Last Week: 7-7
Overall: 94-53

Colts @Titans

Jake Locker’s Lisfranc injury leaves the Titans’ playoff chances in Davy Jones’ locker. Even with the Colts playing uneven, inconsistent football, Andrew the Giant should be able to move the offense enough to outscore a team with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback. Unless Indy implodes to allow Tennessee to score while on defense, then the Colts will punch their ticket for the division lead and another playoff appearance.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

Jets @ Bills

I’ve been consistently incorrect about games involving either of these two teams. Neither is incredibly talented or deserving of making the playoffs. The Bills are the walking dead, but the Jets still have some signs of life. As long as Geno Smith takes care of the football, New York’s defensive line can win games against mediocre teams all by themselves. Without a lockdown secondary, the Jets aren’t in the elite level of defenses, but they won’t need to be against a banged up Buffalo team just trying to remain competitive. If New York wants to continue to entertain playoff hopes, this is a must-win for the Jets.

Win: New York Jets

Ravens @ Bears

Chicago may play more consistently without Jay Cutler, but I don’t know if they’re better without his play-making ability. Baltimore is still under the delusion that they can make the playoffs, which makes this a dangerous game to predict. After last week’s miserable last minute loss, the Bears need to defend home field against the Ravens who do not know what they want to hang their hat on as an offensive identity. Baltimore should be pounding the run and using play-action for large chunk plays downfield. While I want to see the Bears thrive without Smokin’ Jay, my head envisions Baltimore getting back to business.

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Browns @ Bengals

I don’t know why, but I really like this Browns team. Try as they might, Cleveland doesn’t seem capable of making a playoff push with their 3rd quarterback. But the Browns are within striking distance. I’d like Cleveland’s chances much more if they were going against a fledgling franchise just wanting the season to be over. Unfortunately, Cincinnati is starting to get desperate and the Bengals need to win this one to stay close to the playoffs. I feel my distrust in the Ginger Gunslinger has been vindicated by his up-and-down, uneven play as the Bengals signal-caller. As long as Dalton doesn’t sail passes into the hands of the Browns secondary, then Cincinnati should be able to control the ball and outlast their Ohio counterpart.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

Redskins @ Eagles

RGIII still isn’t himself. Nick Foles is playing well beyond himself. Something has to give as these quarterbacks go against one another this week. Philadelphia is finally starting to gel as a cohesive unit on offense and the Eagles defense isn’t losing games for them. On the other side of the field, Washington’s defense is miserable and the Redskins do not seem to be on the same page on a week-to-week basis. Washington could definitely win this game with the help of a few breaks. But with the Eagles jockeying for the division lead, the adjoining Cowboys downward spiral makes me hope that Philly can surpass Dallas as the division favorite. While part of me wants to see RGIII return to relevance, I don’t think that will happen until 2014 with Washington shouldering another loss.

Win: Philadelphia Eagles

Lions @ Steelers

Pittsburgh is in a pathetic position with no salary cap flexibility, which should ensure a relatively long run of irrelevance. But the Steelers have a prime opportunity to re-position themselves if they make the right moves. The first thing on that list should be trading Ben Rapistberger who is still young enough to garner a decent return. Drafting near the top also increased the probability that Pittsburgh can find a young, cheap replacement to lead the Steelers back to relevance. If only Pittsburgh’s front office can put their own pride aside. Detroit should be more than willing to help Pittsburgh put that plan in motion this week by posting another win. Since the Steelers defense is in shambles, look for yet another monster performance by Calvin Johnson.

Win: Detroit Lions

Falcons @ Buccaneers

Neither of these teams are going anywhere this season. At this stage, the stinkers on the NFL schedule really start to stink. I don’t know anyone outside of Atlanta and Tampa Bay that will be paying attention to this clunker. Are there even any fantasy implications in this game? Matt Ryan shouldn’t be starting for anyone while Roddy White and Stephen Jackson can’t stay healthy. Is Vincent Jackson the only starter in this game? Since Greg Schiano should have been fired several weeks ago, I’ll go with Atlanta with the win trying regain some respect in the league.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Cardinals @ Jaguars

Jacksonville made their shocking stand for 2013 last week against the Tennessee Titans. The conditions for the perfect storm finally happened. But that should be all the winning the Jaguars plan to do for the rest of the year—especially if they want the opportunity to draft No. 1 overall and select a real QB. Meanwhile, Arizona aspires to be a playoff team and no playoff team should lose to the mighty untalented Jaguars. Carson Palmer will need to avoid tripping over his own feet for that to happen.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Raiders @ Texans

