Friday, November 29, 2013
NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 13 (Pt. 2)
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
Jacksonville @ Cleveland (-7)
The Jaguars stunned the Texans 13-6 in Houston last week, winning for the second time this season. Now 2-9, Jacksonville will look for win No. 3 against the struggling Browns.
"We sucked all the life out of the Texans and the Reliant Stadium crowd," Maurice Jones-Drew said. "There wasn't much, so, unlike the Texans, we didn't do a lot of sucking.
"I think it's safe to say we've turned our season around. Gus Bradley has us headed in the right direction. I don't want to say we're a year away, but I can see us being competitive further down the road. You could say our futures so bright, we have to wear binoculars."
The Browns lost Jason Campbell to a head injury in the third quarter of their 27-11 loss to the Steelers last week. Brandon Weeden entered the game to boos from his home crowd; he'll start against the Jaguars.
"Honestly," Weeden said, "the boos don't bother me. I've learned that you have to have a thick skin to play quarterback in Cleveland. And I've got one. Unfortunately, I also have a thick head."
The Browns rally behind Weeden and manhandle the Jaguars, 27-10.
Tennessee @ Indianapolis (-4)
The Colts were hammered by the Cardinals 40-11 in Arizona, and Indy appears to be a team in trouble after giving up 105 points in their last three games. At 7-4, Indy's lead in the AFC South is just two games over the Titans.
"If you can't run the ball," Chuck Pagano said, "you can't win consistently in this league. Maybe it was a reach to trade for Trent Richardson. Don't get me wrong — he's a solid three-down back. How, you ask? Well, after two rushes by Trent, it's third down.
"Our outspoken owner Jim Irsay demanded that the team 'wake up' on his Twitter account. He's right. As the saying goes, 'You snooze, you lose.' Irsay just wants us to be our best, and it appears he wants to be the Jerry Jones of the AFC."
The Titans are right back in the hunt for the South lead after a thrilling 23-19 win in Oakland last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick's 10-yard pass to Kendall Wright with 15 seconds left won it for the Titans.
"Right now," Mike Munchak said, "we're the AFC's No. 6 seed. So, if the season ended today, ours would end the following week."
Irsay urged the Colts to get their heads out of their asses. And what better place to do that than Lucas Oil Stadium, where you can lube up and lube out.
Indianapolis steps up their game, led by a defense that forces three turnovers, and a new set of inspirational plastic bracelets that read "Wake Up!" Andrew Luck throws for a score and runs for another and the Colts win, 24-17.
Chicago @ Minnesota (-1)
The Bears lost a 42-21 shootout to the Rams as St. Louis rushed for 261 yards. Despite the loss, Chicago remained in a tie for the lead in the NFC North due to the Lions loss to Tampa.
"The 'Monsters of the Midway' would be appalled by that performance," Mark Trestman said. "Against the Rams, there were no 'monsters'; there was no 'midway.' However, there was some 'halfway' — our effort.
"But if we need inspiration, we need to look no further than the Overstock.com commercial featuring Mike Ditka and Jim McMahon. Those two icons were cornerstones of the Bears' dominating run to Super Bowl XX. That was over 25 years ago. The Bears winning another Super Bowl seems light years away."
The Vikings let a 23-7 fourth quarter lead slip away in Green Bay and eventually settled for a 26-26 tie with the Packers. Minnesota is 2-8-1 on the season, and has yet to win a division game.
"Now," said Adrian Peterson said, "if we could only 'draw' in Minnesota. I can only fill so many seats, and I can only fill so many cribs.
"I know the Bears' defense has seen its share of criticism lately, but what they need is positive reinforcement. And I'm the man to give it, because I like what I see."
Chicago wins, 28-20.
Miami @ NY Jets (-1½)
The Ravens shut down the Jets offense last week, limiting them to only 220 yards of total offense in a commanding 19-3 win. Geno Smith was 9-for-22 for 127 yards and had 3 turnovers.
"There's zero tolerance," Rex Ryan said, "and then there's Geno tolerance. Those two levels of tolerance seem to be inching closer to each other.
