Friday, March 7, 2014
PATRIOTS (3-2) at SEAHAWKS (3-2), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: A legit Game of the Week nominee, with Patriots putting that big, great offense up against a Seahawks defense that is terrific. Seattle also is a better team at home. Upset watch here but I can't not like a Patriots offense that has Tom Brady and averages 165 yards on the ground.
Prediction: Patriots, 27-23
COWBOYS (2-2) at RAVENS (4-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: This one got a brief whiff from the Game of the Week panel. Dallas coming in off a bye and Ravens off their game last week, barely beating KC, has a leveling effect here. But Baltimore has won 13 straight regular-season home games and I see a bounce-back from Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and that crowd.
Prediction: Ravens, 24-19
RAMS (3-2) at DOLPHINS (2-3), 1 p.m.
Outlook: The Rams' best offensive threat, Steven Jackson, won't do much against Miami's tough run defense, and QB Sam Bradford will be missing his top target in the injured Danny Amendola. Key for Miami on offense will be the play of the line, because the Rams can do that sack dance. Rams are 0-2 on the road and catching a Dolphins team feeling very confident. St. Louis hasn't had a three-game winning streak since 2006. Why start now?
Prediction: Dolphins, 19-13
CHIEFS (1-4) at BUCCANEERS (1-3), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Easy choice for the Dog panel, which hailed this game the worst of the week. Chiefs played Ravens tough in a 9-6 loss last week but lose QB Matt Cassel to a concussion. KC fans cheered Cassel's injury -- but only because they hadn't seen Brady Quinn play. He makes his first start since 2009. Both teams' propensity to ineptness makes this a nervous call either way, but Chiefs are a turnover waiting to happen, so give me the home team coming off a bye.
Prediction: Buccaneers, 24-20
RAIDERS (1-3) at FALCONS (5-0), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Here is the NFL's other unbeaten team, and it's hard to imagine the Falcons not staying that way in this one. Atlanta is 27-0 when Matt Ryan has a 100 passer rating, and Ryan should go happy-stats-nuts against a pass-D allowing a 71.5 completion percentage. Also, Atlanta has won six in a row at home while Oakland is 0-2 on the road by a combined 72-19 score.
Prediction: Falcons, 34-16
BENGALS (3-2) at BROWNS (0-5), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Ohio is too close to call with Obama-Romney, and apparently with Bengals-Browns, too. Near pick-'em game finds the Browns with a big shot to get off the winless schneid in the Pound, especially with top CB Joe Haden back from suspension and a good bet to neutralize A.J. Green. Cincy has won 13 of past 16 in this rivalry, including 34-27 in September, but every Dawg has its day. Upset!
Prediction: Browns, 24-21
COLTS (2-2) at JETS (2-3), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Struggling Jets offense is sticking with QB Mark Sanchez for now. Could it be because the alternative is Tim Tebow? Going from Sanchez to Tebow is like wanting a safer neighborhood and moving from Beirut to Fallujah. Andrew Luck and rejuvenated Reggie Wayne are coming off a big upset of Packers, but Jets are too desperate for something good to happen to not find a way at home.
Prediction: Jets, 23-20
LIONS (1-3) at EAGLES (3-2), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Lions have lost six in a row in the series since last beating Philly in 1986. And on a 1-6 road skid, allowing 36.6 points per game in the process. Nevertheless, I'd still play this one closer than the bet line. Philly and Mike Vick are error-prone, while Detroit is desperate and off a bye.
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