Teams look to make a playoff push coming toward the end of the season
Heading toward the latter half of the season, a few teams look to make a playoff push. As for our experts the race remainsrelatively similar, with Sam and Jacob still leading the way. Here are the standings:
1. Sam 87-46
2. Jacob 86-47
3. Abel 77-56
4. Rohan 75-58
Redskins at Vikings
Sam says: The fate of the Redskins in any game relies on their play-action passing game. RG3's ESPN QBR from the play-action pass is 83.1 in wins and just 14.7 in losses (out of 100). Luckily for the hometown Skins, the Vikings struggle on rushing defense, which should open that play-action pass. Also for the Redskins, their awful secondary gets a treat in the lowly Vikings passing game.
Jacob says: The Redskins have RGIII who is returning to form and the vikings are relying on new QB Josh Freeman.
Abel says: The Redskins look like they could be rounding into the form that took them from 3-6 to the top of the division last year. RGIII is playing better than he was at the start of the season and he'll be helped by a flourishing run game. The defense will need to contain Adrian Peterson but the secondary should be fine matching up against a Vikings receiving corps that lacks playmakers. But then again Thursday night games seem to have an air of unpredictability about them.
Rohan says: The Vikings only have AP and the Redskins have RGIII who will deliver the goods and secure the win for the Redskins.
Seahawks at Falcons
Sam says:While this could be a sneaky upset pick due to the Falcon high upside, expect Marshawn Lynch to eat on Sunday help his team control the time of possession.
Jacob says: The Falcons came into this season with super bowl aspirations and have really laid an egg so far at 2-6. Look for the Seahawks defense to come up with at least 7 turnovers.
Abel says: Seattle's continued to look very shaky, and this could be an intriguing upset pick. But the Falcons can't run the ball, which will put a ton of pressure, literally and figuratively, on Matt Ryan and a very bad offensive line as they go up against a fierce pass rush. The Seahawks are tied for the third most sacks in the league with 29.
Rohan says: The Falcons still have not found themselves. They look good on paper but they have not been able to translate to the field. The Seahawks are playing well and should win this one.
Bengals at Ravens
Sam says: This game will be dependent on the Bengals front seven against the Ravens offensive line. If the Ravens o-line can create big holes for RB Ray Rice, they can get the win, but I just don't think the defending champs have it offensively yet.
Jacob says: Every time I pick the Ravens they seem to come up just short. Look for Andy Dalton and the Bengals top ten scoring offense to win it by a touchdown.
Abel says: I can't trust the Ravens anymore. They can't do anything right on offense and that defense has fooled a lot of us this year. The Bengals are coming off a tough loss, where they also lost their best player on defense in Geno Atkins, but they're also coming off 10 days rest. I'm looking for Giovani Bernard, A.J. Green, and Marvin Jones to exploit an overrated defense in Baltimore.
Rohan says: The Ravens look very sluggish on offense, their running game is poor and they lost to the Browns which is a tough blow because the Browns are horrible. Expect the Bengals to win this one.
Lions at Bears
Rohan:LionsSam says: That's right, I am officially on the Josh McCown bandwagon, in fact some could say I started it. Last Sunday, before their Monday night game win against the Packers, I made the bold prediction that Josh McCown would play so well that he would end up overtaking Jay Cutler for the Bears starting QB job at the end of the season (don't believe me, ask Jacob Popper). While my bold prediction is still very close fetched, it will be closer to a reality before this game. Da Bears?
Jacob says: No way is Josh McCown going to be able to keep pace the three pronged attack of Stafford, Megatron and Bush that is currently tied for 9th in the league in points per game.
Abel says: Well Sam's dead wrong about the quarterback situation in Chicago because Adam Schefter has reported that Jay Cutler will start on Sunday against the Lions. But even with their starting quarterback returning, the Bears haven't got a chance in this game if their defense doesn't improve. The Lions have no problem scoring points and the Bears defense has been very generous as of late.
Rohan says: Taters! This is a hard game to pick. I believe the Lions will be able to pull off a win following a down to the wire game against the Cowboys and will use that momentum to propel themselves to a win against the Bears.
Eagles at Packers
Sam says: With QB Aaron Rodgers almost certainly out for the Pack, the focus for the Eagles turns to stopping the run from RB Eddie Lacy and QB Seneca Wallace. The Eagles defense has been bad, to be kind, this year. However, they are a top 15 NFL rush defense compared to their last place passing defense. That statistic should work in their advantage this week. Not to mention QB Nick Foles and the reborn, Oregon-like, Eagles offense.
