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Nov. 4, 2012

NFL Week Nine Predictions

by Jacob Buchholz, Online Sports Editor, Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief, Michael Gerbasi, Online Sports Editor and Josh Schmidt, Print Sports Editor
The NFL has reached its halfway point, and still many questions remain unanswered. Can anyone but the Giants compete in the NFC East? Are the Falcons too good to lose? Will the Ravens' defense re-establish itself as a force without Ray Lewis? And of course, how long until Tim Tebow starts for the Jets?

These are the questions that your SCO analysts will have to answer as the second half of the season gets underway. Their answers will prove essential, as the standings remain very close with Jacob still holding a slight lead and Michael making ground every week as he attempts to come from behind.

Newton will be facing off with his younger self, RG3. Courtesy of AP
Newton will be facing off with his younger self, RG3.
Standings:
Jacob: 76-42
Jack: 73-45
Josh: 69-49
Michael: 67-51

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
Jacob: Chargers
Jack: Chargers
Michael: Chargers
Josh: Chargers

Jacob says:
The Chiefs have yet to lead a game this season during regulation. All of the Chargers problems will go away against Kansas City.
Jack says:
The Chiefs are looking like the worst team in the league right now, so expect Phillip Rivers and the Chargers to be all over them.
Michael says:
Matt Cassel back starting at QB means an automatic loss. Not only have the Chiefs not ran an offensive play while leading so far this season but Matt Cassel has more turnovers than every single other NFL team except for three. In addition, he has thrown more interceptions than TDs. I like San Diego to easily take care of business.
Josh says:
This is simply the worst primetime match up ever. Can Nielsen ratings go negative?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers
Jacob: Packers
Jack: Packers
Michael: Packers
Josh: Packers

Jacob says:
The Packers have won three in a row after their slow start and the Cardinals have lost four in a row after their fast start. Nothing is changing here.
Jack says:
The Packers are finally re-emerging as one of the elite teams in the league. Although Aaron Rodgers was held to under 200 yards in the Packers’ win over Jacksonville last week, don’t expect this statistic to repeat itself this week. Rodgers will bounce back with a huge game. The Cardinals started the season hot but have faded. Expect them to continue their downward spiral.
Michael says:
The Pack could be back. Green Bay is emerging and Arizona is fading, I give the edge to Green Bay. The Cardinals are coming back to reality.
Josh says:
The Cardinals days of being 4-0 are long gone as they have dropped four straight and will likely drop a fifth here. Remember when they beat the Patriots?

Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacob: Lions
Jack: Lions
Michael: Lions
Josh: Lions

Jacob says:
Neither team has a lot going for them right now but at least you expect the Lions to snap out of it. I can’t say the same about the Jaguars.
Jack says:
The Lions surprised a lot of people last week when they grinded out a win against the surprisingly good Seahawks. The Jaguars will give them a much easier time. Expect Matt Stafford and Megatron to have breakout games as the Lions improve to 4-4 on the year.
Michael says:
Detroit, coming off a last minute win last week, I think will take this game. Jacksonville cannot keep up with the Lions' O no matter how bad the Detroit defense is. Also, I think the Lions are playing with a chip on their shoulders and win one back for the Tigers.
Josh says:
Calvin Johnson has been more MIA than Megatron this season with only 638 yards and one touchdown through seven games. But the Jaguars whole has basically been MIA for the past few years, so the Lions will be able to get back to .500 in the ultra competitive NFC North.

Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans
Jacob: Bears
Jack: Bears
Michael: Bears
Josh: Bears

Jacob says:
Jay Cutler is the luckiest man on earth. He plays terribly every week and yet his team is 6-1 midway through the season. Six defensive touchdowns along with thirteen field goals from Robbie Gould are keeping the Bears in good shape.
Jack says:
Jay Cutler led the Bears on a nice comeback last week to sink the Panthers. No comeback will be necessary for Cutler’s Bears this week as they will roll over the Titans.
Michael says:
I think the Bears will focus in on not letting Chris Johnson go off again. The Chicago defense is good enough to accomplish this task, no matter how tough it might be. The Titans' D has no answer for Cutler, Marshall and the Bears' offense.
Josh says:
The Bears are the most underrated team in the NFL. I’d pick them in a game against the Falcons any day with their ball hawking defense and the tandem of Jay Cutler to go with Brandon Marshall. As long as they can stay focused and avoid falling into traps like what almost happened last week they’ll be a force throughout the postseason.

