4th and Goal: Week 12

Tackling four questions heading into this Sundays Games

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Can Houston and Chicago make the playoffs now that they lost their respective starting QB's?

Let's start out by saying that yes, both teams can make the playoffs in their respective conferences. The Houston Texans is the easiest yes because they are head and shoulders above the other three teams in their division, even without injured starting QB Matt Schaub. With a sturdy defense, a powerful rushing game and two quality receiving threats in Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels, even Matt Leinart can't make too much of a mess of this one.
Chicago, on the other hand, has a much tougher road to the playoffs as they share a division with the Green Bay Packers. That fun fact leaves only the wild card option for the Bears and considering they are fighting with Detroit, Atlanta and the Giants for those two spots, then nothing is a given. But, on the plus side, Chicago does have a favorable schedule to finish out the season and I'm not sold on either the Lions or the Giants so I can see the Bears squeaking into the wild card with the Falcons.

Will Tim Tebow be able to deliver a win against desperate San Diego?

My head says no but my gut, and his record this year as a starter, says otherwise. Tebow is the quarterback equivalent of a beater car; he won't win any beauty pageants but he has a good motor and seems to always get you where you need to be. I do think, however, that he will need to pass for over 200 yards if he's going to win at San Diego this weekend.

Will Mark Sanchez be benched sometime during this weekends game against Buffalo?

Jets head coach Rex Ryan is pulling every trick out of his hat to inspire QB Mark Sanchez to improve his game, even going to the extent of giving starting reps in practice to the over 40 yr old Mark Brunell.  The test of the effectiveness of this trick will come this Sunday when the Jets face off against the Bills for their playoff lives. If Sanchez doesn't do well through two quarters and the game is tight or the Jets are losing, I can see Ryan turning to Brunell in the second half as a last ditch effort to get his QB out of a funk and to provide a spark for his fading team. NYJ cannot afford to lose too many more if they want to make the playoffs.

What is the game of the week?

I'm going to go with the Monday Night game Between the Giants and the Saints as this week's game of the week. Both these teams are facing tight divisional pressure and need the win to keep pace. Also, should one or both of these teams fail to hold off their competition, then this game could prove vital to determining the wild card down the road. This Monday Night matchup should be an explosive display of points from two teams who are desperate for a win.