Is it really that hard to keep playing til we have a winner? If you want to lower the strain on players then adopt the NCAA system of each team starting at the opposition 25 yard line. There are plenty of ways to leave teams and fans with a more satisfying feeling than what we saw at Candlestick on sunday.
Toby's Game of the Week: Chicago Bears (7-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1), Monday 8:30pm ET
It's the Backup Bowl! After Jay Cutler and Alex Smith both suffered concussions in their week 10 games, we could easily see Jason Campbell against Colin Kapernick. And with 2 elite defenses it could get ugly.
Jason Campbell is a very competent quarterback, as we saw during his stint last year in Oakland, and while he didn't look good in the wet against Houston, a week of reps with the first team and a full week of gameplanning will allow a greater level of comfort both for Campbell and Offensive Coordinator Mike Tice.
For Colin Kaepernick, the game just seemed too fast for him on sunday, his natural athleticism bailed him out a few times, but against a fast, angry and turnover-happy Chicago defense? His legs might not save as many plays this week. Again, a week full of reps and gameplanning will help, but some of Kaepernick's reads looked poor, he was missing receivers by a long way too. But hey, running QB's are always fun, I just wouldn't like to be trying to run against Henry Melton, Cory Wooton, Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher, no matter how good my offensive line is playing.
This game will be a slogfest on the ground, Chicago's defensive tackles will need to stay disciplined so that San Fran can't run their super-successful trap game, while Chicago's offensive line is far better in run blocking than pass protection, so getting the run game going will be key.
I don't know what the over/under for turnovers are in this game, but i feel good about the over.
Guest Game of the Week: Green Bay Packers (6-3) @ Detroit Lions (4-5), Sunday 1pm ET
By Thomas Moore, TomTom Sports (@ttsportspodcast)
We will start with this; the Bears will lose to the 49ers on Monday Night Football. Why do we open with this? Well it directly impacts our GOTW as it blows the NFC North wide-open. Ok, we are assuming a lot by pinning a victory on the 49ers but hear us now and believe us later. This will send the Bears to 7-3. Which in turn means that in this Sunday night match-up between the Lions and Packers there is a lot on the line.
The Packers will have the opportunity to go to 7-3 themselves and take the lead in the division (Packers have the nod over the Bears with their heads-up win earlier this year). On the other side of the coin the Lions are 4-5 and desperate. You know when a game comes down to a final play and the commentator says: "here it is folks, ball-game on the line." Well this entire fixture is; "season on the line." The Lions were the darlings of everyone last year with Stafford spraying the ball all-around and Calvin making jump-ball after jump-ball. Oh how the mightly have fallen. Well...no so much mighty...let's try that again. Oh how the reasonably-talented have fallen. This year has just been a car-crash for the boys from Detroit and this is their last throw of the dice. Therefore, we really recommend you tune in as this one could be a shoot-out.
How so if the Lions are so bad? Well, the Packers are having an injury-stricken season to match their 2010 campaign. On defence; Clay Matthews looks like he'll miss out, Nick Perry is on IR and Charles Woodson is still missing. What is interesting is that the Packers young players on defence have stepped up and are showing some play-making ability; especially rookie cornerback Casey Heyward. However, the Lions should still take advantage of this banged up unit and should score at least 20 points. On the other side of the ball, the Packers boast the best QB in the league and an emerging difference-maker in Randall Cobb. Time for an interesting fact: Randall Cobb was the first player to play in the NFL who was born in the 1990s. When they are on the money, the Packers can have the most explosive offense in the league and they are more than capable of matching the Lions.
How will this one turn out? Well, as desperate as the Lions are the Packers are equally amped-up. There is a sense that they have been dismissed, abused and downtrodden; none more so than Aaron Rodgers. He wants another ring and doubters have always motivated him. Also; we said that the Packers are having a injury-stricken campaign to match their 2010 season...in that particular year they won the Super Bowl. Final: Packers 42 - 20 Lions
|MIA @ BUF||MIA||BUF||BUF||BUF|
|ARI @ ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL|
|CLE @ DAL||DAL||CLE||DAL||DAL|
|CIN @ KC||CIN||CIN||CIN|
|PHI @ WAS||WAS||WAS||WAS||PHI|
|TB @ CAR||TB||TB|
|JAX @ HOU||HOU||HOU|
|NYJ @ STL||STL||NYJ||STL|
|NO @ OAK||NO||NO|
|SD @ DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN|
|IND @ NE||NE||NE|
|BAL @ PIT||BAL||BAL||BAL|
|CHI @ SF||SF||SF||SF|