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Thursday, March 22 2018

NFL Predictions 2007: Week 13


Most things went right for me last week. Picking straight up I continued my upswing with a 12-4 leaving me at 115-61 (65.3%). I was above water at 9-7 against the spread, pushing me ahead for the season (85-83-8) but I slipped with a 6-10 on the over/under where I still have a strong overall mark (92-80-4).


Green Bay (10-1) @ Dallas (10-1): pick DAL -6/under 52
A good portion of the country won’t be able to witness this battle for NFC supremacy because they either don’t subscribe or can’t subscribe to NFL Network. Those who do will witness the best two offenses outside of New England. The Cowboys have a slightly better defense overall (#7 to #12) and the home field advantage. They come into this game knowing that if they lose their Super Bowl hopes could rest on a visit to Lambeau Field in rather chilly conditions. Favre wants another shot at a ring and this game will be on his shoulders. Ryan Grant has been a great find at running back, but he’s not going to do a lot against a line tied for third in yards per carry allowed (3.6). The flip side of that is Dallas sending Barber and Jones leading the #4 run offense per carry (4.4) at a pretty average run defense. Balance can certainly kill in the NFL and things only get worse with Charles Woodson iffy at one corner for Green Bay. His absence will open the field up even more for Romo who has 13 touchdowns in his last four games. I love that the Packers are 5-0 on the road with their defense playing great in those games, but the Cowboys are 5-1 at home with the only loss being to New England. They are the better team and quite frankly should win this game easily: Dallas 28, Green Bay 20
Buffalo (5-6) @ Washington (5-6): pick WAS -5/under 37.5
There will be a dark cloud hanging over this game with the passing of Sean Taylor. None of the Redskins will want to play with losses in four of their last five their playoff hopes are fading fast. They have lost their last three by 8, 5 and 6 points with the past two coming on the road. With a little bit of inspiration from a fallen teammate Washington could get back into the chase. The Bills are going back to Edwards at quarterback following losses by 46 and 22 points. Only once in their past six games and twice this season have they scored at least 20. Statistically they are a disaster with the second worst offense and defense overall. Their leading rusher Marshawn Lynch will be out again, leaving Anthony Thomas to run the ball. He had 15 carries for 46 yards last week in Jacksonville. Other than beating the hapless Jets and Dolphins, the Bills have otherwise lost by 23, 31 and 22 on the road this year. The Redskins are 3-2 at home including close losses to the Giants and Cowboys with a 34-3 wipeout of Detroit. They will be motivated for this game and honor the memory of #21 with a resounding defensive effort: Washington 20, Buffalo 3
San Francisco (3-8) @ Carolina (4-7): pick CAR -2/under 36
The Panthers will not get a better chance to win a home game this season. Seattle and Dallas will both be jockeying for playoff spots and/or positioning when they visit later this month. The 49ers come in having lost by 21, 18 and 24 already while going 2-4 on the road although they did just beat Arizona last week in overtime. Neither team has the quarterback they want in the starting role. This could turn into a problem because while both teams are in the top 5 for most rushes against they have held up quite well by ranking in the top 10 for lowest yards per rush allowed. On that same note, San Francisco has run the ball less than only Detroit yet they have the seventh highest average rush (4.3). Carolina is tied for #11 (4.1) as they have stuck to it more (twelfth most rushes). Both teams will attempt to wear down the opposition. The old men Dilfer and Testaverde each had quality starts last week although it isn’t clear who Carolina will be using at quarterback this week. Ultimately I like their commitment to the run plus the fact that they have a pair of quality running backs. A full year has gone by since Carolina last won at home, a 15-0 win over St. Louis, and the streak will end at seven: Carolina 20, San Francisco 13
NY Jets (2-9) @ Miami (0-11): pick MIA +0/under 38.5
