Several games stand on the tipping point for players and teams this NFL season in week 15. Here are some bold predictions with a chance to come true.
Kirk Cousins will throw three touchdowns against Atlanta
The Washington Redskins are on a mission to find a way into the first round of the 2014 draft. Their only chance is via trade, preferably with a player they can afford to lose. That might explain why they chose to finish the season with backup Kirk Cousins. At age 25 he is still young and has some starting experience already. A strong showing down the stretch might entice teams to make a deal. Washington chooses their moment well. Against a bad Atlanta Falcons defense, Cousins will play well, throwing three touchdowns and notching a rare win for his team.
Martellus Bennett will go over 100 yards and score twice in Cleveland
The Cleveland Browns defense is among the best in terms of limiting big plays but they have a tall task on their hands, literally and figuratively, when the Chicago Bears visit on Sunday. Primary attention will obviously go to star receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, along with running back Matt Forte. That means underrated tight end Martellus Bennett could see single coverage all afternoon. Jay Cutler and his coaches should recognize that and look to give the 6’6″ monster plenty of looks on pass plays. If the trend continues for this offense, Bennett should have a big game to the tune of over 100 yards and two scores.
Geno Smith will get sacked eight times by the Carolina Panthers
The New York Jets already had a tough task going against the defense of the Carolina Panthers on the road. Santonio Holmes then chose to give them added incentive by calling their secondary a weak spot. He and the Jets can expect an inhospitable welcome, and rookie quarterback Geno Smith could bear the brunt of the punishment. The Panthers secondary will blanket Holmes and the rest of the New York receivers, allowing their dominant defensive front to attack a quarterback who isn’t exactly notorious for unloading the ball fast. Carolina will dictate the tempo early and often, and will finish week 15 by sacking Smith eight times.
Jason Garrett gets fired after the Dallas Cowboys lose
Gary Kubiak was the first head coach fired in 2013. He won’t be the last though. There are several prominent names with seats heating up. Based on the possibilities of the coming NFL games, expect a surprise to hatch when the Dallas Cowboys axe Jason Garrett. The head coach has been under constant fire for not getting his team over the hump after two near-misses for the playoffs in 2011 and 2012. His team already got hammered in their first game of December. Losing to the Green Bay Packers at home, a team who won’t have Aaron Rodgers, would be the ultimate choke and Garrett will simply be the first to pay the price.
Eli Manning will throw five interceptions against Seattle
Mistakes happens when bad offense meets dominant defense. Eli Manning has struggled all year for the New York Giants, leading the league in interceptions. Now he must face the Seattle Seahawks and their #1 ranked pass defense led by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. The unit has not allowed much through the air all season, and if Manning decides to come out aggressively, he’ll regret it. Seattle should put pressure on him often in the game and will add to his woes by intercepting him five times before the game is over.