NFL Week 11 Predictions

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NFL Week 11

NFL Week 11
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Week 11 in the NFL is upon us. This is a week where we have 7 inter-division tilts, 4 inter-conference games, and 3 AFC team vs NFC team games.

We have 4 teams entering week 11 with minimum 5 game losing streaks, and we have 4 teams with at least 4 game winning streaks.

On a personal note I write about the Miami Dolphins for Rant Sports and this week is my favorite game of the year as Miami travels to Buffalo. There is nothing like beating Buffalo in Buffalo! (If you are interested my detailed game preview for Dolphins at Bills is HERE).

This is the final week for byes. The Tennessee Titans, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings are all on their bye weeks.

If you are like me then you are a fan of the entire National Football League. If that is the case please do enjoy every page in this slideshow week 11 preview. If you would prefer to skip through to check out your favorite team first, then FYI here is the order the games are listed...

All games hosted by an AFC team are first (Mia at Buff...Cin at KC...Jax at Hou...NWO at Oak...SD at Den...INDY at NE...Balt at Pitt) followed by the games hosted by the NFC squads (Ari at ATL...Cleve at Dall...GB at Det...NYJ at STL...Philly at Wash...TB at Car...Chi at SF).

This week the Bills, Jets, Eagles, and Redskins will all try to avoid going 3-7. All 4 fan-bases were anticipating significantly better results through 10 games than to have just won a measly 3 of those games.

The Colts, Patriots, Buccaneers, Saints, and Broncos will all look to continue their recent hot play. The Chiefs and Jaguars are looking for win #2 (yikes).

Week 10 was the week of QB concussions. What will week 11 bring? Let's take a look...


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Dolphins at Bills

Dolphins at Bills
Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

(4-5) Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (3-6)

The Dolphins are 2-3 on the road, while the Bills are 1-2 at home.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is 2-2 vs Miami with 5 TDs and 7 INTs.

Ryan Tannehill has been decent at best. He threw 3 INTs in his first road game, but just 2 road INTs since (but just 2 TD passes). His top 4 passing games have come on the road, and this is a Bills secondary that yields a lot of TDs. Despite this being a short week for Miami this should be a game where the sputtering passing game gets going.

The pass offense had a historic day at Arizona in week 4, but since then things have been ugly. The 'Phins are averaging just 197 passing yards since, and if you take out the game in INDY shootout then the average pass yards dips to just 177 (yikes).

As bad as that has been the run game has actually regressed even worse. In their past 6 games the Dolphins are getting just 71 yards on the ground. Reggie Bush has plummeted all the way down to a measly 42 yards per game since week 3 (yikes).

This Bills D has the cure for what ails you, especially for the ground game. Buffalo yields a whopping 5.5 yards per carry (by far the worst in the NFL). The Bills have also been torched for 16 rushing TDs (also the worst in the NFL).

On offense the Bills will not have Fred Jackson, but their run game will still have a chance in this game. C.J. Spiller averages just 7 carries for 29 yards vs the 'Phins, but 2012 has been a massive year for Spiller. He has gone north of 100 combined yards (rushing and receiving) in his past 4 games. Hard to believe that Spiller averages just 10 carries per game, but this week that should double.

The Dolphins rush-D allowed a 100 yard rusher last weekend for the first time since week 2 of 2011. Spiller has just 1 TD in the last 6 games so while he has great explosion and potential he could be in tough vs the 'Phins.

The Dolphins secondary has strayed from the solid technique they were using to open the season. They will need to create INTs in this game. Fitz has 5 TDs and 0 INTs in Buffalo's 3 victories.

One key will be can Miami generate pressure on Fitz? The Dolphins pass rush was non-existent in the past 2 weeks, but the Bills are yielding way more sacks in November than the previous 2 months combined. In his career Cameron Wake has 4.5 sacks vs Buffalo (Miami is 4-2 vs Buff in Wake's 3 seasons).

I would be taking Buffalo in this game, but the Dolphins just saw the sort of effort required to win a bounce-back game and I think they will play much better this week (the Titans were smoked in the game prior to playing Miami and as a result they were determined to play better vs Miami and they laid a beat-down on the road).

I also wrote a piece last Sunday about the horrid attendance at Miami games so I am glad this game is on the road. The brutal home crowds can have an adverse effect, but the road leads to a "us against the world" mentality.

'Phins win.

