Tag Archives: atlanta falcons

WEEK 14 DIAGNOSIS: ALL 16 GAMES (WITH FINAL SCORE PREDICTIONS)

Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders

There may not be any team hotter than the Denver Broncos at this point.  They are currently riding the longest winning-streak in the league and are playing well on both sides of the ball.  While John Fox and company seem to have gotten their act together, the Raiders look like they are falling apart.  Although they are not committing as many penalties as past teams have, Oakland is really struggling to keep up with some teams.  They have been unable to get a running game going and are quite a few steps behind on defense (seemingly) every week.  The team has to rely on 32 year old Carson Palmer to shoulder the load week in and out, and he is just not the type of quarterback who can do that.  Fully expect the Broncos to dominate in this one.  Their defense plays some of the best coverage in the entire NFL and they are quite stingy when it comes to the run.  Palmer may not even get his regular “garbage-time” stats in this one if Denver keeps applying pressure with their front four and are holding down base in the secondary.  Oh yeah, and they also have #18 to help them out, in case a solid defensive effort won’t get the job done.

Denver 37, Oakland 12

 

St Louis Rams @ Buffalo Bills

Nobody expected the Rams to play the 49ers like they have this season (going 1-0-1 against them).  Come to think of it, they are still loss-less (if that’s a word) within their division.  However, this game is going to be played on the road outside of the division.  It is actually outside the conference as a matter of a fact.  In those games this year, the Rams are an unimpressive 0-3 and are being outscored 89-34. Jeff Fisher has his team playing at a much higher level than in the previous handful of years, but they are not battle-tested for colder weather in December quite yet.  Also, the Bills played one of their best games last Sunday against Jacksonville.  Granted, it is Jacksonville, but they could have squared off with more than half of the teams in the league and won with their performance.  They were running the ball quite well and have developed quite the one-two punch with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.  The Bills will try and pound the rock for a majority of this game and will grind out a victory over this very hard-nosed St Louis team.

Buffalo 20, St Louis 16

 

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers

This game is very exciting because Gus Johnson and Charles Davis will be on the call.  For NFL fans, this will be the first game this dynamic duo will commentate.  With Gus, every big play seems like it can be a play of the year.  His enthusiasm is something that is unprecedented by any other announcer, and how fitting this assignment will be, seeing as how this game could turn out to be a shootout.  Matt Ryan has not been playing his best ball as of late, and narrow wins over inferior teams have been the result.  On the other hand, Cam Newton has been playing very well.  He has not turned the ball over since Week 11 and the offense has looked good in the process.  If he is on his game, expect Carolina to leap out to a pretty big first half lead, say 24-10?  Unfortunately once the second half hits, Matt Ryan will come out and bring his team back, much like he had to do in the Week 4 match-up between these two.  The Panthers’ defense is slowly on the decline.  They will not be able to slow down the Falcons in the second half.  Ryan should throw 3+ scores and lead his team to a nice comeback victory in Charlotte.

Atlanta 34, Carolina 30

 

Dallas Cowboys @ Cincinnati Bengals

Every season the Cowboys seem to find themselves in contention for a playoff spot.  They fight, and fight, and fight, but when December comes they simply fall apart.  Perhaps this will be the year that they can finally turn everything around.  Meanwhile, the Bengals are on the rise again.  Last week’s victory over San Diego propels them to a decent 7-5 record.  Their playoff hopes were dealt a serious blow when the Steelers emerged victorious against Baltimore.  Now that they have Big Ben back, Cincinnati will most likely have to win out in order to make life a little easier on themselves.  With this type of desperation, the Bengals should come out highly motivated in front of their home crowd.  There is no doubt that the Cowboys will want to scale back on the amount of throws they have Tony Romo making, thus they should attempt to get a running game going.  Well, these Cardiac Cats have proven that they are not always easy to run against; therefore the Cowboys’ plan of action will be thwarted.  Romo will probably make a critical mistake late in this game that will ultimately cost their team a big win.  Let the December slump live on as the Bengals take down Dallas in Cincy.

