Total and complete domination.
That’s what we saw on Sunday in Green Bay. The Philadelphia Eagles, leaders of the NFC East, were utterly eviscerated by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in front of a packed Lambeau Field crowd, 53-20. This game was never even close. The Packers, with their four Super Bowl titles, made the Eagles’ defense look like the NFL equivalent of the Bad News Bears. The offense, hampered by turnovers, wasn’t much better. At one point, I was pretty sure Chip Kelly’s head was going to explode.
But, this is the NFL. If one focuses too much on the failures of the past, the future will turn too dim to see.
This weekend, the Eagles get the good fortune of what some would call a “tomato can” opponent. That is, someone that the Eagles should fully dent, ding, and dismantle. That’s because the Tennessee Titans come to town for a 1:00 PM start at Lincoln Financial Field. The Titans, far from their glory days of Steve McNair and Eddie George, come into this week’s affair with a 2-8 record. Their defense can’t stop the run (though we heard that about Green Bay, as well) and the offense is led by a sixth round rookie. Anything less than a blowout victory will likely result in the city of Philadelphia’s immediate destruction. I kid the City of Brotherly Love. After all, if they didn’t burn the city to the ground after the 2002 NFC Championship Game, then nothing will send them to Vancouver type levels of despair.
Still, the psyche of the Philadelphia fanbase is teetering on edge. They know what daunting tasks lay ahead of their team. Following their matchup with Tennessee, the Eagles play the Dallas Cowboys twice and the defending champion Seattle Seahawks all in the course of 17-days. That’s a whole lot of talent that Philadelphia has to regroup for. Thankfully, two of those games will be played at home, where the Eagles are a perfect 5-0 this season.
Philadelphia should have no problem for Tennessee. While the Titans looked decent in losing 27-24 to Pittsburgh on Monday; it’s well documented that the Steelers play down to their opponents (losses to Tampa Bay and New York). Zach Mettenberger will make a plethora of mistakes, and those problems are undoubtedly going to lead to Eagles points. Expect a solid, bounce back performance from Philadelphia.
It’s what comes after this Sunday that Philadelphia fans are worried about.
Line: Eagles by 11
Prediction: Eagles, 41-17.
Let’s see if I can recover…
Last Week: 4-10
Best Pick: Bengals over Saints, 33-24
2014 Season: 71-70
Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) AT Oakland Raiders (0-10) – Chiefs by 7.5
Prediction: Chiefs, 24-7. Am I dreaming with the spread being this low. If I were a gambler (ahem), I’d be putting a solid amount of money on KC here. I know Thursday night is fluky. But, it’s the 0-10 Raiders against a Chiefs team that just beat the Seahawks. I know it’s a short week and there’s a chance for a letdown. But, this is still a big rivalry and the black hole is just that, sucking all the talent out of the Raiders. Chiefs and this is my stone cold mortal lock.
Cleveland Browns (6-4) AT Atlanta Falcons (4-6) – Falcons by 3.5
Prediction: Falcons, 20-17. I don’t love the half-point here. Falcons are a very good home team, even though their 2-2 record wouldn’t suggest it. Meanwhile, Cleveland just lost to Houston and Ryan Mallett on Sunday. The Browns are the more complete team. But, they’re still from Cleveland. It would be a real Browns move to continue the second half swoon by putting the suddenly soaring Falcons closer to respectability (and keep their hold on first place in the NFC South).
Detroit Lions (7-3) AT New England Patriots (8-2) – Patriots by 7
Prediction: Patriots, 21-17. People in New England are sleeping on the Lions similarly to the way teams would sleep on the Browns. Detroit doesn’t exactly have the greatest of track records, and I don’t think they go into Foxboro and beat the Patriots. However, I do like their defense, primarily the defensive line. New England’s line had trouble at times last week and has been average most of the year. Most of Detroit’s games seem to go down to the wire. So, why should this be any different.