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Bengals at Chiefs

Bengals at Chiefs
Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

(4-5) Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)

Cincy is 2-2 on the road. KC is 0-4 at home.

The Chiefs have a total of 1 win in 2012, and they have led in a game just 1 time in 2012 (yikes). The Bengals snapped their 4 game losing streak with a beat-down over the defending champs last weekend.

The offensive line for Cincy has been very good in pass protection for Andy Dalton, but poor in run-blocking for BenJarvus Green-Ellis (the run game has just 3 plays this season of over 20 yards).

The pass game is top-heavy for the Bengals. A.J. Green is awesome, but there is a steep decline after him. Green has been targeted by Dalton twice as much as any other player, and he has 3-times for TDs than any other Bengal. The Chiefs will want to watch WR Andrew Hawkins and TE Jermaine Gresham on 3rd downs (both have been very good at yards after the catch on any down, but both are getting a lot of 3rd down catches to move the chains).

KC has been a turnover-filled nightmare. They are a NFL worst -20 for turnovers (yikes). Brady Quinn has been cleared to play, but it remains to be seen if he or Matt Cassel will be the QB in this game. Either way, good luck with that (both are terrible). In 2012 the Chiefs have the worst pass game in the NFL (Cincy has a pass game that is in the Top 10). KC has a measly 6 passing TDs in 2012 (tied with Miami for the worst in the NFL...Cincy is 5th best with 19 pass TDs).

KC has a Top 10 run game, while Cincy has a rush-D ranked #20.

The discipline on each team is sound. The Bengals are ranked #3 and the Chiefs are ranked #8 for least amount of penalties. The issue for each team is there is just not a whole lot of talent.

Cincy does have more talent, and they will win this football game. I am very tempted to take the KC running game to lead the way in this one but ultimately I just cannot back this KC squad.

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Jaguars at Texans

Jaguars at Texans

The Texans are +107 for points scored this season. Wow. Only the Chicago Bears at +109 are better. The Jags are at -119 which is the worst in the NFL.

The Texans have won 4 straight in this series (lead overall series 12-9).

For those worried about a let-down game for the Texans vs the putrid Jaguars, please do not be. A upset would eliminate the Texans comfy lead for the /1 seed in the AFC. A upset would put the Broncos, Patriots, Steelers or Ravens a chance to catch them. Scarier still if the Colts win this weekend and the Texans are upset then a run-away division champ would be a mere 1 game ahead of Indy with 2 games still to play vs the Colts.

Add the fact that the next 3 Texans tilts are all on the road. At Detroit (Thanksgiving day), at Tennessee, and at New England. A win is a must here for Houston.

The Jags get 185 pass yards per game (yikes) and 79 rush yards per game (yikes part II) for a total of 264 yards per game (by far the worst in the NFL...yikes III). The Jags will have to deal with a defense that allows fewer yards than anyone except the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Matt Schaub is just 3-5 in his career vs the Jags, but he has played well. 11 TDs and just 3 INTs with a QB rating north of 100. Arian Foster averages north of 100 rush yards per game vs Jacksonville, and has 6 TDs in 5 games vs them.

The run game has a chance to be ugly in this one as the Texans have a Top 10 run game, while the Jags have rushed for just 2 TDs all season. The Texans have yet to allow a rushing TD in 2012 (wow wow wow).

A tough road ahead makes this a must win for the Texans, plus their talent level massacres the Jags talent level. Easy pick - Texans win.

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Saints at Raiders

Saints at Raiders
Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

(4-5) New Orleans Saints at Oaklnad Raiders (3-6)

The Saints are 1-3 on the road, while the Raiders are 2-2 at home.

Drew Brees has been great in his career when he suits up against the Raiders. 7-2 record with 16 TDs and just 4 INTs. Carson Palmer is just 1-1 vs the Saints with 4 TDs and 1 INT.

New Orleans has won 2 straight games, while Oakland has lost 2 straight. The Saints are on a 4-1 run and are entertaining hopes of getting back into the playoff race. If that is going to happen then a week 11 win at Oakland is a must. The schedule ends with a home game vs Carolina, but everything in between now and then is t-o-u-g-h so this game is a must win.

The Saints have an offense that is getting back to being dominant. The return to health for TE Jimmy Graham and RB Chris Ivory have the offense getting their depth and skill back.