Cincinnati 28, Dallas 22

 

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns

Unless you are a die-hard Chiefs/Browns fan, then most people probably do not care about this game.  However, there are a few storylines that are going on during this game.  For instance, the whole Jovan Belcher situation still looms largely over this team.  They got a big win at home over Carolina last week but are still in shambles over the whole occurrence.  Another win will help quell the sickness that this city is feeling.  The Browns are climbing their way back into relevance with the rookie duo of Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson and a solid defense.  If they want to prove that their stock is indeed moving upward, they will need to win against a 2-10 squad.  Plus, Romeo Crennel will be making his return to Cleveland for the first time as the head coach of another team.  His version of the Brady Quinn train will not be able to get the job done in the dog pound.  Trent Richardson will gash Kansas City’s defense and Brandon Weeden will not have to worry about winning a game with his arm like he did last week.  Cleveland should stand victorious at the end of the day.

Cleveland 17, Kansas City 13

 

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts

It took a late comeback on behalf of the Indianapolis Colts the last time these two teams met.  This time around, no such thing will be needed.  The Titans have been very un-impressive over the last few weeks.  Jake Locker is struggling to keep the ball out of the other team’s hands and Chris Johnson has been a no-show.  Their defense is not playing horribly, but they are not playing very good either.  Just last week they let a guy named Lestar Jean burn them for a 54-yard touchdown…  Absolutely no one ever saw that one coming.  Luck is very aggressive with his down-field throws and should pick up a couple of big plays in a nice win over the Titans.  Just as a side-note, the Colts are easily headed for the playoffs.  If they can’t win this type of a game then they may be in trouble come January.

Indianapolis 27, Tennessee 11 (why not?)

 

New York Jets @ Jacksonville Jaguars

It is difficult to pick the Jets to win two weeks in a row.  They have not done such a thing in exactly one year.  Their offense played horribly last week.  Luckily for them they were playing the only other offense that may be worse in the Arizona Cardinals.  If there is any other team that may be able to compete with the Jets in terms of playing some ugly football this year, it may be the Jaguars.  They have looked pitiful at times this season and have been unable to move the ball on offense; until Chad Henne took over.  Last week was not pretty for him, but they were playing in Buffalo against a desperate Bills team (in a driving rain storm.  He could have a bounce-back game against the Jets here.  It probably doesn’t matter who Gang Green starts at quarterback, they are probably going to look bad.  Despite all of this, they will somehow win this game.  There may be no reasonable explanation as to why, other than the fact that something funky is bound to happen.  Maybe if Tim Tebow gets some more playing time (provided that he is healthy), the Jets can win; that may be the best bet at a “reason”.  Anyways, New York should find a way to win back to back games for the first time this year.

New York 13, Jacksonville 10

 

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings

The Bears have to be a little rattled after allowing the Seahawks to drive right down the field in overtime against them, costing them their ninth victory.  Now they have fallen back into a deadlock with Green Bay who found a little bit of a running game against these Vikings.  For Chicago, a loss here would all but spoil any odds they had at winning the NFC North (unless they can edge Green Bay themselves next week).  Nevertheless, they will want to keep pace with the Pack by winning this game.  It is harder to outduel the Vikings in Minnesota though.  If they can jump out to a lead, the dome should be rocking and it will quickly become a hard place to play.  If the Vikings do gain a lead, it is very unlikely that they will lose it.  Their pass-rush should give the Bears a massive migraine and Jay Cutler may be begging for mercy if his o-line does not hold up.  Adrian Peterson will help shut the door with another stellar performance.  Yes, this pick is based on the idea that the Vikings will be able to gain a lead and hold it throughout.  It will not be an upset by any means, but it will be a shot to the gut of Chicago.

Minnesota 22, Chicago 17

 

San Diego Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers

As mentioned before, the Steelers will get Ben Roethlisberger back for this game.  His return could not have come at a better time for a team that is slowly gaining a head of steam with their surprising win over Baltimore.  The Chargers seem like they are in every game, but they always find some way to flub it up in the end.  There is good news for them though: they will not have to worry about making a big mistake with the game on the line this week.  Why?  Because the Steelers should have this game put away by the end of the second quarter.  Their defense is coming off of another solid performance against the Ravens (in Baltimore).  They should be able to build off of that by dominating the Lightning Bolts here.  Philip Rivers will probably make another couple of turnovers since he will have to be throwing the ball a lot during a comeback effort.  The Steelers lone loss at home this year came when Big Ben was out.  Don’t expect another one to come in Week 14.

