Sunday, December 9, 2012

NFL Week 14 Preview

Greetings! As you may recall, this is usually a "weekend" preview edition, but with college football on hiatus (with apologies to Army/Navy), it's time to hit the NFL on its first solo weekend.
  • 1:00 - Falcons @ Panthers (FOX) - Carolina's Greg Hardy actually came out this week and said, with a straight face, that the 3-9 Panthers were a "better football team" than the Atlanta Falcons. He is not correct. That said, road games in the division are never easy, and with Cam Newton on the other side, it's a dangerous spot for Atlanta. 
  • 1:00 - Cowboys @ Bengals (FOX) - This is unquestionably a win-or-go-home match-up for both teams. Both teams have outside shots at the playoffs if they can keep winning, but each has no margin for error. I think Cincy is probably the better team, and playing at home, it'd be tough to pick against them. One thing to watch for in Dallas is the big-time surge of Dez Bryant in recent weeks, and maybe he can go off here. 
  • 1:00 - Bears @ Vikings (FOX) - Chicago's defense has been perfectly ordinary for about 3 weeks after that ridiculously hot 10-week start. They do catch a break in facing the Vikings without Harvin (gone for the year) and with Ponder struggling, but don't forget that Adrian Peterson may be playing better than anyone in the whole league at this point. I like the Bears, but don't quote me. 
  • 1:00 - Chargers @ Steelers (CBS) - Ben Roethlisberger is back. San Diego has quit. Godspeed.
  • 1:00 - Ravens @ Redskins (CBS) - Probably the game of the day. They are battling for an entire region! (lol) At any rate, Robert Griffin III is absolutely on fire right now, and this Baltimore defense is sketchy without Ray Lewis and a banged up Terrell Suggs. I also have zero faith in Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense on the road, so even with my built-in skepticism of rookie QB's and the Redskins, I'm taking Washington. 
  • 4:00 - Dolphins @ Niners (CBS) - Colin Kaepernick has a very, very big spotlight on him this week. If San Fran falls to 8-4-1, they're suddenly on the verge of going on the road in their first playoff game.
  • 4:25 - Saints @ Giants (FOX) - If the "good" Giants show up, they'll cruise. If the "bad" Giants show up, New Orleans is more than capable of knocking them off, and Drew Brees is probably still angry about the stink bomb he dropped in Atlanta.
  • 8:20 - Lions @ Packers (NBC) - Detroit is wretched. This is a game where Green Bay gets their "buzz" back and wins by 20+. I feel it.
  • Monday 8:30 - Texans @ Patriots (ESPN) - Easily the game of the weekend, and this may be the first time all year that that distinction can be given to the Monday night game. Houston is 11-1, but they're playing without a bunch of key guys on defense, and that's a bad recipe against the juggernaut Patriots' offense. With that said, Gronk and Edelman are out for New England, but I'd still expect a big game from Brady and the possible re-emergence of Brandon Lloyd could help that. These are two of the top 5 teams in the league and that's tremendous, but I'd take the home-team in this spot. 

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