Thursday, December 10, 2009

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 14

The Eagles and Giants will face off in a huge NFC East battle.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland – This is the very definition of a must win game for the Steelers. After dropping four games in a row, two of which were against relative doormats in Oakland and Kansas City, the Steelers are in complete desperation mode. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they get to play one of the most inept franchises in the league on Thursday night. I expect the Steelers to end their slide, because every team in the league should beat the Browns. The Steelers have a rough finish to the season with the Packers, Ravens and Dolphins, so this is their last gimmie on the schedule, and they MUST win it. I think the Steelers are done for this season, but they still have enough to take care of a steaming pile that is Cleveland. Steelers 27 Browns 10

New Orleans at Atlanta – The Saints say that they are going to keep their foot on the gas and try to pull off 16-0. I applaud that, and think it’s the right move, but I believe they should focus more on 19-0. A perfect regular season has been done, it’s more important to get those last three games. The Saints survived a game last week that by every right they should have lost, so perhaps regular season perfection is within their grasp. The Falcons have fallen off, and I don’t think they’ll be able to get it done regardless if it’s Matt Ryan or Chris Redman playing quarterback on Sunday. The Saints still have a few games I worry about them losing…with the Cowboys and the Panthers…but I think New Orleans has more than enough to take care of the slumping Falcons. Saints 38 Falcons 27

Green Bay at Chicago – The Pack is peaking, and the Bears are more dreadful than most people are ready to acknowledge. However, this is one of those rivalry games where sometimes the lesser team is able to rise up just due to that little extra edge that comes from familiarity and dislike. I don’t see that being an issue in this game, though, because I think the Bears are finished, and the Packers really need to keep winning to secure a postseason bid. I imagine the season can’t finish soon enough for Jay Cutler. Packers 23 Bears 13

New York Jets at Tampa Bay – The Buccaneers had a winning record last season. The house was cleaned during the offseason, or perhaps the more apt analogy is that it was burned to the ground. Hard to believe that this team was competitive one year ago, as the talent level is very low now and new Head Coach Raheem Morris hasn’t had them showing many signs of improvement. The Jets have an outside shot at a playoff spot after winning their past two games to pull even at 6-6. I don’t think they’ll be able to win enough over the final month to make the playoffs, but they should be able to take care of the Bucs. Jets 20 Buccaneers 10

Miami at Jacksonville – This game is pretty close to an elimination game for playoff contention. The Jaguars start their three game losing skid this weekend, as they are not a worthy playoff contender which will be shown over the final month. I don’t think the Dolphins get there either, but they’re better than the Jags. Dolphins 19 Jaguars 16

Detroit at Baltimore – As long as I’m predicting the final month for the Jags, I may as well do it for the Ravens too. Baltimore is about to start a four game win streak by taking care of the Lions. Ravens 33 Lions 24

Seattle at Houston – This game is mostly meaningless unless you’re a diehard Seahawks fan, or you’re a member of the Kubiak family. It sure feels like Gary Kubiak needs a solid finish to avoid losing his head coaching job. Not much of a reason to watch this one, other than if you’ve got fantasy players involved. Texans 28 Seahawks 17

Denver at Indianapolis – For the second straight week the Broncos travel to a town that has not treated them very well over the years. Last week, they were able to overcome the ghosts of Arrowhead and put a hurting on the Chiefs, this week they travel to Indy to play a Colts team that hasn’t lost a regular season game since before the McCain-Obama presidential election. 21 straight regular season games, and after Sunday it’ll be 22. I’d love to see the Broncos make a statement that they are for real and they need to be taken seriously as a contender. They could make that statement with a win, but it’s a very tall task for a team that has generally been road-kill in Indy over the past decade. Colts 34 Broncos 17

Buffalo at Kansas City – Watching the Chiefs get waxed by the Broncos on Sunday made me think that the only team they could maybe lose to this KC squad would be the Browns. The Bills are pretty dreadful, but they are better than the Chiefs, and I expect that to play out of the field in Kansas City on Sunday. Bills 17 Chiefs 10

Rocky singlehandedly ended the cold war, all the Bengals are trying to do is beat the Vikings!