Pittsburgh 28, San Diego 6

 

Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Andy Reid naming Nick Foles the full-time starter for the rest of this season, the Eagles have every reason to believe that Michael Vick will not be donning the green and silver in 2013.  Thus, this will be another preview of what is to come for Philly in the near-future.  This team has been running the ball well as of late, and they have been relying on it to keep them in games.  Considering the fact that Foles is still a rookie, this is a pretty good idea.  However, the Buccaneers are a team that swallows running-backs behind the line of scrimmage with regularity.  The Eagles like to create lanes that lead their rusher to the outside of the field.  This requires some lateral running… which will play right into the hands of Tampa Bay.  Philadelphia should expect little to no success running the ball (even if LeSean McCoy is good to go for game day).  Andy Reid is not an idiot though; he will probably work with Foles a little bit more this week with the anticipation that he will have to be throwing the ball a lot if the Eagles are to have a shot.  Tampa Bay did not play all that badly last week against Denver, and should find themselves victorious in this game.  All six of their losses have come against good quarterback(ed) teams (both Mannings, Romo, RGIII, Brees, and Matt Ryan).  Nick Foles doesn’t exactly fit this bill.  Philly’s defense is scary too, what with all of their busted coverages.  Josh Freeman loves to get the ball down the field in a hurry as well.  Vincent Jackson should have a monster game as the Bucs get back on the ball down in Tampa.

Tampa Bay 31, Philadelphia 20

 

Baltimore Ravens @ Washington Redskins

Both of these clubs are coming out of games against their division rivals.  One was victorious and the other lost.  Nobody would guess that it was the Redskins who were winners as the Ravens became losers.  This is how the chips have fallen, and this becomes a pretty big game for each team because of it.  The Redskins absolutely need to win this game while the Ravens want to win it.  A Baltimore loss coupled with a Pittsburgh win will make this division even tighter.  Things do not get easier for the Ravens either since they have a dates with the Broncos and the Giants coming up.  A win here will be much desired by John Harbaugh.  Is it out of line to call this an upset pick?  RGIII is playing like a veteran and the Redskins offense is quickly becoming the most exciting to watch in all of football.  Also, the Ravens may be without Terrell Suggs this week with a torn bicep.  The running game offered up by the ‘Skins will be nearly unstoppable in this game.  Add to that the fact that the Ravens are playing on the road and this one becomes even harder for Baltimore to win.  Joe Flacco may struggle yet again away from home.

Washington 35, Baltimore 21

 

Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers

The Dolphins have to be heart-broken after losing to the Patriots last week.  They probably played one of their best games this season and still lost.  That is about as gut-wrenching as it gets.  While that game was going on, the 49ers found themselves in another tough battle with the Rams.  They would later go on to lose that game as well.  Each team has a solid defense along with the offerings of a good young quarterback.  In this situation though, the Niners should impress the nation once again.  It is incredibly difficult for an east coast team to make the trek across the country into the bay area to take on the 49ers defense.  Miami will probably be a step too slow in a loss against Colin Kaepernick, who should get back on the 8-ball against a so-so Miami pass defense.

San Francisco 23, Miami 3

 

New Orleans Saints @ New York Giants

If the Saints aren’t already out of playoff contention, a loss in this game would make it official.  It is entirely possible that they will come into the Meadowlands very lethargic after losing badly on the road to Atlanta last Thursday night.  If this is indeed the case, then the entire nation will be raving about how the Giants are the “most impressive team in the NFL”.  That is what happened following their impressive win over Green Bay.  Speaking of which, let’s refer back to that game in order to help make this pick.  If a team possesses a great quarterback, it will not matter if they do not have the offensive line to protect them.  The Giants got after Aaron Rodgers in that game and beat him up quite a bit.  Last week the Falcons did a number on Drew Brees after causing him to throw five interceptions and holding him without a touchdown for the first time since 2009.  These horrific stats were because of the constant pressure that Brees had in his face.  This provides solid evidence that when a team cannot protect their quarterback, they will have major issues.  This trend should continue against the G-Men, who will be seeking another win after being blasted by the Redskins.  Drew will throw a touchdown, but it will be the Giants who ultimately win because they will be getting consistent pressure on the Saint’s QB.

New York 28, New Orleans 20

 

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks

Let’s make this one short and sweet: the Seahawks are perfect at home this year.  They have a great defense along with a great young quarterback.  The Cardinals have a horrible offense and do not have a quarterback… There is nothing that points to them winning this game.  They did beat Seattle back in Week 1, but that was during Russell Wilson’s first start in the NFL and the Seahawks were on the road (where they are nowhere near as effective).  This time around, Arizona has no chance.  Sorry Cards fans, this final score will not be pretty.

