Last Week 8-8
Redskins at Eagles - A battle between these NFC East rivals will go to the Eagles. They have been more consistent in the final quarter of the season, winning 3 in a row. Two of which were against the Giants and 'Boys. The Eagles will find a way to get end the season at .500. One thing to watch for is Jason Babin, who has a chance at 18.0 sacks, to come away with the sack title this season. He is .5 sacks out of the lead, and with a big game he could finish the season on top. With DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen all bottle-necked it could be interesting to see who lands on top. Eagles 24-17.
Titans at Texans - Back to back losses in what should have been winnable games has the fan base concerned, and it should be. I wrote a couple weeks ago that all the love T.J. Yates was getting was premature and foolish. However the Titans, who are still in the hunt are not a very good team. Their last three wins were against bad teams, and one of their two losses was to Indy (who followed up with a win over Houston too). With that being said, I think Houston finds a way to win at home this week. Giving their fans a false sense of hope for the post season. Texans 20-16.
Colts at Jaguars - The Colts have won two in a row, saving their season from the annals of the worst ever, but not by much. Their two wins came against teams that have had quarterback issues, like Indy. The difference was that Indy was able to come out on top finally. When they play Jacksonville, they could have the edge in the quarterback department again for a third week in a row. Yes, I am saying that Dan Orlovsky is a better quarterback than Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert's lack of confidence and timidity in the pocket made Atlanta's Dline look like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It won't get better against Mathis and Freeny, who would love to take a season's worth of frustration out on the youngster. Colts screw up the Luck sweepstakes, 23-17.
49ers at Rams - You don't want to sit on your coach or press box and say a team has quit, it's unfair and probably inaccurate. However, I do think that many around St. Louis are glad that this nightmare of a season is coming to a close. Injuries shattered this teams hopes from the very beginning and it has more than likely doomed Steve Spanuola. I do believe the Rams have some pieces in place moving forward, but some of their personnel decisions have been questionable at best during his tenure. Rams lose, and lock up the Luck Sweepstakes. Niners roll 33-13.
Lions at Packers - The Lions have a chance to lock up the #5 seed with what could be the 4th best record in the NFC. They definitely have something to gain this weekend, the Packers on the other hand have nothing to gain, perhaps a mental edge over the Lions if they were to meet a 3rd time in January. This could be a game that the Packers pull the plug early. Either way, I feel that the Lions will be more hungry this week feeling they have the most to prove. Additionally, Suh was embarassed as much by the "stomp" as he was the Evan Dietrich-Smith dominated him. Motivation is not in short supply. Lions win, 32-26.
Jets at Dolphins - With Reggie Bush out I don't think the Dolphins will be able to fend off the Jets. Jets will win an ugly game in Miami, don't think that will help keep Mark Sanchez safe. The Jets will definitely be weighing their options to upgrade the quarterback position this offseason, likely behind closed doors though. Jets win 23-16.
Panthers at Saints - Sean Payton is not going to call off the dogs unless this becomes a blow out. This team is based on a high efficiency high octane offense, and keeping the motor running is their best route. This game could be a game that is seen for decades, as Brees should be able to substantially add to his record setting season. I think it is absolutely absurd that he is not even really being given a shot at the MVP this season. I respect Rodgers' season, but Brees is just as mind blowing. They are different systems, but both equally impressive. Brees is on fire, and the Panthers can't cool him down. Saints 41-27.
Bills at Patriots - The Pats have had a bunch of games where the started slowly, but even if they do the Bills don't have the defensive ability to keep them quiet all game. Brady will join Brees, as he will surpass Marino's mark of 5,084 yards too. Pats win, 34-30.
Bears at Vikings - You hate to see injuries like what happened to Adrian Peterson, not only the Vikings are hurt, but the entire league and fans are too. Prayers for a speedy recovery will be needed if he wants to look like himself in 2012. The Vikings fortunately have bruiser Toby Gerhart who can at least help move the chains, even if he lacks the explosiveness of AP. The Vikings should find a way to win against the offense-less Bears, especially at home. Jared Allen should be able to hogtie McKown at least once this weekend. Vikes win 24-13.
Steelers at Browns - I believe in Mike Holmgren and his ability to build a solid foundation. He helped get two separate struggling franchises to the big game, and I think he very well could do the same for the Browns. It will take some time though, and they are not as close as some fans probably hope. Pittsburgh will take them to the woodshed as they prepare for the post-season. Steelers 28-13.
Ravens at Bengals - This division could very well belong to the Browns and the Anti-Browns over the next decade, but right now the Ravens and Steelers still own this division. The Bengals will put up a fight, but have not proven they can hang with the big boys yet. Raven's ride Ray Rice to the #2 seed, 31-24.
Seahawks at Cardinals - This game probably won't appeal to that many people and the rating will probably not be very high, but this could actually end up being the best game of the weekend. These are two teams that in my estimation have actually both outperformed their realistic expectations. They have shown that they are not intimidated by anyone, and they they can play with anyone on any given day. These teams are a few pieces away from being legitimate contenders, but they are better than most think. I expect the edge to go to the Cardinals, purely because it is at home. Cards win 19-16.
Bucs at Falcons - The Bucs organization has more issues than most realize, or are willing to accept. This team that was supposed to be on the rise, but I think the expectations are too high for the level of total team talent. I think Raheem has done a good job of making these players confident and play above their ability, but other issues will derail this building project. Falcons should easily win their 10th, and push the Lions for the 5th seed. Dirty Birds 35-17.
Chargers at Raiders - Despite having nothing but pride to play for, players like Philip Rivers and Takeo Spikes will show up and do their part. But they are not the ones you have to be concerned with, as we have seen some epic physical and mental collapses by the Chargers this year. Norv Turner and AJ Smith are gone, as the Raiders win 27-20.
Chiefs at Broncos - The big story line of this game is going to be Orton bid for revenge against the team that didn't want him anymore. I think that this could be a really good game, and I think the Crennel will have a good gameplan for the Tebow package. I don't think it will be able to stop the Broncos pro style running game. Willis McGahee will carry the load all day. Broncos will win ugly, 26-20.
Cowboys at Giants - Win and their in, it's as simple as that for these guys. Who do you trust more in this situation? I would have to learn towards Eli and Tom Coughlin simply because they at least have track record of getting it done. I expect the Giants pass rush to be strong enough, especially with Osi possibly being back in the lineup. Giants win 27-24.