Category Archives: NFL

Seahawks Smash 49ers 42-13 on Sunday Night Football- Why they are Superbowl Contenders

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Ravens throttle Giants to win North, RG3 closing in on division title, Saints beat Cowboys in OT

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NFL Week 14 Recap: Thrillers and Blowouts

It may not be the most popular sports league in the world, but the NFL has to be the most exciting.

Week in and week out teams produce quality contests and entertain millions of fans across the globe. This week was no exception, as intriguing storylines resulted from the multitude of games.

Only three weeks remain in the regular season and after a week of off-field tragedies, players took the field on Sunday and put on a show for fans.

Even though there were plenty of one-sided games, others went down to the wire and finished in thrilling style. Some teams threw away their playoff hopes, while others gained momentum towards the end of the season.

On Thursday Night Football the Broncos continued their recent dominance, extending their winning streak to eight games by comfortably defeating the Raiders. Peyton Manning was finding his receivers like usual, though it was the run game led by Knowshon Moreno, who ran for 119 yards and a touchdown. A first week playoff bye is Denver’s main focus and should be possible.

St. Louis kept their slim playoff chances alive when quarterback Sam Bradford threw a late touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson, giving them a two point victory against the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a solid game for Buffalo, but just like their disappointing season, it wasn’t enough for success. Fred Jackson was another negative for the Bills, only rushing for fourteen yards and was carted off with a knee injury.

After an emotional week, the Cowboys stayed in the NFC East race defeating the Bengals with a game winning field goal as time ran out. Anthony Spencer was a standout on defense for Dallas, recording two sacks and eleven total tackles. Both teams are now 7-6 and need to perform well down the stretch if they want to be playing come the first week of January.

The game which nobody cared about got off to a frantic start when Jamaal Charles scored on an eighty yard touchdown run. Other than Charles’ play and Travis Benjamin’s punt return, this matchup was difficult on the eyes. Browns blowout the Chiefs to record their fifth win of the season. Congrats?

Not many people would have predicted that the Colts would have a better record after week fourteen than the Steelers, Bears, Cowboys, Lions, Chargers, Eagles, Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints, Giants and Seahawks. But they do. Even though they’ve had an “easy” schedule and a record doesn’t mean all that much, they’ve certainly been impressive this season. A second half comeback got them over the top of the Titans by four points.

For the second straight week the Bears have blown games against winnable opponents. Their clash with Minnesota was crucial in terms of playoff seeding, and with a banged up defense they couldn’t stop the force that is Adrian Peterson. Cutler left the game late with a neck injury and Campbell wasn’t able to orchestrate a win.

Ben Roethlisberger returned from injury, however his Steelers were thumped by the Chargers. Yes, that’s right, the Chargers. Philip Rivers played well and didn’t turn the ball over, which resulted in the easy win for San Diego, who at one point led 27-3. But again the Chargers leave it too little too late. Pittsburgh doesn’t need to stress too much, since the Ravens and Bengals also lost.

Another team who was desperate for a win was the Eagles. They snapped an eight game losing streak thanks to a last second touchdown pass by Nick Foles, leaving Tampa Bay victorious. Foles carried the offense with McCoy out injured, and certainly won the QB matchup against Freeman. Good to see Philly finally get a win, but Andy Reid, you’re still fired.

This contest felt like a playoff game, but the Redskins’ victory was slightly overshadowed byan injury to Robert Griffin III. It was close the entire game, before the Ravens stretched their lead to eight late in the fourth. Cousins was able to rally Washington in OT and keep the ‘Skins in the playoff race. RG3′s fine by the way, thank God.

A dominant display from Carolina resulted in a comfortable win against Atlanta, which the final score didn’t resemble. This game was a minor hiccup for the Falcons who are now 11-2. They’ve got three tough games to end the season, as for the Panthers, they’ll be looking for positives to take into next season.

The Jets’ running game was on song against the Jaguars, with Powell and Greene combining for over 150 yards and two touchdowns. Other than that there’s not much else to say, Jets won, Tebow didn’t play and they’re surprisingly still a chance to make the playoffs.

San Francisco got back on track with a win over the Dolphins. Kaepernick sealed the victory with a 50-yard touchdown run and completed eighteen of his twenty-three passes with no turnovers. Miami kept it close for most of the game and had a chance late, though they weren’t able to convert on fourth down.