Seattle 17, Arizona 0

 

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

The Packers own Detroit in Lambeau.  This has been said countless times and will continue to be said until the Lions can beat them in Green Bay.  This is something they have not accomplished for almost a quarter of a century (21 years)!  With the way the Lions are playing right now, it is not very likely that they will win this year either.  To be fair, it is not like Detroit is losing badly.  They are just coughing up games late that they should be able to put away.  Look no further than the past two weeks.  They were winning by double digits against the Texans and the Colts at home and managed to lose both times on the final play of the game.  Talk about heart-breaking.  These days, the Packers don’t seem to be rolling up teams at home anymore.  They have not had an overly dominant performance in the frozen tundra since they spanked the Bears 23-10 back in September.  A big win over the Lions would provide a boost of confidence for them as they gear up for a big division showdown against the Bears next week.  Don’t think that the Lions will have nothing to play for… they would like nothing more than to screw up the Pack’s division champion goals on their own field.  Both teams should be playing with quite a lot of motivation.  Green Bay will make it 22 in a row over Detroit in Lambeau during what could quite possibly be the season’s first snow game (oh the excitement!).

Green Bay 41, Detroit 31

 

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

Both of these teams have their eye on a first round BYE for the playoffs (after each come into this game having already clinched a playoff spot).  It is very unlikely that these will be the #1 and #2 seeds in the American Football Conference, therefore, the winner of this game may be guaranteed that spot (while the loser could slip to #3 or #4).  It is not a stretch to say that the winner of this game will pretty much earn themselves the #1 seed.  With their loss to Pittsburgh, the Ravens will probably not be making a first round BYE run, so they will be ruled out for now.  If the Patriots win, they will have tie-breakers over the Broncos (after beating them in Week 5) and these Texans.  However, if the Texans win, the Pats will slip to 9-4 and the Texans will jump to 12-1 (which will guarantee them a first round BYE in the very least).  There is probably no need to get this technical about it; all the viewers should know is that the winner will probably end up earing the #1 seed in the AFC.  On this day, it should be the Patriots.  The weather may end up not cooperating for this game and the Texans have already played in the rain this season and they were not very impressive on offense.  Since that game, the Texans defense has been torched a couple of times through the air.  They were able to settle down last week vs. Tennessee, but Jake Locker and Tom Brady are polar opposites.  Brady should give the Texans’ defense some fits in Gillette on Monday.  Do not be surprised if the Pats run away with this game either.  Unless the Texans’ offense plays perfectly, New England will win at home in December (what else is new?).

New England 34, Houston 24

 

Check back after the conclusion of each of these games for a breakdown/thought or two.

Week 13: Atlanta Falcons 23 New Orleans Saints 13- The Post Game Breakdown

The Atlanta Falcons looked good in their 23-13 drubbing of the Saints in Atlanta this past Thursday night.  However, one would be pretty hard-pressed to find a game where Drew Brees looked this ordinary.  Obviously him throwing five picks in a game is something that he has never done before, and he had his consecutive games with a touchdown pass streak snapped at 54.  Let’s give credit where credit is due: to the Atlanta defense; they won their team this game.  For a majority of the night the Falcons’ offense looked out of sync.  The were failing to make first downs (at one point they went three and out on five straight drives).  Normally against the Saints, that spells death for a team.  The Falcons were able to stop the Saints from scoring more than one touchdown and they forced those five turnovers.  For the first time this season, the Atlanta defense won them the game.  Good teams will always find a way to win, and that is why the Falcons are the best team in the NFC.

The New Orleans offensive line has become a liability.  The main reason why Brees looked so bad last night was because there was pressure in his face on a majority of his drop-backs.  The Falcons must have popped in the game film and took notes from last week when San Francisco dominated the Saints upfront with a solid pass rush.  The cat is out of the bag now; this Saints offense will not work if Brees is not protected.  In the past, the only way a team could ensure that they got consistent pressure on the New Orleans quarterback was to blitz him.  That meant sending extra guys from the secondary, which made the coverage a little lax.  Brees would then pick the blitzing team apart.  Nowadays a team can know that if they send extra men on the rush, the Saints’ offensive line will struggle picking them up and Drew will suffer because of it.

Not only did the Falcons pressure the quarterback well, but they also played some of the best coverage they have played all year long. This game resembled their Week 2 defeat of the Denver Broncos; they forced some errant passes from an elite QB and their defenders stayed locked to the receivers.  Asante Samuel went down in this game right after Brees hooked up with Josh Morgan for a 38-yard strike.  Chris Owens came in to replace Samuel and did one heck of a job.  As a matter of a fact, the Falcons were not really beat deep again for the whole game.

