Mid-December, three games left in the regular season, it’s officially crunch time for Bill Belichick & Co. Do or die, this is where the boys are separated from the men and the frauds are weeded out from the real teams. Let’s dive into it, three things we learned in Week 14:
1. The Baltimore Ravens. Yes, New England got the win and yes they dominated for the first half. The offense was sound and the defense was lights out. But that 3rd quarter scared me. That’s what happens when the Patriots play the Ravens. No matter how good or bad the Ravens team is, they ALWAYS play the Patriots hard. For some reason they are the Patriots Achilles heel and when it comes to January football, I am PETRIFIED of the Ravens. John Harbaugh is a great coach and a proven winner. Joe Flacco has proven he can be elite at times, clearly since he has a ring, despite being one of the more inconsistent quarterbacks in the league. So when it comes down the nitty gritty, if the Ravens sneak into the playoffs and the Patriots end up facing them, I will be down right terrified. Confident, but terrified.
2. The New York Football Giants. After rattling off 11 straight W’s, America’s team’s high flying offense was finally succumbed to the stifling Giants defense. Yes, JPP is injured and going to be out for a few weeks, but that defense is still legit. And just like the Ravens, no matter how inconsistent the Giants play, as long as they make it to the playoffs, they are a threat. They’ve done it twice before, as the Patriots know all too well. Eli Manning, again like Flacco, can be the best QB in the league at times, but also one of the worst. So yes, much of the Giants success lies on his shoulders, but when Eli is on, he’s ON. Look for the Giants to make a run this year, just hopefully it won’t end in Houston. Oh yeah, and they also have this dude Odell Beckham Jr., ever heard of him?
3. The Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos. Oakland has been the talk of the AFC this year. Similar to the Cowboys, the Raiders sort of came out of nowhere and are having a great season. Due much in part to their young, but uber talented offense. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Lataivus Murray are all having break out years. But the key point here is young. As good as these three are, they have a combined zero playoff appearances. The Raiders are a team of the future, not the team of the present. Look for them to be good for the long haul, but this is not their year.
The Broncos are a solid team, no denying that. But this one is simple. They don’t have a quarterback. With the exception of a few outliers (Trent Dilfer) teams with bad quarterbacks don’t win the Super Bowl. It’s the most important position in sports. You need someone back there who can conduct an offense and has ice in his veins. Yes, the Denver defense is among the best in the league. But in order to win it all you need a quarterback, and Trevor Siemien is not that guy. When it comes down to it, Tom Brady > Derek Carr > Trevor Siemien. TB12 will win this QB match up 100 out of 100 times.