Talk about an insane game. The Saints took the lead early, but the Giants never looked back, ultimately blowing out New Orleans at home. Rookie David Wilson was brilliant for New York, with a total of 327 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. Four turnovers cost the Saints, including some more picks from Drew Brees who’s struggled as of late.

58-0. Yes you read that correctly. Seattle DESTROYED Arizona in a completely one sided affair. Marshawn Lynch went off, scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 128 yards. This game was over at the half and the result completely embarrassed the Cardinals. Poor Larry Fitzgerald. #FreeLarry

In the freezing cold conditions, Detroit challenged the home team in the first half, but mistakes proved to be crucial in their loss to Green Bay. The Packers are finding form late in the season and also a run game, rushing for a total of 140 yards, which included a 27-yard touchdown run by Aaron Rodgers. They now control their destiny and could clinch the division next week in Chicago.

We were all looking forward to a close game on Monday night between the top teams in the AFC, instead we got a blowout which was decided in the first half. Tom Brady threw four touchdowns in the dominant Patriots’ performance, making them Super Bowl favorites overnight. Looks like we’ll have to wait until they face the 49ers for the thrilling game we all hoped to see.

Week 14 Edition of the Monday Morning Realist

By: Akiem Bailum

Twitter: @Li495Akiem

In the past, Monday Morning Realist columns have featured a specific theme to them. An earlier one was centered around coaches that may very well be on the hot seat on Black Monday after Week 17 is finished. There’s one to this week’s as well.

In Week 14, things went due South for the AFC North.

Playing Through Tragedy

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First up this week are the Cincinnati Bengals who came into their home game at Paul Brown Stadium vs. the Dallas Cowboys at 7-5 and barely on the outside looking in for the AFC playoffs. While the Bengals were looking to pad their playoff positioning, it was another tragic week throughout the league as a whole.

The NFL is still fresh off the Javon Belcher murder-suicide from last week in Kansas City that took the lives of two people and left a 3 month old girl without a mother and father.

This week, the league would deal with more tragedy as it was found out that the Cowboys’ 25-year old Jerry Brown was killed in a car accident that also involved teammate Josh Brent. Brent has since been charged with intoxication manslaughter and his bail amount has been set at $500,000. The most glaring piece of information on his record is that it’s not the first time Brent has had DUI related issues to deal with. He’s a repeat offender as he did it once while in college.

It’s simply the second straight week where something has meant a lot more than football in this case. Once again, on behalf of The Real Sports Talk, condolences to Brown’s family and the Cowboys organization.

Brent has since vociferously tried to lament that he’s heartbroken about what happened to Jerry Brown. The obvious answer to him is that none of this would’ve happened if Brent used common sense and realize that you don’t drink and drive. Add that to the fact that he’s a repeat offender clearly shows that he and his attorneys are on a PR tour. It’s another sad episode that should be a lesson to everybody and, once again, saps a lot of the fun out of what should be excitement about playoff races. For better or for worse, the game of football was trivialized again by tragic circumstances.

As for the game itself, the Bengals did maintain a 19-10 lead into the 4th quarter, but they had multiple opportunities to put the game away on both sides of the football. Key drops, including one from wide receiver A.J. Green where he would’ve had an easy touchdown, kept an emotional Dallas team in the game. Tony Romo also almost threw a late interception that was also dropped.

It allowed the ‘Boys to stay in it and Romo to engineer a game-winning drive resulting in a Dan Bailey field goal.

Romo was 25/43 for 268 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton went 20/33 for 206 yards, 1 TD, and a pick. Playing through tragic circumstances is never easy to do as the Kansas City Chiefs did last week. This game went beyond football for Dallas this week.

Dallas is now 7-6 and will return to Arlington to play the Steelers in Week 15.

As for the Bengals, they now face a short week at 7-6 before traveling to Philadelphia to play the Eagles. They may rue the day they “dropped” this game as it could be the difference between January football and beginning their offseason in that month—as evidenced by everything else that occurred throughout their division.

Banged Up in the Beltway

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The Baltimore Ravens were smarting after losing in stunning fashion last week to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their third string quarterback Charlie Batch. One would expect that this would be the game for them to get back on track as they went to Landover, Maryland to play the Washington Redskins in what has been termed as the “Battle of the Beltway”.

