Thursday, November 7, 2013
NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 10
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
Washington @ Minnesota (+1)
The 1-7 Vikings host the 3-5 Redskins on Thursday Night Football from Mall of America Stadium. The Vikes suffered a tough 27-23 loss in Dallas last week, despite 140 yards rushing from Adrian Peterson.
"This is a big game for Adrian," Leslie Frazier said. "He tore his knee up almost two years ago against the Redskins. Obviously, he's fully healed and stronger than ever. Now, if he hears a 'pop,' he knows it's from one of his children.
"Every week, I have a decision to make at the quarterback position between Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman. So, I put three names in a magician's hat, and pray not for a rabbit, but a rabbit's foot."
The Redskins won a huge 30-24 overtime decision in overtime versus the Chargers last week. The 'Skins are 3-5, two game back of the 5-4 Cowboys in the NFC East.
"Fullback Darrel Young bulled his way for three touchdowns," Mike Shanahan said. "Darrel is 5'11" and 251 pounds of brute force. We'd like to nickname him 'Ground Beef,' but the last thing we want to do is add vegetarians to our list of enemies."
Peterson rushes for 148 yards and 2 scores.
Minnesota wins, 27-24.
Seattle @ Atlanta (+7)
The Seahawks and Falcons last met in last year's divisional round, won by Atlanta 27-24 in the Georgia Dome. While the stakes are lower, Seattle is still bent on avenging the loss that kept them out of the NFC Championship Game.
"I feel sorry for Matt Ryan," Richard Sherman said. "All that arm and no one to throw to. Let me make a bold statement: there will be nothing in Atlanta wide open except my mouth."
The Falcons were pummeled 34-10 by the Panthers last week and are now 2-6 in the NFC South. Matt Ryan was picked off three times, and has thrown 7 interceptions in his last two games.
"Our wide receiver corps has really been hit hard by injuries," Ryan said, "and that's severely limited downfield options. The only place we've 'gone deep' this year is into our depth chart."
The Seahawks intercept Ryan twice, and Russell Wilson passes for a score and runs for another.
Seattle wins, 27-24.
Detroit @ Chicago (-3)
In their first game without Jay Cutler this season, the Bears upset the Packers in Green Bay 27-20 behind a strong effort from Josh McCown. Cutler plans to play on Sunday despite the effects of his groin injury.
"I'm dealing with a lot of pain in that region," Cutler said. "So much, in fact, that I have to stand to pee.
"But should I play, I'll be wearing extra protection, a device invented by none other than Mark Trestman, who's equally as innovative with protective gear as he is with offenses. The device is called the 'Grey Cup.' Trestman came up with the idea while coaching in Canada. Its slogan is 'Designed Up North To Protect You Down South.'"
The Lions return from their bye week at full strength, and ready to make a charge for the NFC North title. The Lions, Packers, and Bears are tied at the top with identical 5-3 records.
"Calvin Johnson outplayed Dez Bryant two weeks ago," Matthew Stafford said. "He'll likely do the same to Brandon Marshall on Sunday. Megatron has a way of silencing some of the biggest mouths in football, without saying a word, no less.
"I've got to commend Cutler on his bravery for even considering playing on Sunday. It takes guts to return from a groin injury and immediately face Ndamukong Suh. This could be another 'Malice in the Phallus' situation.
It's another big day for Megatron, as two third quarter touchdown catches transforms a Detroit deficit into a Lions' lead.
Detroit wins, 30-27.
Philadelphia @ Green Bay (-8)
Nick Foles tied an NFL record with 7 touchdown passes in the Eagles' 49-13 win in Oakland last week. Foles threw for 406 yards, with three of his seven touchdowns going to Riley Cooper.
"It's hard to describe Nick's performance with one word," Chip Kelly said. "But if I had to, I would call it an 'aberration.' But let's face it, Foles put his name in the record book. Only this time, it's not in his handwriting.
"But what can you say about Cooper? He put himself in a black hole earlier this year; after a career day in Oakland, he doesn't want to leave it. I'm sure the Cooper clan must be proud.
Aaron Rodgers was injured in the Packers' 27-20 loss against the Bears on Monday night. Rodgers broke his collarbone in the first quarterback, and is out indefinitely. Seneca Wallace took over on Monday and remains the starter.
"Seneca may not do much for our passing game," Mike McCarthy said, "but he makes our running game 100% better. Actually, he makes our running game 100%, because we're now going to run it all the time."
Green Bay wins, 27-23.
Jacksonville @ Tennessee (-14)
The Jaguars return to action after trip to London followed by a bye week, and will look to end their losing streak against AFC South rivals Tennessee.