The Saints have had issues on defense. They are #31 vs the run, and #31 vs the pass. They yield the 4th most points in the NFL. That could be scary vs an offense that has Denarius Moore (I love Moore...He has TD catches in 4 of his last 5 games) but with RBs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson both in walking boots we can assume the Raiders will be throwing the ball a lot in this game and we should see the Saints D prepared for that (both RBs could possibly return and play in this game, but no where near 100% health).

The truth is that even if New Orleans is focused on stopping the pass they still may get burned as they have been terrible in pass-D. No team allows more passing yards, and the Saints have already been burned 19 times in the air for TDs in 2012.

No team allows more yards per carry than New Orleans, but the Raiders are really banged up in their backfield so they may not be able to make the Saints pay on the ground.

If the Raiders had a healthy unit on O I think they would be able to keep up with this high-powered (and really hot) Saints O. I would likely even take the Raiders, but with the status of their running game so up-in-the-air I have to go with the hot hand which is the New Orleans Saints.

Click HERE for all of my Miami Dolphins articles and other NFL articles

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Chargers at Broncos

Chargers at Broncos
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

(4-5) San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (6-3)

San Diego is 2-3 on the road, while Denver is 3-1 at home.

The Chargers have lost 4 of their past 5 games, while the Broncos have won 5 of their last 6 games. 2 legit AFC West contenders, but 2 teams going in opposite directions.

The Broncos only losses this season were to 1st place teams who have a combined record of 18-5. All 6 of their wins have seen them score 30+ points. We know Peyton Manning has been unreal, but Willis McGahee has provided a run game and thus provided balance for this offense. McGahee is getting better and better as the game goes on and he is helping the team salt away victories.

Manning averages 2 INTs per game vs the Chargers which is his worst vs any team. That may not be an issue in this game as Manning has just b6 INTs this season and SD has only recorded 8 INTs in 2012. In his last 7 games Manning has only been picked off 3 times.

One thing I would say is that the Chargers are not top-heavy for INTs. They do not get a lot of INTs, but their starting CBs and Safeties are INT threats so Manning cannot be a gun-slinger, but if he plays within himself he should be able to be the difference in this game.

Philip Rivers is 9-5 vs the Broncos with 22 TDs and 11 INTs. The 22 TDs is his best vs any team. Rivers and the offense have been inconsistent and I just do not have faith that they can out-duel Manning in a home game for Manning.

The SD defense is #2 vs the run, #17 vs the pass. Forcing the Broncos to rely heavily on their passing game may not be a good thing.

SD scores 14.3 points per game in the 1st half (#5 in NFL) while the Broncos score 21 points per game in the 2nd half (best in NFL).

I have a ton of faith in Peyton, none in the Chargers. Broncos win.


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Colts at Patriots

Colts at Patriots

(6-3) Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (6-3)

The Colts are 2-2 on the road, while the Pats are 3-1 at home.

In years past this was Brady vs Peyton. In his career Brady is 7-3 vs the Colts with 21 TDs and 10 INTs. He has a chance to add to those totals vs a defense that has a measly 4 INTs all season (yikes...that is tied with Dallas for the NFL's worst).

In the past 3 weeks Brady has 8 TDs with zero INTs. In the Pats 6 wins Brady has 14 TDs and zero INTs. When Tom Terrific does not turn the football over the Pats are way too dangerous. Like Super Bowl contender dangerous.

The Pats are Top 10 in scoring for all 4 quarters, and #1 in the first Q. That does not bode well for the Colts as their main man Andrew Luck has struggled mightily on the road where he has just 2 TDs and 7 INTs. In losses Luck has just 3 TDs and 6 INTs.

The Pats run game should also have a big game. Stevan Ridley gets 4.7 yards per carry (6th best in NFL) while the Colts yield 4.7 yards per carry (4th worst in the NFL). Ridley has 6 TDs (all in Pats victories) and 54 first downs (tops in NFL).

Indy averages 84 yards per game in penalties (most penalized team in NFL).

The Colts have a 2 game lead for a AFC wild card spot, and the same record as the Pats, but New England will romp in this one.

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8 of 15

Ravens at Steelers

Ravens at Steelers
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

(7-2) Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)

The Ravens are 2-2 on the road, while the Steelers are 4-0 at home.

The Ravens swept the 2011 series. These 2 will meet twice in the next 3 weeks.

Ben Roethlisberger is 7-5 vs the Ravens with 18 TDs and 15 INTs. Joe Flacco is 4-4 vs the Steelers with 10 TDs and 4 INTs. Big Ben will miss this game which may slightly detract from the match-up as Byron Leftwich is a significant step backwards as far as talent.

