With only 4 weeks in the regular season, the playoff picture is both taking shape and getting worrying for some (myself included), exciting for others and very interesting all-round. I had a fairly good week last week tipping 11 correct and missing on Seattle, Tennessee, Kansas City, Arizona & Miami. Let’s get to it!
Cleveland at Pittsburgh: I said it last week, but I’ll say it again, the NFL and NFL Network chose some truly horrible primetime games this season. And this one is most definitely included. The Steelers head into this game after pummeling the Bengals last week by 28 and claiming their dominance yet again. The Browns, on the other hand, come into this game after being beaten comfortably by the Ravens. The Steelers seem to be back to their old selves, kicking arse and taking names. The Browns have very little firepower on the offense, and the Browns won’t be able to hold out Big Ben and co. for the whole game, nor keep them to a small point total for the offense to be able to exceed and win. Steelers should get a good win here.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 6
Houston at Cincinnati: This should be a good defensive match-up, as two of the better D’s go head to head in this match-up. Cincinnati got trounced last week, opposed to the Texans, who pulled out an impressive win against a tough Falcons teams. I think Houston’s D is superior to Cincinnati’s and so is their overall offense. Houston gets the victory.
Prediction: Houston 20, Cincinnati 13
Minnesota at Detroit: In the last meeting of these two teams, the Lions rallied from 20 points down in the 2nd half to beat the Vikings in overtime 26 to 23. I can’t say I see the Lions being down 20 points by half-time, but with the way the team’s been playing and imploding, I’m not ruling it out. The Vikings lost to the Tebows last week, where Tebow actually had a relatively good day throwing the ball. This says more about the Vikings than Tebow’s throwing skills, though. And if Tebow can, sort of, light up this Vikings secondary, imagine what Stafford can do after coming off a 400+ yard outing, as well as being 5th in the league in pass yardage. Lions get a nice win to get things back on track.
Prediction: Detroit 48, Minnesota 17
Tennessee at New Orleans: With the Titans winning two in a row, they seem to be getting their season back on track, though it’s a bit late for that now. Chris Johnson is back to his usual self having rushed for a combined 343 yards in his past 2 games. The Saints have won 4 in a row and even though they did get tested last week, still prevailed in comfortable fashion. Even if CJ2K can continue his great form, they won’t get enough points through the air to outscore the Saints. Good competitive game, but ultimately, another Saints victory.
Prediction: New Orleans 40, Tennessee 28
Philadelphia at Miami: The Dolphins are one of the best teams in the NFL right now, and their D is sturdy as all hell. With the Eagles getting Vick back, it’s definitely a nice relief, as opposed to the woeful Vince Young. However, the Miami D is for real, and Vick probably won’t be 100%. Considering what the Eagles were like when Vick was playing, they weren’t winning much. Miami takes it, though not convincingly.
Prediction: Miami 21, Philadelphia 19
Kansas City at New York: The Chiefs pulled out one of the bigger surprises last week, dominating the Bears for 60 minutes and getting the victory. Meanwhile, the Jets got a bit of a scare, but ended up piling the points in towards the end. I can’t see Palko and Chiefs causing another upset, but crazier things have happened!
Prediction: New York 26, Kansas City 14
New England at Washington: New England were quite underwhelming last week, only putting up 31 points and only winning by 7. The ‘Skins, as just mentioned, got the score run up at the end of their game against the Jets. Washington’s D has fallen a bit this year, while the Patriots O looks fairly unstoppable. Patriots take it in a close one, because their D literally can’t stop anyone.
Prediction: New England 34, Washington 30
Atlanta at Carolina: My Panthers picked was pretty spot on last week (bows for applause) and surprisingly, so was my Falcons! Despite that nonsense, both of these teams are good despite the Panther’s record. The Falcons pulled out the victory in the first meeting, but I think the Panthers can tie it up with Newton putting up big numbers. High scoring shootout in Carolina.
Prediction: Carolina 38, Atlanta 31
Tampa Bay at Jacksonville: As hard as it is to tip the Jaguars at the moment, it might be even harder to tip the Bucs. Tampa Bay has lost 6 straight games and this is their best shot to win in the next 4 weeks. Worrying signs for a team that just missed the playoffs last season. Jacksonville fell to the Chargers who would have been ecstatic at winning a game of late. Tampa Bay is really bad, but Jacksonville only seem to show up against the big teams. Something the Bucs have fallen a long way from.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 27, Jacksonville 15
Indianapolis at Baltimore: No point writing long-winded blurbs for the Colts any more. They better start choosing who they want more, Manning or Luck?
Prediction: Ravens 30, Colts 3
Chicago at Denver: Tebow was actually half decent last week, although please put things into perspective (I know this is hard for Tebow fans, but trying would be nice). Tebow faced the worst pass defense in the league and possibly one of the worst D’s, period. And even though they take on the Bears, it’s the Bears offense which is bad, almost non-existent. If Bears fans thought things couldn’t get any worse, they were clearly deluded, as Forte busted his knee and is out until at least week 16. I don’t think the Bears can be the team to solve the new Denver D and Tebow and co make it 7-1 (Yay Lions!).
Prediction: Denver 20, Chicago 12
Arizona at San Francisco: San Francisco’s D is outstanding. I’m still in awe of how good they’ve done this season. And even though P-Willy is a big loss for them this week, he’s only 1 of the 11 players on an outstanding D. Rams were held to 0 last week, I wouldn’t be surprised if Arizona was, too. Unless Patrick Peterson shows up again…
Prediction: San Francisco 24, Arizona 0
Oakland at Green Bay: As with the Colts blurbs, I feel similarly about the Packers. You saw the Raiders last week, right? Yes? OK, no point to continue, then. Green Bay to 13-0.
Prediction: Green Bay 35, Oakland 17
Buffalo at San Diego: Two teams who are desperate for wins to try to salvage something and maybe a division shot for the Chargers. If the Chargers were more consistent on a weekly basis just in terms of scoring, then it’s an easy pick, but the Chargers are always a coin flip away from the shit team turning up. Buffalo doesn’t seem to have a good team at the moment, though, so I have to pick the Chargers for no other reason than how bad Buffalo is.
Prediction: San Diego 21, Buffalo 9
And then there were two…
New York at Dallas: Maybe I’m just underestimating this rivalry, but the Cowboys should be favored or close to it in this game. Sure, the Giants have lost 5 straight, but they’ve still been pretty good. Apart from the final 90 seconds last week…Anyway, the Cowboys haven’t shown me anything to get me excited about against the Giants.
Prediction: New York 31, Dallas 24
St. Louis at Seattle: Marshawn Lynch sure turned into a beast Running Back this season, and I was one of those idiots who dropped some games in, cause he hadn’t done anything. Sure am kicking myself now. Regardless of that, the Seahawks D is a takeaway machine, while their O runs (no pun intended) through Lynch. One of the few teams whose running game is their winner. St. Louis also can’t stop the run, ominous sign right there. Seattle makes it 4 out of their last 5.
Prediction: Seattle 27, St. Louis 10
Good luck to everyone this week and have a great one!