American Football (NFL) previews

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Updated: November 20, 2011

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Week 11 is upon us and the first live game this week sees the Bengals travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. This is a very important match up in terms of the AFC North with both teams looking to progress to 7-3. Baltimore have a defence considered to be the best in the league over the past number of seasons and while they are getting on in years, they are still a mightily effective unit. The Bengals have been a breath of fresh air this season since they took the decision to offload some of their disruptive superstars and have gone back to basics with a policy focused on youth and the development of talent as opposed to buying it in. It certainly appears to be paying off for them and in QB Andy Dalton they look to have unearthed a real gem. I still think it is a bit too much to expect him to lead this young team to a win on the road in Baltimore. I expect Suggs, Lewis and the rest of the Baltimore defence to remind us that while youth and fearlessness has it’s place there is no substitute for experience in this league. Baltimore to win pulling up.

The second game on Sky Sports features the Atlanta Falcons who host the schizophrenic Tennesse Titans. Both of these sides are currently 5-4 but Atlanta missed a great opportunity last week to take control of the division by losing in overtime to New Orleans. That was a very surprising result because as good as the Saints are, the Falcons simply don’t lose at home especially during the regular season. The Falcons went for a fourth down conversion and blew it last weekbut I don’t expect coach Mike Smith to be found wanting for two games in a row at home. Matt Ryan and his much vaunted offence were also pretty unspectacular missing several red zone opportunities but I expect them to put things right this week. The Falcons to stamp their class on this one and win it easy.

The late game on Channel 4 looks like it could be game of the week. Philadelphia never enjoy much success in the big apple and visit the Giants this week looking like a team that has not only lost it’s way but is clueless about where it is headed. This team has been jinxed since back up QB Vince Young cursed them by referring to the eagles as the “Dream Team” in a pre-season interview. All of the hype surrounding Michael Vick together with some very high profile close season signings raised the fans expectations to levels not seen for some time in Philly. Now instead of a Superbowl push they are faced with a team that sits 3-6 and can neither defend nor hold onto the football. The Giants on the other hand have prospered in a season where little was expected of them. Eli seems to be blossoming in the absence of his elder brother Peyton from the league through injury and the Giants have rallied to overcome injuries to some key members to sit comfortably at 6-3. I fancy Eli and the Giants to finally put the Eagles out of their misery and hammer the final nail into the coffin of the Dream Team. The question is do they persevere with Vick et al or do they rethink their entire strategy. Should be an interesting off season in Philly and heads must roll.

Monday night football on Espn features the Patriots again who play host to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are coming off a bad loss to The Broncos and there has been little evidence from their performances this season that suggests they can win away in New England. The Patriots have been very streaky this year but confidence should be high after battering old foes the Jets last week. Brady should lead the Patriots to an easy win and despite their obvious frailties they look to be heading to the post season again where anything can happen. The Patriots to win it with little fuss.

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