The weather is getting colder, the days shorter, the roads more crowded, and everybody is scrambling to figure out what to get at the last minute for Christmas gifts. At the same time, we have the NFL dwindling down to only just 2 more games after this week and the last two weeks will determine who gets in and what seed they will be. Of course you'll have to watch for the teams who are willing to play the role of spoilers for teams on the bubble.
Now normally in the previous weeks, Fox's Weekly Pick'ems has been categorized by 'interesting', 'semi-interesting', and 'best of the rest'. For the next few weeks, we're going to to 'Rapid Fire' mode. Here we go.
Record Last Week: 8-8
Seasonal Record: 116-88-1
Thursday 8:20 p.m.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles got the last minute upset touchdown from Nick Foles last week against Tampa Bay to show they got some life left in them. However the Eagles are still banged up (Mike Vick, LeSean McCoy, Brett Celek, out with concussion on offense and Mike Patterson and Kurt Coleman are out on defense due to illness and brushed sternum respectively). Bengals won 3 out of last 4 due to strong play by the Dalton-Green combo and Green-Ellis averaging 109.3 ypg in that stretch. Expect the Bengals to avenge their last loss to Dallas last week.
Sunday 1:00 p.m.
New York Giants @ Atlanta Falcons
The Giants are 4-1 against during Eli's tenure, including a 24-2 drubbing in the Wildcard last year in MetLife Stadium. Though the Falcons have an undefeated home record (6-0 this season). they have tendencies to playin. We saw RB David Wilson breakout for the Giants last week against the Saints with his 327 total all-purpose yards and 3 TDs. Though the Falcons will try to gameplan for him, they will leave themselves open to Eli and his receiving corp. And though the Falcons have one of the top passing offenses, Matt Ryan is still winless against them.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Earlier, the Bears were 4-1 and the Packers 2-3. A few key injuries to certain players on both teams later, now it's the Packers at 9-4 and the Bears at 8-5 and on the verge of another collapse. Last time these two teams met, it was a 23-10 drubbing by Green Bay. Packers may get back Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson back while the Bears could lose Jay Cutler due to a neck injury. Don't expect miracles for the Bears in this one.
Washington Redskins @ Cleveland Browns
Kirk Cousins filled in for an injured Rob Griffin III, leading the 'Skins to a 31-28 OT win against Baltimore. Though Griffin III has been given good diagnostics about his knee, it'll decrease his mobility. They go into Cleveland this Sunday, facing off against a team that is 9th in scoring defense(allowing 20.9 ppg) and currently on a 3 game win streak. Though the Browns might get an additional boost from their own rookie QB Brandon Weeden, whose former Oklahoma State University Cowboys kept beating on Griffin III's former Baylor Bears team.
Minnesota Vikings @ St. Louis Rams
Adrian Peterson has not only shown that he's fully recovered from his torn ACL but he's be dominating, rushing for 100+ yards in 7 consecutive games as well as on pace to post a career best in rushing yards (1,760 in 2008. He currently leads the NFL in that category with 1,600). Although Christian Ponder has been playing poor of late (69.4 QB rating in last four games and 78.3 for the year), Peterson has carried the offense on his shoulders. Expect no different against the Rams.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Miami Dolphins
Both teams are out of contention and want to try to salvage their seasons. However the Jaguars are ranked 31st in total offense and defense. Only thing they got left is to play for the number 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft. Although Miami is 5-8, they still got that tough defense led by Cameron Wake and his 14.0 sacks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
For all the talk about how great Drew Brees has been, he's been putting by dirty poor numbers. In the three recent Saints losses (49ers, Falcons, Giants), Brees has thrown 9 INTs compared to 3 TDs. In that same stretch, the Saints offense has averaged 20.3 ppg while their defense has given up 35.3 ppg. Tampa Bay still is clinging onto their playoff lives and they'll be looking to avenge a 35-28 loss in Week 7 to the Saints in Tampa Bay. If the Saints defense thought David Wilson was a headache, then fellow rookie running back Doug Martin and his 1,234 NFL rookie leading rushing yards will make them wish they could face Wilson again.
Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens
This is a key match up for not only Ravens and Broncos fans but Patriots, Steelers, and Texans fans as well since whoever wins between these two has a chance to clinch a 1st-round bye in the playoffs. Although the Ravens have beaten the Broncos in their last five match ups, Peyton Manning is 8-0 in his last eight match-ups against the Ravens, including 2 playoff wins. There is some disruption over in Ravens camp with OC Cam Cameron getting fired and former Colts HC, turned Ravens QB coach Jim Cadwell is taking over offensive play-calling duties. But even with the new changes on offense, the Ravens defense is still saddled with injuries.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
Texans were 'snakebitten' against the Patriots while the Colts pulled out another miracle win against the Titans. Should the Colts win, they'd be 10-4 and within one game of the divisional lead. However the Texans are playing at home and for the Colts, they got nobody to protect Luck from J.J Watt's wrath.
Sunday 4:05 p.m. & 4:25 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks @ Buffalo Bills
Seahawks put up 58 points on a Cardinals team that has a pretty decent defense last week. All though the Bills offense has some weapons, their defense. Expect another 100+ yd game from Marshawn Lynch against his former team.
Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
At this point, you're going to wonder how many quarterbacks are the Cardinals going to have on IR by the end of this one.
Carolina Panthers @ San Diego Chargers
Question: How can you stop a guy who, in the last 4 games, has amassed 1.363 yards on total and 8 TDs? Answer: Hope you're the Patriots or 49ers defense. Unfortunately, the Chargers aren't those defenses.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys got a big, emotional 20-19 win over the Bengals last week in the wake of losing LB Jerry Brown in a drunk-driving accident the previous Saturday night. However after the big win comes the moment where fatigue sets in. The Steelers boast the top pass defense in the NFL, allowing only 169.2 ypg. With the possibility of Dez Bryant missing this game to a broken finger, things are not looking hopeful in big D.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders
I wonder who Marcus Allen roots for in these games.
San Francisco 49ers @ New England Patriots
If this was at San Francisco, I'd picked the 49ers. However since it's the second night game in a row at Gilette and the possibility of Gronkowski being back, might as well go with the Pats. Not looking forward to the week of homerism afterward. :/
Monday 8:30 p.m.
Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets
Not a single fuck was given when I made this pick. :/
-Ryan L. Fox
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