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NFL Week 14 Predictions

1 of 17

NFL Week 14 Tidbits and Picks

NFL Week 14 Tidbits and Picks
Fernando Medina-US PRESSWIRE

Week 14 of the 2012 NFL season is upon us. In a 16 game schedule all games are crucial, but the December games have a make-or-break feel to them.

This week we have six inter-division games, and six inter-conference games. We have five teams that enter this week with minimum four game losing streaks, and we have six teams on at least three game winning streaks.

We have a 6-0 road team (Houston Texans) and a 5-0 home team (Seattle Seahawks) putting their perfect records on the line in week 14. We have a pair of 1-5 home teams looking to make their fans much happier than they have been in the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Monday night game looks like a beauty as the Texans travel to take on the New England Patriots. The Sunday night game looks less attractive as the Green Bay Packers host a team they own, the Detroit Lions.

We have seven rookie quarterbacks starting this week, and we may see an 8th as Greg McElroy could replace Mark Sanchez in the New York Jets tilt vs the Jags.

Just for your information all games hosted by AFC teams are first, then all games hosted by NFC teams.

The Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Patriots, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers all host games this weekend. That provides us with several opportunities for snow. I love football games in the snow! Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys in the snow during their Thanksgiving tilt in 1993 is my favourite game ever.

@craigballard77

2 of 17

Broncos at Raiders

Broncos at Raiders
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

(9-3) Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (3-9)

The Broncos are 4-2 on the road, while the Raiders are 2-4 at home

The Broncos opened the season at 1-2, and it was a week 4 37-6 beat-down of the Raiders that started their run to the AFC West title. In that game Peyton Manning had a season-high 338 passing yards.

In his career Manning is 4-2 with 15 touchdowns and 8 interceptions vs the Raiders. Carson Palmer is 1-1 with two touchdowns and four interceptions vs the Broncos.

That week 4 Broncos win was 10-6 Denver at the half. The Broncos exploded in the 2nd half and have used that as a springboard as they are the top scoring 2nd half team in the NFL.

The Raiders have just 14 sacks (only Jacksonville at 13 is worse) so I cannot see Manning being under fire in this game.

The Raiders best chance in this game is to have Darren McFadden return from injury. He was thiiiis close to returning last week, but he was held out of the muddy conditions for precautionary reasons. He is likely back this week. In his career Run DMC averages 84 rush yards per game vs Denver, and he has 6 touchdowns (5 rush, 1 receiving). McFadden had just 34 yards on 13 carries in their week 4 tilt, but for his career he averages 5.8 yards per carry vs Denver (career best vs any team).

The Raiders are burying themselves weekly. In week 3 they scored a first quarter touchdown, after that they had five straight games with just a field goal in each 1st Q. The last 4 games (all losses) the Raiders have a total of zero 1st quarter points.

Willis McGahee had 112 yards and a touchdown in that week 4 game, but he will miss this game. Ultimately I still see waaaay too much in the Broncos favour here. Broncos win, easily too.

@craigballard77

3 of 17

Rams at Bills

Rams at Bills
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

(5-6-1) St. Louis Rams at Buffalo Bills (5-7)

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

The last time these two hooked up in Buffalo was a 37-17 Bills victory in 2004.

The Bills are the #9 seed in the AFC, while the Rams are the #10 seed in the NFC.

In 2004 the Bills went 5-3 at home. That is by far their best home season in the 2000's. This season they are 3-2 and have a chance for a rare strong season at home.

C.J. Spiller is 93 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards. Spiller had just one touchdown in October, zero in November, but he did get one last week and the Bills will need him to score going forward. He is taking over for Fred Jackson. The Bills are 2-7 when Jackson has played this season (3-0 without him). Jackson did have a strong game last weekend with 109 yards.

The Rams are on a 2-1-1 run. In that span Sam Bradford has six touchdowns and just two interceptions. His BFF Danny Amendola is unlikely to play in this game. He has been on the field for 369 plays in 2012. Brandon Gibson has been on the field for 586 plays, and Chris Givens has 435, but Amendola has the most targets (by far) on the team.

