The week 13 preview article included another free pick provided by SportsPicks.com.
The winning pick was Miami Over Jets
The Colts had lost two of their last three. Both of those losses were embarrassing blowouts where they could hardly find the end zone. Luckily for them, on Sunday, they were able to find the end zone enough times, especially in the final quarter, to beat the Titans and expand their AFC South lead. Despite the 22-14 score, the Colts still were only able to amass 264 yards on offense, 200 of which came from Andrew Luck. Luck also didn’t throw for any touchdowns, although he did have an interception. On the Titans side, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 201 yards and a touchdown, though it was his three interceptions that allowed the Colts to take advantage of this game. Adam Vinatieri had five field goals in this game, scoring 15 of the Colts 22 points. The Colts will look to continue that lead in the AFC South, as it may only take one more win to clinch a playoff birth, against the Bengals next weekend. The Titans aren’t out of it yet, though they’ll need to get a huge game next weekend against the Broncos to stay in the picture.
While many teams this weekend had hiccups, or near hiccups, that could be detrimental to their overall record, the Panthers were able to get a big win over the Tampa Bay to stop the Bucs three game winning streak. Not only does the Panthers win show that they can beat lesser quality teams by a big margin, 27-6, but it was also the Panthers eighth win in a row to keep them on pace with the Saints in the NFC South. Cam Newton once again led the way for the Panthers, as he seems as if he is really starting to get the momentum that he needs at this point in the season. Newton had 263 yards and two touchdowns, as well as a rushing touchdown as well. The Panthers were also to keep the Bucs Mike Glennon from throwing any touchdowns, which is the first time he’s failed to do so since he became the starting quarterback of this team nine games ago. The Bucs have now been grounded back to earth after they were flying high on their three game winning streak. They’ll hope to get back to winning next weekend when they take on Buffalo. As for the Panthers, we could be looking at their biggest game of the season next weekend when they play the Saints. Not only is this a huge matchup for the NFL Week 14 slate, but this is going to be one of the best NFC matches all year long.
For the second week in a row, the Vikings went into overtime. This time they would outlast the Bears and score a field goal to win 23-20. Adrian Peterson had a huge 211-yard performance, of which 30 came in overtime on the final drive. And in place of the injured Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel threw for 243 yards and had a touchdown. The Bears, who really needed this game and have now lost three of their last four, are quickly finding themselves in a precarious position. Josh McCown has continued to fill in admirably for the injured Jay Cutler. And with a 355 yards, two touchdown performance on Sunday, the finger certainly can’t be pointed at McCown. But if he can’t put numbers in the ‘W’ column, it’s simply not enough for a Chicago team that expects a playoff spot this year. And losing to a Vikings team who came in with only two wins, has to be even a bit more frustrating than some of the other loses the Bears have had this year. As for the Vikings, they’ll be happy to get their third win of the season. And Adrian Peterson is finally having games that we expect to see from AP. Though at this point, with all the talk earlier in the season, we may just be looking at Peterson’s trade value increase, as the Vikings will still be looking at this season as a lost one and look to rebuild in the coming offseason.
The Cardinals came into their game against Philly as one of the most underrated teams in the league. The Eagles came in as a team that is on top of one of the worst divisions in the entire league. On Sunday, both of those assumptions came to an end with a 24-21 victory for the Eagles. It’s probably safe to say that Nike Foles has now found his place as the starter for this Eagles squad. On Sunday, Foles had three touchdowns and no turnovers, while amassing 237 yards. Although Carson Palmer had a 307-yard game and threw three touchdowns, he also had two interceptions that were instrumental in the loss. Foles has now thrown for over 230 passes without an interception, a streak that bested Michael Vick for the franchise best for the Eagles. Both teams are now 7-5. Though a 7-5 mark means much more to the Eagles in the NFC East, as they now lead the division and are on a hot streak with the playoffs just a few weeks away. The Cardinals are still in the conversation in the NFC West, but things get much more difficult with their loss on Sunday. Luckily for them, they still have games remaining against Seattle and San Francisco, which could have huge implications on the divisional race. As for the Eagles, they’ll play another tough team in Detroit next weekend. Foles will hope to keep things rolling as the Eagles have now won four in a row.
Back in the beginning of November, the Jets beat the Saints and had everyone thinking they were prepared to make a late push towards the playoffs. One month and three losses in a row later, the Jets are all but out of the postseason picture. Their 23-3 loss on Sunday, which came to the hands of divisional foe Miami was two fold. Now only was it another embarrassing loss, but it was a loss to a divisional opponent who now leads them in terms of the playoff race. Ryan Tannehill threw 43 times on Sunday, completing 28 of those attempts for 331 yards. Geno Smith left the game with an injury, which he was replaced with Matt Sims in the second half. And with the fact that the Jets are all but out of the playoff picture, the Jets may look to rest their young quarterback for the remainder of the season. As for the Dolphins, they’ve been able to weather the storm of the bullying-scandal that came their way earlier this season. They now will play Pittsburgh next weekend and finish the season with three divisional games in a row, including another one against the Jets. Now in the playoff picture, they’ll hope to win at least two of those games to stay in the thick of it.
