This Week’s Top NFL Predictions (11/14/2011)
Falcons v Saints – This game has potential to be a shootout. Julio Jones had a breakout game for Atlanta last week, and if he can do that again, I like Atlanta’s chances. However, it is hard to bet against the Saints, Drew Brees is a machine. There are so many offensive weapons on both sides of the ball in this game. This game all depends on the play of Atlanta’s receiving corps, if Jones, White, and Gonzalez can put up solid numbers, the Falcons will win. The Saints most critical offensive player is Darren Sproles, who is proving to be the free agent signing of the year. Sproles is basically undefendable out of the backfield, he is so small that he can hide behind blockers, then burst out for a huge gain. I see the Falcons limiting Sproles and having a good offensive day. My prediction is Falcons 31 – Saints 24.
Bengals v Steelers – This is the biggest game of the Bengals’ season thus far. The Steelers come into Paul Brown Stadium with momentum, but so does Cincinnati. Cincinnati has a chip on their shoulder, many analysts are claiming that they can’t trust the Bengals as a legitimate contender until they win a big one. This is their chance to prove themselves. The keys to this game are Andy Dalton for Cincy, and Pittsburgh’s young receiving corps. If Andy Dalton can keep his cool and avoid turnovers, which I believe he will, the Bengals will win. However, if the Steelers’ young, and fast receivers can get open frequently, it will be hard to beat Pittsburgh. The Bengals’ D has been great this season and they need to continue that in order to win. My prediction is Bengals 23 – Steelers 17.
Bills v Cowboys – This is a game of two desperate teams. The Bills can’t afford to lose three in a row and Dallas needs a win just as badly. The Bills chances depend on Fred Jackson, but receiver Stevie Johnson is just as important. He has not been the dominant receiver that he was last year. He needs to have a huge game if Buffalo wants to win. The Cowboys have a well-rounded offensive attack now with Murray and Robinson performing well lately. But, their defense is in bad shape after losing Sean Lee last week. I see the Bills getting a win with their backs against the wall, with at least one Stevie Johnson touchdown. My prediction is Bills 27 – Cowboys 24.
Broncos v Chiefs – The Broncos ran wild last week with their “read-option” offensive strategy. Tebow and McGahee dominated as they confused Oakland, racking up massive amounts of rushing yards. McGahee has proven to “still have it” as Hangover star Ed Helms would say. Surprisingly, I think that this read-option offense can and will work. The Chiefs defense is just so-so, and their offense is about the same. You never really know what you are going to get with Kansas City, one week they beat the Chargers and the next they get blown out by Miami. Eric Decker, Tebow, and McGahee all need to have good games, and they will. I look for Cassel to commit multiple turnovers and be more of a crutch than a boost for his team. My prediction is Broncos 24 – Chiefs 16.
Bears v Lions – A battle of two physical, explosive teams. Explosive is not usually what you expect to hear when the Lions face off with the Bears, but it’s true. The key to this game, as with most Chicago games, is Matt “Pay The Man” Forte. He legitimately entails 50% of the Bears offense. Forte is an absolute beast out of the backfield. The Lions do have a great D-Line, but I think Forte is good enough to overcome that. The return of Earl Bennett is huge for Chicago, he is Cutler’s favorite target, the two were a tandem at Vandy together. As always, Megatron will be a big key for Detroit, but I think the Bears will be able to keep him in check. Detroit lacks a respectable running back, and that’s a huge dilemma. Both teams have good defenses, so it comes down to whose offense will be able to squeeze more juice out of the ‘ole pigskin. My prediction is Bears 28 – Lions 21.
49ers v Giants – The surprising 49ers have been on a tear. Frank Gore, their dynamic rushing leader, is the key to this game. If Gore can gauge New York (no pun intended) then San Francisco will walk away from this battle victorious. This will be a hard task to do though, because Eli Manning and the Giants have been playing quite well as of late. The loss of Ahmad Bradshaw hurts New York, and Hakeem Nicks is a game time decision. This a battle of two disrespected QBs, Alex Smith and Eli Manning. Smith, however, does not deserve nearly as much respect as Eli. If Smith can be turnover-less and manage the game well for San Fran, they will win. Eli has been pulling off great comeback wins this season, but I just don’t see that happening this weekend. My prediction is 49ers 30 – Giants 24.
Jets v Patriots – To build off of a legendary Michael Scott quote, “If I had a gun with two bullets and was in a room with Hitler, Bin Laden, and Rex Ryan, I’d shoot Rex…twice.” The man irritates me beyond belief. But, I sadly think that his team will come out of Sunday’s match up victorious. Here’s why, the Pats secondary is bad, the Jets D is tough, and Shonne Greene has been rumblin’ and bumblin’ as of late. Also, Tom Brady has not been himself this year. I just think that it is the Jets’ turn to win this game. Mark Sanchez should have one of the better games of his career. And even if Rex looks like a blimp with a black vest on, he is a decent coach. My prediction Jets 28 – Patriots 24.
Packers v Vikings – The Packers offense is more dangerous than Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel of a Hummer, after a night on the town. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ms. Lohan, that’s pretty dangerous. Aaron Rodgers leads Green Bay with poise and nearly perfect play. The fact that the Packers lack a decent running game hasn’t even hindered them. The Vikings will come out of the gate ready to shock the world on MNF, and I think they have a small shot at doing that. But, it most likely won’t happen. Christian Ponder is a good rookie quarterback, but I can’t see him leading Minnesota to a victory over the defending world champs. My prediction is Packers 31 – Vikings 21.