I would say this is a must win for the Ravens as the Steelers schedule is much easier than theirs to end the season. Ray Rice averages 4.1 yards per carry in his career vs Pitt and as always I hope he gets 20-25 carries (he rarely does for some reason).

A win would put Baltimore at 4-0 in the AFC North while Pittsburgh would be just 1-1. It would be a big lead for the Ravens and allow them to shift their focus from winning AFC North to being one of the top 2 seeds in the AFC.

Even with an offense that has injuries at QB and RB we still see a stout defense for the Steelers. Pitt is #6 vs the run, and numero uno vs the pass. The problem I see in this game is that the Steelers have only created 9 turnovers (2nd worst in NFL). With so many offensive starters likely out I would feel better about Pittsburgh's chances if I thought they could create game changing turnovers, but it just has not been on display in 2012.

I will take the Ravens to get this road win.

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Cardinals at Falcons

Cardinals at Falcons
Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

(4-5) Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (8-1)

The Cardinals are 1-3 on the road, while the Falcons are 4-0 at home.

Even though the Falcons lost last weekend this is still 2 teams going in opposite directions. Each team opened the season at 4-0, but since the Cards are 0-5 while Hotlanta is 4-1.

Arizona is coming off their bye week. They are just 1-4 under Ken Whisenhunt when coming off of a bye week.

On paper this is strength vs strength as the Falcons have the #4 pass offense and Arizona has the #2 pass defense, but I sure anticipate a beat-down in this game. The only time this season that the Cards faced a good passing attack was vs Green Bay and the Packers torched the secondary (Aaron Rodgers threw for 4 TDs).

The Falcons need to keep the Cardinals on the mat and get a win here as they are now just 1 game ahead of a few teams for top seed in the NFL. They also have the surging Buccaneers on their remaining schedule twice so things could actually get tight in the NFC South. If the Falcons continue to win at home then they should be a-okay.

Neither team has a run game. These 2 have a combined 9 rushing TDs (11 NFL teams have at least that amount, if not more). Atlanta gets just 3.8 yards per carry (8th worst in NFL) while Arizona gets a measly 3.4 yards per carry (worst in NFL).

Arizona scores just 17 points per game on the road, and since their road-opener win at New England in week 2 that number is down to just 11 points per game on the road. That is not going to cut it vs Hotlanta.

One reason the Falcons are doing so well is they are penalized for just 29 yards per game (best in NFL).

Granted, ATL's best games have been on the road, but I just think this Arizona team is putrid. This was an easy pick - ATL wins this game.

Click HERE for all of my Miami Dolphins articles and other NFL articles

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Browns at Cowboys

Browns at Cowboys

(2-7) Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (4-5)

The Browns are 0-4 on the road, while the Cowboys are 1-2 at home.

Brandon Weeden has 6 TDs and just 3 INTs on the road (much better than his play at home). The Cowboys have a remarkably brutal number of INTs at just 4 (no Cowboy even has as many as 2 INTs...yikes).

Josh Gordon has been worth the supplemental 2nd rounder that the Browns paid for him. His 22 yards per catch is tops in the NFL.

Trent Richardson is getting just 3.8 yards per carry, but a whopping 7.8 yards per carry in his past 2 games (over 100 rush yards in each game). T-Rich has played well on the road where he is getting 4.2 yards per carry.

The Cowboys running game is a question mark as DeMarco Murray may not play in this game.

Neither run game is producing big plays. The Browns have just 3 run plays of 20+ yards, the Cowboys just 4.

In the NFC East the Redskins and Eagles have eliminated themselves, but the Cowboys could still make a run as they have 5 of their last 7 games at home (3-straight starting with this game).

If the Cowboys are going to make a 2nd half run they will need to get significantly more disciplined. They are the top penalized team in the NFL.

Tony Romo has numerous targets he is comfortable with. TE Jason Witten has been targeted an amazing 91 times, while Miles Austin and Dez Bryant each have 71 targets. All are getting catches to move the chains too.

The 'Boys are getting just 19 points per game at home, but they should be good for more in this one. The Browns are playing better lately, but the Cowboys are currently the #10 seed in the NFC and a loss would end their playoff hopes.

Cowboys win this game. It could be closer than some may think, but the Cowboys have their season on the line.


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Packers at Lions

Packers at Lions

(6-3) Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (4-5)

The Packers are 2-2 on the road, while the Lions are 2-1 at home.