"Justin Blackmon's been suspended again for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy," Gus Bradley said. "Justin's winless too, because he can't beat his addiction. Hopefully, he won't get a ride to rehab on a party bus, because the last thing he needs is a bottle thrown at him. Justin's issues are just a microcosm of this whole organization's problems, because we need help."
The Titans are still in the thick of the AFC South race after a big 28-21 win in St. Louis over the Rams and former Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher. Chris Johnson exploded for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, his first rushing scores of the season.
"This was Johnson's breakout game," Mike Munchak said. "2,000 yards is probably out of the question, but that doesn't make Chris a lesser running back. He's still great, and still humble. He's grand, but not too grand.
"Before this week, I thought 'Haze And Bully' were the Total Nonstop Action wrestling tag team champions. I guess I was wrong. Richie Incognito is the bad guy. He's a 'heel' who just got the 'boot.'"
Tennessee wins, 27-16.
St. Louis @ Indianapolis (-11)
The Colts stormed back from a 21-3 halftime deficit in Houston to stun the Texans 27-24. Andrew Luck hooked up with T.Y. Hilton for three scores, and the Colts strengthened their grip on the lead in the AFC South.
"We regrouped at half time," Luck said. "T.Y. told me he felt could beat the Texans' cornerbacks on the perimeter, so we decided to 'pass out' in the second half.
"Our passing game may be our most important weapon. Since Peyton Manning arrived in Indianapolis, the Colts have thrived with their passing game. It's no different now. I like to throw it, T.Y. likes me to throw it, and Coach Pagano likes me to throw it. That's why we're reviving the 'Chuck Strong' motto for this season."
The Rams will have to pressure Luck to disrupt the potent Colts' passing game. They'll have to do it with Robert Quinn and Chris Long, who have combined for 15 1/2 sacks on the season.
"Long is known for one punch," Jeff Fisher said. "Combine him with Quinn, and it's a one-two punch. Collectively, those two have found the quarterback 15 times this year. I'd settle for finding a quarterback once."
The Colts race to a quick 14-0 lead, and hold on to win 27-21.
Oakland @ NY Giants (-8)
The Raiders suffered a 49-20 blowout loss to the visiting Eagles last week, surrendering 7 touchdown passes to Nick Foles.
"Our defense was just awful," Dennis Allen said. "The Eagles gave defensive coordinator Jason Tarver seven fingers.
"But Foles is no Eli Manning, I'm not sure whether that's a compliment or insult to Foles."
The 2-6 Giants emerge from their bye week looking to build a winning streak and get back in the thick of the NFC East race.
"The 'thick' of the NFC East is still thin," Tom Coughlin said.
"All the talk this week is about the situation in Miami. And speaking of 'The Situation in Miami,' season two was my favorite year of Jersey Shore."
The Raiders are without Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden, who were injured last week. That doesn't leave much in the way of offense, except the Giants, which itself isn't much in the way of offense.
Giants win, 27-13.
Buffalo @ Pittsburgh (-3½)
The Steelers left New England with a 55-31 loss and another blemish on their record, which now stands at 2-6. The 55 points were the most ever given up by a Pittsburgh team.
"Dick Labeau was a mess after the game," Mike Tomlin said. "He didn't even want to show his face. It was so bad, he checked in to a hotel under an assumed name. And it's just an awful coincidence that Dick Labeau's favorite alias is 'Richie Incognito.'
"Despite all the things I've banned from the locker room, we're still nearly last in the league in 'takeaways.'"
Buffalo's upset bid against the undefeated Chiefs ended in a 23-13 loss last week. The game turned on a 100 yard interception return by K.C.'s Sean Smith, which turned a potential 17-3 Bills lead into a 10-10 tie.
"Where's Don Beebe when you need him?" Doug Marrone said. "He's the only 'stripper' condoned by the NFL.
"Did we prove that we can play with the NFL's best? Not yet, because that can't be the NFL's best. The Chiefs are beatable. Of course, that loss may not come until the playoffs, when they'll finally face a winning team."
Pittsburgh wins, 31-24.
Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-3)One week after he threw 5 touchdowns, Andy Dalton threw none in the Bengals' 22-20 overtime loss in Miami last Thursday. Dalton threw 3 interceptions and was sacked for the game-winning safety.
"A lot of people are asking if we're contenders of pretenders," Marvin Lewis said. "I think that answer lies with Dalton.
"But Dalton is much more effective when our run game is working. Giovani Bernard may be the most dynamic running back in the league. He's a game-changer. He was schooled at the University of North Carolina, where the real game-changers are the grade-changers."
