The NFL season keeps on rolling and so do the weekly predictions; we can’t stop the fury!
Last week I took a little heat for picking “mostly favorites” but, sometimes, its just a favorite type of week as I call it. Luckily, I was correct in my picks as I finished 13 -1! Oh you pesky New York Jets you got me again. This week is going to be much different though as we have some tight battles; expect the dogs to be barking this week.
As for the short holiday week, nothing is better than some snow on the ground, turkey cooking in the oven and watching some football. I’ll never forget growing up and always watching the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Barry Sanders was always my favorite player to watch; I don’t think there was a more elusive running back than Sanders. The guy could cross and turn fields unlike anyone else and is probably the only player in NFL history to run for as many negative yards as regular rushing yards!
Oh how I miss Thanksgiving and the seasons!
Short week for everyone involved including the Cover 4. Now to these predictions…..
Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions
Analysis: Am I crazy? Yeah I think I might be with all these underdog picks this week but after watching Jacksonville torch the Texans secondary last week, I don’t see how the Lions won’t do the same (if not worse- believe it or not). The Jags have struggled all season while the Lions are the number one passing offense in the league. I don’t expect Houston defense to have two rough games in a row (I know the coaches are sleeping in the office this week). In the short week, the Lions will look to emulate the results of the Jaguars last week. The Lions squeak out a victory against the favorited Houston Texans.
Key Player: Matthew Stafford. If you have been watching the young gun slinger this year you can tell he is forcing the ball entirely too much. The strong armed quarterback is making a number of questionable decisions on the field and is not setting his feet while throwing (he looks like Cutler trying to force some throws!). I put a majority of last weeks loss against the Packers on Stafford, who threw ball after ball into the grass. If Stafford has his act together this week, the Lions will beat the Houston Texans.
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Analysis: I am going with the underdog ‘skins in this matchup. I understand that this in a home matchup and the Cowboys expect to throw all over the Redskins but something inside of me is telling me the Redskins are going to be turning things around for the rest of the season. I expect RGIII to continue to make all the necessary plays to keep his team in this game.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Analysis: The loss of Gronkowski is huge for the Patriot offense as Gronk has been one of the most productive players (touchdown wise) in the past three seasons. Aaron Hernandez must return from injury to provide the Pats offense the matchup issues that are vital to their success. The Jets are coming off a much needed W against the Rams but I don’t think they will get things together two weeks in a row.
Score Prediction: Patriots 35 – Jets 17
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Analysis: As much as I don’t trust Jason Campbell (if Jay Cutler isn’t playing), I don’t expect Christian Ponder against the Bears defense (granted they were torched by second stringer Colin Kaepernick). The Chicago offensive line is just terrible and will be the reason the Bears offense continues to falter. The Bears defense must slow down Adrian Peterson and continue to make the plays they have made all season.
Key Player: Brandon Marshall. Marshall is putting up monster numbers this season. The success of the offense is heavy on his shoulders as he takes pressure off the rest of the Bears weapons and allows the run game to get going.
Oakland Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals
Analysis: Should we all give up on Darren McFadden? McFadden posses a top five skill set at running back but can’t stay healthy. The Bengals look good on both sides of the ball. The passing attack will create a number of matchup problems with the Raiders terrible defense. I expect things to be ugly in Cincinnati this weekend as Dalton and crew take care of business.
Fantasy Stud: Marcel Reece. The running back put up solid numbers last week on the ground and in the air. Expect much the same this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
Analysis: Can you believe it? Am I really seeing the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns as a pick ’em?! (Some lines have now moved to Steelers +1 now). Understandably some people believe this may be a little closer than usual but are we all forgetting the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is playing stellar right now? With or without a starting caliber quarterback, the Steelers get the W in this one. Cleveland has had very little luck, if any, against the Steelers since coming back into the NFL just a few years ago. Charlie Batch, although old, has been a more than capable backup in the league and has been productive while doing so. Steelers pull out the W in this one by shutting down the Cleveland offense.
Key Player: Charlie Batch. Obviously this is a no-brainer as Batch must lead the team to victory. Batch won’t be beating anyone with his laser arm but he will manage the game and keep turnovers to a minimum. Expect Batch to make all the necessary (and easy) throws without taking too many big shots down the field.
