Thursday, December 8, 2016
NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 14
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
Oakland @ Kansas City (-3)
The Raiders stormed back from a 24-9 deficit in the third quarter to beat the visiting Bills, 38-24. David Carr passed for 2 scores, while Latavius Murray rushed for 2 scores. At 10-3, the Raiders will be looking to avenge a Week 6 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
"My pinky is still sore," Carr said, "but pain can't stop me from playing. This 'little piggy' isn't going to market, this little piggy is going to avenge our week 6 loss. Let me just say this: if the Chiefs happen to smell bacon, it's probably just the cops coming to question Tyreke Hill.
"I'm thankful to have a coach like Jack Del Rio. I love his philosophy and approach to the game. Also, when we ultimately celebrate winning the division and carry our coach off the field, I'd much rather it be Jack than John Madden."
Eric Berry's interception return of an Atlanta 2-point conversion attempt gave the Chiefs a 29-28 win in the Georgia Dome. Earlier in the game, Berry returned an interception for a touchdown.
"Eric has a knack for the ball," Alex Smith said. "Plus, he's a master at reading the quarterback's eyes. Not only is Eric a student of the game, he's a pupil of the game, as well.
"In addition to our opportunistic defense, our offense was potent as well. We put up 389 yards of total offense. Andy Reid likes to call that 'pushing 400.'"
Chiefs win, 26-20.
Pittsburgh @ Buffalo (+1½)
The Bills squandered a double-digit lead to the Raiders, surrendering 29 second half points in a 38-24 loss. The Bills rushed for 212 yards, but could not stop David Carr and the Raiders offense in the second half.
"Considering our injury situation," Rex Ryan said, "I thought we played very well. Let's see here, we've got Sammy Watkins foot, and we've got LeSean's thumb. Those who know my deviant sexual proclivities would rather me not continue this discussion of things that are 'stiff and swollen.'
"As for the Steelers, we have to find a way to slow Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell. Now, we know we can't stop all three of them, so we have to make a choice. I've never been compared to Mike Tomlin, mostly because he's won Super Bowls, but I think the logical choice is to 'go for two.'"
The Steelers sent Eli Manning and the Giants home with a 24-14 loss. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 2 scores, one to Antonio Brown, and the Steelers defense picked off Manning twice.
"2004 was quite a draft for quarterbacks," Roethlisberger said. "You had me, Eli, and Philip Rivers selected among the first 11 picks. We've all taken our own paths to greatness. Eli followed that of his brother. Rivers' route was assisted with his deep religious conviction. My path was traveled on a motorcycle, through various bars, bathrooms, and courthouses.
"I thought it was nice that Antonio and Odell Beckham, Jr. exchanged jerseys after the game. Heck, I'd give the shirt off my back to get Odell to leave me alone, too."
Bills win, 24-20.
San Diego @ Carolina (-1)
The Panthers were blasted 40-7 at Seattle in a game that was practically over when Carolina turned the ball over on their first play from scrimmage.
"I sat out the first series for a dress code violation," Cam Newton said. "I didn't wear a tie on a flight. I said I understood, but in reality, I was 'knot' cool with it. Anyway, Derek Anderson took over for the first series. That's how it goes. If you're punished for not wearing a tie, it obviously becomes a case of 'neck's man up.'
"It's been a disappointing season, and I certainly haven't played my best. Does it have something to do with the clothes I'm wearing? Obviously, I don't seem to be 'dressed for success.'"
The Chargers were upset 28-21 by Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers at Quallcomm Stadium. San Diego fell to 5-7 and is in last place in the AFC West.
"I'm not sure if we're mathematically eliminated from the playoffs," Rivers said. "Math was never my strong suit, although my Catholic beliefs mean I'm awesome at multiplying.
"I may have cost us a chance to win the game. I completely underthrew a pass to a wide open Dontrell Inman that would have tied the game. If I had that to do over, I would have 'relocated' that pass. And on that note, what do you call it when the Chargers leave San Diego? A lightning 'bolt.'"
Newton, ever the jokester, shows up for the midfield coin toss in an Armani tie and a stove pipe hat. After winning the toss, Newton sprints to the end zone seats, where he presents the hat and tie to a young fan.
Panthers win, 30-27.
Cincinnati @ Cleveland (+6)
The Bengals routed the visiting Eagles 32-14 last week, snapping a three-game losing streak. Andy Dalton passed for 332 yards and 2 scores as Cincy improved to 4-7.
