Last week marked my first foray into writing for yahoo’s associated content page. I hit some of my picks on the head, and I missed quite badly on a few others. Overall, my record was 7 and 3 for the week, which I think is pretty good. Last night’s game between the Colts and Titans turned out to be a really good game, and for this weekend, I think there will be more of the same. There will definitely be surprises this week, which is the only thing that has been a constant this year, all the surprises. So, with that said, onward to my completely unprofessional, but usually right, predictions for the top 10 games I’m most looking forward too.
Last Week: 7 – 3
Season (since I started doing this last week): 7 – 3
Sunday, December 12
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers:
The Falcons are the best team in the NFC. They find ways to win, which is an earmark of a great team. People keep waiting on the Falcons to mess up, but it’s not happening this year. They are too well coached, and have too much talent. If the Falcons beat the Saints in the Georgia Dome in their week 16 matchup, the road to the Super Bowl will go through Atlanta, and Matty Ice don’t lose at home. Since his rookie year, Matt Ryan is 18 – 1 at home. That’s pretty impressive. As for the Panthers, it’s hard to not feel bad for them, they are having a very rough year, and it doesn’t get any easier Sunday.
Projection: Falcons 31 – Panthers 10
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions:
The Lions are a better team than their record suggests, but losing Kyle Vanden Bosch and Alphonso Smith for the year will really hurt. Still recovering from the Matt Millen years, the Lions don’t have the talent yet to recover from losing two of their better players. I still think the Lions will make it a good game, and I love watching Ndamukong Suh play, him getting fined for the hit on Cutler was garbage, but the Packers are the better team and will win this one, although it will be closer than people think.
Projection: Packer 24 – Lions 16
Oakland Raiders @ Jacksonville Jaguars:
In a matchup of the number 2 rushing team in the NFL (Jacksonville), versus the number 3 rushing team in the NFL (Oakland), expect a low scoring game that should be very fun to watch. MJD is having a great year running the ball, and he put on a clinic last week running all over the Titans defense to the tune of 186 yards. Darren McFadden has finally started living up to his billing as the top 5 draft pick this year, running for 97 yards and a score last week in the surprise upset of the Chargers in San Diego. You know he’s licking his chops just thinking about the Jaguars league worst 6.2 yards given up per offensive play. I think the Raiders keep it rolling this week
Projection: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 24
New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings:
With Bret Favre knocked out of the game early last week, Tarvaris Jackson came in, and proceeded to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson, and the Vikings beat the Bills like they stole something. He also complete 15 of 22 passes for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns, but tossed 3 picks. So, I guess the lesson learned is, no matter who the quarterback is, just hand the damn ball to Peterson. The Giants looked good last week in their complete dismantling of the Redskins, but I still don’t completely believe they are a good enough team to win the division. They are dealing with too many injuries, and will not be able to overcome the Vikings loud home crowd.
Projection: Vikings 28 – Giants 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Redskins:
The Baby Bucs looked really good last week against the Falcons, but they need to learn how to beat a team with a winning record. The Bucs are 7 – 0 against teams with a winning record, and 0 – 5 against teams with a losing record. They are good, but still too young. I’m not sure how they will handle the cold weather in FedEx this weekend either. I think with the suspension of Albert Haynesworth, the Skins have shed some serious dead weight, and the team will pull together and surge to an 8 – 8 finish. Which, after the debacle that this season has been, would be an accomplishment.
Projection: Redskins 24 – Buccaneers 21
St Louis Rams @ New Orleans Saints:
After missing on franchise quarterbacks Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Mark Sanchez the past few years, the Rams got it right this year with Sam Bradford. He is going to be a star. Lost in everyone’s love for Bradford though, has been the Rams vast improvement on the defensive side of the ball. All that improvement won’t mean squat though this week against the Saints. The Saints are a dangerous team that is getting healthy at the right time.
Projection: Saints 34 – Rams 17
New England Patriots @ Chicago Bears:
Who saw that coming? Honestly? Did anyone really believe the Patriots would beat the Jets like they were the Panthers? 45 – 3? That was ugly. I knew the Pats were going to win, but not like that. And know they play the Jets NFC clone, the Bears. A team that wins with Defense, and running the ball, with a young quarterback that has looked good, but is historically prone to throwing interceptions. Do I think the Pats will destroy the Bears like they did the Jets? Probably not, but I ain’t putting anything past them. Especially considering that this is the 15th anniversary of the 85 Bears beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Projection: Patriots 46 – Bears 10 (karma)
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers:
Chiefs and Chargers, it’s nice that this game means something again. The Chiefs are in the driver’s seat for the division, while the Chargers need a win to stay in the hunt. Philip Rivers is getting lots of MVP chatter, which he should, he’s played lights out this year with a bunch of backups, but I think the Chargers spotting everyone in the division the months of September and October is finally going to catch up to them this year, and they miss the playoffs. But with Cassel likely out of the game after having to get an appendectomy, I think the Chargers are able to win this one at home. Still think the Chiefs are gonna win the division though.
Projection: Chargers 28 – Chiefs 17
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys:
The Cowboys are another team that has really turned it around for their new Coach. I really like Wade Phillips, and I think he is one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, but it just never really seemed to me that he had the fire to light players up, like a great head coach. The Eagles are a good team, and Michael Vick has turned them into a very dangerous offensive team. But their Achilles heel is their defense. I think the Cowboys are able to steal one away at home in a great NFC East battle.
Projection: Cowboys 31 – Eagles 28
Monday, December 6
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans:
It’s the same old story every year, the Texans have great potential at the beginning of the season, and they jump out to a fast start, then teams realize their weakness (defense) and exploit them, and they fade away. If Houston wants to stay in the hunt, they need to win this game on prime time against a pissed off Ravens team that will be looking to vent its frustration after losing a great game to their hated rivals the Steelers. Houston won’t stay in the hunt, and won’t be able to contain Ray Rice, and at the end of the year Gary Kubiak will be looking for new employment.
Projection: Ravens 35 – Texans 24