So the with the end of the Regular Season coming to a close, and the playoffs about to begin I will start to analyze the upcoming AFC playoff games for this weekend. If you had told me in August that the Tim Tebow led Broncos, along with the Texans and Bengals would be continuing their season into January I would have been willing to bet everything I own on it. Fortunately for me I didn’t…
Bengals @ Texans
The Bengals come in losing five of their last eight. All of those loses came to AFC playoff teams, one of them being the Texans. Even with Schaub sidelined the Texans can still offer one of the AFC’s best offenses simply because of the run game they have. Their defense is solid and was what got them where they are today. The young Bengals offense has really shined this year led by the rookie combination of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. I expect this one to be a low scoring game based on the strength of both defenses. The Texans are favored in this one but I see otherwise, I’m going with the Bengals.
Prediction: Bengals 17 Texans 14
Steelers @ Broncos
I for one am certainly glad that all the Tebow hype is over. He finally came down to earth and is playing more like the QB he really is. I cannot take away the fact that the guy is a proven winner, which is literally the only reason the Broncos even have a shot here. The Steelers are injury depleted and I feel like it is definitely going to hurt their playoff chances. Big Ben is still shaken up; Mendenhall is done for the playoffs, and Ryan Clark being kept out of this one. Luckily for the Steelers they are facing a team that went 8-8 in the regular season, but have the talent of a 5-11 team. Like the other AFC Wildcard game I expect this one to be low scoring. Tebow better do some extra praying this week. His savior doesn’t save him here; Steelers win.
In what could be one of the best battles of the season, a few players on one side might be watching from the sideline. My guess is that Big Ben will play tonight, but with Lamarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu’s hamstring concerns, along with James Harrison being out on suspension for his hit on Colt McCoy last week, the Steelers defense might not be exactly what we are all used to. That being said, I still am not convinced the 49ers offense can make them a Super Bowl contender. The Steelers are going to have to throw the ball around tonight if they want to escape with a victory against a team that has one of the top run defenses in the NFL. I’m going to the Steelers tonight.
After being beaten in a game which they lead by 12 points in the 4th quarter to the rival Giants last week the Cowboys have put themselves in as close to a must-win situation as it comes. Tony Romo played great last week, and I expect that to continue against the horrendous Buc’s defense, which ranks near the bottom of the league. Dallas lost DeMarco Murray for the season, which definitely will hurt them, but Felix Jones looked good and seemed ready to carry the load on the ground. I can’t see Americas team falling again this week.
Prediction: Cowboys 30 Buccaneers 17
Sunday December 18th, 2011
Bengals @ Rams 1:00PM
Cincinnati must win to even have a slim chance at a playoff birth and this is exactly the opponent they would like to face in a must win situation. The Rams looked absolutely pathetic last week, and their overall coaching staff is partly to blame. They had six attempts from the one-yard line and it took them until the 6th time to put the ball in the hands of their only offensive star in Steven Jackson.
Prediction: Bengals 27 Rams 10
Redskins @ Giants 1:00PM
The Giants are flying high after a huge come from behind victory last week and I expect it to continue. The Redskins took the Patriots to the wire last week and their offense looked better than usual, but then again they did play the Patriots and their horrific defense.
Prediction: Giants 28 Redskins 20
Saints @ Vikings 1:00PM
This one could be very lopsided, especially if Adrian Peterson isn’t around to help the Vikings run some clock and keep the ball away from Drew Brees and the red-hot Saints offense. The Saints have played exceptionally well the past few weeks and I don’t expect this one to be too much of a struggle.
Prediction: Saints 34 Vikings 17
Packers @ Chiefs 1:00PM
Packers fans have to be happy with the way Coach McCarthy used his start players last week, even with the unfortunate injury to star receiver Greg Jennings. Expect Green Bay to score early and often to break this game open early. My bet is they will play these final three games to win them, and will pull their stars once they get a comfortable lead.
Prediction: Packers 35 Cheifs 13
Panthers @ Texans 1:00PM
I’m not predicting the upset, but I also would not be shocked if it happens. The Panthers offense has been much improved this season, but their defense just lacks the talent to be a legitimate playoff contender. I still don’t believe rookie T.J Yates will be the answer at the QB position, but its what they have and it looks like its what they will stick with. I got the Texans, but barely.
