Saturday, March 8, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Outlook: Indy has started to build some home-field muscle (4-1), Andrew Luck is hardly playing like a rookie, so make this a venue call in what feels like a toss-up game. Luck, with more passing yards through 10 games than any rookie ever, should keep it flying against a mediocre Buffalo pass defense. Colts also are precarious in the playoff hunt and simply must have a winnable home date like this one.
Prediction: Colts, 27-23
BRONCOS (7-3) at CHIEFS (1-9), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Once-proud Kansas City is 0-5 at home. Denver has won five straight. Chiefs have lost seven straight. Peyton Manning will have his way. The Broncos' defense should dominate. Are you beginning to sense a pattern here? Almost forgot to mention. Brady Quinn will start over Matt Cassel. Um, is that a good thing?
Prediction: Broncos, 34-10
FALCONS (9-1) at BUCCANEERS (6-4), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Surging Bucs have scored 206 points in past six games, with Josh Freeman on a 16-3 TDs/picks roll during that span. Can easily see Tampa Bay come crashing, but I'm-a keep the faith here and roll with a mild upset. Bucs are believing in themselves, and Doug Martin, the rookie you don't hear enough about, could exploit a so-so Falcons run defense.
Prediction: Buccaneers, 23-21
TITANS (4-6) at JAGUARS (1-9), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Chad Henne. He's baa-aa-aaack! Jacksonville's backup-turned-starter was a near-hero in last week's OT thriller-loss to Houston. Jaguars spent so much emotion in that near-shocker that I can see them (and Henne) crashing here. I mean, they're 0-5 at home, and Titans are coming off a bye. But I don't care, I'm rolling the dice here.
Prediction: Jaguars, 24-20
RAVENS (8-2) at CHARGERS (4-6), 4:05 p.m.
Outlook: I seem to keep picking the Chargers, keep getting bitten, and then keep picking the Chargers. I figure Ravens coming off a big emotional grudge division win over Pittsburgh, then a long trip, and facing a QB (Philip Rivers) who has 955 yards in three career games against Baltimore. So it's San Diego, then! (Oh lord will I never learn!?)
Prediction: Chargers, 27-24
RAMS (3-6-1) at CARDINALS (4-6), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: Rams have not won on the road. Free-falling Cardinals have lost six straight. What more do you want? St. Louis won first meeting 17-3, now Arizona has no running game and a rookie, Ryan Lindley, at QB. So naturally I see the Cards winning on big defense. It's that kind of week, folks.
Prediction: Cardinals, 20-13
PANTHERS (2-8) at EAGLES (3-7), 8:30 p.m.
Outlook: As most know our Dog game is the lousiest matchup, and we rarely look to Monday because that stage seems to dress every game in fancy clothes. But not this one. Carolina is bad. Philly, with six consecutive losses, may be worse. Fact: The Phillies have won a game more recently than the Eagles have. Looked as if rookie Nick Foles would go because of Mike Vick's concussion. RB LeSean McCoy also seemed very iffy for the Eagles. There's a phrase for someone like me who nonetheless likes the home team here: Glutton for punishment.
Prediction: Eagles, 23-20
-- By Greg Cote, The Miami Herald; last week -- 12-2, season -- 105-54-1