Week 11 Preview: Upset Alert
What is it about the David vs. Goliath story that people find so exceptional? The little vs. the big? The strong vs. the not-so-strong? What I find truly exceptional is that a story thousands of years old had the idea of an underdog. Whether it’s sport, battle, or life, this concept has endured. Through time, our conduit for these underdog stories still encompasses this range. Things like the American Revolution, presidential elections, and the ever-present sport still display this model. One of the reasons today’s NFL is so enjoyable is that every team has a shot. It seems like every week at least one favored team goes down. Should you be worried about your team this week?
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions (Green Bay by 4)
The Packers needed last week’s bye week so badly, but they are still far from healthy. Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings have already been ruled out for this game. While fan favorite John Kuhn, Andrew Quarless, and most importantly Jordy Nelson are all questionable. Initial word is that Jordy will take the field on Sunday. He’ll surely be needed. The Lions come into this game with Matthew Stafford actually playing and staying healthy in every game this season. Last week he threw for 329 yards and 3 TDs against a solid Vikings defense. The Lions boast the best passing offense in the league, and without Woodson leading a weak secondary; it’s going to be a long day for the Packers defense. This is going to be a good ol’ western shootout. If the Spogo question is: What will happen on the next drive? Bet touchdown. I plan on seeing 60+ points scored.
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots (New England by 10)
If you painted a picture of the Colts season thus far, what would it look like? Call it what you want, but Chuck Pagano would be the Christ-
like victim that has enlivened a group of people to action (No, I’m not saying Chuck Pagano is Jesus Christ). But that is the effect it’s had. The Colts have won four consecutive games, and the 2012 Andrew Luck looks eerily similar to the 2001 Tom Brady. This is the true test for this Colts team as their four-game win streak has come against lesser quality opponents. The Pats run defense should handle the Colts running backs; it’s the Luck scrambles and keepers to watch out for. Luck ranks 5th in the league in QB rushing (with the likes of RG III, Newton, and Vick in the league, that’s pretty good). The Pats recently acquired CB Aqib Talib has finished his suspension and practiced with the team on Wednesday, while I’m not sure he’ll see a starter’s share of snaps on Sunday, but I bet he’ll get some man-to-man coverage assignments. This should help a beleaguered Pats secondary against a top-10 passing offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (Houston by 16)
Psyche. No shot.
Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers (San Francisco by 5)
The proclaimed “Concussion Bowl” sours the Monday Night Football meeting of the 9ers and Bears. Cutler got blasted on Sunday by Houston’s Tim Dobbins (who got fined 30k for the hit) after throwing for a first down on a scramble. Alex Smith took a tandem of shots that left him with blurred vision (he finished the drive and threw a TD pass to Michael Crabtree before calling it quits). Both quarterbacks are still questionable for the game. They do get another day of rest since this is the Monday night game. I don’t see Cutler playing, as they still haven’t decided on the severity of the injury. Smith seems a bit more likely, but still not a great chance. Assuming neither QB goes, these teams may have better luck taking three knees and punting the ball. These are the two best defenses in the league, so for any backup to come in and shine will be tough. We know what type of QB Jason Campbell is and expect him to be his pedestrian, lackluster self. Colin Kaepernick is the x-factor. He has amazing speed, and can make some throws. If they can utilize his speed on rollout’s and option plays, the 49ers will be in the driver seat. They just have to hope this contact heavy type of play doesn’t result in another concussion, forcing them to turn to third string QB Scott Tolzien (hard to believe this guy has maintained a spot on an NFL roster).