Prediction: Texans 24 Panthers 20
Seahawks @ Bears 1:00PM
The Bears look to have fallen apart this season, pretty similar to their mental collapse last week vs. Tim Tebow and the Broncos. Its astonishing that they managed to blow last weeks game and it just shows that without Jay Cutler or Matt Forte this team cannot get the job done offensively. It’s the exact opposite for the Seahawks who went from being one of the worst run offenses early in the year, to one of the best later in the season. Keep the skittles comin’ as Lynch and the Seahawks take this one.
Prediction: Seattle 20 Bears 17
Dolphins @ Bills 1:00PM
In a matchup of two teams going in opposite directions the Dolphins look to stay hot and continue their winning ways. Miami just parted ways with head coach Tony Sporano, which to me came at a weird time considering they had just started winning games, and doing so in convincing fashion.
Prediction: Dolphins 23 Bills 17
Titans @ Colts 1:00PM
The Titans aren’t exactly sure what their QB situation will look like this week, but fortunately for them they get to wing it against a winless Colts team. Expect a lot of action from Chris Johnson, which in turn will result in a Titans victory.
Prediction: Titans 24 Colts 13
Lions @ Raiders 4:05PM
Carson Palmer has struggled dramatically during his shortened season with the Raiders, and so far it looks like another terrible front office move by the Raiders, and a great move for a Bengals franchise that seems to be headed in the right direction. The Lions will get Ndamukong Suh back this week and their defense should improve from the past two weeks. This is a must win for both teams if they want a shot at a playoff berth this season.
Prediction: Lions 28 Raiders 14
Jets @ Eagles 4:15PM
The only role the Eagles have a chance to play in this season’s playoffs outcome is the spoiler role. Not exactly what they were expecting back in September. They have the talent to beat the Jets and potentially put an end to their season, its more a question of whether they will show up to play or not. I like the Eagles in this one as Andy Reid looks to hold on to any hope of coming back next season.
Prediction: Eagles 24 Jets 23
Browns @ Cardinals 4:15PM
The Cardinals are coming off an impressive victory against a great 49er team and I can’t see the Browns bringing them down. The Browns defense is much improved but their offense is just terrible and lacks any threatening weapons.
Prediction: Cardinals 20 Browns 13
Patriots @ Broncos 4:15PM
In what everyone is calling the game of the week veteran QB Tom Brady will attempt to show the nation how a real quarterback plays. Yes, I am on the Tebow bandwagon right now and I love the way the guy plays but I believe Coach Belichick can get even a defense as bad as the Patriots ready to contain Tebow. The Broncos defense has been great for the most part but they have to go up against an experience Patriots offense with many weapons. The only hope I see the Broncos having is if they can at least hold the Patriots offense in check until the so-called “Tebow Time” comes around. “Tebow Time” is going to have to be more than just a solid five to ten minutes of play in the 4th quarter this week.
Prediction: Patriots 31 Broncos 20
Ravens @ Chargers 8:20
The Chargers are clinging on to the small bit of hope they have of making the post season this year as they attempt to turn their season around and sneak in. In order for that to happen they are going to have to win out, and then hope for some more help along the way. I see their season coming to an end this week in front of a nation audience.
Prediction: Ravens 24 Chargers 21
Monday December 19, 2011
Steelers @ 49ers 8:30PM
This is shaping up to be one of the best defensive battles of the season, especially if the Steelers offense is without Big Ben. I think he toughs it out and plays this week and the Steelers stay in the hunt for the top seed in the AFC. I expect this one to be low scoring which fares well for the 49ers that need a win to keep pace with the Saints for a chance to have a first round bye in the playoffs.
After a great offense performance by a normally dormant Jaguars offense last week they come in this week to face against a Falcons team that is fighting for a playoff berth. The Falcons can’t afford to lose to a team like the Jags, but if MJD plays like he did last week than anything is possible. The only way the Jags hang around in this one is if MJD can put up a big performance and carry the offense on his back. Matt Ryan has improved over the past couple weeks after starting off the season with a few less than stellar performances. Atlanta needs this one too much to let one slip away to a team like the Jaguars, especially at home.