This game was a combination of the Atlanta defense playing its heart out and the Saints offense struggling like they haven’t in a long time.  The Saints should have had at least one more touchdown.  Lance Moore dropped one in the end zone and the Darren Sproles touchdown was called back because Jimmy Graham interfered with the defender.  This loss could very well be the end of the Saints for 2012.  They will have to put together one incredible run, starting next week in East Rutherford against the Giants.  For the Falcons, they clinch a playoff berth if the Bears beat the Seahawks on Sunday, and will clinch the division if the Broncos go over the Buccaneers. Both of these results are favored to happen, so more likely than not the Atlanta Falcons will find themselves as the first team in the playoffs by the end of Week 13.

Week 13 Diagnosis: Thursday Night Football- New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons- Pregame Breakdown and Final Score Prediction

The Falcons have a prime opportunity to slam the door shut on its division with a win versus their rival from the Big Easy.  This is, of course, much easier said than done.  The Falcons have had their fair share of troubles with the Black and Gold recently, losing the last four games against them and 11 out of the last 13.  This year seemed to be different for the Falcons; they thought they finally had the firepower to stand up to the Saints but they still lost 31-27 which remains as their only blemish to this day for the 2012 season.  There is no need for discouragement though.  The Falcons actually can stand toe-to-toe with Drew Brees and his high-octane offensive attack.  They barely lost during the first go-round and they do have the #6 ranked offense in the NFL (compared to the Saints’ #8 ranking).  The Saints will score an average of 28 points per game, and the Dirty Birds are not far behind with 26.7 points per game.  The truth is, both of these teams are evenly matched on offense and can easily trade points with one another.  In a game this closely matched, the only reasonable thing to do is look for the competitive advantage that would help a team beat a divisional rival in a close game.  This is the fact that the Falcons are playing in Atlanta.  Matt Ryan simply does not lose in the dome.  He has not fallen to a team at home since Week 5 of last season against the Packers.  If there were ever a game where the Falcons could prove their legitimacy to all of their doubters, it would be at home in prime time vs. the New Orleans Saints.  Expect Atlanta to take advantage of this golden opportunity and put some nice drives together in what should be a shootout.  Look for Jacquizz Rodgers to have a breakout performance against a so-so New Orleans run defense.  Matty-ice should also have a field day against this secondary.  It is almost a guarantee that he will not throw five picks at home this time.

Atlanta 34, New Orleans 28

Week 12: Atlanta Falcons 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23- Post Game Thoughts

The Buccaneers played the one-loss Falcons tough, as the score would indicate, but in the end it was Atlanta raising their record to 10-1 with a big win on the road.  Matt Ryan picked his game up, throwing for 353 yards and a touchdown.  He did throw one pick, but that is a far cry from the five that he threw last week versus Arizona.  Julio Jones had a nice game with six catches for 147 yards and a touchdown. Jacquizz Rodgers and Michael Turner each had a rushing touchdown.  Doug Martin himself had two scores, but the Buccaneers’ main problem in this game seemed to be the fact that they did not score touchdowns and had to settle for field goals.  This has got to be one of the worst losses the Bucs have faced in a while because they played relatively well and had a chance to prove that they were in the same class as the Falcons, but they still lost.  With this being said, the other thing to take from this game is the fact that the Falcons run defense seems to have righted itself (for the most part) since their Week 7 BYE.  It may be time for Atlanta to consider starting Rodgers over Michael Turner.  He provides a lot more youth and big-play ability.  Turner would be a nice spell option if this were the case.  They could model their system after Tampa Bay, where they have Doug Martin as the main back and LeGarrette Blount as the closer and short-yardage back.  The Bucs did play Atlanta tight, but at the end of the day the NFC’s best team was the winning team in this game.

