Article Written by: Julian Beck
With 13 weeks of football already down there are only a few weeks left for teams in the hunt to make these last couple of games count. It’s also time to start and figure out how the draft order will be for many of the disappointing teams in the NFL. There are some intriguing match-ups in week 14 and many snoozers.
Colts (8-4) at Bengals (8-4)
The Colts go into Cincinnati struggling in their last 4 contest, Luck throwing 5 interceptions to only 2 touchdowns. Indianapolis came off there worst week protecting #12, allowing him to get sacked 5 times last week in their 22-14 win over the Titans. While a depleted Bengals defense they have stepped it up these last 5 weeks, recording 18 sacks. Cincy has averaged 138 rushing yards in their last 4 games. That will be a big problem for the Colts since they rank 28th against the rush, allowing 128 yards rushing per game. Bernard and Green-Ellis will be a 2-headed this monster game. They both will be relied upon a lot, taking pressure off Dalton and Green, making play action calls go for big plays.
Prediction: 32-17 Cincinnati
Falcons (3-9) at Packers (5-6-1)
Green Bay has gone 0-4-1 since Rodgers broke his collar bone in the first quarter against the Bears on Monday Night Football. Their offense has not clicked at all since then, going through 3 quarterbacks in the process. Lacey has been solid in those 5 games but struggled against the Lions on Thanksgiving. Rodgers is supposed to come back this week, if he comes back that lifts the Packers as he has topped 300 yards throwing with 9 touchdowns to only 1 interception. While the Falcons snapped their 5 game skid with a win last week, 34-31, in a thriller overtime game against the Bills. They racked up 423 total yards, the most in the last 8 contest. Atlanta will be going into this game with momentum on their side. Steven Jackson scored 2 touchdowns last week, Roddy White had his best game of the season by grabbing 10 passes for 124 yards, and Tony Gonzalez grabbed the only touchdown by Matt Ryan. Green Bays defense has struggled all year and they may have a problem containing Roddy this week. White can easily go over 100 yards again with a touchdown.
Prediction: 27-21 Atlanta
Browns (4-8) at Patriots (9-3)
The Patriots are hoping to get their offense rolling early in this one, as the Browns have given up plenty of first-half points this season. Coach Bill may have Ridley in his dog house once again this week. Ridley may have had a tough time racking up yards against that young and talented Browns defense. Cleveland has had issues at QB all season long and whom ever starts this week behind center will have a tough time facing the 10th ranked pass defense in New England. Josh Gordon has been on a historical tear the last 2 weeks but the physical Aqib Talib will be on him this week, making it difficult to get space. Tom Brady should be able to have a good game even though Haden will be on Edelman. Gronk shall be the usual monster he is. The Browns offense will struggle this game.
Prediction: 42-20 New England
Raiders (4-8) at Jets (5-7)
With his team performing at league low levels Rex Ryan will not change his starting quarterback, making the struggling Geno Smith the starter once again. Smith has not thrown a touchdown in the past 5 games and leads the league with 19 interceptions. But the Jets defense has been one of the best in the league against the run. If Rashad Jennings is healthy this week he will be a big factor for the offense. He may struggle on the run but will get plenty of opportunities to make catches out of the back field. Mike McGloin will need as much pressure off of him and Jennings will be able help with that.
Prediction: 28-21 Oakland
Lions (7-5) at Eagles (7-5)
Nick Foles has led the Eagles to 5 straight wins, throwing for 19 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in those wins. He is making great decisions and being very accurate with his throws. The offense as a whole is getting it down along with Foles, turning the ball over only once in his starts. The team will try and will three straight home game this week, first time since 2010. The Lions defense has been one of the stingiest in recent weeks. That defensive line is just bullying offensive lineman, distributing plays, eating up running backs, and recording 11 sacks in the last 2 games. Stafford has thrown 6 picks in the last 2 games but has still done enough to win one of those games. When Reggie Bush rushes for over 90 yards the Lions are 5-0, so the Lions may rely on him to get the pass open this week.