"But Geno is still our quarterback. In other words, he's our quarterback, still. And speaking of quarterback stills, there's loads of them hidden in the woods of West Virginia, all producing moonshine in his honor. Geno's not 'White Lightning,' but he's 'Black Thunder,' though, because when he plays, you might hear a clap."
The Dolphins jumped on the visiting Panthers early, racing to a 16-6 halftime lead before a scoreless offensive second half left Miami with a painful 20-16 loss.
"I think this team has shown great resilience amid the specter of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation," Joe Philbin said. "Personally, I've given more interviews than Regis Philbin. On that note, how is a Geno Smith pass like the answers my players gave to the NFL last week? They're all inaccurate."
New York wins ,17-13.
Arizona @ Philadelphia (-3)
The Cardinals blasted the Colts, 40-11, last week, giving head coach Bruce Arians a win over his former team. Arizona is now 7-4, solidly positioned for a run at a wildcard playoff berth.
"It was just like I was back on the Indianapolis sideline," Bruce Arians said, "because I knew everything going on."
The Eagles enjoyed a bye week to bask in the glow of their lead in the NFC East, which some consider the most competitive division in the NFL.
"Indeed," Chip Kelly said, "it is competitive. All four teams are equally as bad."
"Nick Foles will be the starter going forward. Now that that's settled, I wish our defense could stop going backwards."
The Cards keep the Eagles' offense in check for most of the game, but DeSean Jackson slips by a fallen defender for a late touchdown pass from Nick Foles. Jackson hams it up for cameras, channeling Terrell Owens when he shouts, "I love me some De!"
Carson Palmer fumbles in Philly territory on Arizona's final possession, and the Eagles hold on for a 24-23 win.
Tampa Bay @ Carolina (-8)
The Panthers stayed one game behind the Saints in the NFC South with a dramatic 20-16 win in Miami last week. Greg Olsen's one-yard pass from Cam Newton with 43 seconds left gave Carolina its seventh-straight win.
"That was a gutsy win," Ron Rivera said, "and a gutsy play by Cam Newton to draw a personal foul flag by taking a dive. That flag that was picked up against the Patriots just came back out. We have to be the most patriotic team in the NFL, because we pledge allegiance to the flag all the time."
Carolina wins, 22-17.
New England @ Houston (+9½)
Three early turnovers put the Patriots in an 24-0 hole against the Broncos last week, but a stunning second half comeback culminated in a 34-31 New England victory. The triumph put the 8-3 Patriots right in the thick of the hunt for the AFC's No. 1 seed.
"Peyton Manning's legacy was tarnished," Tom Brady said, "while mine was garnished.
"Now, our toughest task is to get motivated for the Texans. We know they want to win one for Gary Kubiak. Kubiak may be very close to losing his job. I don't think the clock has hit midnight just yet, but it's fast approaching. Call it a 'mini-stroke.'"
The Texans lost their ninth-straight game, losing 13-6 at home to the Jaguars.
"Is there a cold front coming through Houston?" Andre Johnson said. "Because we've reached a new low. But I'm looking forward to playing the Patriots. It will be as close as I've ever been to quarterback greatness."
New England wins, 31-20.
Atlanta @ Buffalo (-3½)
The Falcons lost a heartbreaking 17-13 decision to the visiting Saints in front of a national audience on Thursday Night Football. Atlanta is now 2-9, tied for last in the NFC South.
"Contrary to popular belief," Mike Smith said, "I'm not being run out of town. In fact, I'm being flown out of town.
"Is it true football fields in Canada are 150 yards long? If that's the case, then driving the length of the field becomes much more difficult for us."
The Bills entered their bye week after their 37-14 destruction of the Jets in week 11, and are ready for the struggling Falcons with a healthy E.J. Manuel.
"This is our traditional game in Toronto's Rogers Centre," Doug Marrone said. "And what better place than the home of Mayor Rob Ford to describe our 4-7 season with an 'Eh.' We're 1-4 in Toronto. That's not good. So, we're going to alter our pre-game routine. This time, we'll have our pre-game meal in Buffalo, because we have plenty to eat at home."
Buffalo wins, 30-20.