Coming off one of their biggest wins of the season, the Patriots almost blew a huge opportunity against the Texans. Trailing in the fourth quarter, it would take two Stephen Gostkowski field goals in the final minutes for the 34-31 win over the Texans. The loss for the Texans was their 10th in a row, which extends the worst such streak for the franchise. Brady had 371 yards and two touchdowns. 127 of those yards and one touchdown went to Rob Gronkowski and another 101 went to Julian Edelman. For the Texans, Ben Tate had 102 yards on 22 carries for three touchdowns. Filling in for Arian Foster, this was a huge game for Tate. Case Keenum played well and had 272 yards, though he wasn’t able to find the end zone at all through the air. This could’ve been a major hiccup for the Patriots, who instead with the win move to 9-3 and stay in second place in the AFC. Another note for the Texans is Andre Johnson caught his 900th reception, becoming only the 15th player in history to reach such a mark.
Remember a few months ago when the Browns traded away Trent Richardson, only to go on a three-game wining streak that had them atop the AFC North? Oh how the times have changed and with their loss to the Jags on Sunday, the Browns have lost three in a row and six of their last seven. All of this despite a huge 261-yard effort from receiver Josh Gordon, his second 200-yard game in as many weeks. Gordon is now 41 yards away from setting the Browns single season record, which would be one of the only highlights of their season. As for the Jags, that’s now two in a row and three of their last four. Lucky for them, they play the Texans next week, who they beat last weekend 13-6. The Jags are all but out of the playoff picture, but for their franchise it has to be reassuring to see the wins they’ve pulled out in the last month. Either way, both teams have a lot of work to do in the offseason.
Last week we mentioned that the 49ers had to be careful to not look ahead of Sunday’s game against the Rams. Anquan Bolden is an experienced vet who knew just how to avoid this. The receiver had nine receptions for 98 yards and saw a lot more open space with Michael Crabtree on the field for the first time this season. Collin Kaepernick had 275 yards passing and a touchdown, as well as picking up 21-yards with his feet. Vernon Davis also had 82-yards and a touchdown of his own. For the Rams, this puts an end to their two-game win streak. What may be worse is they needed a divisional game like this to get back into the playoff picture. With games against Arizona, New Orleans and Seattle in the final weeks, the road doesn’t get any easier for the Rams. Kellen Clemens is still starting in place of Sam Bradford, and went for 218 yards in this one. The 49ers have a huge one against the Seahawks next weekend. If things go as planned, the Seahawks and 49ers could play each other in the playoffs too, so we’ll see how these teams do in next weeks showdown.
The Chiefs were looking to avoid their third loss in a row, and second to the Broncos during that slide. Peyton Manning and Eric Decker had other plans. A career day for Decker, he went for 174 yards and caught four touchdown passes. Manning would also hit Knowshon Moreno for a touchdown, making for a total of five on the day. In that, Manning also had 403 yards, though he did have two interceptions. As for Alex Smith, he would throw the ball 42 times, which he’d complete 26 for 293 yards. This was a big win for the Broncos, coming off a loss to the Patriots and still wanting to prove their dominance in the AFC. But the win against the divisional Chiefs also gives them a bit more breathing room in the AFC West and now holds two wins over K.C. The Broncos have a relatively easy schedule remaining, which they’ll hope to win all of to stay in the top spot throughout the playoffs. As for the Chiefs, a bit of panic may be setting in over the last three weeks. After starting the season 9-0, they’ve now lost three straight and have shown glaring weaknesses throughout. Even when the Chiefs play at home, who many say to be a huge advantage, they have now lost two in a row. It’s likely the Chiefs will make the playoffs. But if they have to play the Broncos, Denver already has their number twice this year and the Chiefs are showing they have difficulties with teams above .500.
One of the games with the most on the line this weekend was the Chargers and Bengals matchup. The Chargers could’ve gained even further in the AFC West and the Bengals needed a win to get some breathing room in the AFC North. And with a 17-10 victory, it was the Bengals that took care of business, quite possibly putting San Diego out of the playoff picture. AJ Green had five receptions on seven targets for 83 yards and a touchdown. During Andy Dalton’s 14-23 190-yard efforts, he became the only other quarterback aside from Peyton Manning to throw for three 3,000-yard seasons in a row. The Bengals aren’t in the clear yet. With the Ravens win on Thanksgiving, they are just two games back of the Bengals and the teams will play one another on the last day of the season. They also have a game against divisional Pittsburgh and a tough Indy team as well. But as for now, it looks like the Chargers have once again played themselves out of the playoffs and the Bengals look to have enough to keep them breathing a bit easier, for at least another week.
The first half of the Giants and Redskins game was about what we expected from Robert Griffin III this season, as he went a nearly perfect 16-17. However, as the Giants scored with just 35 seconds left in the half, you could tell the Redskins were a bit deflated and it showed when they only put up 96 second half points. As perfect as RGIII was in the first, Eli Manning had a stretch where he completed ten passes in a row in the second half. During the same half, RGIII was sacked by Justin Tuck four times. The Giants have now won five of their last six, after starting the season winless through six games. At the same time, the Redskins became mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. That is the 17th time in the last 21 years. With that being the case, it’ll be interesting to see the approach of RGIII throughout the remainder of the season and whether or not Kirk Cousins will get many reps. If RGIII is the future in Washington, they certainly don’t want to risk him getting hurt in meaningless games. However, they also want to make sure he is getting the reps that it takes to become a more developed quarterback. As for Eli Manning, well he’s already proven himself. The Giants could really use games against the Cowboys and Eagles so that they can be the deciders of their own fait. Instead, they’ll have to face the Chargers, Seahawks, Lions and Redskins again. They’ll have to finish strong if they want to push either of the teams in front of them for a playoff spot. But we’ve seen Manning do it before, so it wouldn’t surprise us to see him do it again.