The Bills have a 9-7, and a pair of 8-8 seasons in the 2000's. They could get to 8-8 again this season with a strong finish. They average 6-10 in the 2000's, and they should finish better than that this season. For that to happen then a dome team coming to Buffalo is a must win for the Bills.

The Rams are on the rise. They are the youngest team in the NFL, and Jeff Fisher has a history of building quality teams.

Both teams need a win to have a chance at a better-than-expected 2012, but in this game I will take the Bills.

craigballard77@myself.com

4 of 17

Cowboys at Bengals

Cowboys at Bengals
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

(6-6) Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)

The Cowboys are 3-3 on the road, while the Bengals are 3-3 at home.

These two teams are on the outside of the playoffs currently, but both still have a decent shot at qualifying for the playoffs. The Cowboys are the #8 seed in the NFC, and the Bengals are the #7 seed in the AFC.

The Cowboys defense has been struggling. They are banged up, and in the last 22 drives against them the opposition has three field goals and eight touchdowns. This Cincy offense is not the cure for what ails you if you are struggling on D. The Bengals average 25 points per game (#10 in NFL) and in their current four game winning streak they are getting 29 points per game.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis is on fire. His recent play is under-the-radar, but he has three straight games north of 100 rushing yards. He was averaging a putrid 3.4 yards per carry, but the last three weeks he has averaged an impressive 5.0 yards per carry. He is now on pace to set new career-highs for rushing yards and rushing 1st downs.

Andy Dalton is having a marvelous sophomore season. He has 13 touchdowns and five interceptions at home, and he has gone for seven touchdowns and just one interception vs NFC teams. He was awesome in November with 10 touchdowns and just one interception.

DeMarco Murray is back for the Cowboys. He had a season-high 23 carries last week and had over 100 yards from scrimmage.

The Tony Romo-to-Dez Bryant combo has been amazing at home, but very pedestrian on the road. In the past three weeks these two have hooked up for 388 pass yards and five touchdowns. All of that came at home. These two average eight catches for 110 yards and a touchdown at home, but that plummets to just an average of four catches for 52 yards on the road.

Cincy averages 25 points per game (10th in NFL) and during their current four game winning streak they are up to 28 ppg. They have a major advantage with their defensive line against Dallas' offensive line. They have a hot offense. They are at home. The Bengals win this game (this is one of my favourite picks this week).

Rant Sports has all of your NFL needs

5 of 17

Chiefs at Browns

Chiefs at Browns
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

(2-10) Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns (4-8)

The Chiefs are 1-4 on the road, while the Browns are 3-3 at home.

These teams have played at Cleveland three times in the 2000's. The point difference has been 3, 2, and 1.

The Browns came out of their week 10 bye with an overtime loss to the Cowboys, then victories over the Steelers and Raiders. Last week rookie QB Brandon Weeden went off for 364 passing yards which is the most by a Browns QB in almost 10 years. He has struggled mightily at home where he has just four touchdowns and a whopping ten interceptions.

Rookie RB Trent Richardson is giving the team just 3.4 yards per carry at home, but he is a certain asset/talent and he does have a touchdown in each of his last two games.

The Browns defense has been very good at home. 19 of their 26 takeaways have come at Cleveland Browns Stadium. That should come in handy in this game as the Chiefs are giveaway machines. KC has turned the football over a whopping 32 times (by far worst in NFL).

Brady Quinn returns to Cleveland where he was their QB for short stints previously. He was 3-9 as a Browns QB. His last road victory was in 2009 as he led the Browns over the (ironically) Chiefs.

Jamaal Charles is hot. In his last four games he is averaging 105 rush yards per game, and on the season he is at 4.8 yards per carry on the road.