One reason had to be why—the Pittsburgh Steelers have a real defense. The ‘Skins defense is 28th ranked in the NFL. But it was a defense that was able to hold its own last week vs. their division rival New York Giants. When it seemed like they were out of it, London Fletcher, Alfred Morris, and Robert Griffin III have put the Redskins back in the middle of the NFC playoff chase.

They came into this game at 6-6. Baltimore was at 9-3. While it was back-and-forth throughout, the Ravens did have to sustain more injuries as would be evidenced by those to Jameel McClain and Terrell Suggs (the Suggs injury occurred prior to the game).

The injury bug wouldn’t only bite the Ravens. Late in the 4th quarter, Robert Griffin III sustained a knee injury. He attempted to come back, but he clearly could no longer play a few plays later. He would be replaced by Kirk Cousins who would not only complete a game-tying drive late in the 4th quarter, but remained in the game to be part of a game-winning drive in overtime. Washington also received a huge play on special teams from Richard Crawford who returned a punt 64 yards all the way to Baltimore’s 24 yard line. A few plays later, Kai Forbath would make a 34 yard field goal to win it for the Burgundy and Gold.

Washington is now 7-6 and is in the thick of things in the NFC playoff race. The main question for them right now is will Robert Griffin III be healthy for next week’s game vs. the Browns, a game they should win. RGIII was able to avoid an ACL injury and he’s currently listed as having only a knee sprain, but his status still is unknown, according to reports.

Even without RGIII, Washington still has plenty of issues on defense and some are even hinting at a quarterback controversy between RGIII and Kirk Cousins. Those defensive issues will not win them too many postseason games even with their rushing attack led by Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III. Prior to the injury, Griffin was 15/26 for 246 yards and 1 touchdown in addition to rushing for 34 yards on 7 carries. Morris had 23 carries for 122 yards. They also got 5 receptions on 87 yards from Pierre Garcon.

Joe Flacco’s statistics are someone misleading—16/21 for 182 yards on 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. They would also get 20 carries on 121 yards from Ray Rice. Torrey Smith vented his frustration on Twitter about the team not being able to hold leads. The bottom line is that they have a lot of injury issues and the last couple of games were games they had great chances of winning—but didn’t.

Next week it doesn’t get any easier for the 9-4 Ravens—they go back home to play Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos.

Pitt-iful

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The previous 3 weeks for the Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t very memorable. They managed to go 1-2, but what showed more than anything else was that when Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t their starting quarterback, their offense was lost.

This week, they would get their two-time Super Bowl winning QB back and fans expected a return to the form that had Pittsburgh earlier in the season looking like the hottest team in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers are virtually done, especially after 4th and 29 two weeks ago vs. the Baltimore Ravens. And mid-week, there was the San Diego Union-Tribune report that said team owner Dean Spanos would fire head coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith at the end of the year. Spanos denied the report. We’ll see on Black Monday….

With both teams coming into their Week 14 tilt at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field colder than Steel City weather in December, something had to give. What gave out was Pittsburgh’s offense for the majority of the game. Towards the closing of the third quarter, the Steelers’ deficit was 27-3 and Philip Rivers looked like the Philip Rivers from circa 2008 instead of circa 2011.

Rivers went 21/41 for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. Roethlisberger also had 3 TDs while going 22/42 with one interception. Mike Wallace also had 7 receptions for 112 yards in a losing effort for the Stillers.

The loss now sends Pittsburgh to 7-6 while San Diego is 5-8. The Steelers get the Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium in Week 15. The Chargers’ playoff hopes are slim if not done at best. They play Carolina at home next week, but judging from the last 3 weeks, Cam Newton and the Panthers are playing their best football of the year. Whoever doesn’t make the playoffs out of the AFC North may rue Week 14. All 3 top teams lost when they had chances to make their playoff standing more solid.

Oh, and the Browns won too. Go figure.

T(Win) Cities

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You wouldn’t notice it if all you watched was the Bears/Vikings game inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, but a major snowstorm hit the Twin Cities metropolitan area over this weekend. Some areas throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin are reporting as much as 16 inches of snow.

