  The performance of quarterback Tim Tebow has been analyzed ad nauseum this season, but no one can argue with results.  After starting an abysmal 1 and 4, the Broncos have gone 4 and 1 under Tebow’s leadership and have a .500 record at 5 and 5.  The Chargers, on the other hand, are reliving what has been a recurring theme in the past few seasons: a mediocre start to the season, leaving fans and media to wonder how so much talent can be so consistently inconsistent.  But, in years past, they have managed late season surges to make the playoffs, or at least come very close.  In 2010, they were 4 and 5 before their bye week, and ended the season 9 and 7; in 2009, they went 2 and 3 then won the last 11 game to finish 13 and 3 (only to lose in the first second round of the playoffs after their first week bye); in 2008, they were 4 and 8 at this point in the season, then fought back to finish at 8 and 8, losing again in the second round of the playoffs.  Will history repeat with another late-season surge, or will the Broncos continue to ride the Tebow wave and come crashing down on the San Diego’s postseason hopes?

New York Giants (6-4) @ New Orleans Saints (7-3) (Monday, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN):  Coming into this game on a two-game losing streak, the Giants are definitely the team with more at stake in this one.  They’ve blown their lead in the NFC East and find themselves behind the Dallas Cowboys, since the ‘Boys eked out a victory against the Miami Dolphins on Turkey Day.  Aside from divisional standings, the Giants also want to prove that the past is not prologue: in the past two seasons, collapses in the second half of the season have meant watching the playoffs from the couch at home.  The Saints, though they only have a one-game lead over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South, are feeling optimistic about the end of their season.  Including Monday Night’s battle, they will be playing four of their last six games at home, where they are a perfect 4 and 0 this season.  Will they enjoy dome-field advantage once again, or are they in for a letdown against a Giants team with something to prove?

I hope you enjoy the slate of games in the NFL, and don’t forget about college rivalry weekend!  I, for one, will be sequestered at home from noon to about 4:00 watching my Michigan Wolverines against the evil Ohio State Buckeyes.  GO BLUE!!!

Oh, and don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook for game day comments and news!

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