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals
Jacob: Broncos
Jack: Broncos
Michael: Broncos
Josh: Broncos

Jacob says:
Peyton Manning proved a whole lot last week as he has all season long. Meanwhile the defense stepped up and Willis McGahee has had a revival of his own. The Broncos are not going to lose another game all season.
Jack says:
With Peyton Manning returning to superstar status, the Broncos have looked like one of the better teams in the league. The time to beat the Broncos was early in the season, when Manning was getting acclimated to the Denver offense. Now that Manning is finally getting comfortable, don’t expect the Broncos to lose many more games the rest of this season.
Michael says:
No lost respect for Cincinnati, they are a good team, I just think Peyton Manning and this offense is too good. Manning is just starting to gain complete control over the offense, which put up 34 points last week. And they are only getting better, which should be scary for teams who have the Broncos remaining on their schedule.
Josh says:
The Peyton Manning days of old are back! Manning has been on a roll of late and it won’t stop against this slipping and sliding Bengals team.

Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins
Jacob: Panthers
Jack: Redskins
Michael: Redskins
Josh: Redskins

Jacob says:
Cam Newton is going to be energized as he faces his constant comparison. Everything else will take backstage to the offensive battle between Newton and Griffin III. Despite some struggles, Newton will win this one.
Jack says:
RG3 will get the better of Cam Newton in this battle of young quarterbacks. For the Redskins, this is a must win game, and they will get the big W.
Michael says:
Cam Newton versus RGIII, what a match up. I give the slight edge to the rookie because he has the best overall QB rating on fourth quarter drives in which your team is trailing with less than four minutes. Newton has also been struggling lately and until he shows that he is back, I like Washington to win.
Josh says:
I know, I know. I picked them the past two weeks and they’ve dropped both. But the Panthers are really struggling right now, especially on defense. But so are the Redskins...This pick is tough. It’ll likely be an offense showcase with two dynamic quarterbacks.

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Jacob: Ravens
Jack: Ravens
Michael: Ravens
Josh: Ravens

Jacob says:
The Ravens have won ten in a row against division opponents and although their crushing loss at the hands of the Texans may have taken them back a notch, this is still one of the top teams in the AFC.
Jack says:
Although the Browns are a much better team than their record suggests, the Ravens will get the better of them in this one. This game could go either way, and it should be close all the way through.
Michael says:
I like Weeden and Richardson and the Browns, but the Ravens, even as banged up as they are, are still good enough to pull this one out. With Terrell Suggs in his second week back, I think he will have a much better game and the rest of that defense steps up to keep Cleveland at bay.
Josh says:
The Ravens might be down with injuries and an out-of-sync offense, but this is the Browns we’re talking about. No way Baltimore drops this one.

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts
Jacob: Dolphins
Jack: Colts
Michael: Colts
Josh: Dolphins

Jacob says:
Both of these teams have rookie quarterbacks, they are both 4-3 and they are both looking like surprise contenders midway through the season. However, the Dolphins have proved a lot more this season than the Colts. Luck has lived up to everybody’s expectations but the Dolphins defense is much better than they are given credit for, Reggie Bush is lighting it up on offense and Ryan Tannehill is coming back from his injury.
Jack says:
Andrew Luck will be the difference in this game. Both teams have been surprisingly good thus far, but the Colts have the better quarterback. Indy will get the win.
Michael says:
All due respect to the Dolphins and their three straight wins, but I like the Colts in this game. Not only has Andrew Luck worked wonders for this offense, but the recent emergence of Vic Ballard has been crucial to their offensive success. The Colts are also getting back defensive lineman Robert Mathis, who had five sacks through his first four games. I think he will make an impact on defense and help end Miami's win streak at three.
Josh says:
Even with Matt Moore at the helm the Dolphins will be able to overtake this weak Colts team. Miami may just be able to sneak into the playoffs especially with the AFC struggling as a whole this year.

Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans
Jacob: Texans
Jack: Texans
Michael: Texans
Josh: Texans

Jacob says:
The Texans are the best team in the NFL. Yes, that is including the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. The Bills will be no match.
Jack says:
Arian Foster and the Texans will turn this one into a laugher real quick.
Michael says:
The Bills' defense is horrible. No way they stand up to the explosive Houston offense and no way the Bills get anything going against the stingy Houston defense as well. The Texans win easily.
Josh says:
See what you’re missing Mario Williams? You may have gotten a few extra dollars with the Bills, but sticking with the Texans you would have gotten a few extra wins.

