Week 13's key players, adjustments and strategies
Posted: Sunday December 2, 2007 10:20PM; Updated: Sunday December 2, 2007 10:20PM
The calls for A.J. Feeley to take over the starting role will subside in Philly after watching his performance against the Seahawks. Feeley set up the Seahawks' initial two scores on interceptions to Lofa Tatupu, and a third interception to Tatupu thwarted a potential game-winning rally in the closing moments. Though Feeley piled up impressive overall statistics during the outing, his penchant for turnovers and questionable decision making in the clutch makes him a viable option only in spots. While Donovan McNabb's play this season hasn't been up to his standard, he is unquestionably the best option at quarterback for the Eagles now and in the future.
Defenses are finding it increasingly more difficult to defend the Vikings' offense because of Tarvaris Jackson's improved play. The second year signal caller is finding his groove as a passer and benefitting from defenses focusing on stopping their top-ranked rush attack. Jackson has completed 45 of 58 passes for 504 yards in the past three games after only completing 46 percent of his passes during his first five starts. The key has been improved accuracy and better chemistry with his receivers on play-action passes.
The Colts featured their tight ends to handle the multiple looks presented by the Jags' defense. Ben Utecht and Dallas Clark combined for 10 receptions for 107 yards with two touchdowns. More importantly, their emergence has given Indy's offense enough versatility to play a ball-control style against a physical opponent. With the Colts potentially playing a road game in inclement weather during the playoffs, the ability to switch up their offensive style will be critical.
It is amazing how quickly the Titans' defense regained its form with Albert Haynesworth in the lineup. With Haynesworth occupying double and triple teams, Antwan Odom and others rediscovered their pass rushing ways as Tennessee consistently harassed Houston quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels in the pocket. The two sack performance was the Titans' first multi-sack game since Haynesworth left the line up three weeks ago.
With the Chargers in the middle of a tightly contested AFC West race, Norv Turner has finally decided to feed the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson. After averaging only 17.5 carries a game in the four games after their by week, Tomlinson has carried the ball 47 times during their two-game winning streak. And the increased workload has resulted in 254 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Maybe Turner's reluctance to use Tomlinson during the middle part of the season was part of a plan to keep his superstar fresh down the stretch. But you have to wonder if the Chargers would be in a better position had LT shouldered more of the load early in the season.