Bet On It: Week 14 predictions
It's not my fault I'm smarter than most NFL coaches, and wouldn't abandon the run game the second the other team jumps out to a lead (I'm looking at you, Greg Schiano). What happened to smashmouth football?
I've learned my lesson. This week, I'll get with the times and bet on the quarterbacks. The good quarterbacks. And I'm not taking the easy out and going against the Jets QBs.
Newton has been criticized a lot his in sophomore season, but he's still putting up decent numbers. He actually has an 85.8 passer rating, compared to 84.5 last season. He threw for 215 yards against the Falcons in Week 4 and his confidence should be up after stringing together two strong performances (albeit against Philly and Kansas City).
After breaking out of his mini-slump two weeks ago against the Packers, Manning had a big yardage game, but just 1 TD in a loss to the Redskins last week. The Giants probably regret not taking more downfield shots against Washington, and they'll air it out against the Saints. Meanwhile, Brees is going to be fired up in another must-win game coming off of his disastrous Thursday night against the Falcons.
The Bengals and Cowboys both have solid pass defenses. But both quarterbacks have been putting up good numbers of late and should push each other in a very interesting matchup that has playoff implications for their teams.
The Eagles offense showed up last week against the Cowboys, and teams can move the ball against the Bucs. But the young Eagles players still make key mistakes. Philadealphia ranks 31st in the NFL with a -18 turnover differential.
The Colts have the 22nd-ranked run defense in the league. Johnson ran for 99 yards against them in an overtime win on Oct. 28. He's been bottled up lately, with just 131 yards in his last two games combined, but is due a breakout.
The Cardinals actually beat Seattle in Week 1, but that seems like years ago. Now they're lost offensively, no matter who's playing quarterback (it'll be John Skelton this week, after the failed Ryan Lindley experiment. That being said, Arizona could make this interesting with its defense, which leads us to ...
Wilson hasn't been picked off since Week 8. The Cardinals are tied for seventh in the NFL with 13 interceptions this season. Arizona has a fast defensive front that could give Wilson trouble when he rolls out, forcing him into bad throws.
Hard to believe, but Cleveland is going for its third straight win. Now they'll have to beat a couple of their former players, Brady Quinn and Peyton Hillis, to bring it to four. The Chiefs had an emotional win last week and are ripe for a letdown on the road.
Both young quarterbacks have shown they're capable of moving the ball in the air. Still, neither one will have success in a game that will be won or lost on the ground. The 49ers">49ers have the second-ranked rushing offense in the league.
The Ravens have allowed 125.8 yards per game on the ground (23rd in the NFL). Washington has to establish its potent ground game in a must-win game in what should be an emotional atmosphere as the Skins vie for regional superiority.