Thursday, November 27, 2014

NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 13 (Pt. 2)

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Washington @ Indianapolis (-10)

The Redskins lost 17-13 to the 49ers as Washington's passing game struggled. Robert Griffin threw for only 106 yards and no touchdowns and was sacked 5 times. Jay Gruden decided to bench Griffin for the Indy game, instead going with Colt McCoy.

"I think I gave Jay Gruden what he wanted," Griffin said. "A performance not worth talking about.

"Despite everything, I'm not losing confidence. In fact, I'm I am very confident. Confident that I've had two of the worst quarterback-friendly coaches in NFL history. Luckily, I've got Redskins owner Daniel Snyder on my side. Whenever Mr. Snyder wants to complain or get something off his chest, I'm always available to listen. You could say I'm his 'bitch.'"

The Colts lead the Texans by a game in the AFC South. Indy whipped the Jaguars 23-3 last week, led by T.Y. Hilton's 144 receiving yards, including a 73-yard bomb that he dedicated to his newborn daughter, born earlier that day.

"I promised her a touchdown," Hilton said, "and I delivered. It was probably the most emotional moment of my life, and is very mentally and physically taxing. I can't believe Antonio Cromartie went through this 12 times.

"You probably saw my touchdown celebration. I call it 'Cradling the Pigskin.' For those of you who don't play football and aren't fathers, you can 'Cradle the Pigskin' by gently holding a bag of pork rinds."

Colts win, 27-20.

Tennessee @ Houston (-6)

The new Houston franchise faces the old Houston franchise as the 5-6 Texans host the 2-9 Titans in an AFC South matchup. The Texans lost 22-13 to the Bengals last week, and trail the Colts by two games in the division.

"Ryan Mallett played is out for the season with an injured pectoral muscle," Bill O'Brien said. "He threw the ball 45 times last Sunday. That's a lot. Of those, 24 were incompletions. That's a lot, as well. I think it's safe to say he injured himself 'overthrowing.'"

Tennessee lost 43-24 in Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, overpowered by a Philadelphia team that ran the ball at will on offense and forced three turnovers on defense.

"We're just not a very good team right now," Ken Whisenhunt said. "But that's life. All I can do is stare at the old Houston Oilers logo and say 'Oh well.'"

J.J. Watt sacks Zach Mettenberger twice and the Texans win, 26-14.

Cleveland @ Buffalo (-2½)

With record amounts of snow in Buffalo forcing them to play in Detroit, the Bills beat the Jets handily, 38-3. The Bills defense recorded seven sacks, bringing their league-leading total to 39.

"A home game in Detroit?" Doug Marrone said. "That makes about as much sense as a home game in Toronto.

"Jets quarterbacks are sitting ducks, similar to their coach, who's a lame duck.

"Buffalo was deluged by seven feet of snow a few weeks ago. But thanks to the hard work of stadium staff and willing volunteers, Ralph Wilson Stadium is ready for the Browns. Crews disposed of more white stuff than Michael Irvin and Lawrence Taylor combined. Those two were the hardest-working 'snow blowers' in the NFL."

Billy Cundiff's 37-yard field goal as time expired gave the Browns a 26-24 win over the Falcons in the Georgia Dome last week. Cleveland improved to 7-4 to remain ½–game behind the Bengals in the AFC North.

"Josh Gordon was a huge factor in his first game back," Brian Hoyer said. "He had 120 yards receiving. Previously, Josh was in NFL purgatory. But not any more. He went from 'In Hell' to 'Ex-Hell' faster than you can say 'CBA,' or 'THC,' or 'DUI.'

"They're calling this game the 'Lake Erie Bowl.' Interestingly enough, Gordon's favorite water bong was called 'Lake Irie.'"

Dan Carpenter kicks a 51-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the game, and the Bills win, 23-20.

San Diego @ Baltimore (-5)

The Ravens ran through the Saints 34-27 on Monday night, improving to 7-4 on the year while dropping New Orleans to 4-7. Justin Forsett rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns to lead Baltimore.

"The Saints defense is such that you can take the ball and 'Forsett' down their throat," John Harbaugh said. "Justin may very well be the future of the Ravens running attack. He's got unlimited potential; he has the talent to reach it. So Justin, as Casey Kasem liked to say, 'Keep reaching for the stars, and keep your feet on the ground.' See, even Kasem knew that elevators were bad news."