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks
Jacob: Vikings
Jack: Seahawks
Michael: Seahawks
Josh: Seahawks

Jacob says:
The Vikings were hot but they have slowed down a fair amount. As long as Adrian Peterson is playing like Adrian Peterson, they will be fine.
Jack says:
The Seahawks’ stadium is the toughest to play at in the league. The loud noises will cause young Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder all sorts of problems at the line. The stingy Seahawks’ secondary won’t make things any easier for Ponder or the rest of the Vikings’ offense.
Michael says:
I would take the Vikings in this game, but then I realized it was in Seattle. The Seahawks have the best record at home of any NFL team. Also, the Seahawks' defense specializes in stopping the run, which they will see a lot of from Adrian Peterson. The Seattle D will be up for the task, however, and Seattle takes this one at home.
Josh says:
Christian Ponder will be mauled by the Seahawks’ aggressive defense and this time around Adrian Peterson won’t able to bail him out. Both teams have good pass rushes, but the Seattle home field advantage is so great it makes their pass rush that much better.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Oakland Raiders
Jacob: Buccaneers
Jack: Buccaneers
Michael: Raiders
Josh: Buccaneers

Jacob says:
Carson Palmer is quietly putting together a pretty impressive season while Josh Freeman is taking the Bucs on another roller coaster ride. However, over the last three weeks Freeman has been much more consistent, and very good. During that span Freeman is averaging 336 passing yards per game and he has thrown nine touchdowns and only one interception.
Jack says:
Josh Freeman has looked great lately, and don’t expect the Raiders defense to do anything about it. Freeman threw for three TDs last week against Minnesota, so look for him to at least match that total.
Michael says:
This is a tough game, but I like the Raiders. The Bucs' largest defensive flaw is their run defense and the loss of Aquib Talib will not help this. The Raiders, they love to run the ball with McFadden, as he is their most explosive player. The game really comes down to if the Oakland defense can hold down the fort. If they can do a decent job, the Raiders win.
Josh says:
Tampa will move back to .500.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants
Jacob: Steelers
Jack: Giants
Michael: Giants
Josh: Giants

Jacob says:
It is time for the Giants to come back to reality. They are a good team with the potential for huge plays. They also barely escaped with wins against Dallas and Washington and their defense has been mediocre at best. This one goes to the Steelers.
Jack says:
The Giants are one of the best teams in the league right now. Coming off a big win in Dallas last week, the Giants will beat the Steelers handily.
Michael says:
With all of the Steelers' injuries, aging and flaws on defense, they could survive a team like the Redskins, but not the Giants. Eli Manning is as good a QB as there is right now and Victor Cruz is as good a receiver as there is right now. I like the Giants to put up some points on the aging "Iron Curtain.”
Josh says:
At least one of these teams has been in the Super Bowl every year except two since 2005. Impressive for two of the top drafted quarterbacks in the 2004 draft. What have you done Phillip Rivers?

Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons
Jacob: Falcons
Jack: Falcons
Michael: Falcons
Josh: Falcons

Jacob says:
Every game is a close one with the Cowboys but they have yet to prove that they are anywhere near the level of the Falcons. The Falcons will just keep on winning.
Jack says:
Atlanta is possibly the best team in the league right now. No way the Cowboys will snap the Falcons’ undefeated streak.
Michael says:
The Falcons, having their leading tackler on defense out, will be tested this week. I look for the offense to pick up the slack, however, seeing as the Boys also have their best defensive player injured. I give the edge to Atlanta over Dallas.
Josh says:
Who really knows what you’ll ever get from this Dallas team? One minute they’re being beaten up all over the place and the next they’re playing out of their minds. At least be constant boys.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
Jacob: Saints
Jack: Saints
Michael: Saints
Josh: Eagles

Jacob says:
The Saints were finally starting to look like the Saints again when the Broncos struck and crushed them last week. At home against Philly will be a whole different scenario and one that ends much better for New Orleans.
Jack says:
I am feeling the Saints in this one. This is the beginning of the end for Mike Vick and the Eagles.
Michael says:
For the most part, I've just got a gut feeling. I think the New Orleans O-line steps up to protect Drew Brees against the good Philadelphia D-line. This will make it easier on Brees and consequently the entire offense. Since the Eagles are a turnover machine (one of the teams with more turnovers than Matt Cassel) I think the Saints' D will not have a particularly hard time.
Josh says:
Michael Vick will redeem himself in the eyes of the Philly faithful.



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