Silver Chips Online

NFL - Week Fourteen predictions

By Andrew Kung, Online Sports Editor and Copy Editor, Pia Nargundkar, Online Editor-in-Chief and Anshul Sood, Online Sports Editor
December 6, 2007
Apparently, Joe Gibbs has yet to master the art of icing the kicker, "unsportsmanly" calling consecutive timeouts and all but handing the Bills a win on Sunday. Our Redskins get a shot at redemption in the latest Thursday night game, taking on the Chicago Bears at home. Elsewhere around the league, the Patriots get a tough test against Pittsburgh after looking awfully vulnerable the past two weeks while teams like San Diego, Minnesota and Cleveland (wait, really?) fight for playoff spots.

And like in the real life standings, our experts are entangled in a vicious battle for supremacy, with Nitin and Pia tied for first. Last week was ugly for everyone except upset-minded Andrew, whose freewheeling ways actually paid off for once. As the season winds down and the pressure builds, we'll see once and for all who comes through in the clutch with eternal bragging rights at stake.

Standings:

Last weekSeason total
Nitin 5-11115-77
Pia 6-10 115-77
Anshul6-10 111-81
Andrew 11-5 111-81


Thursday December 6, 2007

Chicago Bears (5-7) at Washington Redskins (5-7)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Chicago Washington Washington Washington

Andrew says: With the playoffs almost certainly out of reach, the 'Skins might as well just play for draft position now. Chicago's Adrian Peterson, while vastly inferior to Minnesota's version, is still a very capable player who is thriving in the starting role.

Nitin says: Both Washington and Chicago are on the outer lane in the race for the second NFC wild card. After an emotional battle last week, the 'Skins look to get back in the right mindset and finish strong. (Just don't kick to you-know-who. Please.)

Pia says: This is a crucial game for the Redskins' dwindling playoff chances. If Joe Gibbs can remember basic football rules and Clinton Portis can remember how to run, the Redskins can finally see a W in their column.

Anshul says: So Gibbs messed up with two consecutive timeouts. He only needs to remember one thing to win this game: DO NOT KICK TO DEVIN HESTER.


Sunday December 9, 2007

Arizona Cardinals (6-6) at Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Seattle Seattle Arizona Seattle

Andrew says: The Arizona offense is too nicked up to keep pace with the Seahawks.

Nitin says: 'Zona's double-headed receiving threat of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin is slowly succumbing to injury. I wouldn't put the pass-heavy Cardinals' offense on WR Bryant Johnson's shoulders.

Pia says: Arizona won the season's first match-up between these two NFC West rivals, and will win this one for the sweep. The Seahawks aren't as impressive as their record might indicate, especially with their starting quarterback and running back both sore.

Anshul says: Both teams have been plagued by injuries, but the Seahawks are still somehow winning their games. With their home crowd behind them, they should handle the Cardinals.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) at New England Patriots (11-0)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
New England New England Pittsburgh New England

Andrew says: The black and gold are probably the last major hurdle in New England's path to 16-0. As they have demonstrated the past two weeks, the Patriots are just as capable of winning in a squeaker as they are in the a blowout.

Nitin says: It's too hard to pick against these guys. Two underachieving teams came so close to putting away the Pats... but let's not forget that "so close" will never, ever be enough. Fourth quarters have belonged to the Patriots all season long. Pittsburgh has a shot if injured WR Santonio Holmes and SS Troy Polamalu return, but even then their chances look bleak. Belichick finally decided to give his team some extra rest and that might be all New England needs to get its defense back on track.

Pia says: Even after all the suspicious activities of the last two weeks I can't say that I buy into this whole conspiracy theory. If anyone is going to stop the Pats, it's the Steelers, and I'm all for it.

Anshul says: The Patriots have come away with two close wins these last two weeks. Pittsburgh seems ready to jump on this and derail the perfect Pats, but injuries to their starters is not going to help. New England is ready now to start destroying opponents again and what better way to make that statement than to take out the Steelers.

Miami Dolphins (0-12) at Buffalo Bills (6-6)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

Andrew says: Seriously, who are these guys? Fred Jackson is the latest in the list of unheralded running backs who have made their mark in 2007.

Nitin says: If Miami needed any more bad news, they got it; MLB Zach Thomas won't be back this season. Buffalo is putting up a surprising fight for a playoff bid, so every game counts. Coach Dick Jauron should rest the recovering Marshawn Lynch for another week, rather than risk re-injury against the lowly, soon to be perfectly bad Dolphins.

