TEM’s NFL Football Predictions- Week 15
The NFL season is winding down and there are still tight races going in each conference. Teams are running out of time to make it. This weekend should be interesting!
San Francisco vs. San Diego
The 49ers travel to San Diego in this battle of California teams. QB Alex Smith looked impressive last week versus the Seahawks, but this week is a different week and he has a tougher defense to decipher in the Chargers. He must be smart with the football and he must have help from RB Brian Westbrook. QB Phillip Rivers has been playing well and he must play even better this week. His precision passing and a little help from the running game should carry the Chargers.
Prediction: San Diego 27, San Francisco 17
Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
Cleveland travels to the Queen City to take on a slumping Bengals team. Cleveland may not have QB Colt McCoy again this week. If he doesn’t play, then we will all be subjected to the quarterback play of Jake Delhomme. If Delhomme just has to hand the ball off, then he will be ok. If he has to throw it for the Browns to win, the Browns could be in trouble. On the other side, QB Carson Palmer and the Bengals can’t get it going. Expect Palmer to have some success this week, but the difference in this game will be the running game and I will take RB Peyton Hillis of the Browns over Cedric Benson of the Bengals. He will control the clock and lead the Browns to the winner circle.
Prediction: Cleveland 23, Cincinnati 17
Washington vs. Dallas
Washington travels to Big D for this NFC East rivalry. Washington QB Donovan McNabb has been struggling lately. For the Redskins to succeed they will need a WR to step up and take some pressure off RB Ryan Torrain and the running game. Cowboys QB John Kitna has been playing very well lately and he now faces a bad pass defense. Expect the Cowboys to stick to the gameplan and run the football to set up big plays in the passing game with TE Jason Witten, WR Miles Austin and company. Expect the Redskins to have trouble keeping up with the Cowboys.
Prediction: Dallas 26, Washington 17
Houston vs. Tennessee
Houston travels to Tennessee for what could be the last home game for Head Coach Jeff Fisher as coach of the Titans. Texans QB Matt Schuab has been playing well. He just needs his receivers to hang on to the ball. If they hang on to the ball, they should make some big plays in the passing game. RB Arian Foster will take care of business on the ground. The Titans will head into this game banged up. QB Kerry Collins will probably get blitzed a lot this game. When he is, he must locate WR Kenny Britt. If he is successful beating the blitz, the Texans will have to back up and that will open lanes for RB Chris Johnson. The Texans will be fired up and I expect them and their myriad of weapons to overwhelm the Titans.
Prediction: Houston 24, Tennessee 14
Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis
Jacksonville heads to Indianapolis to take on a desperate Colts team. RB Maurice Jones-Drew is the key to the Jaguars offense. If he gets going, then the Colts are in trouble and Garrard will have an easy time. If he doesn’t get going, DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will wreak havoc. QB Peyton Manning will have to carry his offense because of the lack of a running game. WR Pierre Garcon has to be special this game. Ultimately, the Jags consistency and the Colts weaknesses on offense and defense will be the difference.
Prediction: Jacksonville 31, Indianapolis 28
Kansas City vs. St. Louis
The Chiefs travel to the Rams in this battle of the Show Me State. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel is doubtful to play this game, but with the Chiefs losing ground in the division, I expect him to play. Cassel’s presence will help open up things in the running game for RB Jamal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe should benefit from having his starting QB back. Rams QB Sam Bradford has been playing well all season. This week he must get help from RB Stephen Jackson in the running game. If Jackson runs the ball well, Chiefs pass rusher Tamba Hali will have to slow down to play the run and that will give Bradford more time in the pocket. This game should be a good battle, but the Chiefs have more weapons and will ultimately impose their will on the Rams.
Prediction: Kansas City 24, St. Louis 20
Buffalo vs. Miami
Buffalo travels to South Beach to take on a confident Dolphins team. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has been playing well, but the key to this team is RB Fred Jackson. If Jackson is successful running the ball this week, Fitzpatrick should have some more chances to make big plays in the passing game. Miami QB Chad Henne still is having issues with protecting the ball. He must protect the ball and use his weapons for the Dolphins to win. If he doesn’t, Buffalo will make the Dolphins pay. The difference in this game will be that Henne can’t play mistake-free football.
Prediction: Buffalo 27, Miami 23
Philadelphia vs. New York Giants
Philly travels to New York to take on the Giants for supremacy in the NFC East. QB Michael Vick has come back down to Earth after his great start. Even with that, he has still been giving defenses fits. Vick must continue to make big plays with his arm and his legs. He must also get some help from RB Shady McCoy. The Giants must continue to run the football with the efficiency. If RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw control the game, QB Eli Manning will have an easier time trying to find open spaces to make big plays with his TEs and WRs. The loss of WR Steve Smith is big for them and will be felt this game.