Week 12 Diagnosis: All 12 Games From Sunday, November 25th (With Final Score Predictions)

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears

Without Jay Cutler, the Bears are almost helpless.  They looked rather pedestrian last week against the 49ers and there is no reason to believe that Jason Campbell will play much better this week.  In his defense, there is not much anybody can do when their offensive line is not blocking for them (just ask Michael Vick).  The problem with Jason Campbell is the fact that he holds on to the ball for too long while standing in the pocket.  Mike Tice should design plays where the ball comes out quickly to his big bodied receivers on slants, screens, and hitches.  With the return of Alshon Jeffrey last week and Brandon Marshall still split out wide, the Bears have a fighting chance to do this.  This should be the game-plan even if Jay Cutler is in.  As of right now, Cutler’s status for playing on Sunday is still up in the air.  The same can be said for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin.  His ankle injury held him out of the team’s Week 10 match-up against Detroit and it could sideline him again.  Look for Kyle Rudolph and rookie Jarius Wright to step up again as they did vs. the Lions.  Since each team might be missing a key player, this game will actually be played on even grounds.  In this situation it is easier to pick the team that is better all around.  That is why the Chicago Bears should win this game.  Things are made easier for them since they are playing at home and the Vikings are 1-3 on the road this year.

Chicago 20, Minnesota 16

 

Oakland Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals

In Carson Palmer’s homecoming, there are a lot of things that point to the Bengals winning this game.  First of all, Andy Dalton is playing very well as of late.  Over the last two weeks he is 39-59 for 429 yards with six TDs and no picks.  That is good for a 129.4 quarterback rating.  AJ Green has scored a touchdown in nine straight games and looks unstoppable at times.  With an Oakland Raider defense that is giving up better than 375 yards per game, this should be easy pickings for Dalton and Green.  Expect the typical Carson Palmer game- one where he throws for a nice pile of yards, but the Raiders still lose by a couple of scores.  Their defense simply isn’t stopping anybody and they play another hot offense this week.  The Bengals should improve to 6-5 with a solid team win on Sunday.

Cincinnati 30, Oakland 13

 

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Brown

This game reeks of an upset.  Charlie Batch will be filling in for an injured Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich.  Cleveland has been playing well in their games lately and really should have a better record than 2-8.  Why does it seem like the Pittsburgh Steeler’s season resembles that of the Chicago Bears last year?  We have a team that is rolling with a 6-3 record and then suffers an injury to their quarterback and then falls off the table of relevance.  At least Big Ben should be back by the end of this year, and it couldn’t come at a better time.  After this loss to Cleveland, Pittsburgh fans will be praying for Roethlisberger to get better because if not, the Steelers are going to miss the playoffs.

Cleveland 15, Pittsburgh 13

 

Buffalo Bills @ Indianapolis Colts

The Bills are well rested coming off of their narrow victory at home versus a reeling Dolphins team.  Meanwhile, the Colts come limping back to Indy after being taken apart by the New England Patriots in Foxboro.  With these facts in mind, one would side with Buffalo here, but Andrew Luck should have a field day against a porous Bills’ secondary.  This game should be a shootout with the Bills trying to run all over the Colts with C.J. Spiller and Luck putting on an aerial display at home (yet again).  If this game does turn out to be a track meet, it is going to come down to the quarterback position and which one can put up the better numbers.  Andrew Luck at home vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick… anywhere?  Come on, this one should be obvious.

Indianapolis 36, Buffalo 30

 

Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags are coming off of a near-win in Houston last week with a strong performance from Chad Henne.  The Titans were sitting at home watching that game last week since they had a BYE.  Henne was able to do what he did against the Texans because they were not prepared for him to play.  The Titans will be and they even have an entire game’s worth of film from this year to look at, plus footage from previous action in Oakland and at home vs. Indianapolis.  The Jaguars will not have the element of surprise on their side this time around and it will show as Jake Locker puts up one of his better performances against a defense that ranks 31st against the pass.  Jacksonville should also get a steady dose of Chris Johnson, who should go over 100 yards in this game, as he usually does against this team.  Titans should win easily here.

Tennessee 37, Jacksonville 16

 

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

Will the Kansas City Chiefs be put up enough of a fight to give Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos a scare?  Probably not, but this game is in Arrowhead so maybe they will have a home-field advantage.  Oh yeah, that’s right- the Chiefs are 0-5 at home this season.  So much for an advantage there.  Although Kansas City did provide the NFL world with an upset of the year vs. Green Bay last season, so there will always be a chance.  There really is no such thing as an upset in a division such as the AFC West, but it seems pretty crazy to think that the ice cold Chiefs can cool down the scorching Broncos.  Look for Peyton Manning to hook up with three different receivers for scores (none of which will be Demarius Thomas).  Ronnie Hillman should get a nice little opportunity to spin his wheels with the absence of Willis McGahee.  He should score a touchdown along with 75+ yards rushing.

