Week after week, I’ve ended each round of NFL games by writing about WHAT I THINK I LEARNED this week. If not for it being a catchy title, I would name this week, “What I KNOW I learned from the NFL this week”. I’m kicking myself because even though I still had a good week, I had some missed opportunities for one simple reason. What I learned this week is that I NEED TO PAY CLOSER ATTENTION! Making my Week 13 picks “on the fly” did not cut it this week. Football is a game of inches and opportunity, and a key absence or situation can change the outcome of a game easily. I didn’t pay attention to the details of many of these games, and I got burned on a few of them.


1. I picked the Buccaneers to edge out a win over the rival Panthers. I knew the game would be tough. And I knew Cam Newton and Carolina were still looking for that first division win. My pick of Tampa Bay as the winner was obviously fueled by my love as a fan. If I had really paid attention, I would’ve known that Josh Freeman was “out” for this game, due to an injury suffered in the previous week. There is no way I would’ve chosen the Buccs to win, given this factor. Even more importantly, there is no way I would’ve kept him “ACTIVE” as my starting QB in Fantasy Football, knowing that this was the last week before the playoffs.

2. I should’ve paid closer attention to WHO the Dallas Cowboys were playing Sunday. I figured out the Cowboys a few weeks back. We put high expectations on them at the beginning of EVERY season. EVERY season they find a way to quickly disappoint those expectations. Once the football world leaves them alone, they start playing decent football, and exceeds our doubts. So the conclusion I made (back in Week 7) is that Dallas can not perform up to expectations. After they took over the top spot in the NFC East, and judging by their remaining schedule at that time, we placed new expectations on them. Had I been paying attention, I would’ve expected them to mess it up on a mediocre Cardinals team.

3. Last week was a very busy week, which contributed to me not paying as much attention as I should have. My week was shortened the week before, due to Thanksgiving, which made last week all about catching back up. Because of this, the Thursday night game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks snuck up on me. I quickly picked the Eagles to win, thinking the team with more TALENT would prevail. Had I really PAID ATTENTION to this game, I would’ve never expected the Eagles to win. I realized a few weeks ago that the Eagles’ biggest problem is that they play down to their competition. It almost seems like they don’t even have practice when the opponent is a mediocre team. Their resume, before last week’s game, included a 31-13 win over the St. Louis Rams, which was a 13-13 tie for 75 % of the game, a 7-pt loss to the Bills (we see how the Bills have faired ever since that win), and a loss to the Cardinals. If I would’ve been paying attention, I would’ve completely expected them to stink up the stadium against the Seahawks.

4. I picked San Diego to win their Monday Night match-up against Jacksonville, but I expected a close, “grind-it-out” type game. (the Jags had been a tough MNF match-up for teams so far this year) I would’ve given the Chargers a much larger spread if I would’ve been paying attention. They always play their season like this. They play undisciplined football against mediocre teams all season, and then do just enough to sneak into the playoffs. We thought this season was different, because this time they started off strong, and then started to slip. It’s Week 13, just about the time when they start playing up to their talent.

5. I picked Green Bay to beat the Giants in their match-up this week, but I expected a rout by at least 17 pts. I didn’t PAY ATTENTION to the fact that the Giants pride themselves on being the “undefeated giant” slayers. (no pun intended) This team thrives on preparing, and executing in games against teams who have the whole sports world riding their coat tails. I watched in amazement as New York executed possession after possession. Even after a critical mistake, they would continue to come back and execute, and take leads. This game bared a huge resemblance to the 2007 Giants-Patriots saga. For the Packers sake, they better pray that the Giants completely miss the playoffs.

  1. […] and the Giants-Packers game, which I predicted the outcome of 6 weeks ago. (check my post “WHAT I THINK I LEARNED FROM THE NFL THIS WEEK: Week 13“ dated 12/05/2011) But the 4 teams standing in front of us is no surprise really. Based on […]

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