"Andy lived up to his 'Red Rifle' nickname," Marvin Lewis said. "Better him to come out 'firing' than our general manager Mike Brown.
"Hue Jackson and I are dear friends. I know Hue is going through a tough stretch. But he knows he can always talk to me if he feels the need. And I know I can do the same with him. But if we're talking about the Browns regular season or my playoff record, then I think we'd both be at a loss for words."
The Browns had a week 13 bye and plan on starting Robert Griffin III, who's been out since Week 1, against the Bengals.
"Some people think we may be rushing RG3 back," Jackson said. "Jay Gruden is not one of those people. Robert was treated like a piece of meat in Washington, and unfortunately for his psyche, no one there ever said 'well done.'"
Griffin tosses one touchdown pass, and even catches one on a trick play from Terrelle Pryor.
Cleveland wins, 26-24.
Chicago @ Detroit (-8)
Jordan Howard rushed for 3 touchdowns as the Bears pounded Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers, 26-6. The Chicago defense held Colin Kaepernick to 4 yards passing before he was benched in the fourth quarter.
"There's a new 'Jordan' in Chicago," John Fox said. "And ours also has no idea how to run an NBA team.
"And speaking of NBA namesakes, our quarterback is Matt Barkley. He's no relation to Charles Barkley. Matt is a smart kid. I may even let him call some audibles. So, unlike Barkley, Matt's got a green light to 'oral.'"
Matthew Stafford passed for 341 and two touchdowns as the Lions stifled the Saints 28-13 in the Superdome. At 8-4, Detroit has a two-game lead on the Vikings and Packers in the NFC North.
"We knew we could go after the New Orleans secondary," Stafford said. "Here in the 'Big Easy,' they're known as the 'Very Easy.'"
The Lions load the box to stop Howard, forcing the Bears to keep the ball in Barkley's hands.
Lions win, 25-13.
Houston @ Indianapolis (-4½)
The Colts blasted the Jets on Monday night 42-10. Andrew Luck passed for 278 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 3 to tight end Dwayne Allen.
"Andrew Luck was very sharp," Chuck Pagano said. "Four touchdowns is not something you see very often from a quarterback in MetLife Stadium, unless you're the Jets defense.
"Could this game decide who represents the AFC South in the playoffs? Yeah, that's right. The playoffs. That's a question I'd love to ask Jim Mora, Sr. and then sit back and enjoy his answer."
The Texans lost 21-13 to the Packers at snowy Lambeau Field. Houston is 6-6 and in a three-way tie in the AFC South.
"If you looked up 'mediocre' in the dictionary," Bill O'Brien said, "the definition would read: 'better than any team in the AFC South.'
"Brock Osweiler is not even completing 60% of his passes. So you're more likely to see laser-like precision is Mexico City than Houston."
Colts win, 24-22.
Minnesota @ Jacksonville (+3½)
The Vikings lost 17-15 last Thursday to the visiting Cowboys.
"The officials missed a big call on our two-point conversion," Mike Zimmer said. "Sam Bradford was clearly hit in the face mask. In my eyes, that's a penalty flag. And a penalty flag in my eyes really hurts. I guess you could say the official, like me, didn't pass the eye test.
"Despite the loss, I saw a lot of positive things from our team. There's no reason to count us out of the playoff hunt, despite our 6-6 record. You could say I'm seeing things through a rose-colored eyeball."
The Jaguars have lost seven in a row after last week's 20-10 loss to the Broncos at EverBank Field. Blake Bortles had 3 turnovers, giving him 17 on the year.
"This season has been a nightmare for me," Bortles said. "Before the season, I was confident in telling friends and relatives that we could compete for the division crown. They all told me to 'stop dreaming.'
"I'm averaging only 6.07 yards per pass attempt this season. That's second-worst in the entire league. That means our vertical passing game has 'bombed.'"
Zimmer manages the Florida sun with a sweet pair of wraparound shades, and the Vikings defense forces 3 turnovers.
Vikings win, 23-16.
Arizona @ Miami (-1)
Miami's six-game winning streak was snapped in a 38-6 blowout loss to the Ravens in Baltimore. The Ravens piled up 496 yards of offense as Miami fell to 7-5.
"We looked like a Nick Saban-coached professional team," Adam Gase said, "while the Ravens looked like a Nick Saban-coached college team."
Carson Palmer passed for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Cardinals turned back the visiting Redskins, 30-23.
