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Dec. 9, 2012

NFL Week Fourteen 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 Redskins take on the Ravens this week in a battle of the beltway. The 9-3 Ravens are on paper the favorites but our SCO experts are voting 4-0 in favor of the Skins. Both teams are in desperate need of a win as the Ravens are watching their division lead slip away to the red hot Bengals and the revitalized Steelers. Meanwhile the Redskins are only one game back in the NFC East after a Monday night win against the Giants last week.

Redskins' rookie Alfred Morris is third in the league in rushing yards. Courtesy of NFL.com
Redskins' rookie Alfred Morris is third in the league in rushing yards.
The SCO Standings are close after Josh and Michael took advantage of a bad week for both frontrunners to close the gap. A couple big games this week could prove to be the deciding factors in the race.

Standings:
Jacob: 127-65
Jack: 122-70
Josh: 122-70
Michael: 121-71

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
Jacob: Broncos
Jack: Broncos
Michael: Broncos
Josh: Broncos

Jacob says:
The Broncos win over the blazing hot Buccaneers last week proved that they are the real deal.
Jack says:
This one won't be close. The Raiders have one of the worst defenses in the league, which means that Peyton Manning will have a field day. Look for Denver to get it done through a potent aerial assault against the hopeless Raiders
Michael says:
Peyton Manning is having an exceptional comeback year. Manning and the Broncos should be able to take care of the clearly inferior Raiders.
Josh says:
Peyton Manning is incredible with the way he transformed this team into a Super Bowl contender after only a few months and has helped his receiving corps improve tremendously. Denver shouldn’t sweat this one.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins
Jacob: Redskins
Jack: Redskins
Michael: Redskins
Josh: Redskins

Jacob says:
The Ravens have been going downhill all year and the Redskins are coming off a win against the Giants. If the Redskins can win this one, the playoffs are just around the corner.
Jack says:
The struggling Ravens are small potatoes compared to the defending champs, who the Skins knocked off last week. I don't expect this one to be nearly as close as many expect it to be. If the Ravens could not contain Charlie Batch last week, then they will most certainly have a hard time stopping the explosive RG3. Joe Fluke-o will put up another dud.
Michael says:
This is a crucial game for Washington. I think RGIII and Alfred Morris run all over the Lewis-less Baltimore D. Washington's offensive attack is just too good right now.
Josh says:
There is just no way to doubt this Redskins team anymore. They’re never out of it. They know how to play winning football. Alfred Morris is a beast and the play of some quarterback named Robert is overshadowing him. Setting the rookie rushing record on a team with as much history as the Redskins is impressive. Even more impressive is his chance to break Clinton Portis’ all time Redskins season rushing yards record.

Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals
Jacob: Bengals
Jack: Bengals
Michael: Bengals
Josh: Bengals

Jacob says:
The Bengals have won four in a row, Benjarvus Green-Ellis has run for over 100 yards in all of the last three games and Andy Dalton is continuing to build on his rookie campaign.
Jack says:
With both teams fighting for their playoff lives, I expect this one to be close all the way through. I'm giving the Bengals the slight edge at home.
Michael says:
Although DeMarco Murray is back for Dallas, I think the Bengals are a better team. Andy Dalton has been great so far this season and as long as the Bengals' O-Line holds up, expect Dalton to torch the Dallas secondary.
Josh says:
Dallas won’t win a game against a truly competitive team. That would be too mainstream.

St. Louis Rams at Buffalo Bills
Jacob: Rams
Jack: Bills
Michael: Rams
Josh: Rams

Jacob says:
Don't look too much into the Rams' astonishing win against the 49ers last week but the same should be said for the Bills' beat down of Jacksonville. What you should look at is that Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't thrown for 200 yards in a game since week 10. The Rams' defense will have a field day.
Jack says:
CJ Spiller factor is too much to handle.
Michael says:
I really like what St. Louis did last week against an elite 49ers team. I like Bradford to rally the guys and lead the Rams over Buffalo.
Josh says:
If the Rams can beat the 49ers they can beat the Bills, right?...Right?

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacob: Buccaneers
Jack: Buccaneers
Michael: Buccaneers
Josh: Buccaneers

Jacob says:
3-9 and counting for Philly.
Jack says:
The Eagles are still a mess and the Bucs are still a very solid team. This one won't be close.
Michael says:
The Bucs have a great young receiving core in Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson. Expect them to make some big plays on offense against the struggling Philadelphia defense. I like Tampa Bay.
Josh says:
Lost in the “Fire Andy Reid” chants and the benching of Michael Vick is the emergence of Bryce Brown. Brown hadn’t started a game since high school and now has four touchdowns and 347 yards in the past two games. And the Eagles will still lose.

