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NFL Match-Up Mania: Week 16

The discussions of my disdain are beginning. Which team will have a first round pick in the next NFL Draft? Who is the MVP this year? Who was snubbed from Pro Bowl consideration in 2014? What is that angers me about these questions? What is it that fills my soul with sadness as I search for their answers? It is that football season nears its conclusion. That soon all the sports world may have to offer me is Ice or Hardwood. . .   either that or need to get into Arena football . . .? At any rate, I’m still hear kicking and screaming against undefeated Father Time to bring you the Week 16 installment of the Student of the Game’s Match-Up Mania.

 Chiefs v. Steeelers

We have every reason to believe that the Steelers will win this game. Running the football with purpose, Le’Veon Bell is a precious gem within the balanced Pittsburgh offense that also carries 2-time Super Bowl winner, Ben Roethlisberger, one of the NFL’s best receivers, Antonio Brown and dark horse Rookie of the Year candidate Martavius Bryant.

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Heck, the Cheifs and their 14 game streak without a TD to a wide receiver seems to play right into the hands of the Steel City defense. But one thing that about the Kansas City offense under field general and King of the Checkdown, Alex Smith, is that there aren’t many turnovers. Put that together with Jamaal Charles, arguably the NFL’s most electric player, and a brawling defense that works to stop you so Charles can outscore you (With occasional help from Travis Kelcie and Anthony Fasano)

If you like bruising style football, I’d expect that this is the game for you. . . for at least the first half anyway.

Seahawks v. Cardinals

For all intents and purposes, this football game will decide who wins the NFC West. If the Seahawks win, they will hold the tiebreaker head-to-head and need to only get passed the Rams to guarantee the division championship. The Cardinals winning makes thing a lot more interesting.

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However, with Arizona’s 4th 2014 starting quarterback, Ryan Lindley, leading this offense against a vicious Seattle defense, a combination of low scoring for the Cardinals and solid field position for Seattle’s offense make a big party for the 12th man as the season winds down.

Colts v. Cowboys

While the Colts may have clinched the AFC South, the Cowboys find themselves still in need to win out in order to fend off the Eagles in the NFC East. In short, Dallas needs this game more than Indy. . . but that’s not what interests me in this contest.

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I’m looking to see if the defense in “Big D” is truly the second to none or merely second best in the state of Texas behind JJ Watt and the Houston Texans. Personally, I think facing off against MVP candidate quarterback Andrew Luck is a perfect litmus test. Combine that with questions surrounding running back, DeMarco Murray’s injured left hand affecting his ability to play and there’s even more of a burden for defenders wearing a star on their helmet.

Sure, quarterback Tony Romo will throw to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten for some production, but will be unable to control the clock and give the defense rest as when Murray is healthy. This means Dallas’ unit must be that “good enough” defense. Be just enough to keep their offense in striking distance. I think they rise to the challenge to keep pace in their division.

Broncos v. Bengals

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While Peyton Manning hasn’t had a stellar performance in the past few games, he and the Broncos on both sides of the ball have at least been consistent. This is far more than we can say for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Red Rifle, Andy Dalton seems to flip back and forth between Pro Bowl and pro bust status from week to week. Despite this, his Bengals are still a force in the tight race for the AFC North. However, regardless of what Dalton does, I determine that defense is the demise of Cinci as Peyton sends them packing from playoff potential. There’s just too many injuries to keep the Broncos’ offense in check.

Honorable Mention

Falcons v. Saints

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These are the leading 2 entities in the waste of space known as the 2014 NFC South. If this game ends up a draw, it wouldn’t bother me as neither team deserves to win this game on general principle. With the Falcons limited on both offense and defensive lines due to injury, the Saints have a chance, but I see the Falcons able to move the ball easier thanks to a bad Saints defense. The division lead hangs in the balance.

Ravens v. Texans

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I’m anxious to see how real a threat the Ravens are . . . and there is no better way to test that than facing JJ Watt and the Houston Texan defense. If he slows Ravens runner Justin Forsett while also hurrying Joe “the Fowl” Flacco into floating up ducks, we’ll see if they are a legit postseason presence or a team that benefited from four easy wins with the NFC South on their schedule.

Author Profile

Kyle NashThe Student of the Game
Host of the Student of The Game Podcast Monday @ 7:30pm EST
Writer for NGSC Sports
Narrator of Sport Symposium on NGSC Sports YouTube Channel.

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