The Dolphins are 0-5 at home while the Jets are 0-5 on the road. Something has to give unless this one ends in a tie. Miami is looking at their best chance to avoid a winless season after they suffered a sixth loss last week by exactly 3 points. New York won the first meeting 31-28. Miami has scored 27 points total in their last four games so they will probably enjoy looking at this game film. Then again there is a laundry list of players who won’t be seeing action this week for both teams on offense. It includes Chad Pennington, Trent Green, Chris Chambers, Ronnie Brown and Laveranues Coles just to name a few. Even with so many injuries Miami still ranks ahead of New York in total offense although both are in the bottom six. You might be shocked to find out that only Minnesota, Denver and Philadelphia have a better average per rush offensively than Miami (4.4) while New York with Thomas Jones is tied at #21 (3.7). Not surprisingly is that only Oakland has allowed more rushing yards than these two teams overall while both are in the bottom 10 for average rush allowed. In other words, this game could be all about the running backs. Miami has a better pass defense in terms of completion percentage, but otherwise the units are pretty even. Each team has had instability and quarterback and the result is a bottom 10 standing in pass offense and quarterback rating. The time has come for the Dolphins to win. Even if it is Patrick Cobbs they will find a way to run the ball, and it might be Jesse Chatman. Break out the champagne, beer or tequila 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers because your record is safe: Miami 16, NY Jets 13
Jacksonville (8-3) @ Indianapolis (9-2): pick IND -6/over 42.5
This is by far the biggest game of the week. The Jaguars roll into town having won three in a row and four of the past five since getting clobbered at home 29-7 by these Colts. Indianapolis snapped a two game losing streak to win their last two, but wasn’t terribly impressive against Kansas City in one of those wins. This is a great time for them to be coming off playing on Thanksgiving. They needed the time to heal and regroup for a game that could win them the AFC South or set up a four week playoff depending on the outcome. Six weeks ago the Colts were out to avenge that embarrassing 44-17 loss the last time they visited the Jaguars in which they were literally run over. This time Jones-Drew and Taylor combined for 107 yards on 24 carries while it was the Colts controlling the clock (34:07) behind Addai and Keith’s 31 rushes for 141 yards. The key to this game might be which team maintains a similar edge. Quick, which team has the higher quarterback rating? Is it the one with Peyton Manning or the one switching between Gray and Garrard? Wrong. Jacksonville is #7 (90.6) while Indianapolis is #8 (89.2) although I’m pretty sure Indy is happy with their guy. The point is that the Jaguars have been very efficient at the quarterback position with just 5 interceptions and 2 fumbles lost while Manning has 13 turnovers, six of which came in their loss at San Diego. Garrard’s efficiency will be tested by a defense leading the NFL for opposing QB rating (69.7). Pumped in crowd noise or not, the road has been pretty good to Jacksonville with a 4-1 record including wins over contending Denver and Tennessee. Each team has had difficulty stopping the run, but in the end I believe the Colts will turn a corner back to their dominant ways: Indianapolis 30, Jacksonville 21
San Diego (6-5) @ Kansas City (4-7): pick KC +6/over 37.5
Are the Chiefs really still alive in the AFC West? They are if they win this game, and especially if the Broncos stumble while visiting the Raiders. The problem is that Arrowhead Stadium isn’t intimidating for opponents these days and the best football being played there takes place in the college ranks. This team is just 2-4 at home having already lost three times by 10+ points. On the other side the Chargers have been just as bad on the road at 1-4 with the lone win being a division beat down of Denver 41-3. They have been trading wins for losses weekly since coming off their bye five weeks ago, but the 3-2 record since has them alone in first place. The first time these teams met San Diego looked like they were totally in charge with their 16-6 halftime lead, but never scored again. Damon Huard threw two touchdown passes to put the Chiefs in front and the defense sealed it by returning a Rivers fumble for a touchdown. The calendar has turned twice since then and I’m not sure if that game has any impact on this one considering Huard and Larry Johnson will be out for the Chiefs. On defense Kansas City is a little harder on opposing quarterbacks in completion percentage and sacks, but San Diego has more interceptions. Even while switching quarterbacks, the Chiefs have a comparable passing offense. Neither team can really stop the run. Obviously the huge edge on offense goes to Tomlinson over Kolby Smith even if the rookie had 150 yards on the Raiders last week. This is the time when teams start to separate and I still feel like San Diego can play. The Chiefs are a team in transition: San Diego 24, Kansas City 20
