Week 13 Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season
Probably one of the most exciting times of the year because we get to watch football (college and professional) for four consecutive days. And there are some good games too on both sides. You have your two main divisional games on Thanksgiving day with Dallas/Philadelphia and Seattle/San Francisco (The Bears/Lions game only has playoff implications for Detroit), with a side of TCU/Texas and LSU/Texas A&M. And then for the next two days in the college football world you will basically have games where the winner will play in their respective conference championship game. And then of course you have that Sunday after where some of us might be tired of having leftovers. A happy Thanksgiving to you all, be safe, have fun, and good luck to your team.
Bears @ Lions: Here is the appetizer on your Thanksgiving football menu. Maybe on any other day where three games were showing, the appetizer seems fitting. But since it is on Thanksgiving, this is your early morning snack/light breakfast (or nothing at all if you don't eat before the actual meal) that you munch on while you wait for the main dish. Moving on, Detroit had some tough losses on the road the past couple of games. Although, you can look at that game against Arizona as a lost opportunity. In short, both secondaries are bad but Chicago has the worst defense overall. The Lions need this win here so they can start feeling well again.
Eagles @ Cowboys: As stated in an intended way above, here is your main course. The turkey, mashed potatoes with (or without) gravy, corn, dinner rolls, that cranberry sauce dish, the stuffing and some other side that somebody from your family made that you only have on this particular day. Dallas has three of four games on the road in December where the home game will be against Andrew Luck and the Colts. It looks like that winter will be arriving again for the Cowboys. So really, this meeting with the Eagles is really important. A loss for the Cowboys would more than likely allow Philadelphia to clinch the division. The Eagles don't have that running game to rely on as compared to Dallas with DeMarco Murray. For the next six games, for Dallas to avoid those December woes will hinge on how Murray does. That running game that they established over the course of the season has made them successful.
Pick: Cowboys (It will be a close game on Thanksgiving day which shouldn't be surprise)
Seahawks @ 49ers: Continuing on with the theme, here is your pumpkin/apple/pecan pie (whichever one you have traditionally). It has been too long of a wait for these two teams to face off but finally we are here. San Francisco is coming off a three-game winning streak while Seattle is coming off a victory over Arizona after losing last week. There is a possibility that the loser of this game will likely not make the playoffs. Kind of hard to believe but maybe we will get a better understanding what will happen in two weeks when the 49ers go up to Seattle. The defense for San Francisco has been playing well late while Seattle's offensive line has struggled protecting Russell Wilson. Nine sacks in two games...crazy.
Redskins @ Colts: It is pretty clear now that RG3 is done at Washington. He needs to go somewhere else, into a new environment because nobody in Washington is responding. Whether Colt McCoy or Kirk Cousins will be the franchise quarterback for next season and beyond, well, we'll have to see. I do have a stronger feeling about McCoy than Cousins, however. Back to the game, McCoy will make his second start this season against the Colts. From what we've seen so far, Washington shouldn't have a problem on offense. Defensively, they are on and off. One thing to look at is Andrew Luck making ill advised decisions. He can't put the Colts defense in spots like that. If he coughs up the ball in this game, let alone in future games, the game will be close in an uncomfortable way that might make Indianapolis nervous. I'm thinking Luck won't put them in that situation.
Titans @ Texans: The five games that Zach Mettenberger has played in, he has thrown an interception in each of those games. Hopefully he doesn't continue that trend but I do expect a turnover committed by the Titans. Another thing that does seem pretty certain, the Houston offense won't struggle against the Tennessee defense. After all, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will be under center again, didn't throw an interception the last time these two teams met. Arian Foster also had a nice game against them in that October meeting so expect him to be productive again.
Browns @ Bills: Brian Hoyer was surprised that the Browns were able to pull off a victory last week despite his three interceptions. It wasn't easy but you would assume that there was a chance to win as the Falcons had their issues on their last offensive drive. The people of Buffalo missed out seeing their beloved team at home last week so they will be extra loud when from start to finish. Buffalo's defense is also pretty good.
