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NFL Update - Week 13 (AFC Domination?)


Alan

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NFL Update – Week 13

 

Unlucky for some, its week 13 here at the NFL Update and everything is getting tense. This week I take a look at the AFC’s “domination” of the NFL over this and the past couple of seasons, along with all of the regular features, so you can find out if week 13 was unlucky for your team!

 

Game Feature – Houston Texans @ New York Jets

 

For only the second time this season I was able to see a Jets game live, the previous being the loss to New England, I was hoping that today against the Texans the result would be different!

The game started with a Houston drive, which they moved 40 yards to the NY 33 line that left them in a 4th and 10 situation. The Texans showed everyone that they came to win by going for it rather than choosing to punt. It almost paid off, as Texans QB David Carr threw a huge pass towards Andre Johnson in the end zone, however the Jets defense were there to force an incompletion. Chad Pennington took the field for the Jets for the first time since being injured four weeks ago, and he showed no sign of “field rust” by completing all 5 of his passes on this first drive. Curtis Martin also rushed for 8 yards to set up a 41-yard FG attempt, which Doug Brien promptly put through the uprights to give NY a 3-point lead. On the second play of Houston’s resulting drive it looked to be a 60-yard touchdown, however the play was ruled out due to a “holding” call on the offense. After gaining 30 yards on the drive, the Texans had another 4th down situation, and tried to go for it again. David Carr couldn’t find his receivers and the pass fell incomplete to turn the ball over on downs for the second time.

The following Jets drive took the game into the second quarter, and they made it a scoring start to the period as after gaining 55 yards, Doug Brien kicked a 26-yard FG to put NY up by 6. Houston came right back on the attack, as David Carr led the Texans 75 yards towards a 2-yard rushing TD from D.Davis. The point after gave the Texans their first lead of the game. New York’s following drive produced Pennington’s first interception of the game, and his first pass not completed to a member of his team. Could Houston capitalise on the Jets mistake? No, as on only the second play of their drive, the pass was intercepted and the Jets had regained possession. However NY couldn’t make use of the resulting drive, and ended the half with a punt.

The Jets opened the second half with a poor 19-yard drive that resulted in a punt from their own 47-yard line. The punt gave NY excellent field position as they stopped the return at the HOU 5-yard line. The Texans then made some silly mistakes. After getting themselves into a 4th down situation, they went to punt, but the snap went straight into the leg of the referee and the Jets thought they had earned a safety. However the play was ruled inactive, as the officials were not ready at the time. Second chance, and this time they got the punt off, however the play was ruled out due to offensive holding, which took them back to their own 3 yard line. Third time lucky? Well it was for the Jets, as Santana Moss returned the 47-yard punt 46 yards to the HOU 4-yard line! Curtis Martin was then able to run in a 4 yard TD to regain the lead for NY. Things were not going well for the Texans, and it showed on the following drive, as they incurred two penalties that cost them a total of 25 yards. They were unable to recover and turned the ball over with a punt.

The Jets incurred a 10-yard penalty of their own before the game moved into the fourth quarter. However thanks to an 11-yard run from Pennington, New York kept on going. Two plays after Chad’s run he threw a 5-yard pass to Martin for a TD. The Jets tried for the two-point conversion, but failed, and the score stayed at 19-7. The Texans following drive took them forward 25 yards before Carr threw his second interception of the game. New York then moved 40 yards in two minutes to allow Anthony Becht to catch a 2-yard pass for the TD. This time Brien kicked the point after and effectively put the game out of Houston’s reach as the score went to 26-7. Houston seemed to be having problems with their offence in the second half, no more apparent than their following drive, in which they only gained 3 yards before having to punt. New York put the game away after a 56-yard drive allowed Brien to kick his third FG of the day with two minutes left on the clock. Houston were looking for some respect now, but couldn’t get the ball past halfway, and to add insult to injury, the game ended with David Carr being sacked by J.Reed of the Jets!

A great game for NY, but Houston need to improve if they want to even think about a playoff spot.

 

Full Results

 

Arizona Cardinals 12 – Detroit Lions 26

Atlanta Falcons 0 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27

Buffalo Bills 42 – Miami Dolphins 32

Carolina Panthers 32 – New Orleans 21

Cincinnati Bengals 27 – Baltimore Ravens 26

Houston Texans 7 – New York Jets 29

Minnesota Vikings 14 – Chicago Bears 24

New England Patriots 42 – Cleveland Browns 15

San Francisco 49ers 6 – St Louis Rams 16

Tennessee Titans 24 – Indianapolis Colts 51

Denver Broncos 17 – San Diego Chargers 20

Kansas City Chiefs 34 – Oakland Raiders 27

Green Bay Packers 17 – Philadelphia Eagles 47

New York Giants 7 – Washington Redskins 31

Pittsburgh Steelers 17 – Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Dallas Cowboys 43 – Seattle Seahawks 39

 

AFC Domination?

 

This week, whilst looking for inspiration towards today’s article, I found an interesting fact, and that is that out of 50 encounters between AFC and NFC teams, 32 times the AFC team has been victorious. That’s over 60% of the games! So what follows is the round up of my views, and some taken from pundits, as to the reasoning behind the current AFC swing.

To highlight how well the AFC teams are playing compared to the NFC, imagine we stopped the season after week 12. Now of the six playoff teams from the NFC, one would have a losing record, something unheard of, but in the AFC a 7-4 team would be at home resting instead of the post-season. That’s an amazing contrast, and of course we still have a few weeks left. One thing you notice by looking around each conference is that the seven NFC teams on 4-7 have an actual chance of making the playoffs, however the two 4-7 teams in the AFC have pretty much no chance. Going on those figures, it definitely looks like the AFC are the better conference, and they have posted a .500 or better record against the NFC teams for the last eight seasons. Is it simply a question of better teams, better players, better coaches or just a cycle?

