3 Games to Watch - Week 13

Andrew Garda has picked through a rather uninspiring dockett of games for your Sunday viewing since you already had your Packers win last Thursday. Seahawks-Minnesota, Giants-Jets and Texans-Bills all get broken down.

At this point you’ve sobered up from the last-minute, bullet-dodging win over the Detroit Lions (or we assume you have) and while you could do things like shopping, lawn maintenance and spending time with family, we’re going to assume you’re considering watching some football.

We approve.

As mentioned on my last podcast, it’s not the greatest slate of games but there are some quality matchups.

Here are a few to keep you occupied when you’re not hanging Christmas lights or otherwise enjoying your Sunday.

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings

We keep telling you to watch the Vikings and it might make you feel a little ill, but as is written here every time we do it: keep an eye on them.

This is a tough game for any team to win, including the Vikings.

It could be that the Seahawks are actually more dangerous without Jimmy Graham, who is done for the season. Rather than try to puzzle out how to use him (which, while obvious to everyone else has escaped the Seahawks coaching staff), they can now go back to the heavy run, read-optionish attack they were successful with in the previous two seasons.

We know the Vikings will pound the ball with Adrian Peterson and so we also know the Seahawks will stack the box and move safeties up. If Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner is smart—and the jury is always out on that—he should take a page from the Packers book and mix in a few quick slants, outs and short strikes to take advantage of the stacked boxes.

This does two things. First, it keeps the defense more honest and gets Peterson a little more running room. And second, it gets the ball out of Teddy Bridgewater’s hand quickly. With a shambles of an offensive line in front of Bridgewater, you cannot try and move the ball on deep vertical routes.

That’s especially true when your receivers fail to get separation on a regular basis as the Vikings do and further compounded by the fact that you’re up against one of the better secondaries in the NFL.

Of course, the Vikings have yet to try that so we’ll see. I suspect this is a Seahawks victory and the NFCN reverts to Packers control.

The last few games of the season will be interesting. Both the Vikings and Packers have similar schedules but the Packers have just a bit easier of a road. The Vikings will need to steal a game to keep a lead going into the Week 17 battle.

New York Jets at New York Giants

Here’s a rivalry that’s about as manufactured as rivalries get. Two teams who share the same stadium but never play each other, who are in different conferences and who really don’t have any crossover in terms of week to week interaction.

So why should you care?

Well, because there are some far-reaching effects depending on the result of this game.

The Jets need to be winning to keep pace for a Wild Card spot in the AFC, and with the glut of teams in the AFC who are on the bubble, what the Jets do here will impact how that playoff picture looks (see also below the Bills and Texans).

Meanwhile, the Giants have a shot at a Wild Card spot (they are only one game behind Seattle) but their better shot is winning the pathetic NFC East.

That’s going to make a difference to Packers fans as it could put them in the path of the Packers in the playoffs—which, let’s be honest, you want.

Both of these secondaries are banged up and the Jets best bet to stop Odell Beckham Jr is actually not attacking Beckham. Which is not to say let him roam free—just that there is no chance they shut him down by just focusing on covering him. The front seven of the Jets has to get at Eli Manning and there is no excuse for them not to do it—this offensive line sucks.

There’s also no excuse for the Giants to not get after Ryan Fitzpatrick, though the Jets offensive line is much better than what Big Blue has.  Also, the combination of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, while lacking a Beckham-like weapons, is more potent than the overall Giants receivers.

You also have to like Chris Ivory over anything the Giants have in the backfield.

Still, both teams keep finding ways to screw up. Which one manages to avoid that trap today will have some far-reaching effects.

Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills

Any game with Rex Ryan involved is equal parts fun to watch and frustrating to watch.

This year it will feature an underperforming defense, a scattered and unfocused offense and a ton of bravado. So, same old, same old.

If the Houston Texans had a quarterback they would be running away with the AFC South. They don’t, though at least Brian Hoyer is a reasonable facsimile. DeAndre Hopkins is the Bills’ biggest problem this weekend, and Hoyer does a good job of throwing the ball up and letting “NUK” do the rest. When Hopkins is covered, the Texans have actually done a good job of moving the chains anyway over the last few weeks.

Defensively, Houston is on a tear. It’s not just J.J. Watt either, though he is once again having a Defensive MVP year. However, multiple people are stepping up and making this a dangerous defense.

The Bills will rely mostly on LeSean McCoy, but they have to air it out at some point and the challenge for Houston is twofold. Contain quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is a mobile threat (and surprisingly not a bad passer) while also shutting down Sammy Watkins.

The Bills are just outside the bubble of the playoff picture in the AFC, despite a whole lotta ballgame being left. They need this win to stay relevant. If they lose and the Jets/Kansas City/Pittsburgh (or some combination) win, they are in a bad position.

Meanwhile the Texans aren’t thinking Wild Card—they’re thinking division title. A win here is really important especially as the Colts could very well lose Sunday night at Pittsburgh.

 

So that’s what we have—like I said, compelling matchups are few and far between. Arizona, New England and Denver are all potential blowouts and a lot of the other games are yawn-worthy.

But it’s football and we’ll take it.

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Comments (3)

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GVPacker's picture

December 06, 2015 at 01:27 pm

The Vikings are getting their teeth kicked in by the Sea Chickens, Skol!

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DrealynWilliams's picture

December 06, 2015 at 02:53 pm

"They are who we thought they were!"

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DrealynWilliams's picture

December 06, 2015 at 06:45 pm

Do y'all remember when I said, "It happens. Any given Sunday. I bet every team goes through a funk this season...." and blah, blah, blah after the Lions' loss?

Well, how about that Vikings ass whoopin?
(As they head into the Arizona game)

Orrrrrrr

How about that Patriots losing streak?

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