The Pack have dominated this series to the tune of 19-3 (wow). All 3 Lions wins were in Detroit.

Aaron Rodgers is 6-1 in his career vs the Lions with 16 TDs and 4 INTs. He has an impressive QB rating of 116 vs the Lions.

Matthew Stafford is 0-3 vs Green Bay with 7 TDs and 9 INTs. In 2012 Stafford has thrown the football 61 more times than Rodgers, but TDs are 25-11 for Rodgers. Stafford has been awesome in the 4th Q, but unfortunately for Lions fans he has been miserable in the other 3 Qs. 1 TD pass in the 1st Q...1 TD pass in the 2nd Q...1 TD pass in the 3rd Q...8 TD passes in the 4th Q.

Further to that check out these #'s...0 to 30 passes 4 TDs vs 6 INTs...After 30 passes 7 TDs and just 2 INTs.

Overall the Lions have the top passing game in the NFL, but getting into the end-zone has been a major issue. Even their TD machine Calvin Johnson has struggled in this area. In 2011 1 player in the NFL had as many TDs or more than Megatron, but in 2012 that # is up to 94 (wow). He has 20 catches of 20+ yards which is tops in the NFL, but the TDs in 2012 have been elusive.

Detroit has no running game to speak of so we should just move on...

For Green Bay Clay Matthews and Greg Jennings are OUT. Jordy Nelson is likely IN.

Since the Packers lost that weird game at Seattle in week 3 they are 5-1 and scoring 30 points per game in that span. Impressive.

The Packers also have no run game to speak of so again we should just move on...

The only loss for the Packers in a long time was an emotional comeback win by the Colts at Indy who were playing for first time after learning of their coaches illness. The Pack are rolling, and with the Bears playing a tough part of their schedule the Packers no doubt see their chance to close in on the current NFC North leaders.

Detroit has struggled to get many things going, while the Packers are starting to get everything going. Green Bay wins this game.

Click HERE for all of my Miami Dolphins articles and other NFL articles

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Jets at Rams

Jets at Rams
Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

(3-6) New York Jets at St. Louis Rams (3-5)

The J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets are 1-3 on the road, while the Rams are 3-2 at home.

In the off-season the Jets sent a 4th round pick, a 6th round pick, and a few million dollars to the Broncos to acquire Tim Tebow. So far Tebow is giving the Jets a combined 15 yards per game (passing and rushing...yikes).

The offense has extremely little talent. Mark Sanchez completes only 50% of his passes in losses, and has a QB rating of just 62.7 in losses. He is hardily the only issue as the roster is very porous. The Jets passing game is bottom 5 in the NFL.

Shonn Greene gets just 2.9 yards per carry on the road (yikes). The Jets blew out the Bills and Colts and in those games Greene ran for 255 total yards and 4 TDs. Greene has gone for more than 100 yards just once this season. He is simply not that good.

The Rams have zero wins in their last 4 games (3 losses and a tie). They only have 2 home games remaining after this game and they are against SF and Minny so I would think that Jeff Fisher has particular emphasis on winning this game in front of the home faithful.

The career of Stevan Jackson in a Rams uniform is almost over. The Rams and Jackson will part ways at seasons end. Jackson has just 1 game of over 100 yards this season, but it did come vs a very good 49ers defense (last weekend). Jackson is averaging just 56 yards per game and just 3.7 yards per carry.

Sam Bradford has been pedestrian at best in his career. The former #1 overall pick has just 1 TD per game (he also throws 1 INT per game). He has his BFF Danny Amendola back. After being out with an injury for over a month Amendola returned last weekend and was targeted 12 times by Bradford (he caught 11 of those passes...impressive).

These days it is easier for me to have faith in Jeff Fisher than Rex Ryan. As mentioned earlier I think Fisher will have his team ready for this game. Rams win.

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Eagles at Redskins

Eagles at Redskins

(3-6) Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (3-6)

The Eagles lead the series 15-7 and have won 3 straight vs the Redskins. Overall the 'Skins have lost 3 straight games while Philly has lost 5 straight (yikes).

This game will be the #2 overall pick Robert Griffin III taking on the #88 overall pick Nick Foles (Michael Vick is very likely OUT with a concussion). As bad as things have been for Washington (3 straight losses to drop them to 3-6 and season over) they sure catch a break by avoiding Vick who has torched the 'Skins in his career. Vick is 6-1 with 10 TDs and just 2 INTs in his career vs Washington.