Well firstly people could say it’s the quarterbacks, the AFC have Tom Brady (Pats), Peyton Manning (Colts), Drew Brees (Chargers), Chad Pennington (Jets) and the rookie sensation Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers). And each one of those are high quality QB’s who can throw pinpoint accurate passes in nearly any situation. That would make a pretty good argument, however the NFC is not short of QB talent themselves. For example, Daunte Culpepper of the Vikings resides in the NFC, he is one of the top QB’s in the league alongside Brett Favre of the Packers. Also playing in the NFC are Donovan McNabb of the Eagles and Michael Vick of the Falcons, who are excellent for their teams and have shown themselves to be irreplaceable due to their skills. So comparing quarterbacks doesn’t solve it, maybe the coaches make a difference? Let’s take a look at the NFC coaches shall we? There are people like Bill Parcells (of the Cowboys) and Joe Gibbs (of the Redskins) coaching teams. They both have proven themselves to be exceptional coaches over the years, and are on par if not better than a lot of their AFC counterparts.

So maybe it is all just down to a cycle, I mean from 1985 to 1997 the NFC won 13 straight Superbowls. In this era of the salary cap and free agents, the momentum is bound to change every few years, with teams looking to bring in fresh players, turf out under-achieving players earning too much, and basically run a decent squad. The draft plays a big part, as the new, young talent comes in to the league, the best quality players end up at the poorest teams of the previous year. Which inevitably helps turn things around, over a couple of years teams can amass momentum-turning squads. One of the big questions though is how long will the AFC continue to reign? Is this year when the NFC begins the power shift or are the AFC here to stay for a long time?

 

Player of the Week

 

A rookie gets the nod this week, in Julius Jones. After running 150 yards on Thanksgiving Day, this week he ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys game against the Seahawks last night. His third touchdown was the game winning score for the Cowboys that put the score at 43-39 and Dallas at 5-7 on the year.

 

Jets Talk

 

He returned, and everyone on the field could feel it. Chad Pennington started his first game since being injured four weeks ago against Buffalo, and it was as if he had never been away. Chad completed his first 9 passes, and finished 20 of 27 for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Also, the 29 points scored against Houston were the most since Chad’s last full game (against the Dolphins), and the total yardage (360) was the most since then as well. Mr Consistency Curtis Martin ran his seventh 100-yard game this season by getting a total of 134 on 23 carries. He now only needs 26 yards to become the 5th back in history to rush 13000 in a career. So the Jets are now guaranteed a winning record as they sit 9 and 3 on the year, can we keep it going into the post-season? Well the big test is next week against the powerful Pittsburgh Steelers, then two weeks after that, we play host to the Patriots. It’s going to be a tough run-in.

 

Division Standings

AFC East

New England – 11W 1L

N.Y. Jets – 9W 3L

Buffalo – 6W 6L

Miami – 2W 10L

AFC North

Pittsburgh – 11W 1L

Baltimore – 7W 5L

Cincinnati – 6W 6L

Cleveland – 3W 9L

AFC South

Indianapolis – 9W 3L

Jacksonville – 6W 6L

Houston – 5W 7L

Tennessee – 4W 8L

AFC West

San Diego – 9W 3L

Denver – 7W 5L

Kansas City – 4W 8L

Oakland Raiders – 4W 8L

 

NFC East

Philadelphia – 11W 1L

Dallas – 5W 7L

NY Giants – 5W 7L

Washington – 4W 8L

NFC North

Green Bay – 7W 5L

Minnesota – 7W 5L

Chicago – 5W 7L

Detroit – 5W 7L

NFC South

Atlanta – 9W 3L

Carolina – 5W 7L

Tampa Bay – 5W 7L

New Orleans – 4W 8L

NFC West

Seattle – 6W 6L

St. Louis – 6W 6L

Arizona – 4W 8L

San Francisco – 1W 11L

 

Wrap Up

 

That was week 13, was it unlucky for you? It wasn’t for the big teams, as the Patriots, Eagles and Steelers all remained on their win streaks. The 49ers remain the worst team in the NFL, and that fact doesn’t look like changing any time soon. And what happened to the Falcons this week? They didn’t score a single point as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shut them out. Next week the Steelers play host to the Jets, whilst the Patriots host the Bengals and the Eagles travel to the Redskins. Atlanta have a chance to regain winning form as they play host to the Oakland Raiders, and San Francisco try to improve as they travel to Arizona. See you next week for all the action at NFL Update!

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Saw 3.5 games this weekend.

Jacksonville .v. Pittsburgh = owwwwwwwwwwwwwww, They leathered eachother. Great ending

Broncos .v. Chargers = great finish and close game. Bolts always going to win.

Jets .v. Texans, I might come back to that one.

Saw first half of Cowboys.v. Seahawks, but got annoyed at it.

JETS ARE SOLID.

Texans punted at the start due to the punter being hurt in the warm up. After that they had to play him otherwise we could have hit far more with Lamont and C Mart running wild and the man back.

Chad is awesome. I don't want any "Payton rules" balls, I think that he is only good is because all of his other players are good. He isn't bad, but he ain't as good as people think. Put him on the San Fran roster and they won't do much still.

Bring on the Steelers, is on Sky so can hopefully see it.

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Just to let people know, next week there will not be an NFL update due to me taking a well earned break in Paris with the other half. However the update will return as usual for week 15.

 

Also, CJM, i checked on sky sports, and the Jets are on this weekend against the Steelers live, and they are showing the Jets/Seahawks game live next week as well!

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