Luckily, The Dome’s roof didn’t collapse as it did during that year’s mishap (what I called the MetroFail) in 2010.

December. Snow. Outside. Cold weather. Bears weather.

Domed stadium. Advantage Minnesota Vikings.

No Brian Urlacher for the Bears—advantage Minnesota Vikings. The Purple-People Eaters were 5-1 at home coming into this game. They can thank that roof in what would be otherwise cold weather conditions for their victory over the Bears on Sunday.

Oh, and Adrian Peterson helped out a lot too. He’d rush 31 times for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. By the end of the first quarter, he’d have 100 yards already. Apparently, Christian Ponder learned from last week’s Green Bay Packers game that the key to the Vikings winning football games is Peterson pounding the rock and the defense doing the rest of the work.

They were able to do its work on Jay Cutler as they sacked him twice and also picked him off twice. One of those times would be a pick six to Harrison Smith. Other than that, he’d go 22/44 for 260 yards and 1 touchdown.

That was before he’d have to be taken out of the game with a neck injury. It is fresh in the minds of Bears fans what their offense looked like without Jay Cutler and they’re hoping he’s not out for any lengthy period of time.

In came Jason Campbell again. He did go 6/9 for 64 yards and 1 touchdown pass (to Brandon Marshall), but the late score came with less than 2 minutes left to go in the game. Minnesota won 21-14.

Minnesota is now 7-6 and will play the Rams in Week 15. They should win that game. Chicago is 8-5 and will get Green Bay in Soldier Field next week.

This Section Brought to You By the Number 58

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The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Arizona Cardinals 58-0 on Sunday.

An NFL team defeated another NFL team by 58 points.

Enough said.

If Only The “D” Train Went to East Rutherford…

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After getting to .500 at 5-5 before Thanksgiving week, the New Orleans Saints had their fans feeling a little bit more cautiously optimistic about the season. The 5 wins included a huge one at home vs. the division rival Atlanta Falcons in where a goal-line stand sealed the deal for New Orleans.

But, since Thanksgiving week, a lot has changed. They’ve lost at home to the San Francisco 49ers when Colin Kaepernick was starting just his 2nd game for the Niners. The week after that on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football, they lost on the road to the Atlanta Falcons after they had beaten Atlanta on 11 of their previous 13 meetings. Drew Brees threw 5 interceptions that game.

In Week 13, they’d travel to New York/New Jersey to play the Giants who were coming off a loss to the Washington Redskins in FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on Monday Night Football. One thing that hasn’t changed all year long about the Saints—the fact that this team still has the worst defense in the entire NFL.

It showed again as they’d allow 52 points to the Giants—the most they’d allow to a team all season long. Eli Manning threw 259 yards on 22/35 passing with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Rookie runningback David Wilson would have a breakout game. Not only did he rush for 100 yards on 13 carries, he’d also return 4 kicks for 227 yards including one for 97 yards and a touchdown. And according to statistics, he’s the first player ever in NFL history to return kicks for at least 200 yards and rush for at least 100 yards. Victor Cruz also caught 8 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.

For the Saints and Drew Brees, the turnover issues continued. New Orleans turned the ball over 4 more times, including 2 interceptions from Drew Brees—both to the Giants’ Stevie Brown. Other than that, he’d go 26/43 for 354 yards and 1 touchdown.

New Orleans is now 5-8. They’re finished. Their high-octane offense could not overcome their porous defense and it caught up to them in New York. They’re not getting into the playoffs out of the NFC with Chicago and Seattle both at 8-5. They will not be playing in a Super Bowl in their home stadium, so if those stories haven’t been scrapped already, scrap them now.

As for the New York Giants, they’re 8-5. It’s very important for them to win the remainder of their games because there’s still a chance that only one team out of the NFC East makes the playoffs. Washington is continuing their hard-charging run and so is Dallas. They’ve been very inconsistent their last 4 games. They looked great vs. Green Bay and New Orleans (teams that either had bad defenses or were injured) and not so much against Cincinnati and Washington (of course, the ‘Skins defense is hella suspect as well).