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Jacob: Falcons
Jack: Falcons
Michael: Falcons
Josh: Falcons

Jacob says:
The Falcons have already clinched the NFC South but until they have the number one seed locked up they won't stop playing hard.
Jack says:
Last week, the Panthers were dismantled by the Chiefs in an emotional game. Carolina's task does not get any easier this week when they travel back home to face the Falcons, arguably the best team in the league. Matt Ryan and co. will have no trouble getting their 12th win of the year.
Michael says:
As Cam Newton's struggles continue, so do his team's. Look for Atlanta to light up Carolina, especially in the passing game, and for Newton to have a hard time against a solid Atlanta defense.
Josh says:
Cam Newton is right back to his old ways as he passes and runs his way to great stats and competitive games. But Matt Ryan doesn’t plan on being stopped, or at least not until the playoffs start and Atlanta falls flat on it’s face.

Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns
Jacob: Browns
Jack: Chiefs
Michael: Browns
Josh: Browns

Jacob says:
It might not be saying much but the Browns are exceeding expectations this year and their 4-8 record does not show the true story. Their negative 36-point differential is better than the 8-4 Colts' among other teams.
Jack says:
The Chiefs are coming off of a big and emotional win over the Panthers. I expect them to continue this success against the Browns. The Browns have one of the worst run defenses in the league, so count on a big game from Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs will get their first winning streak of the season.
Michael says:
The Chiefs had their moment after their emotional second win of the season, but I think the Browns will win this one. Trent Richardson is evolving into a solid NFL rusher and as long as QB Brandon Weeden is not picked off more than once, Cleveland takes this game.
Josh says:
The Chiefs got a solid win and are riding an emotional wave. Unfortunately their running into a hot team with a two game winning streak (Who thought I’d ever call the Browns that?) Cleveland pulls this one out against an emotional Kansas City team.
San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacob: Steelers
Jack: Steelers
Michael: Steelers
Josh: Steelers

Jacob says:
Charlie Batch kept the Steelers afloat and now Big Ben is back. The Steelers are in prime position for a wild card spot and a win here would be the nail in the coffin for San Diego.
Jack says:
The Steelers possibly salvaged their season last week when they upset the heavily favored Ravens. With Big Ben back this week, Pittsburgh will get just the boost they need to take down San Diego.
Michael says:
Big Ben is back. The Steelers roll. Simple as that.
Josh says:
Troy Polamlau’s return is a story that isn’t getting enough coverage. His presence in the secondary and in the box to stop the running game cannot be measured enough. Pittsburgh should easily dispatch the Chargers.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Jacob: Colts
Jack: Colts
Michael: Colts
Josh: Colts

Jacob says:
The Colts have won six of their last seven meanwhile Andrew Luck has thrown more passing yards than his opponent in 10 of their 13 games so far this season.
Jack says:
After winning in walk off fashion last week, Andrew Luck will have a tough act to follow. That being said, the Titans have a very soft defense, and not a great offense either. The Colts have surprised a lot of people this year, but in this game there will be no surprises. The Colts will roll.
Michael says:
The Colts are on a roll right now. I don't know what else to say other than Andrew Luck practically is their team. He has one of the worst supporting casts that I've seen on an 8-4 team in a long time, but somehow he finds a way to win. I expect Luck and the Colts to roll.
Josh says:
Is there any hope for an Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III presidential ticket? They have enough of a devoted following to get some votes.

New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacob: Jets
Jack: Jaguars
Michael: Jaguars
Josh: Jets

Jacob says:
How long into this game until Rex Ryan pulls Sanchez?
Jack says:
With news that Mark Sanchez will start this week, I can't possibly pick the Jets. Chad Henne will outduel Mark Sanchez, who threw three interceptions in the first half last week. I mean c'mon man!
Michael says:
With Mark Sanchez back starting, Rex Ryan is practically handing the Jags the win already.
Josh says:
Greg McElroy for MVP. Except not. It’s a shame when he’s hailed as their savior because he scored a touchdown. That game last week was ugly. We can only hope it improves from here.

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Jacob: Vikings
Jack: Bears
Michael: Vikings
Josh: Bears

Jacob says:
The Bears have been very underwhelming as of late while the Vikings have worked their way into the playoff picture.
Jack says:
After a tough loss last week against the Seahawks, I expect Chicago to bounce back strong. They will dismantle the Vikings in a big way, and Brandon Marshall will have a nice day. The only way the Bears lose this game is if Adrian Peterson has another 200 yard game, which is entirely possible.
Michael says:
The Bears suffered a huge loss this week in Brian Urlacher. Without the cornerstone of their D and more importantly their best defender against the run, Adrian Peterson will run all over them. It doesn't matter that Christian Ponder can't complete a pass to a wide receiver, AP can win this game on his own the way he's playing.
Josh says:
Did Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson just carve up the Bears in a span of three weeks? Strange. The Bears’ defense should come back with a vengeance as we’ll see what this team is made of.

Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers
Jacob: 49ers
Jack: 49ers
Michael: 49ers
Josh: 49ers

Jacob says:
I don't know why the 49ers can't beat the Rams. What I do know is that they followed their tie week ten with the Rams with a 32-7 win over the Bears. Let's see how they bounce back this time.
Jack says:
The 49ers lost to the Rams last week, which surprised quite a few people. Although I do not think that the 49ers are a great team, they are certainly better than the Dolphins. Colin Kaepernick will explode, and maintain a firm hold on his job.
Michael says:
Although I believe Alex Smith should be starting, the San Francisco offense is still good enough to put up points on Miami. Expect the 49ers' D to focus on Reggie Bush and not give him any breathing room all game.
Josh says:
Well now it seems as though John Harbaugh should’ve gone with Alex Smith. But if he changes QB’s at this point will he lose his team? But doesn’t he have to do what's best for his team? Oh the trials and tribulations of being an NFL coach.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Jacob: Seahawks
Jack: Seahawks
Michael: Seahawks
Josh: Seahawks

Jacob says:
The Cardinals' game against the Jets last week was an almost unprecedented effort in futility. In other words, it was pathetic.
Jack says:
With no quarterback, Arizona really won't stand a chance in this one. Oh yeah, and the Seahawks are undefeated at home this year.
Michael says:
Not only are the Seahawks and Russell Wilson hot, but this game is a home game. The Seahawks have one of the best home records this season and along with some momentum, Seattle will roll.
Josh says:
The Cardinals have completely maligned their coaching staff as they completely ruined their 4-0 start. Combine that with a road game in Seattle and there’s really no way the Cardinals can win.

New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
Jacob: Giants
Jack: Giants
Michael: Giants
Josh: Giants

Jacob says:
This has just not been the Drew Brees of last year or the year before. He is putting too much pressure on himself and it is not paying off. If the Saints don't win here, then they might as well say goodbye to the playoffs.
Jack says:
This is roughly the time of season where the Giants remind everyone that they're the best team in the league. The Saints failed to win a must win game against Atlanta, and they will fold in a similar fashion in New York. Expect a score similar to the Giants throttling of Green Bay just two weeks ago.
Michael says:
The Giants have indeed lost three of their last four, but their defense has not been the problem. Look for the Giants' defense to keep the potent New Orleans offense in check for the most part and for Eli Manning to light up the league's worst defense.
Josh says:
While the Saints may be mathematically alive in the playoff race, it’s hard to see them coming back from that awful start to beat a tough remaining schedule and sneak in. Sorry New Orleans, looks like your chances end here.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Jacob: Packers
Jack: Packers
Michael: Packers
Josh: Packers

Jacob says:
The Lions can't finish. It's the same story every week. They are winning all game long and then a fourth quarter collapse leaves them in shock.
Jack says:
With little to play for, the Lions will not have enough to defeat their division rivals. Aaron Rodgers will have a big game, after he has been subpar for the last two weeks. That being said, MegaTron will still dominate.
Michael says:
The one real weakness of the Packers is their O-Line, but Detroit will not be able to take advantage and get to Aaron Rodgers. The Detroit pass rush has not been very good on a consistent basis yet this season. I expect the Pack to come out guns firing and to dominate the Detroit defense.
Josh says:
Aaron Rodgers simply can't be stopped by a defense as inconsistent as the Lions'. Expect Stafford to also have a big game against the Packers' defense, but Rodgers will find a way.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Jacob: Patriots
Jack: Patriots
Michael: Patriots
Josh: Patriots

Jacob says:
This will be a close one. Both teams have won six in a row and have already clinched the playoffs. On the one hand Tom Brady is an MVP frontrunner and the Patriots hold the league's best point differential. On the other hand JJ Watt is second in the league in sacks, Arian Foster is fifth in rushing yards and the Texans hold the league's second best point differential. I'm going with the Patriots on gut.
Jack says:
Tom Brady will not have two lackluster games in a row. He will pick apart the Texans secondary, a Texans secondary which has looked straight up bad at some points this year, especially against good quarterbacks. Brady will have similar success as Aaron Rodgers did when he played against this team. The Patriots will get the big W.
Michael says:
This, in my opinion, is the best game of the year so far. I give the Pats the slight edge in this potential playoff match up. The Houston defense, as good as it is, has been having a few problems lately, and facing the League's best offense will not make things any better. I expect Tom Brady to be ready for JJ "Swatt" and the rest of the disruptive Houston D-Line. The key for New England will be their secondary. If their young defensive backs can hold up, the Pats win this game.
Josh says:
This could end up being the best game of the season. These two teams are so good. It’s hard to put in words the potential this game has. New England will eke out the win as a result of their high octane offense which the Texans won’t be able to keep up with. There’s no shame in that considering no one is able to keep up with it.



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