Tonight the Rams head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. This seems to be the norm for the prime-time schedule this year; two underachieving teams. This certainly won’t live up to the shootout that was on prime time last night when the Giants came from behind to beat the Cowboys. The Seahawks come off a long week after their impressive stomping of the Eagles last Thursday night, and like I said last week, I would not want to be a team that is fighting for a playoff spot that has to face the Seahawks. They have gotten it together later this season and I expect it to continue. It looks like Kellen Clemens will be making the start for the injury depleted Rams and that certainly doesn’t look to fare well for their chances of leaving with a victory.
Thank god its Thursday. Tonight the Steelers take on the Browns on Thursday Night Football. It just doesn’t get any easier for the Browns after taking a beating from the Ravens last weekend. The Steelers look drastically better than they had at the beginning of the season and look poised to make a serious playoff push. James Harrison had 3 sacks last week and looks like he hasn’t lost a step. The Browns have one of the best secondaries in the NFL and if they could just get some support from their offense they would at least be able to put up a fight in their defensive minded division. Colt McCoy is still young, but I’m just unsure he will be the long-term answer as the signal caller for the Browns. As I’m sure most of you predict; the Steelers take this one.
Seattle outlasted the Vick-less Eagles as the Eagles fell to 4-8 and the disappointing season continues. Marshawn Lynch ran hard and took over again, and Vince Young did everything he could to lose the game for the Eagles.
Jets 34- Redskins 19
Our Pick: Jets
Shonn Greene scored 3 TD’s and the Jets put up 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Jets kept their playoff hopes alive and improved to 7-5.
Chiefs 10 Bears 3
Our Pick: Bears
Kyle Orton lasted one single play in a Chiefs uniform before dislocating his finger and the QB play for both teams went downhill from there. The only touchdown was scored on a hail mary at the end of the first half that got tipped into the hands of Cheifs RB/WR Dexter McCluster. As far as being a Bears fan, Donovan McNabb sounds much better than Caleb Hanie right now. Or even Brett Favre? Imagine that.
Titans 23 Bills 17
Our Pick: Titans
The Titans stayed within a couple of games of the Texans who pulled out a surprising win this week. The Bills are just flat-out horrible. How does that $60 million deal for Fitzpatrick look now? Chris Johnson looks back to old form. Watch out for this team if they sneak into the playoffs.
Dolphins 34 Raiders 14
Our Pick: Raiders
The Dolphins proved me wrong this week and blew out the Raiders. This shows the Raiders just aren’t there yet and still have a lot of work to do. The Dolphins look poised to save their coaches job in Miami (Although he already put his home on the market after starting 0-7). The Raiders better not let this one slip away or its going to be a real disappointing offseason in Oakland.
Steelers 35 Bengals 7
Our Pick: Steelers
There were a couple of things that really stood out in this game. The Bengals are too young and just not ready to compete in a division with veteran teams like the Steelers and Ravens; the second being that the Steelers offense can get the job done. With weapons like Wallace, Mendenhall and Big Ben at the helm, this offense is the real deal.
Texans 17 Falcons 10
Our Pick: Falcons
The Texans and Rookie QB T.J Yates got the job done this week. The defense played great and it will have to continue if they want to make a run in the Playoffs because I don’t see the offense putting up much more than 17-20 points unless Foster has a freakish game. The Falcons fell apart and if they continue to play this way they’ll find themselves watching the playoffs from the comfort of their homes come January.
Broncos 35 Vikings 32
Our Pick: Broncos
I couldn’t go against Tebow, especially against the Vikings without Peterson. The Broncos defense looked very shaky throughout the whole game but they came up with a huge interception when they really needed it. They seem to be letting Tebow throw the ball and little more and it worked out for them as he threw for a couple TD’s while completing 66.7% of his passes.
Panthers 38 Buccaneers 19
Our Pick: Panthers
Cam Newton ran for 3 TD’s to give him a league leading 13 on the season. Josh Johnson remained winless as a starting QB in the NFL and the Buc’s just keep looking worse each week.
Ravens 24 Browns 10
Our Pick: Ravens
The Ravens got the win they were supposed to get and the Browns continued to struggle. Ray Rice was dominant again and looks like one of the leagues best RB’s this year. The Browns are just unlucky playing in the division they are in.
