Can Tom Brady lead the Patriots to victory?
Broncos @ Patriots
The marquee matchup of week 12 of the NFL season is the 7-3 New England Patriots (2.04 with GEObet.com) taking on the 9-1 Denver Broncos (1.73). Or more pertinently, it’s the 14th instalment of Tom Brady v Peyton Manning.
They are two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, happen to have played against each other for almost all of their careers and in the same way people will debate Messi v Ronaldo, The Beatles v The Stones, De Niro v Pacino, Hypno Disc v Chaos 2 (Not sure our American readers will get that one – ed.), who is better out of Brady and Manning will be argued for decades to come. Brady has the more Super Bowls, the super model girlfriend and an appearance on Entourage, while Manning has the better stats, the sibling rivalry (brother Eli has won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants) and the scowl of a Supervillain.
This year Manning is winning their particular duel, the Broncos scaling new heights when it comes to their offense, with him on pace to break records for touchdowns, passing yards and quarterback rating. To break those records, aged 37 and just two years after neck surgery which stopped him playing for the whole of 2011 and nearly ended his career would even by his lofty standards be the zenith of his career to date.
But as awesome as the Broncos are on offense, their defense is fallible. They rank 21st out of 32 in points against and are 28th against the pass. The secondary in particular is weak and prone to collapse when pressured. While they may have the most potent offense in league history, there are obvious weaknesses. And if there’s a team good at targeting a weakness, it’s the Patriots.
The Patriots are not the team they were a few years back, but in Brady and Coach Bill Belichick have the smartest, brawniest, most cunning player-coach combination in perhaps all of sports. If you wanted a coach to concoct a plan so cunning you could brush your teeth with it, Belichick’s your man.
The Broncos with their awesome offense will be favoured to win. But the Patriots are as tough and cunning an opponent as you can get, and will be fired up after a controversial loss to Carolina last week. Don’t be surprised if they win this one.
Betting Instinct tip: Patriots to win by 1-6 is 5.00 with AllYouBet.ag
49ers @ Redskins
These are troubled times for the nation’s capital NFL team. For a start, a story that has been rumbling in the background this season has been the realisation amongst certain people (it’s only taken a couple of centuries) that naming a team ‘Redskins’ might just be a teensy bit offensive towards Native Americans. The team was named the Redskins in 1933 by owner George Preston Marshall – the “Leading racist in the NFL.” Quite something to win this award decades before the Civil Rights Movement. Nonetheless, current owner Daniel Snyder is refusing to change the team name, despise protests by demonstrators and calls ranging from writers to ex-players for the name to change.
On the field, Washington (3.05 with Bulldog777.com) is having a miserable season, 2-8 with one of the league’s worst defenses. They are also squabbling in the media, with a botched play in last week’s 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles the catalyst for this game of claim and counter-claim. Star quarterback Robert Griffin III said after the game the Eagles defense ‘kind of knew what was coming’, a supposed barb at the almost certainly soon to be fired head coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan a day later refuted this. Then veteran wide receiver Santana Moss stuck his oar in, saying Griffin III should take more accountabilitybut that he has ‘no issues’ with the young QB. Issues, schmissues – Washington are currently a band where none of the members are happy talking to one another.
All the dirty washing Washington are hanging out in public for all to see is taking attention away from the 49ers (1.36) who themselves are in the middle of a slump in form. Amongst the Super Bowl favourites before the season, they are currently only 6-4, coming off two consecutive losses and have an offense looking more and more anaemic by the week. The defense frankly looks more likely to score points a lot of the time than the offense.
But that defense of theirs is still amongst the NFL’s finest units, and should comfortably be enough against Washington. Even without Aldon Smith they possess a boatload of talent on that side of the ball and last week, with little help from the offense, kept New Orleans down to only 23 points and almost won them a game they had no business winning.
Expect a 49ers victory.
Betting Instinct Tip: 49ers -6 is 1.91 with Intertops Sportsbook
Rest of the league
8-2 New Orleans should thump a 2-8 Atlanta team torn apart by injuries…the New York Jets record so far is WLWLWLWL so by that token should see them win against 4-6 Baltimore…4-6 Cleveland have lost four of their last five while the also 4-6 Pittsburgh have won four of their last six and will surely make that five wins in seven…6-4 Detroit are inconsistent but even they surely can’t lose at home to 2-8 Tampa Bay…6-4 Green Bay may have a quarterback’s no one heard of in Scott Tolzein but have you heard of 2-8 Minnesota being good enough to win at Lambeau Field? Me neither…2-8 Houston were so bad last week they booed their own coach in his first game back after suffering a mini-stroke in the middle of a game, so it’s good they take on human punching bags 1-9Jacksonville…9-1 Kansas City have a monstrous defense which should ease them to victory at home to 4-6 San Diego…6-4 Chicago should have too much for 4-6 St Louis…6-4 Indianapolis with their laughable power running game are up against one of the NFL’s best defences as they take on 6-4 Arizona in a genuine pick ‘em matchup…McGloinmania may heat the NFL if undrafted rookie Matt McGloin leads 4-6 Oakland to victory against collapsing 4-6 Tennessee…5-5Dallas’ quest to be the most entertaining ever .500 team in NFL history sees them take on division rivals, the 4-6 New York Giants.
JACK HOWES (debaser92) is an avid sports fan who writes about football and Asperger’s Syndrome. The only things he loves more than Mars Bars are his family and Tottenham Hotspur FC.