Denver 33, Kansas City 12

 

Seattle Seahawks @ Miami Dolphins

This game will feature another helping of rookie QB vs. rookie QB.  The Seahawks are 2-0 against the AFC East this season while the Dolphins are 1-1.  Russell Wilson is not the same on the road so that will keep this game interesting.  Eventually it will become hard for the suddenly ineffective Reggie Bush to run against this rock solid Seattle “D” and Tannehill will have to put the ball in the air.  This plays right into the Seahawks strength and without a big-name receiver Seattle’s corners will be able to play a lot of one on one coverage while having Cam Chancellor play close to the line of scrimmage and Earl Thomas hawks over the top.  This cover-1 type look should be enough to give the Miami quarterback fits and force a few errant passes.  Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner will be looking for interceptions, as will Thomas.  The Seahawks seem to be the better choice here since their defense will probably do more to confuse Ryan Tannehill than the Dolphins’ defense will to Russell Wilson.

Seattle 24, Miami 14

 

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Falcons are by no means on auto-pilot.  At one point this season it looked like they would sleepwalk into the playoffs with a division crown but since Week 5 the Buccaneers have taken off on the legs of Doug Martin and the right arm of Josh Freeman.  If Atlanta is not careful they could be surrendering a lot of ground to Tampa Bay with a loss on Sunday.  Matt Ryan is not in the dome this weekend and he is notably not as strong outdoors as he is indoors.  Last year the Bucs downed Atlanta on this very field in a hard-nosed 16-13 win.  Do not expect this game to be as low scoring since it features two teams with high-octane offenses which are much different than those presented last season.  While Josh Freeman could put up some dazzling stats, Matt Ryan will have the last laugh with a last minute touchdown in yet another close call for the Falcons.  Right now Atlanta is finding ways to win, no matter how ugly the game may be.  That is very admirable in a National Football League team, and that is why they get the tip of the cap.

Atlanta 33, Tampa Bay 31

 

Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers

Baltimore could feel like they are playing with a chip on their shoulder after being run out of Qualcomm last season in an ugly 34-14 loss.  They could come out all fired up and ready to return the favor for this season, but they will not.  In fact, there is a good chance that the Chargers will spring another upset again this year.  Phillip Rivers is having another down year and has been in serious need for a go-to wide receiver.  He may have found one in Danario Alexander, who has already put up stats comparable to Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal in half the amount of games.  He also has a nose for the end zone with three touchdowns in four games this year.  He could have a big game against a Ravens’ defense that is a shadow of its old self at this point in the season.  Rivers should be able to compile some decent numbers en route to a shocker over Baltimore in sunny San Diego.

San Diego 26, Baltimore 24

 

St Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals

There is not much to like about the Cardinals anymore (besides their defense).  They could not win a game last week that the Falcons practically handed to them and their quarterback tandem of John Skelton and Ryan Lindley is about as fearsome as Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn or Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.  Yes, it is that bad.  It also doesn’t help that they are facing the Rams this week, a team that ate their offensive line alive in Week 5 to the tune of nine sacks.  St Louis should be able to get the same amount of pressure on whoever the Cardinals have under center in this game.  This will be a low scoring battle, and the Rams generally thrive in these types of games.  Not to mention they have played all of their NFC West rivals tough this season.  On paper the Cardinals have the better defense, but overall the Rams are the better team and that is why they are going to win this game.

St Louis 17, Arizona 9

 

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints

Without a doubt, this is a very intriguing game to watch.  The Saints are making a huge push for the playoffs as the 49ers bring in a talented group of players headed by a quarterback who will be making his second career start in Collin Kaepernick.  The 49ers defense is as solid of a unit as there is in this league, but if any offense can figure them out it is the Saints’.  Last year in the NFC Divisional game, New Orleans tallied 472 yards of offense against them.  The San Fran defense is looking about the same as it did last year, and it is easy to say that they are not looking strides better than they were about a year ago.  With that being said, there is no reason to believe the Saints will struggle mightily against them, especially at home.  If the 49ers defense does not hold the key to this game, then what does?  Of course it is their offense.  If San Francisco can get to playing the type of game they want to play, then they should win this game.  This game is going to be keep-away.  They will try running the ball frequently in order to keep the ball out of Drew Brees’ hands.  Let’s face it, this New Orleans defense is not stopping anybody and it should be quite easy for the 49ers to impose their will on them.  Time of possession in this game will heavily favor San Francisco, and because of that they will be able to win.