Buffalo Bills @ Indianapolis Colts
Analysis: After all the sports networks blew up the possibility of the Colts beating New England last week (uh Cover 4 was very correct in how the Colts wouldn’t win if it became a scoring spree), we are now back down to earth and realize the Colts are a good, but not great, football team. The Bills have had their fair share of ups and downs this season but I’m taking Luck in this one.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: The Broncos are really firing on all cylinders right now and that doesn’t bode well for the Chiefs, losers of 7 straight. The Chiefs are 0-5 at home and don’t have much to look forward to for the rest of the season (except obviously the draft boards). Arrowhead is a tough place to play but it shouldn’t be a problem for the Broncos this week.
Seattle Seahawks @ Miami Dolphins
Analysis: I just can’t pick the Dolphins as the team is just too inconsistent and you never know how they are going to play. The Seahawks aren’t the best road team but I believe they go into Miami and come out victors.
Score Prediction: Seahawks 20 – Dolphins 10
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Analysis: Chad Henne had a great game last week but I don’t expect him to have another monster performance. It was nice to see a Justin Blackmon sighting after his MONSTER game but I like Locker and squad in this one.
Fantasy Stud: Cecil Shorts.
Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers
Analysis: I really escaped with my pick center last week with the Chargers late touchdown to my fantasy stud of the week Danario Alexander. The Ravens survived a close battle with the division rival Steelers. I fully expect the Ravens to take advantage of the Chargers despite only being one point favorites.
Pick Center of the Week: Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers +2
Analysis: Yup, call me crazy again but I am riding the dogs this week. The Falcons looked horrible last week but still came out with a victory against a bad Arizona Cardinal team. On the other side of the ball, the Buccs looked horrible for the majority of the game until a fourth quarter rally and a win in OT against the beaten Carolina Panthers. I understand the matchup, on paper, looks terrible for the Buccs secondary as they are allowing the most passing yards per game but the team is finding ways to win. I expect a battle to come down to a late field goal in this one.
Score Prediction: Buccaneers 28 – Falcons 27
San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints
Analysis: This game really doesn’t look great for the pass happy Saints. The Saints, who have been very one dimensional for the past few seasons, will look to throw all over the 49ers. But, we all know that really isn’t going to happen, regardless if the game will be in New Orleans or not. The Niners are coming off a very impressive win against the Bears with a backup quarterback. With Colin Kaepernick starting this week, I expect the niners to pound the ball away toward victory in this one.
Key Player: Drew Brees. Brees will have to be near perfect for the Saints to get the W this weekend as the Niner defense has been very tough to pass against.
St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: After watching the Cardinals offense struggle last week with Ryan Lindley, who posted a 4.7 QBR, I am taking the Rams as a no brainer pick. The Cardinals could be 10 point favorites but I don’t expect them to have the same success running the ball like they dad against the Falcons. Rams win this division road matchup behind Sam Bradfords solid game.
Game of the Week: Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants
Analysis: I expect a great game between the Packers and Giants. The Giants are on a downward spiral but this game will allow them to get back on track and control their own destiny in the NFC. The Packers, winners of five straight, will look to Aaron Rodgers to continue his hot hand in the passing game against a Giants defense that has had a number of subpar games.
Fantasy Stud: James Jones. After a hot start and cooling off a bit, look for Jones to get a number of catches in this outing.
Carolina Panthers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: Andy Reid on Monday Night Football thus should be taking the Eagles at home right? Wrong. I am taking the underdog Panthers as Ron Rivera and squad is due to get a W this week; this team is being tortured by bad luck and late collapses. I hate to see things go this way for the Panthers but lets not forget Newton put up big numbers as a rookie in garbage time playing catchup (aka this team isn’t ready to take the next step). Foles won’t be able to do enough for his squad as the Panthers win.
Score Prediction: Panthers 27 – Eagles 21
Call it a quick week but we expect a wild one this week. With a number of dog picks, we expect another great week out of the Cover 4. Enjoy the Holiday.
A little video of two of the best: Barry Sanders & Tony Dorsett.
Chief Sports Activist for The Cover 4