"Sometimes I feel my age," Palmer said, "but against the Redskins, I felt like a kid again. I'm not a kid; I'm 36-years-old. I'm in the twilight of my career, and life after football is something that's often on my mind. So, a game between Miami and Arizona is a perfect time to contemplate a retirement community."
Miami wins, 25-23.
Washington @ Philadelphia (+1)
The Redskins lost their second straight game, falling 30-23 at Arizona. Kirk Cousins had a passing score and a rushing score, but had 2 turnovers.
"I was not happy with my team's performance," Jay Gruden said, "and I chewed them out afterwards. In other words, I gave them an 'F' for their performance."
The Eagles were pummeled 32-14 by the Bengals in Cincinnati. Carson Wentz threw 3 interceptions, while the Eagles defense couldn't stop Andy Dalton.
"Carson was terrible," Doug Pederson said. "I'm not being mean, I'm just being 'Philly blunt.'
"We didn't get any pressure at all on Dalton. That's unacceptable. Philly defenses of the past were often defined by their pass rushes. How I wish our defense could have a day that reminded people of Reggie White. Then Former Eagle Riley Cooper could say it's 'mighty 'White' of them.'
"Former Eagle DeSean Jackson is making his yearly return to Philadelphia. Now, a lot of Eagles fans resent DeSean for leaving, and a lot want to see him back. So, when Philly fans say there are 'positives and negatives' about DeSean, they're really referring to which end of the battery they want to hit him with."
Eagles win, 24-21.
New Orleans @ Tampa Bay (-2½)The Saints offense sputtered in a 28-13 loss at home to the Lions. Drew Brees passed for 326 yards, but had 3 interceptions and failed to throw a touchdown pass.
"That may have been my worst performance as a Saint," Brees said. "My best performance as a Saint was saying I had no knowledge of the bounty scandal and sounding believable.
"But I can assure you we'll play much better against the Buccaneers. And Sean Payton has promised he's going to coach much better, especially if he can convince himself that Tampa defensive coordinator Mike Smith was the architect of a bounty scandal in New Orleans and then ratted Payton out to the NFL, thus creating a vendetta that motivates Payton to run up the score on the DC's team. I know it sounds ludicrous, but everyone I talk to says this game has 'fantasy' implications."
The Bucs upset the Chargers 28-21 in San Diego in posting their third consecutive win. Jameis Winston passed for 280 yards and a score as Tampa improved to 7-5.
"You see that ship in Buccaneer Cove at Raymond James Stadium?" Winston said. "It's filled with a boatload of confidence.
"We're arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now. And believe me, I know exactly what it's like to argue whether something is 'hot' or not."
Winston passes for 323 yards and 3 scores, and the Bucs win the turnover battle.
Tampa wins, 38-33.
Denver @ Tennessee (-1)
The Titans, who had a Week 13 bye, find themselves locked in a three-way tie in the AFC South after the Texans' loss to Green Bay. They'll face a tough test in the Broncos, who are 3-0 against the AFC South this year by a combined score of 81-39.
"Denver has feasted on our division," Marcus Mariota said. "As you would expect, it tasted bad.
"Jeff Fisher is making headlines for getting a contract extension despite the Rams continuing to be a bad team. Some of his best days were those as Titans head coach. Or should I say, all of his best days were those as Titans head coach."
The Broncos beat the Jaguars 20-10, powered by a dominating day from the Denver defense, which forced 3 turnovers and scored on an interception return. The Broncos improved to 8-4 and currently holds the No. 6 seed in the AFC.
"If the season ended today," Von Miller said, "we'd be the Jaguars, because they were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
"We rushed for 104 yards as a team. Devontae Booker had 18 rushes, but let's face it, our defense leads this team in 'carries,' because we've been carrying this team all year.
"You may have heard that I sent every player in the AFC West a bottle of wine. With one exception, that is. I sent Aldon Smith two."
Titans win, 22-20.
New York Jets @ San Francisco (-1)
The Jets were embarrassed by the Colts, 41-10. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed only 5-of-12 passes for 81 yards before being pulled for Bryce Petty.
"Joe Namath once asked Suzy Kolber if he could kiss her," Todd Bowles said. "I'm not Jeff Fisher; I welcome former players to our sideline, and I encourage signs of affection. I want Namath to show up in his finest fur coat and kiss Fitzpatrick goodbye. And while he's at it, Broadway Joe might as well raise his right index finger and give Petty the news that he's No. 1.