The Chiefs finally got some production from Peyton Hillis last week as he notched his first touchdown of 2012. Hillis is at just 3.3 yards per carry, and in this game he also goes up against his former team. Hillis had his best season as a Brown in 2010 when he went for 1,177 rush yards and 11 touchdowns.

Quinn has no history on the road (nothing impressive anyway) and last week I thought he settled for check-downs way too often. I am not a fan of his. The Browns offense has struggled at home, but the defense has been excellent. There are very few times where the Browns simply are better than an opponent, but this is one of those times. Browns win.

craigballard77@myself.com

6 of 17

Titans at Colts

Titans at Colts
Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

(4-8) Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (8-4)

The Titans are 2-4 on the road, while the Colts are 5-1 at home.

The Colts are on pace to be the biggest pleasant surprise in 2012. Major kudos to this organization as they added Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton, Lavon Brazill, and Vick Ballard (best last name in the NFL!) through the draft. Impressive.

The Colts are currently the #5 seed in the AFC, and their strong play is the reason why the 11-1 Texans have not even clinched the division yet. The Colts have two games still to play vs the Texans. They are on an outstanding 6-1 run.

The Colts have won seven of the last eight meetings between these two teams, and have won eight of the last nine meetings at Indy. The Colts won the first meeting between these two back in week 8 (19-13 in overtime).

Luck has been very good at home where he has nine touchdowns vs just three interceptions.

The Colts have had five games in 2012 where they did not even rush for 100 yards, but vs the Titans in week 8 they went off for 171 rushing yards (season-high).

The Titans smoked the Dolphins 37-3 in week 10, but that is their only win in their last five games.

Chris Johnson averages 70 rushing yards per game vs the Colts, but his Titans are just 2-6 vs Indy when he plays. In 2012 he does have three of his four rushing touchdowns on the road, and he is averaging an impressive 5.3 yards per carry on the road.

Reggie Wayne leads the NFL in targets, and in his career the Colts are 15-6 when he plays vs the Titans.

A certain issue for the Colts is their inability to create turnovers. They have just eight takeaways in 2012 (putrid stat...worst in NFL). I can't see the Titans turning the ball over in this game (not multiple times anyway) but the Colts are not committing penalties lately (not beating themselves) and are very good at home.

Colts won the first meeting by six, and this will be a much easier victory for Indy. Colts will improve to (an improbable) 9-4.

@craigballard77

7 of 17

Chargers at Steelers

Chargers at Steelers
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

(4-8) San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)

The Chargers are 2-4 on the road, while the Steelers are 4-1 at home.

These two have played at Pittsburgh five times in the 2000's. The Steelers are 5-0 in those games.

Ike Taylor is OUT, but Ben Roethlisberger is likely IN. Big Ben is 3-1 in his career vs SD with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Philip Rivers is 1-2 vs Pitt with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Chargers were on a 7-2 run that ended 2011 and started 2012. Since then they are a horrid 1-7 and there are surely a ton of changes coming to this organization.

The run game has struggled for the Chargers. They are getting just 3.4 yards per carry on the road, and Ryan Mathews is getting just 3.1 yards per carry in his last few on the road. That struggling run game faces a Pitt rush defense that yields just 3.8 yards per carry (#6 in NFL...SD's rush-D is #5 so I do not anticipate either run game being too effective in this game).

As great as the Steel Curtain has been, they are in the midst of their second straight season where they are struggling to create turnovers. The 2010 Steelers had a turnover ratio of +17 (2nd best in NFL) but that plummeted to -13 in 2011 (worst in AFC) and this season they are at -11 (3rd worst in AFC).

The Steelers have allowed the fewest first downs in the NFL, and ultimately they will prove to be too much for this struggling Chargers team. Pittsburgh wins this game regardless who their QB is.

craigballard77@myself.com

8 of 17

Jets at Jaguars

Jets at Jaguars
Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

(5-7) New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)

The Jets are 2-3 on the road, while the Jaguars are 1-5 at home.

