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Week 15 NFL Preview and Predictions

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dallas (8-5) at New Orleans (13-0) (Saturday, 7:20 PM CST, NFL Network):
“Jerry Jones wishes he could purchase the Saints’ season record.”

Dallas at New Orleans is among what should be considered feature matchups of the week.  On one hand, you have the still unbeaten Saints.  Week to week they keep finding ways to win.  It hasn’t been easy for the Saints either, even though they make it look that way.   Last week against the Falcons, the Saints came up with a huge fourth down stand on the 46 yard line in the final minute of the fourth quarter to seal the win.  Drew Brees remains calm on offense, while him and his Saints look to wrap up home field advantage and a first round bye in the playoffs with a win this week and a Minnesota loss.  And oh yea, getting one step closer to that elusive undefeated season.  Reggie Bush is healthy again, which poses matchup nightmares for opposing defenses, and further opens up the passing game for QB Drew Brees.  Injuries to key defensive players (LB Scott Fujita, and CB’s Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter) have left the Saints looking a bit vulnerable in recent weeks, which is really the only thing that will spoil the Saints perfect season… injuries.  However, both Fujita and Porter are expected to be back in action on Saturday.  Teams are going to be aiming to play spoiler to the perfect season, and New Orleans can bank on getting Dallas’ best game this week.

Dallas, at 8-5, is in desperate need of a win.  If it were any month except Dec ember, the Cowboys would be picked to keep this close.  However, it is December, and the Cowboys haven’t had a winning record in the twelfth month of the year since 1996.  QB Tony Romo has played well as of late, but is merely 5-12 in December in his career, and the Saints have won their last five meetings against the ‘Boys.   Coincidentally, all of those five wins came in the month of December.  The Cowboys aren’t sunk by any means.  If they win out, which means beating New Orleans this week and Philadelphia in their finale, they would find themselves division winners.   Dallas has played well on both sides of the ball too, they just can’t seem to put points on the board.  They have been held to two or fewer touchdowns in three of their last five games, and kicker Nick Folk has missed six of his last nine field goal attempts… 6 of 9??? REALLY?  That’s not going to cut it in the NFL buddy.
What to Watch For:

New Orleans: How well will the defense play?  They have returning starters, but how quickly will they get back into the swing of things?  Can Drew Brees continue his hot streak he has had since week 1?  The Saints want this game, as their Superdome is a definite home field advantage if they are able to secure it for all of the playoffs.

Dallas: Can the Cowboys score?  They have looked vulnerable in recent weeks, and December has not been kind to them as of late either.  They are sticking with kicker, Nick Folk, for at least another week.  It will be interesting to see if he can get his mind right and actually make a few on Saturday.

Betting Line: Saints -9

Over/Under: 53 1/2

Prediction: Take the Cowboys and the 9 points. Go with the over on this one.

New England (8-5) at Buffalo (5-8) (12 PM CST, CBS):

“Tom – not so terrific “

In recent years, this would appear to be a laughable game to write about for a feature game of the week.  2009 is a different story however.  The once mighty Patriots are showing they are indeed human, and are even in the midst of some *gasp* team turmoil right now.  If I told you the Patriots would be winless on the road in week 15 at the beginning of the season, I probably would have been laughed at.  However, that’s exactly what the Patriots are.  Still in control of their division, they will set out for their first road win of the season against Buffalo on Sunday.    The Patriots have won 12 straight games against the Bills too, which bodes well for a team struggling on the road.  Among four players sent home two weeks ago from practice was none other than Randy Moss.  Moss even had his effort questioned by two Carolina players last week.  However, the Patriots took care of business and won a tough game 20-10.  Moss has just six catches in his last three games, and will have to get his act together if the former dynasty team is to even make the playoffs, let alone make a run in the playoffs.  The injury bug is no stranger to the Patriots either this season.  Star nose tackle Vince Wilfork may be out this week, and superstar QB has also missed practice time this week with banged up ribs.  However, this weeks matchup vs. the Bills could be just what the Patriots need to get going.  Their overall score in their last five matchups on the road against Buffalo is 163-40.  Yeah…not close haha.

Since their last meeting against the Patriots, the Bills have ditched their coach for Perry Fewell, and benched QB Trent Edwards for Ryan Fitzpatrick.  The results… a lot of the same.  I shouldn’t say that too quickly though, as the Bills have actually looked like an NFL football team in recent weeks.  Last week, against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bills rushed for a total of 200 yards, and held their opponent to under twenty points for the fourth straight week.  He coach, Perry Fewell is hoping for an early Christmas present, and a little job security for next season with a big time win over the Patriots this week.  Terrell Owens has shown life in recent weeks, and has even stated he would not mind returning to Buffalo for round 2 next season.
I wrote very little about Buffalo… which is about how much chance I give them this week against the Patriots.  I like Tom Brady and company to step it up, and win this one by at least ten, sending a message to the rest of the NFL that they aren’t just going away quietly.