Prediction: 38-31 Detroit
Dolphins (6-6) at Steelers (5-7)
The Steelers have won five straight meetings with the Dolphins dating to a loss at Miami on Sept. 20, 1998. They haven’t lost to them at home since Sept. 30, 1990, winning three in a row. With the return of Mike Wallace, the Steelers are looking to make his return a bad one. Pittsburgh believed Wallace was asking for too much this off-season and decided to let him walk making Antonio Brown the #1 wideout for Big Ben. Seems like the Steelers were wise on that decision. Wallace has been playing better these last 2 weeks, 209 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Dolphins run game has disappeared as of late, relying on Tannehill and that horrible offensive line too much. Le’veon Bell is looking good to play this week, making it bad news for the Dolphins as Brown can do a little bit of everything. Steelers defense will disrupt Tannehill a lot his game, and except Troy to make a couple big plays.
Prediction: 28-14 Pittsburgh
Bills (4-8) at Tampa Bay (3-9)
Both teams had big turnovers in last weeks games. Making the Bills playoffs chances disappear and stopping the Bucs from winning four in a row. Buffalo is tied with Tampa Bay for the league’s most losses via blown leads with seven. Each team will be looking to secure the pigskin in this weeks match-up. The Bills ground attack revived itself last week against the Falcons, running for 195 yards. This rushing attack has came at the right time, Tampa has given up an average of 137 rushing yards in their previous 3 contest. Mike Glennon has not been getting much help by the running backs, 66 last week and 22 against the Lions. Revis Island should be coming back this week, holding Stevie Johnson and making Manuel rely on his rookie wideouts, which sounds like big troubles for the Bills.
Prediction: 21-13 Tampa Bay
Chiefs (9-3) at Redskins (3-9)
Though the Chiefs are trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss, they have a chance to clinch a playoff spot and hand the Redskins a fifth straight defeat Sunday. With the Chiefs losing 3 straight they are still in better shape then the head scratching Redskins. Washington has lost 4 straight and looks to lose a 5th. Thats just how bad they have been playing all year. Their defense is one of the worst in the NFL, their offense struggles even though they have one of the best running backs in the league. RGIII is getting pressured too much and is very inaccurate all year. The Chiefs defense will cause many problems for Griffen. Kansas City has struggled their last 3 weeks but two of those games came against the Broncos and a good offense in the Chargers. Look for Jamal Charles to eat up this horrendous defense of Washington.
Prediction: 28-21 Kansas City
Vikings (3-8-1) at Ravens (6-6)
Looking for a season-high third straight victory, the Ravens hope to continue their home success Sunday while trying to keep the Minnesota winless on the road. The Vikings have been playing better as of late. Peterson is running like the insane human he is, Ponder is playing much better quarterback, Jennings is finally scoring touchdowns, and the offensive coordinator is getting Patterson the ball so he can make big plays. Even with Ponder playing well Cassel looks to get the start this week as Christian suffered a concussion last week. The Ravens are undefeated at home, and are playing very well on the defensive side of the ball. Torrey Smith is playing consistent as the main wideout. Baltimore may get a boost on offense if Pitta returns. Ray Rice should be more involved. But if the game comes down to the wire expect Justin Tucker to win it for the Ravens.
Prediction: 24-13 Baltimore
Titans (5-7) at Broncos (10-2)
Four weeks after open-heart surgery, coach John Fox will be back on the sideline when the Broncos host the Titans with a chance to clinch a playoff spot. Jack Del Rio did a great job as intern, going 3-1 but losing a tough one against Tom Brady and the Pats. Tennessee could provide a test as it has the seventh-best pass defense in the NFL at 212.6 yards allowed per game. The Titans have recorded 31 sacks, and they’ll face a Denver team that’s allowed 15 to tie Detroit for the fewest in the league. Tennessee needs this win to stay in the playoff hunt but with Fitzpatrick behind center you never know if his next pass will be an interception. Chris Johnson is having an average season but will have trouble running on this stingy Broncos defense. With John Fox back at the helm look for Manning to lead this team to a big victory.