Next for the Saints—a home game vs. the Buccaneers who last this week to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants go to the Georgia Dome to play the Atlanta Falcons. That game should be fun to watch.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

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Unlike in Minnesota where they have a dome, there’s no such contraption encompassing Lambeau Field. And they did get snow which meant less-than-normally-visible conditions for Sunday Night Football in Green Bay. It’s December, so you wouldn’t want to see it any other way. Football played in the elements—it’s a beautiful thing.

Also, take into consideration that the last two games for the Detroit Lions were losses where they probably should’ve got wins—both over playoff caliber teams in the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts.

That’ll happen when your defense is suspect like Detroit’s is…and when there’s concern that one of the players who is supposed to be one of your defensive standouts is getting the side-eye from people about being a dirty player.

That, of course, is Ndamukong Suh.

Green Bay would once again enter this game with two of their top defensive players still sidelined due to injury—Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews.

Early on, it looked like those same defensive difficulties would come home to roost yet again. Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense looked crisp early on as they jumped out to an early 14-0 lead. What began the turnaround for the Green Bay Packers would be a fumble recovery off Stafford from Mike Daniels. He’d return the ball 43 yards to the other end to make it 14-10.

Green Bay got the lead by Aaron Rodgers completing the 2nd longest run of his career—27 yards for a TD that made it 17-14. This game began to look like the Houston and Indy games for Detroit. Good starts, but fading late. What stuck out was how much the Packers ran the ball. Collectively, Rodgers, Alex Green, Dujuan Harris, John Kuhn, and even Ryan Grant combined for 140 yards on the ground. The Lions also ran the ball rather well themselves with 135 yards, but all of the Packer TDs would come via run plays. Rodgers went 14/24 for 173 yards. Randall Cobb also had a huge game with 7 receptions and 102 yards.

Matthew Stafford would go 27/45 for 264 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. It would also be another big day for Calvin Johnson. Megatron’s line—10 receptions for 118 yards. He continues to lead the league in receiving yards with almost 1500 on the season. And as NBC pointed out, he’s closing in on Jerry Rice’s record for most receiving yards in a season.

With the Lions at 4-9 now on the season, that’s practically the only thing they have left to play for. They’ll play the Arizona Wildca….uh…I mean the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale in Week 15. They better win that game. The 9-4 Packers, on the other hand, have plenty to play for. The NFC North title can once again be painted green and gold if they defeat the Chicago Bears in Soldier Field next week.

If the Playoffs Began Today….

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 Texans 11-1 (1st round bye)

Broncos 10-3 (1st round bye)

Patriots 9-3

Ravens 9-4

Colts 9-4

Steelers 7-6

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Falcons 11-2 (1st round bye)

49ers 9-3-1 (1st round bye)

Packers 9-4

Giants 8-5

Seahawks 8-5

Bears 8-5

Stay tuned to TRST for the most in NFL coverage, including The NFL Final Score every Sunday!

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RG3 and Cutler hurt, Seahawks slaughter Cards 58-0, Cowboys win for Jerry Brown-The NFL Final Score

Hosted by Tim Kelly-Host,Owner, and Founder of The Real Sports Talk

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Vote: 2012 TRST Athlete of The Year

In 2011, Aaron Rodgers won his first Superbowl, and had lead the Packers to a  regular 15-1 season behind an MVP performance. This led the viewers of The Real Sports Talk, or as it was called back then The Ka$h Kelly and AC Sports Report, to vote Rodgers as 2011 athlete of the year. Fast forward 12 months, and Rodgers has stayed hot but not hot enough to defend his title as Athlete of the Year. Here are the four candidates. Vote at the poll on the bottom of the article. Votes will be counted until December 22.

Eli Manning Quarterback New York Giants-In 2012 Eli Manning truly did reach his goal of being elite. After by far his best regular season of his career, Manning once again upset Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Superbowl 46, winning his second Superbowl MVP.  At the end of 2012, Manning has the Giants sitting on top of the NFC East at 7-5, having tossed 16 TDs and 3,170 yards.

Eli Manning

LeBron James Small Forward Miami Heat and Team USA- In 2011 LeBron James was viewed by many as the most unsuccessful athlete of the year. In 2012 “King James” won his third league MVP, and finally got his first NBA Title and Finals MVP. After that LeBron was just adding on by leading the USA Men’s team to Gold in the London Olympics. As 2012 winds down, LeBron is averaging 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.