LeSean McCoy has just 1 rushing TD and 1 receiving TD in his career vs the Redskins. If you combine his rush yards with his receiving yards he does average over 100 yards from scrimmage vs the Redskins.

Griffin III has an impressive 6.5 yards per carry average (only C.J. Spiller has a better average) and has 6 rushing TDs. Alfred Morris and RG III are both in the top 20 for rush yards, rush TDs, yards per carry, and 1st downs.

Both teams yield 4.2 yards per carry.

The Redskins are the most penalized team along with the Cowboys, but the 'Skins get penalized for an average of 72 yards per game (worst in NFL).

The Eagles are the lowest scoring team in the 1st half so RG III and company should get a chance to get a lead, and then use their running game to bring it home.

In each of Mike Shanahan's 2 seasons in Washington the Skins have hosted the Eagles coming out of their bye week and Philly has won both games. That changes this year. Redskins win. Andy Reid's hot-seat becomes scorching.


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Buccaneers at Panthers

Buccaneers at Panthers

(5-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (2-7)

Josh Freeman is completing just 51% of his passes on the road, but he has 8 TDs vs just 3 INTs on the road. In the Buccs 5 wins this season Freeman has 11 TDs and just 1 INT. His QB rating is an impressive 108.5 in wins.

The Buccs are getting great play on the ground these days to go with Freeman's passing. Doug Martin is averaging 5.4 yards per carry on the road (very impressive for a rookie) and 5.7 yards per carry in wins. 6 of his 7 TDs have come on the road. He is a guy who you need to monitor his carries as his production plummets to just 1.8 yards per carry for every attempt after his 20th carry.

The Panthers are #16 vs the pass. The Panthers are #16 vs the run. Ron Rivera has a history of improving defenses, but that has yet to happen in Carolina. Their tackling in particular has been poor.

Carolina is #15 for pass offense. Carolina is #17 for run offense.

The Panthers are not getting near the production we may have anticipated from their running game. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams combine for just 66 yards per game (yikes).

Cam Newton is experiencing a sophomore slump, but he has been good in the 2 Panthers victories rushing for 2 TDs and passing for 2 TDs vs 0 INTs.

The Buccs are on fire, while the Panthers are having a bad 2012. TB is all the way up to the #8 seed in the NFC and cannot afford to be upset in this game. The Buccs are more consistent. They are in the top 7 for scoring in the 1st half, and also in the top 7 for scoring in the 2nd half. They are the team here capable of putting together a full game (the Panthers are in the bottom 7 for 1st half scoring and also in the bottom 7 for 2nd half scoring).

I like the way Greg Schiano has this TB team playing and I will take the Buccaneers to win this game.

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Bears at 49ers

Bears at 49ers

(7-2) Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1)

The Bears are 3-1 on the road, while the 49ers are 3-1-1 at home.

Alex Smith looks like he will be okay to play after last weeks concussion. In SF's 6 wins Smith has 11 TDs and just 1 INT with a QB rating of 120. His production has increased monthly.

SF does have a poorly ranked pass game overall, but their bread is buttered through their run game. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter each average at least 5.0 yards per carry. Overall the SF run game is ranked #1 in the NFL.

The Bears are facing a top defense for the 2nd straight week. They struggled mightily last weekend vs the Texans as they managed a measly 8 first downs. Chicago was a horrid 2 for 15 on 3rd and 4th downs (yikes). Jay Cutler is likely OUT for this game meaning Jason Campbell is the QB.

The Bears need a big game from Matt Forte in this one. He gives them 5.1 yards per carry in victories, but just 3.0 yards per carry in losses.

This game will go a long was in determining a few things. For one if the Bears do drop their 2nd straight game then the NFC North is likely up for grabs when the 1st half of the season it was all Chicago. For another, the winner of this game is right there with the Falcons to be the top 2 seeds in the NFC which means bye in the first playoff game, and host at least 1 playoff game after that.

SF was tied last weekend by a division rival who gave them a spirited game. If Cutler can't go this weekend then I just do not see the Bears winning this game. I actually think the 49ers can get a lead and use their defense and run game to cement a convincing victory. The only way the Bears remain in this game is if they score on defense (which we know they can, but that is sooo tough to rely on).

SF wins this battle of 2 loss teams, and will do it surprisingly comfortably.

Click HERE for all of my Miami Dolphins articles and other NFL articles