Packers 38 Giants 35
Our Pick: Giants
The Giants look like they had a chance to win this one in Overtime but their poor clock management on their final drive left too much time on the clock for Rodgers and he drove right down the field in under a minute. This shows the Packers are beatable.
Cardinals 19 Cowboys 13
Our Pick: Cowboys
This is what I meant a couple of weeks back that the Cowboys often times don’t play up to their talent. This is a game you cannot lose. They had the opportunity to pull two games up on the Giants with only 4 to go and they blow it by losing to a team like the Cardinals. I’m sure Jerry Jones isn’t exactly thrilled right now.
49ers 26 Rams 0
Our Pick: 49ers
The 49ers clinched the division and a playoff bitch this week by improving to 10-2 on the season. Jim Harbaugh has completely turned this team around and will certainly be in the running for coach of the year.
Saints 31 Lions 17
Our Pick: Saints
The Saints continue to keep putting up explosive numbers on offense and the loss of Suh on the defensive side of the ball for the Lions certainly did not help. The Lions have come back to earth after their 5-0 start and have lost five of their last seven.
Chargers 38 Jaguars 14
Our Pick: Chargers
Believe it or not the 5-7 Chargers still have a shot at the playoffs. They just need to hope they can be within a game of the Raiders come their week 17 matchup. The Jaguars passing situation just looks horrible and I’m sure the Panthers are glad they chose Newton of Gabbert.
Tonight the disappointing chargers will be taking on the struggling Jaguars. Neither teams’ season has gone as planned, but for the chargers this certainly wasn’t expected. Philip Rivers and the chargers should come out on top tonight against a team that has essentially no passing attack. The Jaguars will attempt to lean on Maurice Jones-drew but it just wont be enough if they get down early.
Rex won’t take the loss this week, the games this late in the season mean too much to the Jets to let this one slip away. The Redskins finally got decent QB play from Rex Grossman last week and it is almost a must win for both teams I just don’t see the Redskins coming out on top.
Prediction: Jets 24 Redskins 14
Raiders @ Dolphins 1PM
The Raiders are averaging 25 points per game since Carson Palmer took over the offense, and are 3-1 in those four games. Michael Bush has been great and has averages 106 yards per game over the past 5 weeks. The Dolphins have looked like a completely different team and almost stunned the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The Raiders look determined to make the playoffs this year and I don’t see this game getting in their way. Raiders improve to 8-4.
Predicition: Raiders 27 Dolphins 17
Titans @ Bills 1PM
Chris Johnson looks much better than he had at the beginning of the season, and the Titans are still in 2nd place in the AFC South. Their defense is has allowed the 7th least amount of points in the whole NFL, and they have a chance to catch the Texans. Buffalo has completely fallen apart since the beginning of the season and I expect to see that continue.
Prediction: Titans 23 Bills 21
Chiefs @ Bears 1PM
Kyle Orton or Tyler Palko? It doesn’t matter. Matt Cassel isn’t a top-tier quarterback but he is still better than both of them, let alone Orton doesn’t even know the offense yet. They weren’t a good team without Cassel, and they certainly won’t be with Cassel. The Bears defense should dominate the Chiefs this week. Expect Matt Forte, Marion Barber combination should run all over the Chiefs defense.
Prediction: Bears 23 Chiefs 10
Broncos @ Vikings 1PM
It’s looking like the Vikings will be without their only true star on the offensive side of the ball again. Peterson’s high ankle sprain will likely keep him out this week and their offense just is not the same without him. Tebow has been shutting up critics week after week and has earned the job as the Denver QB. His mental toughness is incredible and it has rubbed off on the whole team. His 8/1 TD to INT ratio is the main reason the Broncos are winning. He is keeping the team in a position to win and the results have shown. Tebow mania continues this week.
Prediction: Broncos 20 Vikings 13
Bengals @ Steelers 1PM
The Bengals escaped a scare in Cleveland last week for a much-needed victory to stay in the chase with the Ravens and Steelers in the AFC North. This is a must win if the Bengals want any chance of winning the AFC North. The Bengals are 1-4 against teams with a winning record this season; I see that going to 1-5. Steelers win at home.