LeBron with trophies

Usain Bolt Sprinter Jamaica- Coming into the 2012 London Olympics, many wondered if 2008 Olympic hero Usain Bolt would be out-shined by his countryman, Yohan Blake. Coming out of the 2012 London games, those same critics wondered if Bolt was the greatest sprinter of all-time. Bolt cruised to a 100 meter dash record 9.63 seconds. Bolt also edged out teammate Yohan Blake, to win his second straight 200 meter title, with a time of  19.32 seconds. Bolt became the first sprinter to ever win the 100 and 200 meter races at back to back Olympics. As we ponder if Bolt is the 2012 Athlete of the Year, he is likely training for  the 2016 games, which he has committed to running in.

London Olympics Athletics Men

Miguel Cabrera Third-Baseman Detroit Tigers- After the Tigers signed Prince Fielder, forcing Miguel Cabrera to move to third base, numerous experts thought Cabrera may have a down season. Instead Cabrera won his first MVP, after becoming the first player to hit for the triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski. He did so hitting .330 with 44 homeruns and 139 RBI’s. Cabrera also lead the Tigers to their first World Series appearance since 2006, before the Tigers were swept by the Giants.  Regardless of the loss in the World Series, Cabrera had a truly historic year in 2012.

Miggy

Players who just missed: Johnny Manziel, Manti T’eo, Michael Phelps, Mike Trout, Buster Posey, Kevin Durant, & Anthony Davis.

Ravens-Redskins, Bears-Vikings, Texans-Patriots, and the Rest of NFL Week 14 Previews & Predictions!

Hosted by Akiem Bailum, host of TRST’s “10 Minutes on the Clock”

Twitter: @Li495Akiem

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Monday Morning Realist Week 13

By: Akiem Bailum

Twitter: @Li495Akiem

Greg Who?

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There’s no doubt about the fact that the New York Jets’ quarterback controversy at this point is basically a manufactured creation of the ESPN spin machine in Bristol. Mark Sanchez isn’t a good quarterback and neither is Tim Tebow. So many simply want to start Tebow because of what he did last year with Denver and the fact that he won two championships (only one as a starter) at the University of Florida.

That’s all fine and good, but as we all know, success in the NFL doesn’t always translate to success at the next level. You can ask a lot of USC quarterbacks about that.

There would be no Tebow sightings in East Rutherford on Sunday given that he was injured, so who had to play the role for backup of Mark Sanchez?

Greg McElroy? Greg McElroy? The name sounds more like something that’s associated with a New York or New Jersey State Senator rather than an NFL QB. But Greg McElroy was taking snaps vs. the 4-7 Arizona Cardinals.

The Jets were 4-7 themselves coming into this game and virtually have lost any shot at making the postseason a long time ago. The Cards have lost seven consecutive matchups after starting the season on a promising 4-0 note before the injury to Kevin Kolb.

If you are the kind of fan that loves defense and low scoring games, then this was your game. By halftime, the score would be 3-0 Arizona. Or, should I use the old baseball cliché where the score was actually 3-0 Diamondbacks leading the Mets heading into the Bottom of the 5th inning?

Regardless, though, New York did get another impressive performance from Shonn Greene. He looked like the lone standout on offense for either team with 24 carries on 104 yards. Those 104 yards were more than the yards any of the QBs had.

For the Cardinals’ Ryan Lindley—10/31, 72 yards, one interception, and 2 sacks. For Sanchez—10/21 for 97 yards, 3 interceptions and 3 sacks. Two of those interceptions came from Kerry Rhodes. If the Arizona Cardinals’ defense was combined with a competent offense (think New England or Denver) you would probably have your Super Bowl team right there.

Then, behind for most of the game and not scoring any points in the game, McElroy comes in and throws the game winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter with a 29 yard pass to Jeff Cumberland. Gang Green wins 7-6.

Apparently, the two teams forgot the memo that collegiate football teams play on Saturday and not Sunday. Also, that one touchdown pass from McElroy will be enough to send Gotham’s tabloid press into a frenzy. Cue the stories of there now being a three-way QB “controversy” for the Jets when there may not be one at all.

