The Colts are coming off their first win of the year, while the AFC South winning Texans had a disappointing loss last week. I expect the Texans defense to bounce back this week and shutdown the Colts offense, while Arian Foster has a big day running through the Colts defense as the Texans look to earn a much needed bye in the Wild Card Round.
All year long the Ravens have played down to the level of their opponent, posting a 4-4 record when facing a team with a losing record. The Browns have a losing record, but so far the Ravens have a perfect record against teams from the AFC North. I think that trend will continue as the Browns simply don’t have enough offense to give the Ravens much of a fight, especially in Baltimore.
The Broncos once were 1-4, and the Bills once were 5-2. Add a little Tim Tebow magic and suddenly the Broncos are 8-6, while the Bills have gone through injuries have lost seven straight. You have to wonder if the Bills are due, but the Broncos defense should continue to keep them bouncing in frustration. This game will be close, and in the end it will be Tebow magic that wins another one in the 4th Quarter.
The Buccaneers have had a fun Holiday season, they have mailed their Christmas Cards, wrapped their Christmas gifts, hung up the stockings, and mailed in the rest of the season. Changes are a bound in Tampa, as this team has quit and looks like it don’t even care. The Panthers meanwhile, are finishing strong coming off a nice win in Houston. Look for a big day by Cam Newton as the Panthers win easily.
The Cardinals have played well, winning six of their last seven games, but the Bengals are still in the Wild Card hunt and need a win. The Bengals have had a strong secondary all season and should be able to keep the Cardinals passing game at bay. Look for the Bengals to win this game by a touchdown as A.J. Green and Andy Dalton are the difference in Cincinnati.
Last week the Chiefs rallied around interim Coach Romeo Crennel, handing the Packers their first loss of the season. Even with all their problems the Chiefs have an outside chance at the division title, while their chances at winning remain slim, nothing will be sweeter than to lay a hurting to the Raiders. With three straight losses the Raiders are reeling, and with a big defensive effort by the Chiefs playing at Arrowhead the Raiders will be the team whose playoff hopes die on Christmas Eve.
The Patriots capitalized on the mistakes of the Broncos last week to win a big game in Denver to take the lead in the battle for home field. This week against the Dolphins who had a big day by Reggie Bush on Sunday. The Patriots defense remains problematic, especially with the loss of leading pass rusher Andre Carter. However, Tom Brady will be the difference as the Patriots get the win in Foxboro.
Santa Claus is coming to town for one of the dwellers of the Meadowlands. The winner can still control playoff destiny, while the loser will likely be out of the playoff chase. The Giants would love nothing more to shut Rex Ryan’s pie hole, but their defense has been weakened by injuries and the Jets will put forth their best effort as the Giants do not provide the same matchup problems that were caused by the Eagles. Look for Gang green to sing Joy to the World, while it is Blue Christmas for the Giants.
The Steelers had a bad day in San Francisco on Monday, and now have a quick turnaround playing the Rams five days later. This game is at home and although QB Ben Roethlisburger is still hobbling the Rams are gentle and meek and will be rolled up quite easily by the Steelers D. Maybe the Steelers will be wise to start Charlie Batch, because just about any quarterback even Caleb Hainey, Lance Painter and Tyler Palko could beat this sorry bunch.
Last week the Titans suffered a season killing loss at the hands of the Colts, while the Jaguars put up an embarrassing effort while losing on Thursday Night to the Falcons. I expected the Titans to show some pride playing at home for the final time this season, as the Jaguars need a whole lot of help to improve their team in the off-season.
The Redskins have played well in the last few weeks, as they are coming off an impressive win over the Giants in the Meadowlands. The Vikings are 2-12 and just can’t seem to get anything going. Both teams have defenses that can have a big day, but it is the Redskins defense that is playing at a higher level, as they picked off Eli Manning three times last week. In their final home game this year I see another big effort as they beat the Vikings.
There was a certain coach in Detroit long ago who would Rasputin like find a way to survive season after season, while fans called for his job. The Chargers now have Norv Turner who is doing his Wayne Fontes Rasputin routine as San Diego makes another December charge. The Lions can win ten games with a win, but the Chargers will continue their charge as Phillip Rivers benefiting from the Lions lack of discipline on defense gets the win to keep the Chargers alive for the last game of the year.
The Eagles are still alive, and with a win in Dallas they can turn the NFC East into a wild last week scramble for the playoffs. The Cowboys can clinch with a win and a Giants loss, but they seem to not be able to capitalize on their chances as they often play scared to make the big mistake. The Eagles meanwhile are finally soaring and playing up to the level they were expected to hit at the start of the season. Look for the dream to stay alive as the Cowboys are unable to contain Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson.
With a win the Seahawks, who have won five of their last six games can peak over .500. The 49ers meanwhile still have a chance to get home field if the Packers slip up. Coming off a short week they could be in trouble especially venturing into the home of the 12th man. Look for the Seahawks to continue their strong play down the stretch as Sir Skittles Marshawn Lynch becomes the first back to break 100 yards against the 49ers defense to lead the Seahawks to a win.
Sometimes a loss can be good for a team, especially one that has won 19 straight games like the Packers did. The loss will serve as a wakeup call and enable them to refocus on repeating as Super Bowl Champions. Facing the rival Bears on Christmas Night they will get a chance to get back on track. The Bears are making a QB change, but nothing can save their season now, especially after losing Johnny Knox last week.
Who Dat going to slow down the Saints offensive attack? Nobody. Forget about Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees is making a charge for the record books and the NFL MVP as the Saints offense has become unstoppable. The Falcons can keep up for a while, but playing at home I can see another big day for Brees as the Saints seal up the NFC North on Monday Night.