In Week 15, DeSean Jackson and the Eagles watched the Vikings steal an unlikely victory.
Credit the NFL scheduling committee for keeping us tuned in during the playoff push. Six head to head meetings this weekend will bring the post season picture into clearer focus before the regular season finale next weekend.
The Eagles had better get over last weekend’s embarrassing loss in a hurry because the Bears have the NFC North crown in their sights and a win in Philly may be all they need. The Colts and Chiefs could be a potential wild card weekend match up. The Panthers host the Saints with first place in the NFC South on the line. The Cardinals can move one step closer to reserving a playoff spot with a win over the Seahawks. Other games of note: Patriots vs. Ravens and Steelers vs. Packers.
Sunday December 22, 2013
Games beginning at 1:00 pm:
Miami Dolphins (8-6) at Buffalo Bills (5-9) – Miami put it all together in last week’s win over the Patriots. Being tripped up by the Bills or the Jets next week could be disastrous. The Bills have Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller healthy for the first time in weeks.
Dolphins 22 – Bills 14
Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1-) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-5) – The Vikings have made life difficult for anyone looking past them on the schedule. Last week’s 48-30 stunner against the Eagles has put the Bengals on shook status. Cincinnati needs to avoid a slow start.
Bengals 31 – Vikings 20
Denver Broncos (11-3) at Houston Texans (2-12) – Denver’s offense was kept off the field for more than half the game last week against the Chargers. The Texans are facing the wrong team at absolutely the wrong time. Houston’s 13th loss in a row is just about a given.
Broncos 38 – Texans 17
Tennessee Titans (5-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10) – Positioning in the NFL draft and second place in the AFC South are on the line here.
Titans 23 – Jaguars 13
Cleveland Browns (4-10) at NY Jets (6-8) – Say what you will about Geno Smith’s struggles this season. Smith could still lead the Jets to an 8-8 record. Not bad for the rookie quarterback who’s played against a stacked deck since the NFL Draft.
Jets 26 – Browns 17
New Orleans Saints (10-4) at Carolina Panthers (10-4) – The Saints played from behind last week and were unable to work their rushing attack into the game plan against the Rams. Carolina has all the momentum it needs going into today’s contest and cannot afford to waste this golden opportunity.
Panthers 30 – Saints 21
Indianapolis Colts (9-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) – Jamaal Charles could replicate last week’s superhuman effort against a terrible Indianapolis defense. The Colts have to win the time of possession battle and avoid getting caught up in a shootout. Freezing temperatures and snow are in the forecast.
Chiefs 27 – Colts 20
Dallas Cowboys (7-7) at DC (3-11) – The Cowboys are facing their third second-string quarterback in as many weeks. Last week’s collapse has everyone anticipating the worst. DC’s Kirk Cousins has to cut down on turnovers and use Alfred Morris to the max. If the coaching staff is wise, DeMarco Murray gets close to 30 carries.
DC 27 – Cowboys 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) at St. Louis Rams (6-8) – Running back Zac Stacy has been a shot in the arm for the Rams offense after the team lost quarterback Sam Bradford. The Bucs came to life in the second half of the season, but last week’s pounding from the 49ers may have been the kill shot.
Rams 30 – Bucs 17
Games beginning at 4:00 pm or later:
NY Giants (5-9) at Detroit Lions (7-7) – Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler missed a combined 13 weeks and the Lions still could not take their division by the throat. The Giants were thoroughly embarrassed against the Seahawks. I expect them to come out this week like nothing happened.
Giants 24 – Lions 23
Arizona Cardinals (9-5) at Seattle Seahawks (12-2) – I don’t know if everyone is paying attention to the season Carson Palmer is having, but the man deserves some credit after a terrible stretch. Arizona will not lay down in their final two games (next week against SF). Seattle’s defense picked off Palmer twice and sacked him seven times in their first meeting.
Seahawks 28 – Cardinals 27
Oakland Raiders (4-11) at San Diego Chargers (7-7) – Phillip Rivers and the Chargers waited longer than usual to begin their post season charge. Matt McGloin is making his case to play full-time in Oakland or elsewhere else next season, ditto Rashard Jennings.
Chargers 27 – Raiders 23
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) at Green Bay Packers (7-6-1) – When you win the way the Packers did last week, you have to believe you’re destined for bigger things. The Pack have struggled without Aaron Rodgers, but they’ve won when it counted the most. The Steelers are still hanging on to hope and plenty of help.
Packers 28 – Steelers 17
New England Patriots (10-4) at Baltimore Ravens (8-6) – There was no late comeback for the Patriots last week and the possibility of home field in the post season may be lost. The Ravens are 4-1 down the stretch and still in the running to win the AFC North.
Ravens 27 – Patriots 22
Chicago Bears (8-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (8-6) – If the Eagles secondary was taken apart last week by Minnesota’s Matt Cassell and Greg Jennings what do you think Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall could do? No one was more embarrassed than LeSean McCoy — who was out rushed by quarterback Nick Foles. Both teams will know what they will be playing for next week by the time they take the field.
Eagles 34 – Bears 30
Monday December 23, 2013 8:40 pm:
Atlanta Falcons (4-10) at San Francisco 49ers (10-4) – The Niners play their last regular season game at Candlestick Park. The Falcons have looked better in recent weeks and could give San Francisco some trouble if they can find an offensive balance.
Niners 27 – Falcons 21
Last Week: 10-6
2013 Season: 118-82-1