The Lions are all but done after a loss to the lowly Cardinals last week, this week they return home to face the Falcons coming off a win against the Giants, with a chance to secure home field through the playoffs. The Falcons should be able to win this one easily as the Lions inability to avoid the big mistake has become their downfall. The Falcons meanwhile are looking to finish the season strong and will keep rolling on Saturday Night.
The Panther have won two straight for the first time all season, and look to stretch the streak to three games as they face the Raiders at home. After struggling most of the season, Cam Newton has looked like he did last year when he had one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history. Look for Newton to continue his strong play against the terrible Raiders defense, as the Raiders misery on the road when playing in the Eastern Time Zone.
The Cowboys often frustrate and confound their fans by losing games to teams they should beat at the most inopportune times. This looks like one of those times, as the Saints look to finish a lost season on a high note. The Saints offense will be able to take advantage of the Cowboys injuries on defense. The Saints defense is not much better, but this is where the Cowboys fail, and why next year Sean Payton may wind up in Dallas instead of returning to the Saints.
The Packers are another team that is finishing the season on a strong note, as they are getting healthy at just the right time. The Packers have already secured the NFC North, with a win they could inch closer to getting a bye week in the playoffs. The Titans meanwhile are coming off a short week, and they were rather fortunate to win last week. Expect the Packers to tear apart the Titans and get an easy win at Lambeau.
If Adrian Peterson is going to break Eric Dickerson’s record and get 2,000 yards his work is going to be cut out for him as the Vikings face the Texans this week. The Texans rush defense is one of the best in the NFL, and could provide Peterson’s biggest obstacle. The Texans meanwhile could secure home field with a win, the game will be close, and Peterson will not reach 2,000 yards this week, but he will put himself in position by gaining at least 100 yards despite the Vikings losing by a touchdown.
Coming off a loss, the Patriots get a chance to take out their frustrations against the lowly Jaguars who at 2-12 are one of the worst teams in the league. The Patriots could almost name their score this week, and will win this game big as the Jaguars pass defense is awful, and will be picked apart by Tom Brady, while the Jags offense which has struggled all season will be lucky just to crack double digits.
The Colts can clinch a playoff spot with a win, and against the Chiefs all they have to do is avoid any big mistakes, as they have clearly chosen to mail in the rest of the season. The Colts may get a boost from the news that Coach Chuck Pagano has been cleared to return to the sidelines next week. The Chiefs meanwhile just can’t wait to see the season come to an end.
Last month the Dolphins played one of their most sloppy games of the season, and still nearly beat the Bills in Buffalo. The Bills have struggled away from home all season, and appear to be heading toward another off-season of changes. The Dolphins meanwhile have the pieces in place and hope they can finish the season on a strong note, as they play their final home game of the season. Look for the Dolphins front seven to force Ryan Fitzpatrick into another bad game, as Ryan Tannehill proves he is the second best QB in the AFC East.
Two teams that have had miserable seasons, just looking to finish the season without anything else going wrong. The Chargers already know there will be widespread changes as Coach Norv Turner will be fired. The Jets meanwhile will try to salvage something out of the season as they start Greg McElroy at quarterback. McElroy played well when he came on for Mark Sanchez three weeks ago, the question is can he do it for a full game? However, unless McElroy stinks it up completely the Jets should still win as the Chargers struggling offense will not score enough to win on the road.
With their season in shambles and Andy Reid coaching his final game in Philadelphia it would be logical to expect the red hot Redskins to score an easy win with the division title within reach. However, the NFL is not a logical league and upsets happen all the time. This is the Eagles Super Bowl plain and simple and assuming they don’t fumble a million times they can get the win. Look for a big game from Nick Foles, as the Eagles win one for Andy.
This game is almost like a playoff as the winner will be almost be assured of making the playoffs, while the loser could be all but finished. The Steelers have a mastery over the Bengals, winning in Cincinnati earlier this season. However, something is not right with Ben Roethlisberger as he has played terrible in the last two weeks since returning from injury. I expect that trend to continue as despite what the Steelers say, Big Ben and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley are far from being on the same page.
The Buccaneers are coming off their worst loss of the season, and even though they can not make the playoffs they can certainly try to finish the season on a strong note. Often in the NFL, a team off a terrible game rebounds and plays their best game. One look to the Cardinals win last week after losing 58-0 the week before. Playing at home should also give them an advantage as Doug Martin has a big game against the Rams defense.
The Broncos are the hottest team in the NFL, as Peyton Manning has excelled in his return after missing the entire 2011 season. Manning again is in the race for NFL MVP, and the Broncos can get a much needed bye in the playoffs if they win their last two games. The Browns have played well down the stretch, but going into Denver will be too much, as the Broncos extend their winning streak to ten games.
The Bears come in losers of four of their last five games, while the Cardinals ended a nine game losing streak last week. The Bears still have a chance to make the playoffs, but that will go out the window with a loss. Bears QB Jay Cutler has struggled, but the Cardinals mess at quarterback is unbearable and the Bears defense will create another long day in the desert for the Cardinals.
The Giants have their backs firmly planted against the wall as they go into their last two games, needing to win both to make the playoffs. This is when Big Blue is at their best. The Ravens, though not facing the same desperation are also struggling losing their last three games. The Giants issues are with injuries, and the Ravens are also banged, but they have deeper problems after the dismissal of Cam Cameron, the Giants get the win and get back in the race for the NFC East.
The NFC West can be won on Sunday Night if the 49ers can win in Seattle. The Seahawks have scored 109 points in their last two games, and now they can win get within a half game of first place as they face the 49ers. Last Sunday Colin Kaepernick had a solid game in Foxboro, if he can repeat it in Seattle the 49ers will clinch the division. However, the 12th man of Century Link Field is always tough on a rookie quarterback and with the way Russell Wilson is playing all signs point to a Seahawk win.