Detroit (6-5) @ Minnesota (5-6): pick DET +3.5/under 45.5
This is another rematch. The first one took place way back in week 2 with the Lions winning 20-17 in overtime. It was a watershed game as quarterback and team leader Jon Kitna returned from a concussion to lead the winning drive. Now a different kind of comeback is needed after losing their last three. The Vikings are in a different spot playing with house money. They are 2-0 since star rookie Adrian Peterson went down and can get back into the wild card hunt by winning this one, especially since it would give them wins over both teams currently slotted to fill those spots by virtue of their 41-17 spanking of the Giants last week. Each team will map out a different path to victory. Minnesota’s passing offense ranks ahead of only San Francisco, but they have the #1 rushing offense by a wide margin in both average rush (5.6 to #2 Denver’s 4.5) and yards per game (173.3 to #2 Pittsburgh’s 141.7). With Peterson out Chester Taylor has stepped in to rush 53 times for 241 yards and 4 touchdowns while chipping in 50 yards receiving during two starts. On the other side Detroit has an NFL low 20.6 rushes per game and ranks ahead of only Green Bay in yards per game although their average rush (4.0) puts them tied for #16. They love to throw and spread it around to four players who have at least 31 receptions and 465 yards each. Williams, McDonald, Johnson and Furrey have combined to average 213.7 yards per game with 14 total touchdowns. Now here’s the interesting part. Everyone knows Minnesota has the top run defense, but Detroit ranks sixth in yards per carry allowed (3.7) and leads the NFL in fumbles forced (26) and recovered (15). These are the two worst pass defenses in yards allowed, but Detroit has the fourth highest QB rating by opponents (93.0) because of their NFL high completion percentage against (70.0%). They have also given up the second most touchdown passes (22). Will they make Tarvaris Jackson look good? I don’t think so. Detroit’s defense is erratic, but mostly struggles against good quarterbacks (McNabb, Favre and yes Warner). They can force Jackson into throws he doesn’t want to make. I am looking for Kevin Jones to emerge this week as the player he once was by finding a way to beat this front line, possibly by catching screen passes: Detroit 24, Minnesota 21
Seattle (7-4) @ Philadelphia (5-6): pick PHI -1.5/over 41.5
Now it looks like Donovan McNabb was worried about the wrong quarterback taking his job. Rookie Kevin Kolb has yet to throw a regular season pass, but A.J. Feeley is coming off a near victory over previously unstoppable New England. However, his three interceptions were clearly the difference in the game. Then there is Seattle’s Hasselbeck who is anonymously having his finest professional season. He is on pace for a career high 4,200 yards passing for 26 touchdowns, matching his career best set in 2003 (also his previous high in yards at 3,841). The amazing part is that he has this pass offense ahead of Philadelphia with even worse offensive options and no Westbrook type catching passes out of the backfield. Speaking of Westbrook, when he does rush it he helps the Eagles to the second highest average per carry (4.5) which makes me wonder why they don’t run it more. Conversely Seattle has the seventh lowest total (3.6) and you can’t blame Maurice Morris because he is almost a full yard ahead of the injured Shaun Alexander. The gap widens when you consider Philadelphia has a slightly better run defense, but Seattle has been much harder on opposing quarterbacks including the #2 sack unit (35). The venue really doesn’t tell us much with the Seahawks an erratic 2-3 on the road while the Eagles are equally unpredictable at 2-3 in their stadium. Momentum is fairly even as well with Seattle having won their last three while Philly’s only loss during that span was last week’s heartbreaker in New England. I say throw the records out and consider that this is by far the best team Seattle has faced in nearly two months. There is a lot of fight left in the Eagles: Philadelphia 27, Seattle 22
Atlanta (3-8) @ St. Louis (2-9): pick STL -3/over 41.5
