Wednesday, April 16, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Prediction: Buccaneers, 24-20
RAVENS (9-3) at REDSKINS (6-6), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Redskins have climbed back onto the outer edge of the playoff hunt with three wins in a row. Robert Griffin III has been uber-hot, but I like the road dog here, especially if Terrell Suggs plays.
Prediction: Ravens, 27-24
DOLPHINS (5-7) at 49ERS (8-3-1), 4:05 p.m.
Outlook: The Niners are angry after a loss and present the stingiest defense in the league. I'm no genius, but this does not appear to be the recipe for Ryan Tannehill and a struggling offense to whip up a lot of points. The best hope for an upset is that young QB Colin Kaepernick makes Jim Harbaugh wish he never rolled the dice by quitting on safe-and-sound Alex Smith.
Prediction: 49ers, 23-14
SAINTS (5-7) at GIANTS (7-5), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: Betting line shrunk during the week, perhaps as investigating prospectors discovered that Drew Brees is 4-0 all time vs. Giants with 11 TDs vs. zero picks. I like the desperate, sliding Giants at home to stabilize their eroding playoff condition. But I also like Brees to keep it inside the bet number.
Prediction: Giants, 34-31
CARDINALS (4-8) at SEAHAWKS (7-5), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: John Skelton replaces Ryan Lindley at QB for Arizona, which helps a little, I guess, but Seattle's defense still should dominate. Cardinals have lost eight in a row, but the betting line is fat. Arizona has won past two over Seahawks, including 20-16 on Sept. 9, and visitors' defense is good enough to keep this close in what should be a low-scoring game.
Prediction: Seahawks, 19-16
LIONS (4-8) at PACKERS (8-4), 8:20 p.m.
Outlook: Here's another trend I can't ignore: Detroit has lost 20 games in a row at Lambeau Field. Nevertheless, this should be a good one, just like the first meeting in which Packers scored late to win 24-20. Matthew Stafford will get his yards, but Aaron Rodgers will get his yards plus the win.
Prediction: Packers, 31-27
TEXANS (11-1) at PATRIOTS (9-3), 8:30 p.m.
Outlook: The winner here will be the clear Super Bowl favorite moving forward. Both already have clinched a playoff spot, but each is seeking the No. 1 seed or at least a first-round bye. A Houston upset would not surprise, but I simply do not pick against New England at home in December, or on the Monday night stage, where they are on a 10-1 run with an average victory margin of 20 points.
Prediction: Patriots, 31-27
-- Greg Cote, Miami Herald; last week: 11-5, season: 124-67-1