Sunday, April 20, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Prediction: Ravens, 27-17
JETS (3-5) at SEAHAWKS (5-4), 4:05 p.m.
Outlook: Rex Ryan, voted the league's most overrated coach, is talking playoffs. Although I suspect the volume on that will decrease sharply when his team falls to 3-6. Rookie QB Russell Wilson is hugely better at home, and Marshawn Lynch could roll a 150 on the Jets' lousy run defense. See it close, though.
Prediction: Seahawks, 21-17
RAMS (3-5) at 49ERS (6-2), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: St. Louis is on a three-game skid and winless on the road this season, while San Francisco has taken eight of the past 10 in the series, including a 2011 sweep. Rams tempt with points, but nothing about this game says close to me. Can't see Sam Bradford seeing much end zone. The Bears' defense and others are noisier and get more attention, but the Niners are giving up fewer points than anybody.
Prediction: 49ers, 24-10
COWBOYS (3-5) at EAGLES (3-5), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: Two proud old rivals come in stumbling. Desperate Philadelphia is enticing as a home underdog; the Eagles have won three of the past four over the Cowboys. But Philadelphia leads the league in reeling, and I'm not sure how poor Michael Vick stays in one piece behind that decimated offensive line of his. Cowboys lineman DeMarcus Ware is licking his chops. No result would surprise me here, but the safest play is Dallas extending Andy Reid's misery.
Prediction: Cowboys, 23-20
TEXANS (7-1) at BEARS (7-1), 8:20 p.m.
Outlook: If the average game is a bag o' fast-food burgers, this one is a fine piece of Kobe beef. The teams rank 1-2 in point differential and are a combined plus-24 on turnovers, with the Bears on a six-game winning streak and the Texans 3-0 on the road. The game also features the two defensive player of the year frontrunners in Houston sackman J.J. Watt and Chicago havoc-wreaker Charles Tillman. Give me that awesome Bears defense and the chilly home field in a game I'd pay to see.
Prediction: Bears, 20-17
CHIEFS (1-7) at STEELERS (5-3), 8:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Dog panel convening to select the worst match-up of each week always has a safe default starting point in the moribund Chiefs. Particularly when they are playing at Pittsburgh, which has won 14 consecutive Monday night home games. Kansas City has lost five straight, is a gruesome minus-20 on turnovers, and still has not had a single lead in regulation. Surely stranger things have happened than this game not being a rout. I just can't think of any at the moment.
Prediction: Steelers, 34-13
-- Greg Cote, The Miami Herald; last week -- 13-1; season -- 84-48