Mark Sanchez is IN, but at some point we could see Greg McElroy vs Chad Henne. Yikes. McElroy has seven career passes, while Henne has played the Jets before when he was the QB for Miami. Henne is 3-1 vs the Jets with six touchdowns and just one interception.

Any Jets QB should have a chance vs the Jags as they allow the 2nd most first downs in the NFL. Teams move the ball often/regularly vs the Jags.

Shonn Greene has zero touchdowns in the last five games, and he is getting just 3.0 yards per carry on the road.

Since Henne took over for Jacksonville he was targeting Justin Blackmon like crazy, but that has changed to Cecil Shorts III.

We know that Maurice Jones-Drew is OUT, and Rashad Jennings is likely OUT for this game too. That will mean Montell Owens. In 2012 Owens has 112 yards on 21 carries (5.3 yards per carry) plus two touchdowns.

These two teams are both 1-6 vs winning teams, but the Jets are 4-1 vs losing teams while the Jags are just 1-4 vs losing teams.

The Jags have become irrelevant in their market, and it is their poor play that has caused that. Jacksonville went 5-3, 5-3, 4-4 at home, but are just 1-5 at home in 2012.

These two played last season and the Jets cruised to a 32-3 victory. I cannot see the Jets scoring that many points this week, but I do think they will get their third road win in this game. J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets will win this game.

@craigballard77

9 of 17

Texans at Patriots

Texans at Patriots
Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

(11-1) Houston Texans at New England Patriots (9-3)

The Texans are 6-0 on the road, while the Patriots are 4-1 at home.

What a big-time tilt for the Monday nighter! Two sure division winners, and both are legit candidates for one of the top two seeds in the AFC.

The Pats offensive line is depleted. Stud TE Rob Gronkowski is OUT. These things have combined to force the Brady Bunch to look for Wes Welker and his quick-hitting routes very often. Teams are loading up on Welker so the onus will be on the other Pats WRs (and Aaron Hernandez) to step up their game. The Patriots set a significant standard, especially for points scored on offense. They average over 30 points per game annually these days.

The Pats are averaging 36 points per game (#1) and the Texans are averaging 29 points per game (#2).

The Texans have authored 36 sacks in 2012 (#3 in NFL) so the Pats will need a contribution from their run game in this tilt. NE has Stevan Ridley who is at 1,010 rush yards (#6 in NFL) and we know Texans have Arian Foster and his 1,102 rushing yards (#4 in NFL). Ridley has 66 first downs (#1) and Foster has 64 (#2). The Pats have 19 rushing touchdowns (#1) and the Texans have 16 (#2).

Tom Brady has 21 touchdowns and just one interception in Patriots victories, while Matt Schaub has 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions in Texans victories.

The Patriots are the only team who has not allowed an opponent to score a touchdown on defense or special teams. Despite the o-line issues I still think that Bill Belichick and company can put together a game-plan to move the ball and score at home in this game. Patriots win what will be an excellent game.

@craigballard77

10 of 17

Bears at Vikings

Bears at Vikings
Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

(8-4) Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (6-6)

The Bears are 3-2 on the road, while the Vikings are 5-1 at home.

The Bears are the #4 seed in the NFC, and the Vikings are the #9 seed.

Jay Cutler is 6-1 in his career vs the Vikings with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Christian Ponder is 0-3 vs the Bears with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Cutler has 12 touchdowns and five interceptions in Bears victories. He has three touchdowns and six interceptions in losses. He is 2-1 vs the NFC North with 3 touchdowns and five interceptions. Cutler has been sacked 13 times vs division foes, and the Vikes average 3 sacks per game at home.

Adrian Peterson has played great in his career vs Chicago. He averages 103 rush yards per game vs the Bears, and two weeks ago he had 108 rush yards vs them.

Percy Harvin is OUT. Brian Urlacher is OUT.

Brandon Marshall has been massive for the Bears in 2012. six of his eight touchdowns have come on the road so I expect (another) big game from The Beast.