Let the jockeying for draft position begin. Jokes aside, these teams have been playing better lately. The Rams have split their past four games with the losses coming by just 7 and 5 points. Last week’s was pretty painful with backup quarterback Gus Frerotte fumbling the snap on a potentially game winning play that instead sealed Seattle’s 24-19 win. The Falcons have been outplayed the past two weeks by teams leading their respective divisions, but had won their two games prior to that. Who really has the advantage passing the ball in this game? Even without a flashy player like Hall their pass defense ranks just behind the Falcons in the middle of the pack. You would think Atlanta would be well behind in passing offense, but they trail by just 7.6 yards per game and actually have a much higher team QB rating (76.7 to 67.7). Then there is the question of whether or not Bulger can return from a concussion. However, the real difference maker is Steven Jackson. He appears to be fully recovered with 22, 23 and 23 carries over the last three games. Both teams rank in the bottom 10 for average rush, but Jackson is the bigger threat and the Rams have a slightly better run defense. Atlanta is 1-4 on the road although they have lost three times by only a touchdown. St. Louis is one of three teams who are 0-5 at home this season. I am picking all of them to win. Wish me luck: St. Louis 28, Atlanta 17
Houston (5-6) @ Tennessee (6-5): pick HOU +4.5/over 42
In a week filled with rematches this was the one with the most exciting first meeting. The Titans mounted a furious fourth quarter comeback from a 32-7 deficit to take the lead only to lose on a last second field goal. In the injury riddled NFL there will be many different parts for Houston in this one. Schaub has returned at quarterback and Johnson is back at receiver while Green is probably out at running back. The net result isn’t bad because Ron Dayne has been productive the last three games averaging 19.3 carries for 96.3 yards. He will test a Titan run defense that is lost without Haynesworth although he has returned to practice after missing three games. Houston’s run defense has no excuses for their poor play with the fourth highest average per rush (4.4). Tennessee has shuffled in different backs for various reasons, but they are committed to the running game with the second most carries in the NFL. Obviously the passing stats are heavily in favor of Houston. The Titans have an NFL low 5 touchdown passes and have the tenth most interceptions despite having the seventh fewest passes thrown. That being said, Vince Young has shown the ability to deliver the football these past three weeks. Averaging his stats you get 23/38 (61.1%) for 269.3 yards. Where he falls short is touchdowns (2) to turnovers (5) although he has run for 132 over that span with a touchdown. The Titans do have a better pass defense and the home field advantage. Houston is 2-4 on the road with three losses by 10+ points. Their wins were over Oakland and a Carolina team that has yet to win at home. Young’s Titans are reeling. He is a leader and will figure out a way to stop their slide in dramatic fashion: Tennessee 26, Houston 24
Cleveland (7-4) @ Arizona (5-6): pick CLE +2/over 50.5
Usually at this time of year these teams are considering their options in free agency and playing for draft position. When was the last time both of them had legitimate playoff aspirations in December? The Cardinals let one get away last week and no longer control their own destiny, but are still alive for the NFC West title or wild card. The Browns wish the season ended right now because it would mean a playoff berth with a trip to San Diego. If I had told you that in July your response might have been something about Brady Quinn’s rookie impact, but he has yet to throw a pass. Instead Derek Anderson has had himself the kind of season players dream for in their contract year. He is on pace for over 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns. The team has lost only three times when he has started. The first was in Oakland on a blown field goal. The second was in New England where everyone loses and the last was in Pittsburgh after blowing a big lead. Notice a trend? They can’t finish on the road and Arizona has played generally well at home even if the record (3-2) isn’t great. This could turn into an aerial show as neither team really stands out in pass defense. The Browns have a putrid run defense though with a 4.6 average rush allowed, third highest in the NFL. That could lead to a big effort from Edgerrin James who has just one 100-yard game all season on a team with the third worst average rush (3.5). The Browns counter with their own veteran rusher Jamal Lewis who turned in his best performance since week two with 29 rushes for 134 yards. This is going to be a high scoring game, I do know that much. In Arizona’s last three games the average total is 60.7 points while the average in Cleveland’s last four is 57.3 points. I would take the Cardinals, but Derek Anderson’s road woes have been mostly caused by good opposition and Kurt Warner is bound to choke again: Cleveland 34, Arizona 31
Denver (5-6) @ Oakland (3-8): pick OAK +3.5/under 42.5