"There were two fans at MetLife Stadium who ran onto the field before being tackled by security. That may be the best guard play we've seen in MetLife Stadium this season."
The 49ers were crushed 26-6 at Soldier Field by the Bears, who held San Fran to 6 yards passing.
"Colin Kaepernick was benched in the fourth quarter," Chip Kelly said. "Surprisingly, the national anthem wasn't playing when it happened. Colin passed for only 4 yards. I think a quarterback who has such a performance should have his contract voided. Luckily, Colin's already taken care of that for us."
What's the saddest part about the Jets/49ers matchup? It this: these two team are evenly matched, which means there are two teams this bad.
Madison Baumgardner tosses 7 shutout innings, and the Giants beat the Mets, 4-2. Sorry, wrong sport. 49ers win, 27-20.
Seattle @ Green Bay (+3)
The Seahawks blasted the visiting Panthers 40-7, avenging last year's division loss to the Panthers in Charlotte. Seattle piled up 240 yards on the ground and held Carolina to 272 total yards.
"I don't make my players wear ties," Pete Carroll said. "That's way too formal for this group. That being said, we demolished the Panthers and made it look 'casual.'"
Aaron Rodgers passed for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Packers won their second game in a row with a 21-13 victory over the Texans. Green Bay trails the Lions by two games in the NFC North.
"I'm still dealing with a sore hamstring," Rodgers said. "It's a lingering injury. So, once again here in Green Bay, people can't stop talking about a quarterback's groin."
Seahawks win, 26-21.
Atlanta @ Los Angeles (+6)
The Falcons lost in stunning fashion, seeing their fourth quarter lead erased by Eric Berry's interception return of Atlanta's 2-point conversion attempt. The Falcons fell to 7-5, tied with Tampa, although Atlanta holds the tiebreaker edge.
"That was Berry's second interception of the game," Ryan said, "which leads me to ask: 'Berry, Berry, why you buggin'?'
"We're going to enjoy our time in L.A. We're going to take in the scenery, look for celebrities, and we might even have lunch at Jeff Fisher's sandwich shop, 'Sub 500,' where you can have your sandwich made 500 different ways."
The Rams were manhandled 26-10 by the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Los Angeles fell to 4-8 and has lost seven of their last eight games.
"You probably saw me fumbling to find my red challenge flag during the Patriots game," Fisher said. "Here's why I couldn't find it: because I keep it in the same pocket in which I keep my winning seasons."
Atlanta wins, 22-17.
Dallas @ New York Giants (+3)
The Cowboys took a hard-fought 17-15 win at Minnesota, running their winning streak to eleven games. Dak Prescott's 8-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant gave the Cowboys the lead in the fourth quarter they would never relinquish.
"Dak is amazing," Jason Garrett said. "He's a rookie playing like a seasoned veteran. Our quarterback feels no pressure, and neither does our opponent's. What I'm saying is the only rush in Dallas comes from the offense."
The Giants lost 24-14 to the Steelers at Heinz Field. New York dropped to 8-4 and currently holds the No. 5 seed in the NFC East.
"We've got a couple of unhappy wide receivers," Eli Manning said. "Victor Cruz is unhappy with his targets, and Odell Beckham, Jr. is unhappy with the officials. As the respected leader of this team, I feel it's my duty to tell them to 'put up and shut up.'"
Beckham grabs 2 TD passes, and the Giants win, 27-24.
Baltimore @ New England (-7)
The Patriots hammered the undermanned Rams, 26-10, limiting Los Angeles to a paltry 162 yards of total offense. Tom Brady threw 1 touchdown pass, while LeGarrette Blount rushed for a score.
"I can out-coach Jeff Fisher blindfolded," Bill Belichick said. "That also seems to be how Rams management determines contract extensions.
"I'm sure a lot of Rams fan, Eric Dickerson included, were thrilled when they heard that Fisher had 'resigned.' Of course, it was clarified with a well-placed hyphen. That made it 're-signed.' Never underestimate the importance of a hyphen. With just a slight move of the hyphen, Fisher's regular-season record goes from 173-163 to 1,731-63. Now, that's a record that should get you a two-year extension."
The Ravens pounded the visiting Dolphins 38-6, led by 381 yards passing and 4 touchdowns from Joe Flacco.
"Is Flacco elite?" Jim Harbaugh said. "He's elite-ish.
"Our offense was great for this game. Our defense has been great in every game. They're No. 1 in the league in total defense. That means they're great at 'holding' teams in check."
Patriots win, 27-23.
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