Green Bay Packers (7-3) AT Minnesota Vikings (4-6) – Packers by 10
Prediction: Packers, 27-16. Green Bay at home is a little different than Green Bay on the road. Still, the Vikings’ offense hasn’t gelled this season. That’s not surprising considering the fact that they lost their best player (Adrian Peterson) and have gotten subpar QB play (Matt Cassel, Teddy Bridgewater). That won’t chance against the Packers, who are suddenly very close to being in first place and grabbing a potential bye week in the playoffs.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) AT Indianapolis Colts (6-4) – Colts by 14
Prediction: Colts, 30-13. Jacksonville comes into this one 0-5 on the road and winless in the AFC South. The Jaguars haven’t been dumpster fires over the last few weeks. But, their offense has scored more than 17-points only twice all season. I don’t really see that changing against a Colts team that got embarrassed at times by the Patriots last week. Andrew Luck will have a huge day, as usual.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1) AT Houston Texans (5-5) – Texans by 1.5
Prediction: Bengals, 24-20. Really? The Texans are the favorites in this game? Cincinnati is the much better team and this game is at 1:00 PM, so Andy Dalton won’t wet his pants. Ryan Mallett had a nice debut against the Browns. But, he’ll find Cleveland’s Ohio neighbors to be less kind.
New York Jets (2-8) AT Buffalo Bills (5-5) – Bills by 4
Prediction: Bills, 23-17. The location, date, and time of this game is subject to change. The torrential snowstorm in the Niagara area being the reason for that. However, little makes me think that the lowly Jets can go on the road (0-4 this season) and beat a Bills team clinging to their playoff lives.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) AT Chicago Bears (4-6) – Bears by 6
Prediction: Bears, 27-17. Chicago’s offense finally showed glimpses of their former success last week. If they hope to make a run at the playoffs, the Bears will need that to continue for Jay Cutler. If they want to beat the Buccaneers, the Bears probably just have to show up on Sunday. Granted, both of Tampa’s wins have come on the road this season. But, I think last weekend’s blowout of Washington was probably the pinnacle of their 2014 campaign.
Arizona Cardinals (9-1) AT Seattle Seahawks (6-4) – Seahawks by 7
Prediction: Seahawks, 23-20. This spread seems entirely one-sided considering the records and trajectory of each team coming into this weekend. Granted, Seattle has been thoroughly predictable (4-1 at home, 2-3 on the road). But, it’s Arizona that continues to shock the world, winning games even without Carson Palmer’s leadership. I think they’ll have trouble coming out of Seattle with a victory for the second straight season. But, covering a way too large 7 point spread shouldn’t be a problem.
St. Louis Rams (4-6) AT San Diego Chargers (6-4) – Chargers by 4.5
Prediction: Chargers, 16-10. San Diego’s offense hasn’t exactly been awe-inspiring of late. They’re also facing a Rams defense that limited Peyton Manning and the Broncos to 7 points last week. But, that was at home, and St. Louis is a much better team when they’re playing inside the dome. Philip Rivers and the Chargers know this is a critical game if they hope to grab an AFC Wild Card. They’ll hold on.
Miami Dolphins (6-4) AT Denver Broncos (7-3) – Broncos by 7.5
Prediction: Broncos, 30-20. I know that Denver hasn’t looked very good their last three weeks (1-2 over that span). But, they return home in week 12, where they haven’t lost all season. Miami, meanwhile, has been a solid road team this season. I think they’ll manage to keep this one close enough to make it a worthwhile watch. But, Peyton and Co. are just too powerful on offense.
Washington Redskins (3-7) AT San Francisco 49ers (6-4) – San Francisco by 9.5
Prediction: 49ers, 26-14. The Redskins are an absolute mess. Infighting and inconsistency has Jay Gruden’s seat getting warmer by the day. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is used to that feeling. Though, with a win, his team will be right in the thick of the wild card race. Expect the 49ers’ solid defense to limit the hapless Redskins all evening.
Dallas Cowboys (7-3) AT New York Giants (3-7) – Cowboys by 3.5
Prediction: Cowboys, 27-23. This spread is pretty low. But, it’s a divisional game on the road in the cold. Dallas has had some problems with those in the past. I don’t think the Cowboys will be tripped up on Sunday by a reeling Giants team. But, their real problems begin four days later, when they have to return home on short, short rest to take on the Eagles for the lead in the NFC East.
Baltimore Ravens (6-4) AT New Orleans Saints (4-6) – Saints by 3
Prediction: Ravens, 25-23. This is the third consecutive game that New Orleans has been favored at home despite their pathetic performances there. I reckon that trend will continue. The Ravens are coming off of their bye and should be refreshed. Expect a big day from Joe Flacco, who has quietly put together a solid campaign.