Cincinnati at Minnesota – After seeing Brett Favre finally look mortal for the first time this season on Sunday Night in Arizona, the thing that instantly popped to mind was the scene from Rocky IV when Duke yells of Drago, “You see? You see? He's not a machine, he's a man, he's a man.” The Cardinals cut the Minnesota Dragos, I’m not sure how much “Rocky” the Bengals have in them, but I guess what I'm trying to say, is that if the Bengals can change, and Cincinnati can change, everybody can change! Bengals 24 Vikings 20

Carolina at New England – The Patriots may be vulnerable on the road, but they’ve been dynamite in Foxborough. After absorbing two painful losses in Miami and New Orleans, I feel like the Patriots are out to prove that the rumors of their demise have been slightly exaggerated. I don’t think they score enough to cover a two touchdown spread, but I think they’ll be able to handle the Panthers in this Super Bowl 38 rematch. Patriots 23 Panthers 13

Washington at Oakland – This game is another Super Bowl rematch, this one from Super Bowl 18. The stakes are much lower this time, as both of these clubs are no where near their former glory. Although the Raiders would like to put together two straight wins after their biggest win in years taking down the Super Bowl champs in Pittsburgh last week. The Redskins almost pulled off a doozy of an upset themselves by somehow not defeating the Saints last week despite giving every indication that they could and would. I have absolutely no feel for how either of these two teams are going to perform a week after their most significant games of the season, although for some reason, I feel like it’s going to be a good game. The quarterback matchup of Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell is far from an exciting, but both signalcallers have been playing very well of late. This one feels to me like an overtime game, and I’ll give a slight nod to the home team. Raiders 20 Redskins 17 (in OT)

Saint Louis at Tennessee – Our third straight former Super Bowl matchup is on tap in Tennessee. This was one heck of an exciting Super Bowl back in January of 2000, but Titans vs. Rams doesn’t hold quite the same intrigue in 2009. Although both teams started this year playing dreadfully, Tennessee has pulled out of the tailspin, and the Rams have basically crashed into the ground. The Titans were in too deep a hole to make a playoff run, but they are playing some very good football right now and should handle the Rams easily. Titans 31 Rams 14

San Diego at Dallas – This to me is the most interesting matchup of the weekend. The Cowboys had been playing well up until the point where they fell to the Giants last week. The Chargers have been playing well over the past two months, and are trying to hold off a late charge from the Broncos. The Chargers are one of the best teams in the league, and I feel like the Cowboys are on the verge of yet another late season collapse. Now comes word that Tony Romo is going to be taking over place-holding duties. Is that really a good idea? Putting your starting quarterback back into a position where he had his most public and massive failure at the dawn of a month when traditionally he has struggled mightily seems like bad Karma…you know, if I believed in Karma, that is. Chargers 30 Cowboys 17

Philadelphia at New York Giants – Another big important game, I think the winner of this game will win the NFC East. Philly seems to be raising their game just as the playoffs are coming near. I like them to take care of business and take hold of the NFC East with a win in the Meadowlands. Eagles 27 Giants 24

Arizona at San Francisco – It’s the matchup so boring that the NFL outsourced it to Mexico a few years ago. The Cardinals look to be a legit team, and the 49ers do not. What a dreadful Monday Night game this is. I think Arizona takes this one easily. Cardinals 30 49ers 20

My Picks Scorecard:

Last Week: 8-8
Season to Date: 122-70

Playoff Preview: Here are my projections for the NFL playoff seedings.


1. Colts
2. Chargers
3. Bengals
4. Patriots
5. Ravens
6. Broncos


1. Saints
2. Vikings
3. Cardinals
4. Eagles
5. Packers
6. Giants

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