In Week 14, 4-8 Arizona travels to Seattle to play the Seahawks who currently would be the sixth seed in the NFC if the playoffs began today. The 5-7 Jets will face the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

Stay At Dome

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The Minnesota Vikings need to find a way to reschedule their last four games to be played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome this year. Their 6-5 record coming into their game in Lambeau Field vs. the division rival Green Bay Packers was mainly due to a 5-1 showing in the 2012 season at home. They were an atrocious 1-4 on the road.

Meanwhile, Green Bay was coming off a game on Sunday Night Football vs. the New York Giants in which they got embarrassed—and a little bit exposed. They lost 38-10 to the G-Men and let Eli Manning throw 3 touchdowns. This was coming when the Pack were shorthanded on both sides of the ball. No Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Sam Shields, or Greg Jennings.

Jennings did return, but still, no Shields, Matthews or Woodson vs. the Purple People-Eaters.

Adrian Peterson knows a thing or two about injuries since he’s coming back from one—and doing so in authoritative fashion. He had 21 carries for 201 yards including an 82 yard run for a touchdown that, at one point, had Minnesota ahead 14-10. The Vikes could’ve extended out that lead before Christian Ponder threw one of his two interceptions while in the red zone.

Such a team is beginning to remind me of the old San Diego Chargers teams from the mid-2000s when it was clear that they were winning football games on the back of LaDainian Tomlinson and not Philip Rivers. Also, given this season and the average career length of NFL runningbacks, it’s time to start mentioning Adrian Peterson as a future Hall of Famer. For this season alone, he may wind up with 1900+ yards. Any football writer who doesn’t vote for either him or Peyton Manning as Comeback Player of the Year should either have their credentials stripped from them or should be drug tested. Both are probably the favorites for the MVP award as well.

As for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers was 27/35 for 286 yards, threw for 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Also, this has been a much maligned season for kicker Mason Crosby, but he did convert 3 of 4 field goals on the day.

The Vikings are now a 6-6 and football team and they are 1-5 on the road. That statistic shouldn’t make anyone who bleeds the pigskin version of purple and gold optimistic even if they are able to sneak into the playoffs past the Buccaneers, Seahawks, and Bears. This looks less likely after this week. Also, not utilizing Adrian Peterson in the red zone? Who was calling those plays for the Vikings? Their mascot?

They will stay in the division and will return to their “Dome Sweet Dome” in the Twin Cities to play the Chicago Bears. As for the 8-4 Packers, they’ll be on NBC’s Sunday Night Football next week against the Detroit Lions.

WTL…What the Luck?

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Between the diagnosis of leukemia for head coach Chuck Pagano and the seemingly overnight sensation that Indianapolis Colts’ rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has become, it has made for one of the most intriguing stories this NFL season. Heading into their game with the Detroit Lions at Motown’s Ford Field, they were 7-4 on the season. This was a position that no one (myself included) thought they would be in after coming off a 2-14 with Peyton Manning injured. Also, we all know that he only went 3-13 in his rookie year for Indy.

Detroit is coming off a heartbreaker of a home loss to the Houston Texans who at the time were playing 2 overtime games in less than a week. But, they did make fans in Houston think about their own team’s defense which for 9 weeks looked like the best in the league.

They’d be on display again in a huge fashion. Matthew Stafford went 27/46, threw for 313 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. And they call Calvin Johnson “Megatron” for a reason. He caught 13 passes for 171 yards and 1 touchdown. There’s a reason he was targeted almost half of the time when Stafford was looking for a receiver to throw to.

Late in the fourth quarter, it looked academic. The Lions would pull off the upset of the AFC South’s Colts—something they were unable to do vs. the AFC South’s Texans. They led by a score of 33-21 going into the game’s final minutes and Luck was playing a game that was shifting the rookie of the year pendulum back in the direction of Robert Griffin III.

Then with 2:39 left in the game, he threw two of his touchdown passes. The first was to Lavon Brazil for 42 yards. The last one that one the game went to Donnie Avery for 14 yards as the Colts took only their second lead of the game—the one that mattered ultimately in the end. The Colts won 35-33.

For the game, Andrew Luck threw for 24/54 for 391 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. T.Y. Hilton would be the leading receiver with 6 receptions for 100 yards. Avery caught two touchdown passes on 5 catches and 91 receiving yards. The Colts pulled out another one just as they did earlier in the year vs. the Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium. That game, of course, was their first game after the organization heard the heartwrenching news that Chuck Pagano had leukemia.