Prediction: Philadelphia 31, NY Giants 24
Detroit vs. Tampa Bay
Detroit travels to Raymond James Stadium to take on the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No QB decision has been made at this time, but I expect that Shaun Hill will start this game. If he does, expect him to be precise in the passing game. If not, backup QB Drew Stanton will have to go out and use his legs and arm to beat the Lions. The main thing is no matter who starts the game, the Lions must have a running game. If not, they will have a long game no matter what QB starts. QB josh Freeman has been clutch all year. I expect him to come out this game and carry the Bucs down the stretch like we have come accustom to seeing him do this year. This game could be close, but Freeman will be the difference.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, Detroit 21
Arizona vs. Carolina
The Cardinal fly east to take on the Panthers in what could be the most uninteresting game in football this weekend. Cardinals rookie QB John Skelton gets the start again this week. He must have RBs Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells be effective. If the game is in his hands, the Cardinals could be in for a long day. Fellow rookie QB Jimmy Claussen must be better this week. He must be decisive with his passes this game. He, like Skelton, must also have his running game come through. The difference in this game will be that Carolina’s front 7 can create pressure, where the Cardinals front 7 cannot.
Prediction: Carolina 24, Arizona 13
New Orleans vs. Baltimore
The Saint travel to Baltimore in this huge NFC vs. AFC battle. QB Drew Brees has been electric the last few games and he got a major weapon back last week in RB Pierre Thomas. Thomas gives the Saints the running game they need to suck the LBs up. Brees should have some alleys to make some big plays only if they can block OLB Terrell Suggs. QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense have been starting very slow all season. In this game they must start fast to keep up with the Saints. In the end, the Ravens will start slow again and that will be the difference in the game.
Prediction: New Orleans 27, Baltimore 23
Atlanta vs, Seattle
The Falcons travel west to take on the suddenly cold Falcons. QB Matt Ryan should be able to take advantage of a secondary that has been torched the last few weeks. What will make that easier is that he has a consistent running game. RB Michael Turner has been busting through defenses the last few weeks. QB Matt Hasselbeck has been struggling the last few weeks. He must come out his doldrums and carry this offense if the Seahawks have any chance to win.
Prediction: Atlanta 34, Seattle 17
Denver vs. Oakland
Denver travels to the Black Hole this week to take on the much-improved Oakland Raiders. QB Kyle Orton must play better than he did last week for the Broncos to have a chance. For Oakland, they must get the ball to RB Darren McFadden any way they can. His dynamic play-making ability should give the Broncos fits all day.
Prediction: Oakland 31, Denver 14
New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh
The Jets travel to Steel City to take on a Pittsburgh team that’s hitting its stride. QB Mark Sanchez must get it together for the Jets. They will only go as far as he takes them. He must value the football, command the huddle and make plays. RB LaDanlian Tomlinson must also get back to his early season form, which will be tough to do because of the Steeler front 7. QB Ben Roethlisburger must continue to command the offense. They must get more explosive plays out of WR Mike Wallace and they must feed the ball to RB Rashad Mendenhall. If the Steelers do that, they should handle business against the Jets.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 20, NY Jets 13
Green Bay vs. New England
Green Bay travels to Foxboro to take on the hottest team in football, the New England Patriots. Its uncertain whether Green Bay starting QB Aaron Rodgers will play this weekend. If he plays, Green Bay will have a puncher’s chance to beat the Packers. Rodgers is a precision passer with a strong arm that could make life hard on the Patriot defense. If Rodgers doesn’t play, Flynn will be blitzed from all angles. QB Tom Brady vs. Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers should be a good matchup. Expect the Packer defense to make some plays, but Tom Brady is playing out of his mind, so the Patriots will march on at home.
Prediction: New England 27, Green Bay 17
Chicago vs. Minnesota
The Bears travel to Minnesota looking to regain their pride. QB Jay Cutler was ineffective last week in his matchuo against Tom Brady. Look for him to come out focused and ready this week. Also, I expect the Bears will run the ball with RB Matt Forte as well. Its not known who the starting QB will be for the Vikings as Farve is still hurt and Tavaris Jackson has been placed on Injured Reserve with a toe injury. Whoever the QB is, they must depend on RB Adrian Peterson. If Peterson doesn’t get it going, the Vikings have no chance.
Prediction: Chicago 23, Minnesota 16
These are my predictions for the week. If you feel you have what it takes to challenge me, put your picks up and step up to the plate. Let the games begin!