Jacob says: The Quarterbacks are undoubtedly the headlines of this game: Aaron Rodgers likely sidelined for Green Bay with injury, and Nick Foles having potentially the greatest quarterback performance of all time last week against Oakland with over 400 yards and 7 TD passes. This upstart Eagles offense with flourish with Nick Foles at such a high confidence level.
Abel says: Without Aaron Rodgers leading the Packers, many doubt Green Bay's chances this Sunday. Fortunately for the Pack, they get to face the Eagles this week. The Eagles are 22nd in the NFL in adjusted sack rate which helps the Seneca Wallace and the Packers' offensive line. And while the Eagles are in the top half of the league in run defense, that's only because opposing offenses are too busy throwing all over them to actually run the ball. Eddie Lacy should get a lot of touches and the return of James Jones should help that receiving corps, as well as Wallace who gets to have a full week of first team reps.
Rohan says: Although Nick Foles had the game of his life last week, he will not be able to repeat his performance and the Eagles will lose. The Packers are suffering because they are without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers but should still be able to win this one.
Rams at Colts
Sam says: The Colts poor running game could catch up to them later in the season, but not against QB Kellen Clemens and the struggling Rams.
Jacob says: The Colts showed great resiliency last week in their epic comeback win last week after being down 21-3 at halftime. Luckily for them, they host a weak Rams team that likely won't require a similar feat.
Abel says: The Colts are just a gritty team, as displayed by last week's comeback win over the Texans. But they also showed that they have a propensity to get down early, so I wouldn't be shocked by a Rams upset.
Rohan says: With Andrew Luck at the helm of the ship, the Colts do not have much to worry about. They should beat the Rams comfortably.
Raiders at Giants
Sam says: Although the Giants defense was great over the past two weeks, QB Terrelle Pryor will have success throwing and running the football against them. The reason for this is the Giants poor running game, it is ranked 30 in the NFL against the Raiders who are 6 in the NFL in defending it. This will make the Giants two-dimensional offensively and put too much pressure on QB Eli Manning, who should put up good numbers but none good enough to win the shootout.
Jacob says: Big Blue is coming off their bye, which allows them to be both more rested, and have an extra week of preparation. Look for Eli Manning to put up big numbers against a Raiders secondary that was just torched by Nick Foles (yes, torched by Nick Foles) last week.
Abel says: The Raiders let Nick Foles throw seven touchdowns on them. Eli Manning and his talented, yet underperforming receivers look to have a field day on this secondary.
Rohan says: The Raiders let me down against the Eagles and because of this I am swayed even more to pick the Giants who have a chance in this game. If Terrelle Pryor does not show up the Giants will win this one.
Bills at Steelers
Sam says: Whether they go with rookie QB E.J. Manuel or rookie QB Jeff Tuel, the Steelers have been 16-2 in their last 18 games against rookie QBs. They had 61 sacks and 20 interceptions in those 18 games. Although they have been horrendous defensively this season, I trust Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau and the Steelers Defense.
Jacob says: The Steelers showed last week in Foxborough that they can put up points, and with Buffalo allowing over 25 points per game, I wouldn't be shocked if the Steelers put up over 40.
Abel says: I never want to pick the Steelers after that embarrassing performance last week, and the Bills have shown they can hang around against superior opponents (though the Steelers are not one of those teams). But Pittsburgh's at home so I'll take them, and the better quarterback, in this toss up.
Rohan says: The Steelers have not been impressive this season but against the Bills they should be able to come up with a win in the Steel City.
Jaguars at Titans
Sam says: The Blair Varsity Football team has put up 177 points through 9 games compared to the Jaguars 86 through 8 games. That's pretty cool! But mark my words, the Jaguars will surprise us all and win one of these games soon
Jacob says: It's the Jaguars again, and Jake Locker has had another week to get back in the swing of things.
Abel says: I agree with Sam that the Jags won't go winless this year, but this shouldn't be the week where they notch their first win.
Rohan says: The Jaguars are horrible, the Titans should win this one.
Panthers at 49ers
Sam says: In by far the least intriguing game of the weekend, the Panthers lead by their dominating front seven and QB Cam Newton test their winning streak against the great 49ers defense and running game. The x-factor in this game is the 49ers ability to run the ball to the outside with QB Colin Kaepernick and speedy RBs LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter. They can neutralize that pressure and keep those great linebackers on their heels and alert.
Jacob says: With Carolina only allowing 13.3 points per game this far, this one could be closer than most people think, although I still think the niners will get the W.