The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens lost in Cleveland 24-18, and are now 3-4, which is still good enough for second in the unpredictable AFC North.
"Deer antler spray is back in the news," John Harbaugh said. "It seems that Ray Lewis isn't the only Raven associated with it. I've heard that if a stripper throws a bottle of that at your head, you can count on going 'stag' for the rest of the night."
Cincinnati wins, 19-14.
Carolina @ San Francisco (-7)
The 49ers are 6-2, one game behind the Seahawks in the NFC West, as the hot Panthers come to town. After a 1-2 start to the season, San Fran has reeled off five consecutive wins.
"Does Cam Newton really have an 'S' on his chest?" Colin Kaepernick said. "Nope. Unlike me, he's got no ink there. In other words, he's got 'BS' on his chest.
"We're happy to have Aldon Smith back with the team. He is a cornerstone of our defense, and we need his ability to rush the quarterback. But just be careful when you mention a 'sack'; we don't want any mention whatsoever of 'brown-bagging.'"
San Francisco wins, 20-15.
Houston @ Arizona (+1)
The Texans built a 21-3 lead over the Colts, powered by Case Keenum and Andre Johnson, before a disastrous second half left them staring in disbelief at a 27-24 loss and a 2-6 record.
"Like Gary Kubiak," Johnson said, "we collapsed. Unlike Kubiak, there's no recovering.
"We all are responsible for the situation we're in. We're all guilty of falling down on the job. Ultimately, Coach Kubiak will probably be the casualty of this disappointing season. If Coach hasn't already earned the nickname 'The Fall Guy,' he will sooner or later."
Arizona wins, 23-21.
Denver @ San Diego (+7Â½)
The 7-1 Broncos head to San Diego, beginning a tough, four-game stretch that also includes a showdown with the Patriots sandwiched between two contests versus the Chiefs.
"Coach John Fox is out indefinitely with heart surgery," Peyton Manning said. "But we'll be fine. Honestly, I don't expect us to miss a beat. History tells us that Jack Del Rio is perfectly capable of leading a team, especially on the route to oblivion.
"I used the bye week to rest my weary arm. It feels better, but it's still weak. So for all you Denver fans, don't expect anything out of the ordinary, like a spiral."
The Chargers are 4-4 after last week's 30-24 overtime loss in Washington. Any hope of remaining alive in the AFC West race rests on success against the Broncos.
"I've got two bolts on my helmet," Phillip Rivers said. "We're hoping lightning strikes twice, in Denver and Kansas City. That may be the only way we can make the playoffs."
Denver wins, 31-27.
Dallas @ New Orleans (-7Â½)
Tony Romo's 7-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris with 35 seconds left gave the Cowboys a thrilling 27-23 win over Adrian Peterson and the Vikings. Now 5-4, the Cowboys own a one-game lead over the Eagles in the NFC East.
"Say what you want about Dez Bryant," Romo said, "but he's the key to our season. You simply can't describe him without using the superlative. Such as, he's the greatest distraction on our sideline. Now that's impressive, especially with Jerry Jones making the rounds."
The Saints lost for only the second time this season, falling 26-20 to the Jets at MetLife Stadium. Drew Brees passed for 382 yards and 2 touchdowns, but also threw 2 costly interceptions.
"It's like the Jets knew where I was going," Brees said. "I have my suspicions. I think Rob Ryan must have tipped his twin brother off to our scheme.
"It's important we defend Bryant. I think we've got a plan. We'll just throw beads at him and hope he loses his top."
New Orleans wins, 30-27.
Miami @ Tampa Bay (+2Â½)
The Buccaneers nearly upset the Seahawks in Seattle, but blew a 21-0 lead and eventually lost 27-24 in overtime. The 0-8 Bucs look for their first win of the year as they host the 4-4 Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium, where there's a ship in the end zone that's been taking on water.
"The Seahawks found a way to win," Greg Schiano said. "Most of our opponents do, they just have a much easier time finding it.
"Coincidentally, I have experience with bullying and running a player out of Florida. And everybody hates me."
Miami is 4-4 after last Thursday's 22-20 overtime win over the Bengals, a game won on Cameron Wake's sack of Andy Dalton for a safety.
"That was a huge win," Joe Philbin said. "But it's been overshadowed by the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation. It appears that Martin and Incognito mix like oil and vinegar. I'd say Incognito is more like water and vinegar, because he's a huge douche. We hope Richie lives up to his surname and disappears."
Tampa wins, 22-21.