Now they’re 8-4 and sitting pretty in a weak AFC in terms of their playoff chances as a Wild Card. Also, they’re the 5th seed right now if the playoffs began today. Guess who they’d face at this point in the first round of the playoffs?

Peyton Manning’s Broncos.

Your head is in the ground if you don’t think the media is pulling for the seedings to stay exactly as they are right now. Peyton Manning vs. his former team and the quarterback he was supposed to be mentor for. There’s an easy storyline right there.

Indy will go back home to play the Tennessee Titans. The 4-8 Lions head to Lambeau to the play the Packers on Sunday Night Football.

The Jovan Belcher Tragedy

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Ok, it’s certainly fun at this point to look at the playoff races. I’m now doing a “If the Playoffs Started Today” section for Monday Morning Realist that I have temporarily shelved for this week’s column. There were plenty of other interesting games this week. The Steelers got a huge win over the Baltimore Ravens that kept their playoff chances alive. They’re now 7-5. Cincinnati Bengals are now also at 7-5 after defeating the San Diego Chargers in San Diego.

Even the Kansas City Chiefs won their game this week 27-21 over the Carolina Panthers.

Of course, though, that football victory was nothing compared to the personal loss the Chiefs organization went through on Saturday.

Early Saturday, news broke that Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher had taken the life of not only his 22 year old girlfriend, Kassandra Perkins, but also himself as well. This didn’t happen in the home or abode of Jovan Belcher, it occurred in the Chiefs training facility. Also, it happened right in front of general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel.

The saddest thing to come out of what happened on Saturday morning was that a 3-month old little baby is now without a mother and a father. On behalf of everyone at The Real Sports Talk, I’d like to send out condolences to the families affected by these tragic losses as well as to the Chiefs’ organization.

It still pains me to know two things. Number one, CBS led off The NFL Today with a conversation about the playoff picture heading into Week 13 instead of leading with the Belcher tragedy. Also, the NFL still didn’t consider either canceling or even rescheduling the game for a later date.

The rest of the Chiefs players and coaches knew Belcher, if they knew about the personal issues he was going through, that’s for them to say and not us to speculate. Regardless of that, they were friends of his even though he committed two heinous acts that morning. I’m sure those players and coaches are now wishing they could’ve possibly done more to persuade Belcher not to have it come to this.

I’m a sports fan. We all are sports fans. Having that affiliation as a fan with a team and going through that team’s ups and downs is a tradition as American as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet. But even with all of that being true, there are moments like these when we realize that these are human beings just like the rest of us.

They may be stronger, faster, and spend more time in the weight room than a lot of us, but they’re still humans with all of the issues that humans have to go through and many of those could be personal.

Prior to the game, a moment of silence was held at Arrowhead Stadium to bring awareness to the crime that is domestic violence. Belcher’s name was not mentioned during any of the pre-game proceedings, nor should it have been. Belcher took, what he probably felt, was the easy way out instead of using better methods to work through the issues he was having with his girlfriend so they can reconcile. Even if he didn’t want to do it for himself, or even Kassandra Perkins’ or Kassandra Perkins’ family, then he should have done it for his 3 month old baby.

Even in a week of football where we are four weeks shy of the postseason beginning, this week of football was rendered meaningless because of this atrocity that took place in Kansas City, MO/KS. The Chiefs’ 27-21 victory over Carolina was, arguably, the most emotional for a team this year (there’s also a case for Indy’s over Green Bay after the Pagano news). The Kansas City Chiefs have announced plans for the creation of a fund to support Zoey, the 3 month old daughter of the late Kassandra Perkins.

And after the game, Brady Quinn said this:

“The one thing people can hopefully take away, I guess, is the relationships they have with people. I know when it happened I was sitting and in my head, thinking, what could I have done differently. When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?

“We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half of the time we are more preoccupied and other things going on instead of the actual relationships we have right in front of us.”

“Hopefully people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

Well said, Brady Quinn. Well said.

National Domestic Violence Hotline—1-800-799-SAFE(7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TTY), thehotline.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—1-800-273-TALK (8255), 1-800-799-4889 (TTY), suicidepreventionlifeline.org

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