The first meeting between these teams is best known for Shanahan starting the trend of calling a timeout just prior to the snap of a field goal attempt. Thanks to his savvy call the Broncos won 23-20 in overtime. In that game McCown started at quarterback for the Raiders with Jordan rushing for 159 yards. Neither will likely play a large part in the outcome of the rematch. Neither will Denver’s best rusher Travis Henry. Oakland won’t be in the playoffs, but they will have a hand in the race with all of their remaining opponents currently in the race. Their bleak season took a positive turn last week in Kansas City as they snapped a huge losing streak within the division. Four of their losses have come by a touchdown or less and the 20-17 win might have bolstered their confidence in close games. Denver meanwhile blew a big lead in Chicago only to lose in overtime. They were burned by return ace Devin Hester after trying to bottle him up the way Oakland did three weeks ago. In the rematch it should come down to which team controls the ball with their running game. Both rank in the top 8 for yards per carry and per game. The Broncos have been shuffling in running backs as usual while the Raiders have gotten a surprising season out of Fargas. These are the two worst run defenses in yards per carry and Oakland has an NFL high 18 touchdown runs allowed. Will a pass be thrown in this game? Denver has gotten the better play at quarterback where Jay Cutler has been a steady presence, but he faces a better pass defense. Even with Bly, Bailey and Lynch the Broncos are #23 in QB rating allowed (87.8) to Oakland’s #6 (74.1) with fewer interceptions (12-13) and more touchdown passes given up (17-8). Still, Cutler is more capable of making the big play than Culpepper who only seems to show up against his former teams. These meetings are usually tight and right now the Broncos just aren’t ready to blow their season: Denver 20, Oakland 17
NY Giants (7-4) @ Chicago (5-6): pick NYG +0/over 41.5
This is almost a playoff game for the Bears. The NFC has eight teams battling for two wild card spots and these are two of them. If New York wins this game Chicago can’t realistically pass them and would need to sweep their final four games just to dream of grabbing the other spot. In other words they are desperate, something that showed last week as they stole a game from Denver. Don’t expect any kicks heading into Hester’s neighborhood after the exhibition he put on. New York will be relying on the player who sunk their chances last week to keep them in playoff position. Eli Manning threw 3 touchdowns in the wrong direction during a 41-17 loss to Minnesota and now faces a secondary allowing a 91.9 QB rating, fifth highest in the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks complete 65% of their passes as well, the sixth highest percentage. The once proud and intimidating Bear defense also allows 4.4 yards per rush, worse than all but three other teams. Usually they could fall back on being dominant at home, but three teams have scored 34 points here as they have struggled to a 2-3 record. New York is 4-1 on the road (including London) having not lost since the season opener in Dallas. Their defense hasn’t been that bad when those Cowboys or the Packers aren’t on the other side. Discounting those games and points given up on returns their defense has given up 11.9 points per contest. I would lump the Bears in with the field much more than the juggernauts of the NFC. The difference in the game could be rushing the football. New York has used multiple backs successfully with 4.4 yards per carry, fourth highest in the NFL. Chicago’s average (3.3) is an NFL low and their leading rusher has been lost for the season. The “other” Adrian Peterson takes over. Last week’s 17 carries marked just the third time he has had over 11 in his six year career. If the outcome falls on Grossman I think that is a movie fans of this team would rather not see again. I’d rather bank on the solid rushing Giants with a quarterback who can work over this secondary: NY Giants 28, Chicago 24
Tampa Bay (7-4) @ New Orleans (5-6): pick NO -3/under 42
