Fantasy Football News

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Week 14: Teams on Brink of Playoff Berths

Two teams–Green Bay and San Francisco–clinched their respective divisions with victories last weekend. This week's slate of games play a huge role in the playoff hunt.

Scenarios for Week 14:

*New Orleans can clinch the NFC South with a win and an Atlanta loss.

*Houston can clinch the AFC South with a win and a Tennessee loss.

*New England can hold a three-game lead in the AFC East with a win and a New York loss.

*Baltimore can re-gain the AFC North lead (due to tiebreaker over Pittsburgh) with a win.

*Denver can take sole possession of the AFC West with a win and an Oakland loss...and vice versa.

*Even if New York, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Oakland (all currently 7-5 and in the Wild Card hunt) pull off a victory tomorrow, the Steelers (10-3 after Thursday night's hard-fought victory over Cleveland) would still hold a strong two-game lead in the AFC Wild Card race.

*In the NFC, Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta are in a dog fight for the Wild Card spots. All sitting at 7-5, things could get interesting this weekend.

Here are my picks for tomorrow's games:

Ravens over Colts...Even without Ray Lewis on the field, Baltimore's smash-mouth defense are likely to tear Indy's offensive attack apart.

Falcons over Panthers...I'd love to see Cam Newton continue his strong case for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but against a playoff-hungry Falcons in town that doesn't seem likely.

Texans over Bengals...Having T.J. Yates start just his second career game against a scrappy Bengals squad scares me a little, but as long as Yates protects the football like last week his running game should do the heavy lifting.

Lions over Vikings...Even if Adrian Peterson ends up playing tomorrow, he wont be 100%. Detroit's defense–even without Ndamukong Suh on the field–can contain a banged up Peterson long enough for Matt Stafford to put up some points on Jared Allen & Co.

Bucs over Jags...Josh Freeman's shoulder seems to be slowly healing and he could suit up for Tampa Bay tomorrow. I think it's about time for them to snap that nasty six-game losing streak against a rebuilding Jaguars franchise.

Dolphins over Eagles...Vick is back for Philly but Miami (4-8) is one of the hottest teams in the league right now, winning four out of the last five weeks (the loss was a one-point defeat to Dallas on Thanksgiving). Over that span, Matt Moore has helped the offense put up 30 or more points on three different occasions.
Jets over Chiefs...Battling injury all season long, Kansas City has virtually been knocked out of playoff contention at 5-7, needing a miracle to end the season with four victories to get in the postseason. New York is trying to catch New Enland in the East and is in need of a victory here.

Saints over Titans...This loss would pretty much ruin Tennessee's chances at capturing the division title if Houston also wins (like I'm predicting). I just don't think the defense has what it takes to stop NO's Drew Brees, and Matt Hasselbeck doesn't have the firepower to keep up in a shootout.

Patriots over Skins...Inconsistent play at the quarterback position has been the Achilles heal of the Washington Redskins all season. Tom Brady is bound to have a big game against Washington's defense with targets such as Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski.

Niners over Cardinals...Alex Smith's revitalized career after five disappointing seasons in San Fran has been one of 2011's nicest surprises. Smith's campaign for 2011 Comeback Player of the Year award will continue against the Cards. If they get a big lead early on it wouldn't surprise me if coach Harbaugh sat the starters in the second half.

Broncos over Bears...I'm a believer in Tim Tebow's ability to win. He's obviously not a pocket passer, or even much of a passer at all. His accuracy is lacking and his ability to see down the field has shown weaknesses. But he's the leader Denver has been missing for years now, and they finally have a winner in Tebow.
Packers over Raiders...Carson Palmer seems to think he's going to be able to go out and keep up with Aaron Rodgers in a possible shootout. Sorry, Carson, but I don't think so. Not only is Rodgers the best signal caller in the game right now, but he also has one of the strongest supporting casts in the league.

Chargers over Bills...San Diego has suffered some heartbreaking losses over the last few weeks, and Buffalo has lost five straight games now. Both at 5-7, SD and Buffalo are both fighting for pride right now and San Diego seems the more liklier team to pull out a much-needed W.

Giants over Cowboys...The G-men have won four of their last five and the 'Boys are in their usual December free-fall–1-4 over that span. A Giants victory would put them at first place in the East with a 7-6 record...Dallas would be a close second (also 7-6, but NY owns tiebreaker).

Monday night game: Seahawks over Rams...Possibly one of the most boring primetime match-ups of the season, these two teams were fighting for the division around this time last year. This year? Seattle finds themselves at 5-7 (3-3 at home) and St. Louis at 2-10 and the very bottom of the West. Marshawn Lynch has been one of the few bright spots in Seattle, and I am suspecting an outstanding performance from him in the run game.

Photo credit
Matt Moore: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Julius Peppers: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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