Week 12 has a host of thrilling matchups to contemplate for the push to the NFL playoffs. Here are a few bold predictions that could become reality.
The New York Jets will win without scoring a touchdown
If they stick true to the trend of 2013, then the New York Jets are due for a win against the Baltimore Ravens. The problem is the matchup looks like an ugly one. Geno Smith will face one of the best pass rushes in the league, and everyone has seen how badly he plays when under pressure. So it’s safe to say neither offense is going to look to very good since Joe Flacco may not yet have Dennis Pitta back on the field for this game. Should the Jets stick to their recent history, they will win but expect them to do it without scoring a touchdown.
One defense decimated by injuries and the other lacking size up front and consistency at safety. Indeed the conditions are right for a ground-and-pound approach to Sunday between the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears. The Rams have the 18th ranked run defense in the league, which is up from as low as 31st earlier in the season. They face the multi-talented Matt Forte who is having another Pro Bowl year. Meanwhile the Bears, who won’t have both starting defensive tackles or Lance Briggs, must face red hot rookie Zac Stacy who is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and has three touchdowns in his last two games. If both teams stick to the run rather than risk putting the ball in the hands of their backup quarterbacks, it could make for some rare old school fireworks. Perhaps even pushing the rushing total to over 300 yards combined.
Ryan Tannehill gets sacked seven times and fumbles three times
If there was one team a guy like Ryan Tannehill would not want to play in 2013 it would be the Carolina Panthers. Their devastating defensive front features one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. Tannehill is forced to stand behind an offensive line already considered one of the worst in the league but now is playing without Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito who remains away from the team due to bullying allegations from teammate Jonathan Martin. The Panther defense is on fire, fresh of their stunning stand against the Patriots on Monday Night. It could make for a rough night for Tannehill. Here’s saying he will not only get sacked seven times in the game, but Carolina will also force three fumbles.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning combine for 800 yards passing
This very well could be the most explosive meeting between the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks to date. Tom Brady brings some young weapons and home field advantage while Peyton Manning sits at the head of a passing attack that has him on pace to throw for 5,700 yards and 54 touchdowns. On top of that, both the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots defenses are anything but dominant of late. The Patriots suffered a series of blows to their defense over the past several weeks, losing key starters like Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Aqib Talib not to mention a number of others in their secondary. Meanwhile the Broncos have no problem stopping the run but can’t apply enough pressure to hide how poor they are in coverage. The stage is set for an epic day for the quarterbacks, perhaps to the tune of 800 yards passing on the day.
Darrelle Revis will intercept Matthew Stafford twice
He’s had a relatively quiet season to date as he continues rounding back into form after suffering a torn ACL in 2012, but Darrelle Revis is clearly getting better and the conditions seem right for him to have a breakout game at any moment. Who better to do it against than Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. Everybody in the world knows the quarterback is going to throw the ball, and most of those throws will go in the direction of Calvin Johnson. That is who Revis will cover most if not the entire game when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Ford Field. If conditions play out as expected, RevisIsland may trap not one but two passes before the game is over.