What to Watch For:

New England: Can the Pats win a freaking game on the road?  It’s hard to be taken seriously if you can’t win a road game.  It’s also hard to imagine getting into the playoffs without a single season road win as well.  How many catches will Randy Moss have?  You know he is amped up for a showdown against the other 81, and I feel the Patriots will look to feed Moss after a week of minor controversy surrounding him.

Buffalo: Can the Bills give their coach an early Christmas gift, and pull out their first win against the Patriots in thirteen meetings?  Look for the Bills to try and get their ground game working early, and open up the passing game for T.O. as the game wears on.

Betting Line: Patriots -7

Over/Under: 40 1/2

Prediction: Take the Pats to win and cover. Under.

Green Bay (9-4) at Pittsburgh (6-7) (3:15 PM CST, FOX):

“What a difference a year makes.”

Like I said… What a difference a year makes.  Last year the Steelers were the toast of football, dominating the regular season en route to a Superbowl victory.  This year, injuries and poor play have contributed to the Steelers being on the outside looking in on the playoff hunt for 2009.  They started off hot, winning six of their first seven, and pulled out wins against Minnesota, San Diego, and Denver.  In the last month however, they have lost to some of the NFL’s worst teams, including last week’s soul crusher to lowly Cleveland.  Now they will have to try and pull it together this week against arguably the NFL’s hottest team in the Green Bay Packers.  The Steelers will need to win out, and get some help from about seven teams in order to have a chance at the wild card.  It’s not going to be a walk in the park either, as the Steelers play Green Bay, Baltimore, and Miami to finish the season, all of whom are in the playoff hunt.

Green Bay is hot, hot, hot.  The Packers have won five games in a row since a crushing defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 8th in Tampa.  Aaron Rodgers has been one of the best QB’s in the league and RB Ryan Grant has come on strong as of late.  The Packers can also thank their resurgent defense and defensive player of the year candidate Charles Woodson for the winning streak.

What to Watch For:

Pittsburgh: It will be interesting to see if the Steelers can re-establish the ground game that used to be their calling card up until this season.  If so, it will buy QB Ben Roethlisberger some time in the pocket and allow better opportunites to throw the ball and less opportunities for sacks.

Green Bay: Can Aaron Rodgers bounce back from a sub-par performance against the Bears at Soldier Field? If so, the Pittsburgh secondary has their hands full.  If the Packers can get Ryan Grant going on the ground against just like last week, it could make the day a long one for the Steelers defense.

Betting Line: Pittsburgh -1

Over/Under: 41

Predictions: I like the Packers in this one and take that one point for good measure. Go with the under.

Arizona (8-5) at Detroit (2-11) (12 PM CST, FOX):

Betting Line: Arizona -12 1/2

Over/Under: 46 1/2

Prediction: Arizona looked bad last week, but so did Detroit. Take Arizona to win and cover. Go with the under.

Cleveland (2-11) at Kansas City (3-10) (12 PM CST, CBS):

Betting Line: Chiefs -1

Over/Under: 37

Prediction: Chiefs to win and cover. Under. Ugly football all over in this game.

Atlanta (6-7) at New York Jets (7-6) (12 PM CST, FOX):

Betting Line: Jets -6

Over/Under: 40

Prediction: Take the Falcons and the points. Over.

Chicago (5-8) at Baltimore (7-6) (12 PM CST, FOX):

Betting Line: Baltimore -11

Over/Under: 40 1/2

Prediction: Take the Bears and the points. I have no idea why, but I think the Bears will keep it closer than that. Go with the under.

Miami (7-6) at Tennessee (6-7) (12 PM CST, CBS):

Betting Line: Tennessee -3

Over/Under: 43

Prediction: Take the Dolphins and the points. Over.

San Francisco (6-7) at Philadelphia (9-4) (12 PM CST, FOX):

Betting Line: Philadelphia -9

Over/Under: 42 1/2

Prediction: San Francisco looked tough last week. Take them and the points. Over.

Houston (6-7) at St. Louis (1-12) (12 PM CST, CBS):

Betting Line: Houston -11

Over/ Under: 43 1/2

Prediction: Take Houston to win and cover. Under.

Cincinnati (9-4) at San Diego (10-3) (3:05 PM CST, CBS):

Betting Line: San Diego -6 1/2

Over/Under: 43 1/2

Prediction: The Bengals will play inspired after the loss of Chris Henry. Take the Bengals and the points. Over.

Oakland (4-9) at Denver (8-5) (3:05 PM CST, CBS):

Betting Line: Denver -14

Over/Under: 37

Prediction: Take Oakland and all of those 14 points. Over.

Tampa Bay (1-12) at Seattle (5-8) (3:15 PM CST, FOX):

Betting Line: Seattle -6 1/2

Over/Under: 39 1/2

Prediction: These teams both suck. Take Seattle at home to win and cover though. Under.

Minnesota (11-2) at Carolina (5-8) (7:20 PM CST, NBC):

Betting Line: Minnesota -9

Over/Under: 43

Prediction: Take the Vikes to win and cover. Under.

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  1. December 20, 2009 at 2:40 am

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