This week in: American Football – Week 14

The Cowboys and Giants square off in Dallas with the NFC East lead at stake

All the teams in the NFL now only have four games remaining, thus it is do-or-die time for teams on the cusp of the playoffs.  The Giants and the Cowboys meet this Sunday in Dallas with New York just one game behind in the race for the NFC East and they also play their divisional rivals in Week 17 at home.  Although they lost to the Packers last week, the Giants will be encouraged by their display in holding undefeated Green Bay close – succumbing only to a final second field goal in a 38-35 loss.

In the AFC North, the Ravens and the Steelers are still neck-and-neck with 9-3 records, but Baltimore has the edge having won both times they faced Pittsburgh.  The two teams have games they would expect to win again this week (Pittsburgh: home vs Cleveland; Baltimore: home vs Colts) so they will probably remain tied, but both heading for the playoffs.

The aforementioned Packers win kept them perfect at 12-0 for the season, with games against the Raiders, Chiefs, Bears and Lions between them and an unbeaten season.  This weeks game versus Oakland in Green Bay looks one they should comfortably win, especially after the Raiders lost in Miami last week, but the Packers defense has been a weak point this year and allowing the Giants to score 35 points proved that.  Unfortunately (as a Green Bay fan) – I can see this game being one of two upsets this week – my prediction: Green Bay 23, Oakland 27.

The other shock result I am forecasting this week is at Denver.  Tim Tebow may have taken his Broncos side to the top of the AFC West, with a 6-1 record since he took over the starting quarterback job, improving Denver to 7-5 overall.  On Sunday, they are at home against a Bears side who will be without their first choice QB (Jay Cutler) and their man running back (Matt Forte) – without those two they slumped to a 10-3 home defeat to the Chiefs last weekend.  But the pressure will be on Tebow and the Broncos, this time they will go into the game as the favourites and expected to win.  I think a couple of big plays from Chicago’s defense, along with some kick-return help from their Devon Hester and their special teams – will help the Bears to an unexpected with: Denver 13, Chicago 20.

Predictions

Last week, 10-6; Season 105-87

Home teams in bold

Steelers -13.5 over Browns

Falcons -2.5 over Panthers

Bengals -3.5 over Texans

Lions -7.5 over Vikings

Titans +3.5 over Saints

Colts +16.5 over Ravens

Jets -8.5 over Chiefs

Dolphins -3.5 over Eagles

Patriots -7.5 over Redskins

Bears +3.5 over Broncos

Cardinals +3.5 over 49ers

Chargers -6.5 over Bills

Raiders +11.5 over Packers

Cowboys -3.5 over Giants

Seahawks -6.5 over Rams

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