The Chargers turned back the visiting Rams 27-24 last week, salvaging the win on Marcus Gilchrist's interception of Shaun Hill deep in Chargers territory with seconds left in the fourth quarter. San Diego is 7-4, one game behind the Broncos in the AFC West.

"Our season has accepted Jesus Christ as its savior," Phillip Rivers said, "because that win 'saved' our season."

Joe Flacco throws for 2 touchdowns, one to Steve Smith, and the Ravens win, 27-19.

NY Giants @ Jacksonville (+3)

A week after throwing 5 interceptions, Eli Manning threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns with only one INT in a losing effort to the Cowboys. Two of Manning's TD's went to rookie Odell Beckham III, whose one-handed grab on his second score may have been the greatest catch in history.

"Odell caught that ball with just three fingers," Manning said. "That's two fewer fingers than Dallas' Joseph Randle's shopping discount.

"Odell elevated himself into the lore of memorable performances by Giants receivers. Where he goes from here is up to him. He can take his game to the next level, or take a bullet to the thigh. If we start calling him 'Plaxic-Odell,' we'll know he chose wrong."

Giants win, 24-20.

Cincinnati @ Tampa Bay (+4)

The Buccaneers lost 21-13 at Soldier Field in Lovie Smith's return to Chicago. Tampa is 2-9 in the NFC South.

"As homecomings go," Smith said, "I've had better. Now, it's back home to Tampa, where I started my coaching career. Unfortunately, we're 0-5 this year at Raymond James Stadium, so it certainly makes sense to call that field my stomping grounds."

The Bengals picked up a tough road win last week, beating the Texans 22-13 in Houston. A.J. Green caught 12 passes for 121 yards in the win, and the Cincy offense held the ball for over 39 minutes.

"Two of our playoff losses came to the Texans," Green said, "so it was a bit of redemption for Andy Dalton. Time of 'possession' aside, Andy exorcised some demons.

"We are getting healthy at just the right time. My toe is healed, and Gio Bernard is back at full strength. Plus, his University of North Carolina Tar Heels just became bowl-eligible. Gio, however, is still listed as 'probable.' His diploma, on the other hand, is still 'doubtful.'"

Cincinnati wins, 22-20.

Oakland @ St. Louis (-7)

The Raiders shocked the Chiefs, 24-20, last Thursday, winning for the first time this season. The win came on a night when several Raiders dignitaries gathered to celebrate Ray Guy's induction into the Hall of Fame.

"Ray spoke to the team before the locker room," Tony Sparano said, "and it meant a great deal to us. It's hard to explain the magnitude of the situation, but I'm sure, of all teams, the Rams have a similar idea of what it's like to have a Guy in the locker room."

The Rams lost a winnable game at San Diego, losing 27-24 to the Chargers. Shaun Hill's interception ended St. Louis' hopes of sending the game into overtime or winning it outright.

"Shaun just made a bad read," Jeff Fisher said. "I've urged Shaun that if he's in a situation like that, he needs to throw it away. I guess I should have specified the 'ball' and not the 'game.'"

St. Louis wins, 24-23.

New Orleans @ Pittsburgh (-3½)

The Steelers bye week was preceded by the release of running back LeGarrette Blount, who left the field early in the Steelers Week 11 win over the Titans on Monday night.

"Releasing Blount was a tough decision," Ben Roethlisberger said, "but we had to do it. We'd prefer Le'Veon Bell to not be under the influence of anything, especially Blount.

"Brees has an endorsement deal with Wranglers. And I'm a bit jealous. I'd like to publicly state that I want to 'get into' jeans, but my team of legal advisors said it's not a good idea."

The Saints fell to 4-7 after the Ravens physically dominated them 34-27 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday night. Baltimore piled up 215 yards on the ground, including 182 and 2 scores from Justin Forsett.

"Our defense looked awful," Sean Payton said. "I believe it's time to bring out the brown paper sacks for Rob Ryan's crew, because they 'Ain't' 'S.'"

New Orleans rebounds and wins, 30-28.

Carolina @ Minnesota (-3)

Carolina's week 12 bye couldn't have come at a better time. The Panthers needed to regroup after five consecutive losses, and Cam Newton was able to rest his sore ankle for an extra week.

"It's time to bring out the gimp," Ron Rivera said. "If Cam doesn't play better, it may be time to take out the gimp.

"All three of our NFC South rivals lost last week. That just goes to show that we're at our best when we don't play."