Pia says: Uh, sorry, not this week either, Miami.

Anshul says: Miami blew their only real chance at a win last week to the Jets, so its looks like 0-16 for them.

Dallas Cowboys (11-1) at Detroit Lions (6-6)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Dallas Dallas Dallas Dallas

Andrew says: Remember last year's New Year's Eve upset that saw the then 2-13 Lions take out the playoff-bound Cowboys? If not, that's too bad, because it ain't happening again. The Cowboys roll, sending the Lions to their sixth straight loss.

Nitin says: The Lions have slipped from contender to pretender in the last four weeks. WR Calvin Johnson needs to step it up for Detroit, give fans hope for the future and prove there was some reasoning behind skipping over rookie sensation Adrian Peterson in the 2007 draft.

Pia says: The Cowboys established themselves as the NFC powerhouse in last week's game against the Packers. Now it's all chump change.

Anshul says: After a 6-3 start, the Lions have lost three straight and Kitna's 10-win hopes are over.

Carolina Panthers (5-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville

Andrew says: The return of stud defensive tackle Marcus Stroud to the Jacksonville defense won't be necessary against a deplorable Carolina team that lost five in a row prior to last week's cupcake against the Niners.

Nitin says: It seems unbelievable that the Panthers are still in the playoff hunt, given their endless list of struggles both offensively and defensively. I guess they did manage to pull off a win against the league's worst offense, though.

Pia says: The Jaguars are sure to be itching for a win after last week's close game against their division leaders, the Colts. The Panthers are coming off their first home win all season. I think the Jaguars have a little more going for them.

Anshul says: The Jags may have lost to the Colts last week, but they are still playing really well. Garrard has only thrown one interception and they boast the second best rush offense in the league right now.

Oakland Raiders (4-8) at Green Bay Packers (10-2)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Green Bay Green Bay Green Bay Green Bay

Andrew says: Brett Favre keeps his streak alive, but it's Ryan Grant who does all the work against the porous Raiders ground defense.

Nitin says: Oakland has won two straight, but it ends here. Now the Packers know that when Brett Favre retires ten years from now, they can squeeze out a couple solid years from Aaron Rodgers.

Pia says: A bruised elbow won't stop Brett Favre from making his 250th consecutive start, and the pitiful Raiders won't stop the Packers from recovering from last week's disappointing loss.

Anshul says: I'm still not sure how the Raiders won last week, but the Packers will beat them. Either Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers starts and either can beat Oakland.

St. Louis Rams (3-9) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-8)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
St. Louis Cincinnati St. Louis Cincinnati

Andrew says: Carson Palmer has been mercurial, at best

Nitin says: St. Louis' D has looked surprisingly solid lately, but I always have faith in the huge potential from Cincinnati's endless weapons.

Pia says: The Bengals will repeat history and once again suffer a December-slump, leaving the Rams to wish they were this lucky at the beginning of the season.

Anshul says: Both of these teams have been disgraces this season. But the Bengals offense seems to be improving, despite losses.

San Diego Chargers (7-5) at Tennessee Titans (7-5)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Tennessee San Diego San Diego San Diego

Andrew says: What a difference Albert Haynesworth makes for Tennessee - the Titans are 7-2 with him and 0-3 without him. It looks like he will suit up on San Diego, and though stopping LT is out of the question, containment, and a Tennessee victory, is definitely possible.

Nitin says: Shawne Merriman can put the lights out for the Titan's playoff hopes this week. Tennessee's Vince Young won't be able to avoid losing and looking bad at the same time.

Pia says: With both teams having very inconsistent quarterbacks, the Chargers will rely on their superior run game and defense to put them on top.

Anshul says: Vince Young is feeling the Madden curse now and his team looks like they are on the way down. Meanwhile the Chargers have stepped up their play and should take care of the Titans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-4) at Houston Texans (5-7)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay

Andrew says: Sage Rosenfels? No thanks.

Nitin says: Tampa finally has a reliable running back to complement Joey Galloway and Jeff Garcia. Earnest Graham will be all over the field in Houston.

Pia says: If Tampa Bay can surge with their backup quarterback playing, I'm pretty sure they can take the Texans on with Jeff Garcia back.

Anshul says: The 4 Gs (Garcia, Galloway, Graham, and Gruden) are starting to roll with their team and the Texans are only going to fuel the fire.