Prediction: 48-21 Denver
Rams (5-7) at Cardinals (7-5)
Cardinals believe they had some “questionable” officiating last week while the Rams played a game against the 49ers full of penalties. The Cardinals had their 4 game winning streak snapped and Arinas believes it was due to some missed key plays. They will look to clean things up as the Rams come into play this week. Palmer has keyed the Cardinals offense the last 3 games, throwing for 1,035 yards 7 touchdowns and only 2 picks. He has also had many big plays with Larry Fitzgerald, proving his career isn’t over like many people think. The Rams defense has been solid all season. They do give up a lot of big plays and allow opposing teams to convert on third down. But they are among the top in sacks with Robert Quinn leading the way with 13.5 sacks. The offense looks to get Stacey more involved to help relieve pressure off Clemons. Fitz may be a big problem on Janoris Jenkins this week though, causing a huge mismatch.
Prediction: 28-21 Arizona
Giants (5-7) at Chargers (5-7)
The Giants’ dismal start and the Chargers’ current downfall have left both teams on the outside of the playoff race in their respective conferences. New York started the season with 6 straight loses but has won 5 of the last 6 games. With Andre Brown healthy now they have a balance offensive attack now. San Diego is on a downfall and none of that is to blame of Rivers. He has completed a league high 70 percent of his passes. Their defense has been letting them down as of late. The Bolts secondary is playing some of the worst football in the league right now. While their rush defense was good in the beginning but has been looking tired these last couple of weeks. If the Chargers can force Manning into throwing picks like in the beginning of the season cause if not then Victor Cruz is going to have a field day.
Prediction: 32-30 New York
Seahawks (11-1) at 49ers (8-4)
Looking for an eighth straight victory, the Seahawks can clinch the NFC West and a first-round bye while trying to avoid a fifth consecutive road defeat to the 49ers. The Hawks put on a clinic against the Saints last Monday night. Making Brees uncomfortable and only completing little dink-and-dunk passes. Their defense isn’t to be messed with at the moment. Earl Thomas is playing Defensive MVP type safety and the d-line is getting to the quarterback. While the 9ers offense is at full strength, Crabtree has only been back one leg and will need more time to get his legs under him. While both teams are playing well on both sides of the ball the 49ers are running into a wall. The Hawks are the best team in the NFL and will stop for no body.
Prediction: 21-17 Seattle
Panthers (9-3) at Saints (9-3)
With the Panthers winning 9 straight they now have to face an angry team in the Saints team who is undated at home after their embarrassing lose to the Seahawks last week. Carolina has one of the best D’s in the league and will have a tough matchup against one of the most dynamic offenses. If the Panthers rely on the run to open up the passing attack then Newton won’t have to worry about the good defensive line the Saints have. When Newton has time in the pocket he makes some of the best throws with his cannon of an arm. Tolbert may be relied on heavily running and receiving out of the back field this game. Brees does not want to lose 2 games in a row and will like to stop Carolina from winning a 10th game in a row. The line for Brees needs to hold up the solid d-line the Panthers have to bring. No linebacker on Carolina can keep up or out muscle Jimmy Graham though. Look for Brees and Graham to reconnect this week.
Prediction: 32-21 New Orleans
Cowboys (7-5) at Bears (6-6)
Dallas, which has won five of seven, remains neck-and-neck with Philadelphia for first place in the division. While Jones is hoping to see his team stay hot down the stretch, the Cowboys have compiled a 13-17 record in December since Romo took over as the starting quarterback in 2006. When Romo and his offense are clicking they are unstoppable. Dez Bryant can out muscle any corner that is on him, Witten is a savvy veteran that always finds a way to get open, Murray runs hard and catches out the backfield, while Terrance Williams has became a viable threat in this offense. The Bears have been playing well under Josh McCown and Alshon Jeffries has become a legit wide receiver number one now. Defenses have a tough time on who they should double, Jeffries or Marshall. When one gets double the other takes advantage and goes off for a big play. Forte is having one of the best years in his career, rushing and receiving at a career pace. Both teams have bad defenses that give up a lot of yards. Forte and Marshall both have big games, killing the Cowboys’ chances of winning the division.
Prediction: 42-38 Chicago