Matt McGloin versus Case Keenum! No, this isn’t some miserable mid-week college football match-up on ESPN2. With Terrelle Pryor injured and out of commission for this week, the undrafted Matt McGloin is making his first NFL start, which doesn’t bode well for the Raiders. Houston may not be going anywhere in 2013, but the Texans should still manage to be interesting with Case Keenum and Ben Tate serving as their new QB/RB combination for the rest of the season. Much more interesting than the Oakland duo of Matt McGloin and Rashad Jennings.

Win: Houston Texans

Chargers @ Dolphins

Either the Dolphins were truly impacted by the Richie Incognito scandal or Miami just isn’t very good. Or both. After losing to in-state rival Tampa Bay, Miami’s aspirations of a playoff appearance may have just been flushed down the toilet. If that didn’t happen already, it will this week with San Diego stopping by to strike another blow to Miami. But that’s more because of the current state of affairs for the Dolphins rather than how good the Chargers are this season. San Diego is dangerous against anyone, but I haven’t been thoroughly impressed with anyone aside from Danny Woodhead—who has emerged as a real multi-dimensional threat out of the backfield.

Win: San Diego Chargers

49ers @ Saints

San Francisco is not the same team offensively as they seemed to be during last year’s stretch run. Without a consistent downfield threat, Kaepernick has struggled mightily, but the close return of Michael Crabtree should hopefully help the 49ers re-emerge as a Super Bowl contender. New Orleans should be able to keep San Francisco suppressed for this week though. The Saints may not yet be the elite level team I think they’re capable of being, but Mark Ingram was dominant running the ball last week and that could propel New Orleans past Denver in terms of the best offense in the NFL. San Francisco may need to start looking behind them because the Cardinals are coming.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Packers @ Giants

Eli

Green Bay is struggling and desperate like a caged wild animal. The Packers are dangerous, but most of their teeth have been removed as a result of injuries. Even Seneca Wallace went down last week, which left Scott Tolzien as the starting quarterback. Do you need evidence that Green Bay is grasping for straws? The Packers just signed Matt Flyn, which is truly an act that reeks of desperation. Despite Eddie Lacy’s strong running style, it’s tough to envision the Pack pulling out a win since they are hurt everywhere. Of course, a few more Eli Manning interceptions could be an effective tonic for what ails Green Bay. But I think the presence of Andre Brown has helped the consistency of New York’s offense—giving opposing teams another threat to allocate additional attention to address. Watch out for Eli Manning Face! Wait for the return of the Giants rhetoric in 3…2…1…

Win: New York Giants

Vikings @ Seahawks

A shitty Vikings squad on the road in the hostile environment of Seattle? I don’t give Minnesota much of a chance versus the Seahawks. It would take a significant injury to Russell Wilson for Seattle to cough up this easy win.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Chiefs @ Broncos

Peyton Manning’s “lower body” injuries could really hinder the Broncos in this pivotal, potentially season-deciding match-up. With two sprains in the same ankle, Denver will likely build the offensive game plan around quick, short passes so Kansas City can’t get close to taking a shot on Manning. That means a lot of screen passes (both WR and RB) and reliance on the run. I have serious questions about whether Denver can win without an incredible defensive performance due to the health and restrictions likely on Manning. But I expect the Broncos to pull it out nonetheless. I don’t want to live in a world where Alex Smith’s noodle arm can win over the precise dissection that’s present in most Peyton Manning performances.

Win: Denver Broncos

Patriots @ Panthers

All the hype of Cam Newton can continue to mount. The Panthers may actually be a viable playoff team, but I don’t trust the creativity of their coach staff to help propel what has been a pretty bland, unimpressive game plan every week. Considering Belicheat has been able to build a plan of attack over a longer period of time, I expect the Patriots to come up with a scheme to confuse Cam Newton and force bad decision by the entire Carolina team. It may not play out like that, but I would expect controlling Cam Newton’s running ability to be the utmost priority. With a stout defensive effort, New England would just need their offensive line to fend off Carolina’s feverish pass rush (the strength of their defense) to give Brady enough time to hit the intermediate passes and move the chains for the win.

Win: New England Patriots

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