Chargers @ Ravens: Ryan Mathews is back for San Diego which will strengthen their offense. However, Baltimore allows the fifth fewest rushing yards per game so it will tough for the Chargers to run the ball. However, Mathews will probably score off of a catch in the backfield. Both teams are coming off some pretty big wins and are starting to heat up which should make for an entertaining game. Kind of a coin-flip game but I just believe that Baltimore is better.
Giants @ Jaguars: The Jaguars defense has had success this season getting after the quarterback with 33 sacks. They haven't been very successful defending the run allowing the fifth highest rush yards per game (130.6). Defending the pass, it depends on what stat you want to look at. They allow opposing signal callers to complete 64.2% of their passes (14th highest) while allowing 257.5 passing yards per game (6th highest). I'm sure the Giants want to protect Eli Manning from that defense so they will give former Jaguar running back Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams a load of carries.
Bengals @ Buccaneers: The Bengals are currently leading the AFC North. I'm strongly considering that they blow it but they did prove me wrong for the last two games. On both sides of the ball they are playing well and should put up a bunch of points over a Tampa Bay defense that allows 27.3 points per game and allow quarterbacks to complete 68% of their passes which is second highest in the league behind the Rams.
Raiders @ Rams: Good win for Oakland last Thursday and a bad loss for St. Louis last Sunday. The Rams had that game late if it weren't for that interception by Shaun Hill. But also the defense needs to do a better job defending the run and getting physical with the receivers. In a sense, doing what they did in their victory over Denver a couple of weeks ago. Defense for the Rams will win the day for them against Oakland.
Saints @ Steelers: New Orleans has only won one game on the road this season and are 0-3 against AFC North opponents. Make that 0-4 and for the away game woes to continue for the Saints as they will not have an answer on defense to stop Pittsburgh's offense featuring Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Look out for Steel City as they try to make a run.
Panthers @ Vikings: Oddly enough the Vikings still have a chance to make the playoffs. They have to win the rest of their five games including some tough dates at Miami and Detroit as well as get some big help from other teams. Carolina can get in by winning the NFC South. They just have to win their remaining games, which includes a meeting at New Orleans, and hope that they in return stumble in other games. The Panthers have allowed 33 sacks to opposing defenses which is the 8th worse in the league. After a poor showing a couple of weeks ago, the Vikings defense are starting to get back at playing aggressive. Expect Minnesota to run the ball well and have some success in the passing game.
Cardinals @ Falcons: Tough losses for both teams last Sunday. Looking ahead, both the Cardinals and Falcons have to be looking back as teams like the Saints and Packers will be looking to move ahead of them either for a division title or a number one seed. The Cardinals will face a better receiving corps in Atlanta so their secondary must be ready. Other than that, there will not be any dud drives for Drew Stanton and the Arizona offense going up against the Falcons defense.
Patriots @ Packers: Possible Super Bowl preview? Pretty sure you've heard it before during the week but both teams are playing at a very high level. It is possible we could be seeing these teams face off again in February but we will have to wait and see at season's end. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense has had their share this season beating teams by double digits. They have also been at the losing end several times. It is hard to believe that it will happen here as both quarterbacks will find some sort of wrinkle in the opposing defense. I'm picking New England only because I have more trust in their secondary to hold the Packers out of the endzone. It will be a great game to watch no matter who you root for.
Broncos @ Chiefs: The Chiefs haven't won a game against Denver ever since Peyton Manning arrived there in 2012. Will this be the first time? It can very well happen as Kansas City will be at home and playing for their safety Eric Berry. After the offensive struggle the Broncos went through against the Rams a couple of weeks ago, they were able to find a rhythm when facing Miami. Those quick passes from Manning will continue to get their offense rolling against a pretty tough Chiefs defense.
Dolphins @ Jets: Miami played very well last week at Denver only to fall short at the end and now they have an opportune time to get a win against the Jets and contend for a spot in a tight wild card race. New York can still hang their hat on their run defense but more than likely the Dolphins will not play into their strength.
Bonus: Alabama, Texas, LSU, Stanford, Arizona St., Ohio St, Florida, Wisconsin, USC, Oregon, Clemson, and Washington St will come out of this weekend victorious.