Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nine Division Match-ups Headline Week 13

Here we are, week 13, with the playoff race getting tighter by the minute. This is when teams have to start proving themselves a contender. What better way to do that then with divisional showdowns. Between today and tomorrow night we will get to see nine of them.

Chicago at Detroit

Cutler and his Bears are just trying to extend their lead in the NFC North and, as long as the offensive line can contain rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, they shouldn't have much trouble in doing so against the 2-9 Lions.

Denver at Kansas City

Josh McDaniels' squad has been perhaps the most inconsistent club all season long. Kansas City, on the other hand, has been going strong all season at 7-4. Kansas City is the league's top rushing team and is 5-0 at home. I don't see any reason why they wont put Denver in their place today and hand them their ninth loss of the season.

Washington at New York

Game No. 1 against the G-men this season, McNabb and the Skins (5-6) are just a couple of big plays away from being contenders in the NFC East. Despite all this talk, Washington is 2-3 in its past five games and have struggled to finish games. Giants take this one with a solid day from Eli Manning.

Jacksonville at Tennessee

Kerry Collins will finally make his return today after leaving week 10's loss against the Dolphins with a calf injury. This should hopefully limit the turnovers to a minimum and allow Nate Washington and Randy Moss to make some plays. Chris Johnson should have a nice return as well, Tennessee takes this one.

Oakland at San Diego

The MVP front-runner (Phillip Rivers) has turned around San Diego's rough season, taking them on a four-game win streak, and has them above .500 at 6-5. Oakland, however, has hit a cold streak with two straight losses and is now back under .500. No way the Oakland defense will manage to contain Rivers, especially with the possibility of Vincent Jackson getting some looks.

St. Louis at Arizona

The Sam Bradford-led Rams, along with Seattle, are the only teams leading a division with a losing record (both Rams and Seahawks currently sit at 5-6), so winning this game against Derek Anderson and the 3-8 Cardinals is a big game. St. Louis is 1-4 on the road, but I expect them to pull out a victory and improve to 6-6.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Two games behind Atlanta in the NFC South, this is certainly Tampa Bay's chance at proving they belong in the playoff talk. But Atlanta, currently on a five-game win streak, is on fire and I doubt Josh Freeman will be able to out-gun the fiery Matt Ryan. Atlanta wins big as Tampa further hurts its playoff hopes.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Perhaps one of the biggest games of the entire weekend, along with Monday night's game. Ben Roethlisberger was still serving his four-game suspension when the two met earlier in the season, with a Baltimore victory. Baltimore looks to be the more complete team at this point, and Joe Flacco's offense will pull together a victory to break the two-way tie in the North. First Baltimore sweep of Pittsburgh since 2006, but don't be surprised if they meet again in the postseason.

New York at New England

The hyped second match-up between Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick is finally here, and what better time to watch it play out then on national television in primetime. You can't get any more even in this matchup, either. Both hold win streaks of three and four games and are 4-1 in their last five games. New England is 5-0 at home, New York is 5-0 on the road. Something's gotta give, and I think New England will pull ahead in this one with the help of Tom Brady's right arm.

Other game predictions:

Saints over Bengals
Packers over Niners
Browns over Dolphins
Vikings over Bills
Colts over Cowboys
Panthers over Seahawks

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