New York Giants (8-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
New York New York Philadelphia New York


Andrew says: Eli Manning has commenced his traditional late-season meltdown, throwing eight picks to just four touchdowns in his past four contests. That said, Brandon Jacobs should be back in pads for the G-men, and the Eagles are playing a gimpy Donovan McNabb, who posted a 0.4 QB rating his last time out (and no, that's not a typo).

Nitin says: Eli was nothing short of impressive when it mattered most against the Bears, while A.J. seemed to lose his motivation against the Seahawks. The Giants need to build some serious momentum if they want to take down Goliath in Week 17.

Pia says: If the last two games are any indicator, Eli Manning has forgotten how to play football and seems to think that throwing to the opposition is the way to score points. I guess it's a good thing after all that he didn't go the Chargers when they drafted him.

Anshul says: It seems that Eli Manning is returning to his old self, but his defense is still holding strong. He needs to have a good game and I think he'll find it in Philly.

Minnesota Vikings (6-6) at San Francisco 49ers (3-9)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota

Andrew says: Looking back, it's hard to believe that so many people were high on the Niners in the preseason. I think high is the proper terminology here.

Nitin says: Who knew the Vikings could be so effective offensively even with a disgusting passing game? Both of Minnesota's running backs and its offensive line can make a playoff run a huge possibility.

Pia says: With their star running back healthy, the Vikings are ready to plunder the hapless 49ers.

Anshul says: Adrian Peterson is back and the Vikings are set to starting rolling again. A disgraceful 49ers team stands no chance.

Cleveland Browns (7-5) at New York Jets (3-9)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Cleveland Cleveland Cleveland Cleveland

Andrew says: The Browns were robbed of a win last week, thanks to a non-call after Kellen Winslow was clearly pushed out of bounds in the end zone. Against the lowly Jets though, it won't even come down to the final quarter, much less the final play.

Nitin says: Derek Anderson has to be loving the rest of Cleveland's schedule starting this week. Saying Anderson will have Tom Brady-like numbers over the next four games isn't much of a bold prediction.

Pia says: The Browns need all the easy match-ups that they can get if they want to make only their second playoff appearance in a decade.

Anshul says: Derek Anderson didn't have one of his best games last week, but the Jets haven't really had a good game all season (except against Miami). Cleveland wins and continues to pressure the Steelers for the division title.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-8) at Denver Broncos (5-7)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Denver Kansas City Denver Denver

Andrew says: The Chiefs have lost every game since Larry Johnson went down. Since LJ won't be suiting up on Sunday, a win on the road would be too much to ask.

Nitin says: Kansas and Denver both have a chance at second place in the AFC West, not that it means much for the playoffs anymore. The Chiefs' Kolby Smith gets a shot at one of the worst run defenses in the league and will make the most of it.

Pia says: The Broncos' have dropped two straight and are now barely holding on to their playoff chances. A game against the Chiefs, who have lost five straight, is just what the Broncos need to get back on track.

Anshul says: Both of these teams haven't really played well this season. Denver needs this win to keep moving forward this season.

Indianapolis Colts (10-2) at Baltimore Ravens (4-7)

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Baltimore

Andrew says: Kyle Boller has looked sharp, but he's still light years away from his counterpart on the opposing sideline.

Nitin says: The Colts could use a little help from Marvin Harrison, but there's no need to rush him back onto the field -- Peyton is back to his 120-ish QB rating self.

Pia says: An impressive show last week by the Ravens against the NFL's finest still underlines one basic point: the Ravens can't close games. It doesn't look any better for Baltimore this week, against the AFC's second-best team.

Anshul says: The Baltimore defense and offense looked good last week, but penalties are killing the Ravens. Since I picked them to beat the Patriots, I feel obligated to pick them over the Colts.



Monday December 10, 2007

New Orleans Saints (5-7) at Atlanta Falcons (3-9)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
New Orleans Atlanta New Orleans New Orleans

Andrew says: Reggie Bush came through in the clutch the last time these two teams met in week seven, and should salvage a forgettable sophomore season with a strong showing here.

Nitin says: I've never heard of Atlanta's Chris Redman before, but if he can duke it out with the rejuvenated St. Louis Rams, he can fry Saints' CB Jason David any day with Roddy White as his wideout.

Pia says: Am I allowed to say that Atlanta's season is "going to the dogs"?

Anshul says: Offenses become too pass-happy against the Saints and that may be a mistake for the Falcons. After a loss to the Bucs last week, the Saints need this win to at least try to finish above .500.

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