The Bears are +14 for turnover ratio (#1 in NFC) while the Vikings are at -6 (3rd worst in NFC).

Both teams had leads over the Green Bay Packers, but both have struggled lately and been caught by the Pack. The Bears are on a 1-3 run (only win was vs Minny) and the Vikings are on a 1-4 run. The Vikes only home loss in 2012 was vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This will be their 2nd home loss of 2012. Bears win.

craigballard77@myself.com

11 of 17

Eagles at Buccaneers

Eagles at Buccaneers
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

(3-9) Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)

The Eagles are 1-5 on the road, while the Buccs are 3-3 at home.

The Buccs have lost two straight games, each by just one possession. That has bumped them down to the #8 seed in the NFC, while the Eagles have lost eight in a row (yikes).

This will be a game that features a pair of up-and-coming rookie running backs. Doug Martin was selected #31 overall. He has 1,106 rushing yards (#3 in NFL) and his nine touchdowns are tied for 2nd best. Just three of his 10 total touchdowns have come at home though.

Bryce Brown has exploded onto the scene lately. He was pick #229 in this years draft. He has started the last two games and he is putting up video game numbers. How about 347 yards on 43 carries (a whopping 8.1 yards per carry) plus 4 touchdowns. Wow. The NFL average yards per carry is 4.2, well Brown gets 4.4 after contact alone. He has been a rare bright spot for Eagles fans.

Josh Freeman has been outstanding at home where he has 10 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. He is hooking up with Vincent Jackson and they are putting up massive numbers. Jackson is at 1,014 receiving yards and has seven touchdown catches. The Buccs have not had production like that from a WR since Antonio Bryant had 1,248 in 2008.

Mike Williams has had a great season as the #2 WR also. He is at 718 receiving yards.

Nick Foles is not very good, and Freeman is having a breakout season. Buccaneers win.

Rant Sports has you covered for the NFL...big-time!

12 of 17

Ravens at Redskins

Ravens at Redskins
Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

(9-3) Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins (6-6)

The Ravens are 4-2 on the road, while the Redskins are 3-3 at home.

In the NFC we saw the Cardinals as the early pleasant surprise. Then the Vikings, then the Buccaneers. All have faltered and the newest pleasant surprise is the Redskins. These guys have won three straight games and are the #7 seed in the NFC just one game back in the division and one game back for the wild-card.

Robert Griffin III is a mere 0.4 points behind the #1 QB rating in the NFL (wow).

The Redskins are the only team in the NFL that is already at 2,000+ rushing yards. Washington is getting 5.3 yards per carry (#2 in NFL). RG III is averaging a whopping 7.8 yards per carry at home.

Washington has a turnover ratio of +13 (#3 in NFC) and the Ravens are at +11 (3rd in AFC).

Both teams are in the bottom 10 for 3rd down conversions, but both are excellent on 1st and 2nd downs and they are moving the chains on those downs.

Check these numbers: Ray Rice is at 4.9 yards per carry on 1st down...Alfred Morris is at 4.9 yards per carry on 1st down and 5.1 yards per carry on 2nd down...RG III is at 5.2 ypc on 1st down and 4.9 ypc on 2nd down.

Teams are running the ball like crazy vs the Ravens. Only two teams have had opponents run more plays on the ground than Baltimore.

The passing game is looking good for Washington too. Pierre Garcon is getting healthier and healthier, and the Redskins are 5-1 when he plays. In the past two games Garcon has been targeted a 17 times and he has a dozen catches for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Very good production.

The Ravens have struggled on the road. Joe Flacco has just four touchdowns and four interceptions on the road, and Rice has just one of his eight touchdowns on the road. The Ravens score 25 points per game (#9 in NFL) but on the road they tally just 16.5 points per game.

The Redskins are surging, and they win this game.

@craigballard77

13 of 17

Falcons at Panthers

Falcons at Panthers
Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

(11-1) Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (3-9)

The Falcons are 5-1 on the road, while the Panthers are 1-5 at home.

