Note not all games will be mentioned on this.
-Upset Special- Redskins over Ravens. Many people are expecting this to be an easy Redskins win, but I am picking them to win by a very narrow margin because Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco can tear this Redskins 31st passing defense apart. The Ravens defense is not as elite this year as they’ve always been in the past because of injuries to all their key players, especially in the run defense, and I think Rookies RG3 and Alfred Morris will be too tough to stop.
-Falcons over Panthers. Second year Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton hasn’t beaten the Atlanta Falcons in his first 3 tries, but his most offensive success within the NFC South has come against them: Newton averages 242.7 passing yards and 56.3 rushing yards per game against the Falcons. Nevertheless, I am picking the Falcons to win close because of the Panthers recent injuries on defense. Panthers fans should still look for a win because they certainly should’ve beaten them in Week 4
- Patriots over Texans. In what has been hyped as one of the biggest Regular Season games in years, the 11-1 Houston Texans, who haven’t lost a game since Week 6, travel to New England to face the Patriots who could be the only AFC team preventing them from their Franchise’s 1st Superbowl Appearance when it’s all said and done. This is a tough game to predict because it could realistically end up being either a defensive battle or Quarterback Shootout. I like the Patriots to win because they have won their last 20 games in the Second Half of the Season and haven’t lost a game in December since 2009 (12 consecutive wins). The Texans have given up a total of 78 points the last 3 weeks (average of 26 points per game) primarily because of injuries.
This will not be an easy win for the Patriots because stopping Defensive End J.J Watt, who has 16.5 sacks and 15 passes defended and will mostly win Defensive Player of the Year, is incredibly difficult, especially considering the other talented pass-rushers on that Texans defensive front. What I think will be the difference is that the Patriots have players like Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez who must always be accounted for and are truly mismatches. While the injuries to Patriots star Tightend Rob Gronkowski and Receiver Julian Edelman will certainly be a factor in this game, I think it gives Receiver Brandon Lloyd an excellent opportunity to show why he was brought in.
Keep in mind that the Patriots have extra motivation in this game because they need a win to take back the #2 seed (and crucial Bye Week) from the Denver Broncos.
-Chargers give up the 4th most sacks in the NFL (36 so far) and this could doom them against the Steelers who are fighting to hold onto the last AFC Wild Card. Steelers win.
-The 49ers are in Must-Win mode right now because they have a slim lead in the NFC West and travel on the road to face the Patriots and Seahawks in their next 2 games. I just can’t imagine them losing back to back games against teams they should’ve beaten during such a crucial time in the season. 49ers win.
-The Jets are still somehow in playoff contention right now despite their Quarterback woes and can easily handle the Jaguars if they don’t make any mistakes like their Thanksgiving Debacle. Jets win.
-In another upset, I have the Vikings beating the Bears. Injuries are piling up for the Bears right now and winning without Cornerback Tim Jennings and Linebacker Brian Urlacher will be awfully tough. Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder has struggled recently with 2 touchdowns to 3 interceptions and an average of 139 passing yards per game in his last 2 games, but Runningback Adrian Peterson has been playing out of his mind this year with a League Leading 1,446 Rushing Yards (120.5 yards per game) and looks poised to be the 7th man to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, which I predicted before the start of last season. Vikings close win.
-I really wanted to pick the Cowboys to beat the Bengals on Sunday, but the Bengals are also fighting for their playoff lives and having players like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap on their defensive line makes a huge difference against the Cowboys weak offensive line that is even more injured this week. I think if Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo outplays Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton then they will win. The key matchups to pay attention to in this game are how each defense stops the superstar young receiver of the other team i.e A.J Green and Dez Bryant. Bengals win.
-Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford is 0-4 against the Greenbay Packers for his career despite some excellent passing performances (he averages 318.8 passing yards per game against them) and down to the wire games. I like the Packers to extend their winning streak against the Lions to 4 games because they are fighting for their playoff lives and the Lions are on a 4 game losing streak. The Lions should still come close to winning because their 3 losses during this streak have been by 4 or less points and their last 2 losses to the Packers have each been by 4 points. Packers win.