Abel says: This is one of those "what the heck” games in the NFL. Like I said last week, these unexpected outcomes happen every Thursday night, weekend, or Monday night, and I'm calling one of those in this game. I could be horribly be wrong here and the WTH game of the week could be somewhere else, but the Panthers are rolling right now. Though they haven't played the toughest teams, they have absolutely dominated the opponents on their schedule as of late. Cam Newton will need to have a big game as a dual threat, but the key is their defense. The Panthers' defense has been stifling lately, and doesn't give up many points. The pass rush is ferocious and the run defense is stiff (#2 in the league), and this will help a secondary that is already matching up against a group of receivers that isn't very dynamic. Look for the Panthers to prove that they can beat top tier teams.
Rohan says: Although the Panthers have found newfound form they will not be able to continue this against the 49ers who at home have been very impressive.
Texans at Cardinals
Sam says: Rookie QB Case Keenum is averaging a whopping 10.9 yards per attempt. If he can keep up those numbers against the Cardinals they can put up more than enough points to win no matter who is playing RB.
Jacob says: The Texans led by rookie QB Case Keenum had an 18 point halftime lead against a very strong Colts team. Look for them to be stronger mentally here a get a win in the desert.
Abel says: It's good to see a college standout like Case Keenum get his shot in the league (and make the most of it). He's electrified the Texans' offense and hasn't really looked like an undrafted free agent. With all that being said, it will hurt the young QB to not have his offensive minded head coach on the sideline. The Cardinals defense is stout and I think they'll get a few turnovers (they're third in the league in picks) that will swing the momentum their way.
Rohan says: The Texans will win this one with the help of newfound talent in Case Keenum who played very well in a game that was overshadowed by the minor stroke that caused head coach Gary Kubiak to collapse on the sideline. The Texans should enjoy this one.
Broncos at Chargers
Sam says: Although Head Coach John Fox is in the hospital, Peyton Manning should lead the offense
Jacob says: With Denver putting up over 40 points a game, it's hard to see the Chargers D even appearing on Peyton Manning's radar.
Abel says: I'm tempted to pick the Chargers here. But this game will come down to which defense can get one stop, and I've got a lot more faith in the Broncos.
Rohan says: With the return of P-int(a nickname for the Philip Rivers that always throws interceptions), the Chargers look doomed against a Broncos team that should steamroll past them.
Cowboys at Saints
Sam says: A tough blow to my super-bowl favorites last week in New York. However, with the Cowboys and their 31st ranked passing defense coming to town, it should be easy picking for Drew Brees and company.
Jacob says: A shootout of the high octane offenses will result in Drew Brees leading a game winning drive with under 2 minutes left.
Abel says: My first reaction was to go with the Cowboys but I just can't go against the Saints at home. That fast track in the Superdome will only help their offensive production, and I expect Jimmy Graham to terrorize the Cowboys' safeties down the middle of the field. But the Cowboys tend to play up to their superior opponents, so a Dallas win is hardly out of the question.
Rohan says: The Cowboys have impressed in recent weeks and although they compete head to head against good team they always seem to lose. Against the Broncos Tony Romo threw a crucial pick and against the Lions they could not hold off a last minute drive. The Saints will benefit from this and win.
Dolphins at Buccaneers
Sam says: Although this should be a tough day offensively for the Dolphins. Their pass rush lead by DE Cameron Wake should overwhelm the Bucs d-line and their QB, Mike Glennon.
Jacob says: Despite off the field bullying issues, the Dolphins will release their anger on the poor winless Bucs.
Abel says: The Dolphins are a mess right now, and I've lost all respect for that organization in their handling of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation. Give the Bucs credit, they haven't quit yet all year. They looked good last week and are edging closer to their first win of the season. Look for them to take advantage of the mess in Miami and the Dolphins' inconsistency. It's really all or nothing for me in the standings this week, and I'm going bold.
Rohan says: Even after all of the occurrences in the Miami camp, the Bucs are not a great enough team to capitalize on all of this controversy and should fall to the Dolphins.
Rohan Oprisko. I'm a person with a fascination for sports. From my experience living in Spain for three years, I realized the one thing that can connect people from diffreent cultures and areas is sports. That is why I am very excited to be one of the … More »
Samuel Popper. I am a big sports fan. I play football and frisbee at Blair, I also enjoy watching basketball and hockey. I am very passionate about what I do. More »
Jacob Popper. Let's go Caps, I hope you win the Stanley Cup this year (and every subsequent year). I enjoy opinions and argument as well as sports! More »
Abel Chanyalew. More »
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