Top 5 Games of Last Week (12/9/13 – 12/15/13)
Whacky. That’s the word I most associate with the 2013 NFL season. Teams up 34-17 with six minutes? NBD. Ain’t no thang. To be clear, I’m not complaining – it’s wayyy easier to pick the Top 5 when it’s like this – but thought it should be noted.
#5. Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers
A consistent challenger to King James’ throne, the Indiana Pacers just won’t go away. Better than the Heat all season thus far, they were also too good for James and co. on Tuesday night. The clash of the best in the East was the clear choice for the bang-for-your-buck pick of the week, with tickets averaging just $101.51 thanks to the Pacers hosting. Fans saw the Pacers take the Heat’s best shot and get back up, overcoming an early deficit to play rock solid defense and follow their dynamic duo of Roy Hibbert and Paul George to victory. Perfect so far at home this season, the Pacers are looking like they’ve got what the Heat want, and not vice versa.
#4. Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans
Raise your hand if you saw this being a great game? Uh huh, me neither. But hey, Cardinals-Titans games don’t really elicit excitement from anybody, so don’t blame yourself. Indifference, really, is the sentiment most probably felt towards this matchup before watching the game. How wrong we were! Boasting an 8-5 record and up 34-17 with less than six minutes to play, you feel like the Cardinals have this on lock. Instead, the Cardinals relaxed, and the Titans scored a touchdown, kicked a field goal, and scored another touchdown to tie things up at 34 with 10 seconds left in the game. Um, WHAT?! What is it this year with fourth quarter comebacks?? It’s kinda ridic. Of course, the Titans couldn’t quite pull it off, losing 37-34 on a Jay Feely kick.
#3. Kentucky Wildcats at North Carolina Tar Heels
This game did not disappoint, although it maybe wasn’t quite was people expected. What the eff do I mean by that? Well, the Tar Heels pulled out a gritty victory, overcoming poor shooting and many Kentucky blocks, but it wasn’t pretty. On Saturday at least, the Tar Heels were “winning ugly” personified. But sometimes that’s what makes for the best games, a la Ravens-Steelers games in the NFL; neither team’s going to look good out there because of how well they matchup, but both teams want to win so badly that they grind it out. In Ravens-Steelers games, much like with Kentucky and UNC on Saturday, you get the feeling that the winner was the team who wanted it more, who showed more heart. If you went, paying the $147.66 was more than worth it.
#2. New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
Oh no! The Pats have lost their mojo without Gronk! Eh, not so much. Their real problem lies in waiting until the fourth quarter to play well, and it finally came back to bite them in the arse on Sunday. Would Gronk have been helpful? Sure, but you can’t expect to be down in the fourth quarter of every game and still win, regardless of who your tight end is. Just not a good habit. Especially when you’re facing an up and coming quarterback who shows a penchant for last second touchdowns himself. Dolphins‘ fans hoping to see a meaningful game weren’t disappointed, $160.01 price tag and all.
#1. Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
At this point, it’s no longer a novelty to see the Cowboys struggle on defense, in the fourth quarter, or in December. Tony Romo, despite having the highest quarterback rating of any active QB in the fourth quarter, has also thrown the most interceptions of any active QB in the fourth quarter when leading by a touchdown or less. Statistics say he’s a top ten quarterback in the NFL, but the eye test doesn’t. The eye test says that he plays well when his teammates are and falls apart when they need him most. On Sunday, leading 29-10 midway through the third quarter, the Cowboys lost. Will Jerry Jones fire someone at the end of this season? Possibly. Will the Cowboys December woes continue? Count on it.