Matt Ryan is 7-2 vs the Panthers with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. In the Falcons week 4 30-28 victory over the Panthers Ryan was 25 for 40 and had a whopping 369 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. One thing to watch is that the Panthers sacked Ryan seven times in that game. Carolina has just eight total sacks in their past five games.

Cam Newton is 0-3 vs ATL with four touchdowns and five interceptions. He averages 56 rushing yards per game vs them, and has a pair of rushing touchdowns. In that week 4 tilt Newton was 15 for 24 (215 yards) with two passing touchdowns plus a rushing touchdown and zero interceptions. He did fumble twice, but the Panthers recovered both.

The Panthers running game has not been nearly as good as it was supposed to be/should be. Neither Jonathan Stewart nor DeAngelo Williams have contributed to success vs the Falcons in their careers. Stewart is 2-7 and D-Will is 4-7 vs Hotlanta.

Falcons RB Michael Turner had a season-high 103 rushing yards vs the Panthers in week 4. He has been terrible on the road (2.9 yards per carry) but he has a touchdown in the Falcons last three games overall.

The Panthers are getting a lot of scoring in the first quarter lately. If they are going to compete with the #1 seed Falcons then that will have to continue in this game.

ATL is the least penalized team in the NFL. They have an outstanding chance of finishing as a top-2 seed in the NFC which means you are off the first week of the playoffs, and you host a minimum of one playoff game as well.

Steve Smith has gone nine straight home games without a TD. That changes this week. Carolina continues to play well in the first quarter, Smith gets at least one touchdown as the Panthers pull off the upset. Panthers win.

craigballard77@myself.com

14 of 17

Dolphins at 49ers

Dolphins at 49ers
John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

(5-7) Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)

The Dolphins are 2-4 on the road, while the 49ers are 4-1-1 at home.

#8 overall pick in 2012 draft Ryan Tannehill vs #36 overall pick in 2011 draft Colin Kaepernick.

This will be the first home start for Kaepernick. Alex Smith has a QB rating of 104.1 (outstanding rating...#4 in NFL).

Tannehill is completing 58% of his passes, while as a starter Kaepernick is completing 66%. Tannehill's QB rating is just 72.3, while Kaepernick's is 100.1.

Dolphins RB Reggie Bush went for 100+ yards from scrimmage in weeks one and two. That has not happened since. 49ers RB Frank Gore has six games with 100+ yards from scrimmage.

Bush gets just 3.6 yards per carry on the road, while Gore gets 5.8 yards per carry at home.

Whether it is Smith or Kaepernick at QB the top target has been Michael Crabtree. Sean Smith will draw that assignment.

SF has not tossed an interception in the first quarter at home. For Miami to get this upset they will need to find a way to create turnovers in this game. They will need to do things to earn an early lead. SF has been awesome in 2012, but they are not that good when playing from behind.

The SF defense is fantastic. In the last 6 weeks Aldon Smith has an amazing 13 sacks. Only two players have more than that all season (wow).

The 49ers are #2 vs the pass, #2 vs the rush, and #1 for points allowed per game (SF yields a measly 14.3 points per game...Miami is a bottom-5 scoring offense).

The 49ers are in the hunt for a top-2 seed in the NFC. They have a massive showdown vs the Patriots next week, but I cannot see a Jim Harbaugh team look ahead. The Niners are 21-6 under Harbaugh.

Jake Long is OUT, and the Miami offensive line is in flux. The Dolphins are in for a long west-coast trip, and a long Sunday afternoon. 49ers win (easily too).

CLICK HERE for all of my Miami Dolphins articles

15 of 17

Saints at Giants

Saints at Giants
John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

(5-7) New Orleans Saints at New York Giants (7-5)

The Saints are 2-4 on the road, while the Giants are 4-2 at home.

For the Giants 6-2 has become 7-5. For the Saints 5-5 has become 5-7. Both teams are limping to the finish, but only the G-Men still have (legit) playoff hopes.

