The finale of the 2013 NFL regular seasons figured to be a dandy. Here are some bold predictions that could come true before it ends.
The Houston Texans hand the first overall pick to the St. Louis Rams
It hasn’t been the season anybody wanted or expected from the Houston Texans, but they can at least take some solace in knowing the team will hold the first overall draft pick in 2014. Hopefully a potential franchise quarterback comes with it, something they badly need. However, week 17 has that particular whiff of the unexpected, such as the Texans foolishly pursuing a victory against the Tennessee Titans. If they do that, they can rest assured the rights to that pick will likely shift over to the St. Louis Rams who got the selection in the famous Robert Griffin III trade with Washington. The Redskins must head to New York to play the Giants who are coming off a big win in Detroit.
Jay Cutler finally scores more than 20 points against Green Bay
In nine games against the Green Bay Packers as quarterback of the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler is 1-8 with almost twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. On top of that, the most points his offense has managed to score with him under center was 20 back in 2010, and that wasn’t entirely thanks to him since Devin Hester provided a helping hand. If ever there was a game where Cutler needed to break this Packer jinx it’s this one. The division title is on the line. It’s at Soldier Field and the Green Bay defense is riddled by injuries, including the loss of linebacker Clay Matthews. Cutler may not have a better chance to top that point total, and he should.
The Arizona Cardinals punch their ticket by beating San Francisco
There might not be a hotter team in football than the Arizona Cardinals, which is saying something considering their opponent in week 17 is equally on fire. The difference is the Cardinals did something the San Francisco 49ers haven’t in awhile, which is beat the Seahawks in Seattle. That kind of victory brings all sorts of momentum, and now the Cardinals get to return home. A win over the 49ers would not only grant them bragging rights within the division, but it would also put them in premier position to get into the playoffs. The only help they need is for the New Orleans Saints to lose. It may seem like a long shot, but expect both scenarios to happen.
Joe Flacco misses the playoffs for the first time in career
The Baltimore Ravens are still in position to make the NFL postseason but they lost a ton of momentum thanks to their dud of a game against New England. It’s only going to get worse as they have to visit the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that has not lost a single game at home in 2013. Playoff position is still very prevalent for them, as is the desire to avenge their loss to Baltimore earlier in the year. Expect the trends to hold true as the Bengals finish the regular season undefeated at home and also end a streak of having never missed the playoffs for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Either Leslie Frazier or Jim Schwartz will get fired if they lose
The Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings tilt is not likely to garner much attention from fans in the final week but it could mean whole bunches to the head coaches of both squads. Jim Schwartz and Leslie Frazier are not in good standing at the moment, sitting the hot seat in terms of possibly losing their jobs due to disappointing seasons. It won’t have an impact on much more than draft standing, but a win may prove just enough for either of them to keep their job into 2014, while a loss might very well get the other fired.