2012-13 NFL Free-to-Air Previews: Week 15
Week 15, eh? We’re getting right down to the business end of the NFL season, and it promises to be an exciting one at that. Unfortunately, One HD only has two games on this week, and these two games being showcased are on vastly different ends of the spectrum.
Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
When and where: Monday December 17, University of Phoenix Stadium, Arizona.
Coverage: LIVE One HD, 8:15 AM EDST
Arizona fans, dust off your paper bags, you may want to and indeed feel obligated to wear them as you watch this game. The Detroit Lions (4-9) are coming to town, and while the Arizona Cardinals (4-9) boast one of the best stadiums in the NFL, it will likely do little to mitigate the imposing will of the Lions.
The Cardinals have experienced a dramatic fall from grace, losing their previous nine games after a 4-0 start to the 2012 season, capped off last week with a 58-0 drubbing at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. Arizona’s offence is banged up, and managed a grand total of 154 net offensive yards in that game, along with a defence that had no answer for Marshawn Lynch as he rushed for three TDs and 128 yards on just 11 carries.
The Lions have also fallen from grace, after having gained a playoff appearance last year. After a 4-4 start to their 2012 campaign, they have lost five straight, and while seven of their losses on the season have been decided by seven or less points, they consistently haven’t been able to get over the hump and win when it matters.
Watch out for: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh is a skilled pass rusher who gets to match up this week on possibly the worst offensive line in the NFL. I expect him to terrorize the Cardinals new rookie Center Scott Wedige, and put up a multi sack performance.
Final word and prediction: While both of these teams have struggled this year, the Lions offence has been able to move the ball, and the Cardinals offence has not. The Lions win 24-6.
San Francisco 49ers @ New England Patriots
When and where: Monday December 17, Gillette Stadium, Massachusetts.
Coverage: LIVE One HD, 12:20 PM EDST
Ah, now here’s a much more palatable game, and what should be one heck of a matchup at that. The San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) travel to chilly Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots (10-3), in a battle of legitimate Super Bowl contenders. We could end up witnessing a preview of Super Bowl 47 in primetime this week, and there promises to be a very high level of football on show.
With rookie QB Colin Kaepernick at the helm, the 49ers are back in the win column after defeating the Miami Dolphins last week. San Francisco have a shot at a high seed in the NFC playoffs, and a win at the Patriots would give the team a considerable amount of momentum and confidence across the end of the regular season and into the playoffs.
The winning continues for Tom Brady and the Patriots, who haven’t lost a game since October 14. This seven game win streak has included some beatdowns on some very good teams, and with the top AFC playoff seed on the line, the Patriots won’t be easing off the throttle at all when the 49ers come to town. The Patriots defence has tightened up this season, and they will need to come on strong early in order to shut down the 49ers number 2 ranked rushing attack.
Watch out for: 49ers TE Vernon Davis is often billed as one of the best in the NFL, but has caught just three passes the last three weeks. The Patriots secondary is playing well, and I expect Kaepernick to look to the experienced TE to get him out of trouble, as well as make some plays down the field.
Final word and prediction: The 49ers are a skilled unit, however the Patriots are red hot at the moment, and playing at home, I don’t see them losing this one. The Patriots win 31-24.
All in all, some good football in store to kick off your week. Which matchups are you most looking forward to for week 15?