Before the season people were talking about Gruden getting run out as coach of the Bucs and the Saints as a lock for the NFC’s berth in the Super Bowl. Now Tampa Bay is on the brink of essentially clinching the NFC South title by winning this game having already beaten New Orleans 31-14 in week 2. They would need only one more win. For the Saints to salvage their division title hopes it might be a good idea to establish the run. They have the fourth lowest number of carries and the third lowest average rush (3.5). Bush and Stecker combined for 22 carries last week and just 74 yards. The Bucs are tied for sixth in average rush allowed (3.7) so their hopes are likely to fall on the shoulders of Brees passing the football. He will have a tough time against a defense with the second lowest QB rating (71.3) and second fewest TD passes allowed (8). For all of his struggles Brees is on pace for 4,359 yards passing but also for 26 turnovers to go along with his 26 touchdowns. Tampa Bay would be happy just to know their quarterback can answer the ball. Garcia is a question mark after being knocked out last week and has been very good this season, especially at protecting the football having turned it over just 5 times with all of them coming in two games. Gradkowski filled in adequately gained a lot of experience last year as a rookie with 328 attempts although he had just one game with over 185 yards passing. He probably won’t be able to expose a defense allowing a QB rating of 94.1, third highest in the NFL and 19 TD passes, fourth most in the NFL. Their lead rusher Earnest Graham has been going well, but he runs into a strong run defense with the third best yards per carry allowed (3.6). I am seeing a low scoring battle. Tampa Bay can make big plays defensively while the Saints edge their way down the field. With or without Garcia I think this game will tighten up the NFC South race: New Orleans 20, Tampa Bay 16
Cincinnati (4-7) @ Pittsburgh (8-3): pick PIT -7/under 48.5
With six teams ahead of them in the wild card race the Bengals are probably out of it even if they run the table, but the Steelers will be looking to seal their fate in front of a national audience. Pittsburgh won the first meeting 24-13 in a game filled with long possessions. The Steelers were 8/11 on third down while the Bengals were 6/11. Each team had three drives of 10+ plays and a steady running game. On paper this is absolutely a mismatch. Pittsburgh has a better run defense and ranks #3 in QB rating allowed (71.6) while Cincinnati is dead last. Offensively the Steelers also have a more efficient passing game with more touchdown passes and fewer interceptions plus a more effective running game. However, this team is out of rhythm. They were stunned by the Jets two weeks ago and sloshed their way past winless Miami 3-0 last week in front of whatever viewers decided to watch that train wreck. The Bengals come in with some momentum after smoking Tennessee 35-6, but are just 1-4 on the road with the only win coming at Baltimore when they kicked 7 field goals. The Steelers are 6-0 at home having held four of those opponents to a total of 10 points. There is some heat on them as well because they are battling Indianapolis for the #2 seed and first round bye. A loss here would really hurt considering they visit New England next week. There is no way Cincinnati goes down quietly, but I prefer the big season of Roethlisberger who went 18/21 in horrid conditions last week because he has Willie Parker at his disposal. Palmer is just 2-6 against the Steelers: Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 17
New England (11-0) @ Baltimore (4-7): pick NE -20/under 51.5
Oh good, we get the see the Patriots on national television. Are they the pro version of Notre Dame? Well, at least they are winning games and last week’s game against Philadelphia was entertaining. The Ravens present another opportunity for a team to shock them, and with their defense anything is possible. They rank #1 in rushing yards per carry allowed (2.8) and can certainly drop players into coverage to deal with New England’s multiple threats. Their pass defense ranks in the middle of the pack, but the key player is Ed Reed. His presence has to make Randy Moss nervous and they still have Ray Lewis roaming at linebacker. The real problem for them is that eventually New England will score some points. In a best case scenario they give up 17-24 leaving their inconsistent offense trying to break through against a Patriot defense capable of shutting them out. I look at this as a chance for Brady to prove his team is not vulnerable to an upset. They might not march up and down the field all night, but they will at worst win the field position battle and pile up field goals. The Ravens will hang for a while before wearing out: New England 33, Baltimore 10
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NFL Predictions 2007: Week 13
Authored by: solands23 onMonday, May 22 2017
NFL is the kind of sports game that most of us sports fanatices really loves watching all the time.  There is never a dull moment when watching FIFA live or at home.  Each team is a representation of every person's hard work and commitment to reach their goal, no wonder a lot of NFL reviews predictions about NFL plays and coins are written online.
NFL Predictions 2007: Week 13
Authored by: Anonymous onFriday, November 17 2017

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