Sunday Preview: Week 14

The latest installment in the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry is sure to be nasty,
even with only one of those teams still competing for a playoff spot.

On the eve of the best day of the week in the sports world, EWM takes a look at the most (and least) intriguing matchups of Week 14.

Philadelphia (8-4) at Dallas (4-8) - Even though only one of these teams has any chance at playing football after January 2, don't underestimate the entertainment value of this one. In addition to being one of the most heated rivalries in football, Sunday night's main event features some of the most exciting players in football, including current Pro Bowl votes leader and strong MVP candidate Michael Vick. Not to mention the fact that the Cowboys, despite having a woeful season overall, have gone an eye-catching 3-1 under interim head coach Jason Garrett and a respectable 3-3 in starts by backup QB Jon "Yes, I'm still in the league" Kitna. So even though the new Cowboys Stadium hasn't exactly provided much home field advantage for the 'Boys thus far, don't completely rule out an upset here.
Hype value: ***1/2

New England (10-2) at Chicago (9-3) - Personally, if you'd have told me at the beginning of the year this would be a matchup of division leaders in Week 14, I'd have been surprised. Partially because of New England's rookie-studded defense, and largely because of Jay Cutler's propensity for throwing interceptions and the Mike Martz system's utter disdain for QB protection. Yet despite those perceived roadblocks, here these two teams stand in great position to win their divisions. Soldier Field is not a fun place to play in December, but the Pats aren't exactly a warm-weather team themselves.
Hype value: ****

New York Giants (8-4) at Minnesota (5-7) - This game is notable in that it has been moved from Sunday to Monday due to horrible weather in Minnesota (i.e., it's Minnesota in December). In addition to Metrodome employees needing more time to clear nearly 15 inches of snow from the stadium roof, the Giants' charter flight was diverted to Kansas City by the weather. This is quite possibly the first time in memory a game held in an indoor facility has been delayed due to weather. BTW, the game is also notable in that Brett Favre is still undecided as to whether or not he will attempt to start the game and continue his legendary "iron man" streak of consecutive starts...Favre? Undecided!? Surely you jest!
UPDATE: The Metrodome's roof has reportedly collapsed due to those 15+ inches of snow. As of now, the Vikes/Giants game is delayed indefinitely as the NFL searches for a new venue, reportedly possibly including another NFL dome or nearby TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota. No clear word yet when or where the game will take place.
Hype value: *****. Favre indecision = ratings. Collapsing stadiums = mega ratings.

Miami (6-6) at New York Jets (9-3) - The Jets still have the bad taste of a 45-3 obliteration by the New England Patriots fresh in their mouths, but they'll have no time to rest as another fierce rival rolls into town. If the Jets truly are as good as they say they are, they'd better show it against a capable opponent this week.
Hype value: **1/2

Seattle (6-6) at San Francisco (4-8) - Depressing fact: At a meager 6-6, the Seahawks enter Week 14 tied for the division lead in the NFC West, AKA the NFL's Division II. Even more depressing fact: if the Niners can win this one at home, AND the Rams lose at New Orleans (quite likely), the woeful 49ers are just one game out of first place after a dismal 2-6 start.
Hype value: *

Denver (3-9) at Arizona (3-9) - In a game unlikely to see any air outside of the immediate Denver and Phoenix areas, a team so bad they just fired their head coach three quarters of the way through the season faces a team so bad they've started 3 different awful quarterbacks this year counting the preseason, and went into this week considering starting a fourth. I guess somebody has to screw up and win.
Hype value: No stars. Yeah, I said it.

Baltimore (8-4) at Houston (5-7) - Baltimore is still reeling from another close loss to their archrival Pittsburgh Steelers. Houston is still reeling from tumbling down the division rankings after a hot start. Look for another primetime slugfest in a game both teams truly need to keep pace in their respective divisions.
Hype value: ***1/2

Daily Links 12-10-10

One of these men has a QB rating of 105.7 and only two INTs on the season.
A Certain Ex-Felon Leads NFL in Pro Bowl Votes
- Somewhere, Nils Lofgren weeps quietly to himself.

Peyton Manning Plays Like Peyton Manning
- No interceptions as the Colts barely overcome the Titans 30-28, despite a huge game by Chris Johnson.

Jenn Sterger: "I Won't Sue as Long as Favre is Suspended"
- Yeah, forget being tried in a court of law. Let Judge Dredd Roger Goodell punish Favre.

NFL Says Adding Two Games to Schedule is Biggest Priority
- Like it or not, this is going to happen.

Josh Freeman Fined $5,000 for Unnecessary Roughness
- The NFL really needs to protect defensive backs from these vicious hits.

Rivalry Week: Colts At Titans

That guy's pretty good. If you like... six-five, 230-pound quarterbacks with a... laser rocket arm...

Thursday night, the reeling Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts will face off against the slightly more reeling Tennessee Titans. Believe it or not, these teams are a combined 1-9 in their last 5 games, with the lone win belonging to the Colts (against a 2-10 Bengals team, in case you were wondering). The Titans will in all likeliness miss the playoffs at this point, but they'd love to play spoiler to Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Daily Links - 12-8-10

At least DC can still root for the Capitals.

Redskins Suspend Haynesworth for Remainder of Season
- I honestly had no idea he still played for them.

Broncos Fire Josh McDaniels
- They are late to the "fire your head coach midseason" party. McDaniels deserves it, too. How do you cheat against the 49ers and still lose?

Steelers Win Against Baltimore Proves Costly
- Sepulveda out for the season, Heath Miller and Flozell Adams likely out next week.

- That's a new one. All joking aside, this is a good read. Gotta respect where this guy's head and heart are.

49ers Name Alex Smith as Starter, Citing His Experience
- 49ers will spend 1st round draft pick on a QB, citing the fact that Alex Smith is their best QB.

RIP "Dandy" Don Meredith, 1938-2010

Howard Cosell and Don Meredith
Don Meredith, the original Dallas Cowboy and one of the trailblazers of the now-phenomenal Monday Night Football, passed away Sunday after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Meredith, who played his college ball at Southern Methodist University, was signed by the Cowboys in 1959 before they had played a single game as a professional franchise. He went on to become the Cowboys' first superstar quarterback and begin a tradition of excellence that would later be carried on by the likes of Roger Staubach, Danny White and Troy Aikman.

After unexpectedly retiring at the age of 31, Meredith became a color commentator for the then-fledgling Monday Night Football alongside the legendary Howard Cosell. Meredith was well known for his humorous commentary on the show, including frequently singing "Turn out the lights, the party's over..." at the competitive conclusion of each game.

An icon of both sports and broadcasting, he is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. Condolences and prayers go out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.