The Vikings gave the Packers a test but eventually lost 24-21 and dropped to 4-7 in the NFC North.

"The good news is we held the Packers under 50," Mike Zimmer said. "The bad news is that Adrian Peterson took to Twitter to compare his case to that of Ferguson, Missouri. His situation should not be compared to the Ferguson issue. A,P. is a 'MO. Faux' who made a serious 'MO. Faux Pas.'"

Vikings win 27-22.

Arizona @ Atlanta (+2)

The Falcons lost at home 26-24 to the Browns and fell out of first in the NFC South. Atlanta is 4-7, one game behind the Saints.

"Maybe is shouldn't have called that final timeout," Mike Smith. "That allowed the Browns plenty of time to get in field goal position. It's safe to say I should brush up on my time management skills. Arthur Blank insinuated I should brush up on my free time management skills."

The Cardinals lost for only the second time, losing 19-3 to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. At 9-2, Arizona still holds a two-game lead over the 49ers and Seahawks.

"We'll put that behind us," Bruce Arians said, "and do something our offense couldn't in Seattle — move on."

Arizona wins, 30-20.

New England @ Green Bay (-3)

The Packers host the Patriots in a battle of the NFL's two best quarterbacks without neck fusion surgery. The Pats overwhelmed the visiting Lions, 34-9, last week. Jonas Gray, who rushed for 201 yards in Week 11, didn't play a snap after arriving late for practice.

"LeGarrette Blount smokes pot and leaves the field early and gets to play," Bill Belichick said. "Jonas is a few minutes late and sits. That makes no sense, but here's what does: Gray and Blount will make a great rushing duo, collectively known as the 'Double Standard.'

"My stance on tardiness is quite clear. There are no exceptions. It's a black and white issue. The only 'Shades of Gray' I possess are in my wardrobe and my library."

The Packers won a tough 24-21 road decision over the Vikings. Eddy Lacy ran for 125 yards and a touchdown and also added a receiving TD.

"Eddy is a beast," Aaron Rodgers said. "He's listed at 230 pounds, which is much trimmer than when he showed up at camp as a rookie in 2013. And we let him know it. For someone who played at the University of Alabama, it's upsetting when teammates look at your midsection and say 'Rolls Tide.'"

New England wins, 26-24.

Denver @ Kansas City (+1½)

After their big loss to the Raiders last Thursday, the 7-4 Chiefs trail the 8-3 Broncos by a game in the AFC West. Denver beat K.C. 24-17 in Week 2, so Sunday's game at Arrowhead Stadium is a must-win.

"The forecast for Sunday night is chilly," Andy Reid said. "We're hoping the temperature puts a freeze on that wet noodle Peyton Manning calls an arm, because our defense might not be able to."

The Broncos overcame a 28-17 deficit to the visiting Dolphins before a fourth quarter explosion gave Denver a 39-36 win.

"C.J. Anderson rushed for 167 yards against a solid Miami defense," Peyton Manning said. "We have to continue to establish the run, because that opens up our vertical passing game. Of all the things I've done that Alex Smith hasn't, one is throw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. Smith makes up for it with superior running ability. You're more likely to find Smith four yards downfield than one of his receivers."

The Broncos shake off a slow start, and Manning finds Julius Thomas for a short TD pass to seal the win late in the fourth quarter.

Denver wins, 27-24.

Miami @ NY Jets (+5½)

The Jets were destroyed 38-3 to the Bills in Detroit last Monday night. Michael Vick and Geno Smith were sacked a combined 7 times by the Bills defense.

"This year's Jets quarterbacking has been God-awful," Rex Ryan said, "and has made former Jet Vinny Testaverde seem like a god.

The Dolphins lost a tough 39-36 decision to the Broncos in Denver last week, falling to 6-5 games behind the 9-2 Patriots.

"I questioned Ryan Tannehill's ability as a starter back in February," Joe Philbin said. "I didn't bench, him and he's been on a tear since then. That's in stark contrast to Jay Gruden's handling of Robert Griffin III. Poor RG3. Forget John Gruden, Griffin's been through the 'Gruden Grinder' from Jay.

"If I were Griffin, I'd be very unhappy. In fact, I'd be on the warpath. I realize that's a poor choice of words, but 'poor choice of words' has been an issue in D.C. for a long time now. Go Redskins! And go Robert Griffin (somewhere else)!"

Tannehill passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns, and the Dolphins pull away late to win, 27-13.

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