San Francisco 29, New Orleans 25

 

Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants

These two teams have been having completely opposite luck over the past month.  The Packers are 4-0 in the last four games and the Giants are 2-2.  The other story is the fact that Eli Manning has thrown only one touchdown to six interceptions while Aaron Rodgers has thrown 11 touchdowns to only two picks (this is all in these last four games).  Also, since Super-storm Sandy hit the Giants are 0-2 and have looked mediocre on offense.  Eli should be able to turn his fortunes around in a nice game against a middle-of-the-pack (no pun intended) defense.  Rodgers may be frolicking in a field of flowers when he sees this tattered New York Giants’ secondary.  If Andy Dalton can pick them apart, just imagine what #12 can do in the Meadowlands.  The Giants should be able to give the Pack a game, but in the end Green Bay should be able to pull this one out because of their ability to attack through the air.  It is a major strength vs. a major weakness.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this means bad things for the G-Men.

Green Bay 35, New York 28

 

The Pre-Game Breakdown of the Panthers/Eagles game will be coming soon.  Stay tuned!

 

Week 12 Diagnosis and Score Predictions (3 Thanksgiving Games)

Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions

This is a Turkey Day battle between two teams who had very different fortunes last Sunday.  The Texans barely won after they probably didn’t deserve to.  Matt Schaub had a career day tossing five touchdowns and over 500 yards in a narrow win against the hapless Jaguars. While that 43-37 shootout was going on, the Lions lost a game that they probably should have won with Matthew Stafford playing one of his worst games this season.  At this point you can pretty much stick a fork in the Lions; they have been devastated by divisional rivals in two straight weeks which never bodes well for a team in this league.  Detroit has not won on Thanksgiving since 2003 and have been slaughtered by good teams on this day before.  The Texans are coming in on fire after their exciting win, plus this team has not lost on the road since Week 15 of last season (excluding the playoffs).  Houston should be able to pick up the “W” here by running the ball with Foster and setting up the play-action pass, which the Lions struggle against.

Houston 31, Detroit 19

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys

After ripping apart a dopey Eagles’ defense, RGIII takes his show on the road to Jerryworld where his team will be in the national spotlight for the first time this season.  The Cowboys will get to enjoy this home cooking for the second of three straight weeks since they will play host to Philly next week.  A win here could propel the Cowboys to first place in the NFC East, provided the Giants lose to Green Bay later in the week.  If Shanahan’s Redskins pick up the win they will have a good chance at making a run for that same position with a 2-1 record within the division.  Remember, Washington did come withing a hair of beating the Giants earlier this season.  With this being said, it is time to pick a winner.  The ‘Skins are primed for a big win on the road here but the Cowboys should win here for no other reason than this game is still being played in November.  Plus Romo has never lost  on Thanksgiving so “America’s Team” will shine in the presence of an entire nation in a squeaker.

Dallas 21 Washington 19

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

Is there really any mystery as to who should win this game?  The Pats just got through with dropping 59 points on a 6-3 (now 6-4) team and the Jets are a hot mess this season.  After every win the Jets have this season, they have come back and lost the next week (usually in an embarrassment).  Although they played New England tough the first time around this season there is little to no reason why anybody should think the Jets can come out and play the same way.  The fact that they are one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL makes them difficult to predict.  They actually looked like a professional team last week vs. St Louis, but if any team can look great one week and then find a way to get crushed the next it is Gang Green.  The Gronk-less Patriots should win this game because they always find a way to get other people involved (check Julian Edelman from last week).

New England 38, New York 20

Later this week final score predictions and diagnosis of all other 13 games will be posted.  Stay tuned!

Week 11: Atlanta Falcons 23 Arizona Cardinals 19- Post Game Thoughts

The Atlanta Falcons proved that they were deserving of their 9-1 record in this game today.  Saying this may sound pretty odd seeing as how Matt Ryan had one of the worst games in his career (throwing 5 picks and no touchdowns) but it is obvious that in this league the good teams will always find ways to win games despite everything else.  The elite teams are able to win big, win small, and win ugly.  The Falcons can now place a check in the third column after getting things done at home for the ninth straight time.  The Cardinals did give it a valiant effort and probably could have won this game if they had played any other team, but in the end they lost their sixth straight to drop to 4-6 and leave their season on life-insurance.  Obviously since Kevin Kolb went down the Cards have not been the same team.  At least Arizona was able to run the ball in this game, and they did give their young quarterback in Ryan Lindley a whirl.  At the end of the day it did not matter though since the Falcons stood victorious yet again on Sunday even though they failed to mount much of a run game.