Drew Brees is 4-0 in his career vs the Giants with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Eli Manning is 1-3 vs the Saints with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

NYG have 14 rushing touchdowns (tied for 3rd in NFL) and they face the leagues worst rush defense. The Saints have just seven rushing touchdowns (tied for 20th) and they face the 26th ranked rush defense in the Giants.

New York has a turnover ratio of +14 (tied for #1 in NFC) while the Saints are at -2 (tied for 11th in NFC).

Each team averages 26.8 points per game (that ties them for 5th best in NFL).

The G-Men are the 2nd least penalized team in the NFL, but in three of their past four losses they have committed 7 or more penalties (that will drive Tom Coughlin crazy).

The Giants need this game. They have the Redskins and Cowboys one game behind them, and they finish the season @ ATL, @ Baltimore, and home to Philly.

When the Saints are too pass-heavy they get beat. Brees averages just 33 passes in victories, but he averages a whopping 47 passes in losses. In the Saints five wins they have averaged 114 rush yards, but in their losses they get just 76 yards on the ground.

Too much at stake for the Giants, and we have seen them put together strong December runs in the past so I will take the Giants to win this game.

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16 of 17

Cardinals at Seahawks

Cardinals at Seahawks
Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

(4-8) Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

The Cardinals are 1-5 on the road, while the Seahawks are 5-0 at home.

#75 overall pick in the 2012 draft Russell Wilson vs #185 overall pick Ryan Lindley. The Cards have announced that John Skelton will start this game, but he has been awful and has been replaced by Lindley before.

We see why AZ wants to go away from Lindley. He has played in three games for the Cardinals. He has five interceptions and has thrown as many touchdown passes as you or I have (which is to say, zero). He is 50 for 104 (just 48% completion percentage) and his QB rating is horrid at 40.4. Skelton, as we know, also stinks.

Lindley has targeted Larry Fitzgerald 25 times, and just five have been complete. Teams are intercepting those passes and returning them for touchdowns. It has been ugly. Overall Fitz is the 7th most targeted player in the NFL, but he is just #39 for receiving yards as teams have no issue loading up on him as the Cards have no other threats on offense.

LaRod Stephens-Howling leads the running game for AZ with 313 yards. There are 48 players in the NFL with more (wow). He averages a measly 3.4 yards per carry (there are 186 players who have a better average...wow).

The Seahawks are on a 3-1 run, while the Cardinals 4-0 has turned into 4-8 (yikes).

Russell Wilson has been awesome at home. He has 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in Seattle. Overall his last interception was waaaay back on October 28. Since then he has 11 straight touchdown passes. Wilson has five straight games with a QB rating north of 96.0.

As of now Seattle CBs Brandon Browner is suspended, and Richard Sherman is still having his 4-game suspensions go through the appeals process so Sherman may play in this game.

Seahawks and their 12th man win this game (easily too).

@craigballard77

craigballard77@myself.com

17 of 17

Lions at Packers

Lions at Packers
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

(4-8) Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (8-4)

The Lions are 2-4 on the road, while the Packers are 5-1 at home.

This is the Sunday night game.

The Packers own this match-up. They are on a 13-1 run vs the Lions (wow) including a week 11 24-20 victory at Detroit. Overall the Packers are on a 6-1 run, while the Lions have dropped 4 games in a row.

Aaron Rodgers is 7-1 vs the Lions with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. Matthew Stafford is 0-4 vs GB with eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Ndamukong Suh has two sacks in five games vs the Packers.

The Packers have a turnover ratio of +6 (#7 in NFC) and the Lions are at -5 (13th in NFC). In their week 11 game the Packers were +3.

Jim Schwartz has been exposed as a terrible coach this season, and he is surely done in Detroit after week 17 finishes. This game will add a loss to the Lions. Packers win.

Thank you for reading my work! Much appreciated (pass it on)...

CLICK HERE for all of my Miami Dolphins and NFL articles.

@craigballard77