St. Louis @ San Francisco (-9½)
The 49ers broke a two-game losing streak with resounding 27-6 win over the dysfunctional Redskins in Washington. San Fran's defense sacked Robert Griffin 4 times and added 7 quarterback hits.
"That's a lot of knockdowns," Ahmad Brooks said. "But RG3 showed some toughness. And that's certainly fitting, because this has been a year in Washington marked by Indian 'uprisings.'
"I'm still seething about my penalty and fine for my hit on Drew Brees in Week 11. I feel like I'm getting mixed messages from the NFL and Roger Goodell, because they're telling me I need to lower the 'boom.'"
The Rams whipped the Bears 42-21 last week while racking up 261 yards on the ground. St. Louis is now 5-6, by no means out of what is sure to be a tight race for the NFC's wildcard berths.
"This will be a football purist's dream," Chris Long said. "Defenses will dictate the tempo of the game, and you can best believe there will be some big hits delivered.
"As a fellow defender, I fully support Brooks. I have no qualms of saying 'Praise Ahmad.' And I think it's ludicrous that he was fined $16,000. My teammate James Lauriniatis agrees. He's a linebacker, and the son of Road Warrior Animal, and James has never been flagged for clotheslining a quarterback."
San Francisco wins, 22-16.
Denver @ Kansas City (+5½)
Denver built a 24-0 lead in New England last week only to see their advantage disintegrate in a 34-31 overtime loss. The loss dropped Denver into a tie in the AFC West with the Chiefs, who the Broncos beat in Week 11.
"All the MVPs, All Pros, and touchdowns don't mean a thing if I can't beat Tom Brady," Manning said. "There's one 'Pat on my back' I'd rather not have.
"But Alex Smith is no Tom Brady. Brady has three Super Bowl rings. If you hear the words 'Alex Smith' mentioned along with 'three rings,' then you've obviously gone to his voicemail."
The Chiefs lost in a vital AFC West game, falling in a 41-38 shootout to the Chargers, led by 392 yards passing and 3 touchdowns from Philip Rivers.
"Our defense was just awful," Andy Reid said, "especially our pass rush. That's a complete turnaround from the beginning of the season, when our rush was in 'stealth' mode, because no one saw it coming. Well, it's still in 'stealth' mode, because it just disappeared."
Denver wins, 28-24.
Cincinnati @ San Diego (-1)
The Bengals lead the AFC North with a 7-4 record, with the Steelers and Ravens, both at 5-6, lurking close behind. They'll face a Chargers squad fighting for their playoff chances.
"I think we can make some noise in the playoffs," Andy Dalton said. "Of course, that all depends on how loud a collapse sounds.
"But I know I have to be a more consistent quarterback. Great quarterbacks put their teams on their backs. Oftentimes, I've put my team on their heels."
Philip Rivers' 26-yard touchdown pass to Seyi Ajirotutu with 24 seconds left gave the visiting Chargers a crucial 41-38 win over the Chiefs. San Diego is now 5-6 and firmly in the hunt for a wildcard spot.
"That was only Seyi's third reception of the year," Rivers said. "Of course, he'll get more. I definitely plan to call his number, because I surely can't say his name."
San Diego wins, 27-23.
NY Giants @ Washington (+1)
The Redskins were overpowered by the physical 49ers 27-6 on Monday Night Football. The 'Skins are 3-8 and face the 4-7 Giants on Sunday.
"It's tough when even officials are cursing your name," Robert Griffin said.
"What's the big deal with my father being in the locker room? Hey, I felt like I was in a boxing match after the 49ers game, so I need someone in my corner. That's why my dad is called 'Robert Griffin the Second.'"
Washington wins, 28-24.
New Orleans @ Seattle (-5)
In what could very well be a preview of the NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks host the Saints at CenturyLink Field. A win by Seattle could very clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"We'll be without Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond due to drug suspensions," Pete Carroll said. "But we can be just as physical without them. Sure, the New Orleans' offense is potent, but we've manhandled every offense we've played. Our game plan is simple: we'll simply call the Saints' offense 'substance,' and abuse them."
Seattle wins, 26-23.