Prediction: Steelers 23 Bengals 17
Falcons @ Texans 1PM
In a matchup of 7-4 teams the Falcons take on the Texans at Reliant Stadium. T.J. Yates will be making his first career start for the Texans after both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart went down with season ending injuries. The Falcons offense has been playing much better as of late, mainly because of the improved play from QB Matt Ryan. The injury to Schaub is just going to be too much for the Texans to handle. Don’t be surprised if the Titans take over the AFC South division come playoff time.
Prediction: Falcons 24 Texans 21
Panthers @ Buccaneers 1PM
Cam Newton comes into the game needing just over 650 yards to pass Peyton Manning’s rookie passing record. Although I don’t see him breaking that this week it is a possibility seeing how bad the Tampa Bay defense is (Kidding). This game will be a battle of two of the worst defenses this year as the Panthers and Buccaneers come in at 31st and 29th respectively. Josh Freeman’s shoulder injury might keep him out of this game, but regardless I see Tampa relying on LeGarrette Blount to carry the offense this week. Cam leads the Panthers to their 4th victory of the season.
Prediction: Panthers 31 Buccaneers 23
Ravens @ Browns 4:05PM
The Browns get the Ravens this week then take on the Steelers on a short week next Thursday. I expect two loses, as I’m sure most of you do. Believe it or not Joe Haden and the rest of the Browns pass defense has been one of the best in the league this year. Expect Ray Rice to carry the load for the Ravens offense (although my fantasy football future hopes otherwise.) Expect Cleveland to hang around in the first half, but in the end don’t expect a victory from the Browns.
Prediction Ravens 23 Browns 10
Cowboys @ Cardinals 4:15PM
Kevin Kolb is back this week for the Cardinals so the short-lived John Skelton era is over for the time being. Kolb hadn’t done much up until his injury so don’t expect much from him this week. The Cowboys have been playing better but barely escaped their Thanksgiving matchup with the Dolphins. Expect Dallas to be throwing early and often as always.
Prediction: Cowboys 27 Cardinals 13
Rams @ 49ers 4:15PM
Sam Bradford has had a less than impressive sophomore year after his great rookie season last year, and the rest of the Rams seem to be following in his place. The Brandon Lloyd trade looks like a great move as of now but their defense just isn’t cutting it against the better offenses. The 49ers showed they could at least compete with the best in the league when they lost last week to the hands of the Ravens so this isn’t just some fluke that they are 9-2. Their offense still struggles at times, especially if they get behind early and need to rely on Alex Smith. Expect the 49ers to come out running the ball on this shaky Rams defense.
Prediction: 49ers 23 Rams 10
Packers @ Giants 4:15PM
This has been one of the most hyped up games this week and it’s for a reason. Aaron Rodgers has been 07’ Tom Brady like this year and has a shot at breaking a lot of the passing records Brady currently holds. They attack through the air better than any team in the NFL and so far this season that doesn’t exactly bode well for the Giants defensive strengths. They key to this game are the play of the Giants defensive ends; if they can generate enough of a pass rush and help out their secondary they have a chance at this one. You can’t stop Aaron Rodgers; you can only hope to slow him down. My bold prediction of the week is as follows.
Prediction: Giants 28 Packers 24
Lions @ Saints 8:20PM
Ndamukong Suh’s attempt to get his two game suspension reversed was denied today by the NFL and that is a huge blow to this Lions team. Unfortunately the Lions don’t have that true veteran presence in the locker room to put him in line. Drew Brees and the saints offense has been on fire as of late and they are beginning to look more like the Saints that won the Super Bowl a couple of seasons back. I don’t see the Lions being able to stop the Saints passing attack and the loss of Suh certainly won’t help.
The Eagle’s season has been a complete disaster this year. Their star WR is almost as pissed off as the Eagle’s fans are. Vince Young will get the start at QB tonight while Vick sits out for the third week in as many weeks. Also out this week are CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and their other top downfield threat Jeremy Maclin will sit out again. Pete Carroll has the Seahawks playing well and Marshawn Lynch looks poised to earn himself the money he deserves this offseason. I’m going with the Seahawks tonight. The Eagles don’t even have more talent on the field this week with all their injuries and the fact that they are a complete mess on and off the field doesn’t make me feel to good about their chances tonight.