Tag Archives: AFC West

Chief Manning?

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Our very own Andrew McNeil thinks that Kansas City would be the best place for Manning to play in 2012.

By Andrew McNeil

The biggest free agent in the history of the NFL hit the market Wednesday at 4.pm.  Peyton Manning will be putting on a different helmet next year. Manning has reportedly said that he wants to make his decision about which team he will be playing for quickly. This really comes as no surprise. There’s about 12 teams that are reportedly interested in his services, but if Manning truly wants to win, he should sign with the Kansas City Chiefs. I know that KC is not the most glamorous franchise of his current options, but the Chiefs have the best situation for him to win immediately. Continue reading

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Food for Thought 11-15-2011

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Matt Leinart (pictured above) will start at quarterback on Sunday for the Houston Texans. Will he be able to demonstrate some of the amazing talent he showed in his college years?

By Josh Kramer

NCAA Basketball is back.  Football is out in full force.  And the MLB off-season activities are moving full force ahead.  There is so much to talk about in the wide world of sports.  Here is what has my attention.

Time Machine

-Where were you on the evening of January 4th, 2006?  If you were most Americans, you were glued to your television set watching one of the greatest National Championship Games of all time featuring two quarterbacks that were poised to become legends.  If you are still clueless to what game I am talking about, I will give you a hint.  The two quarterbacks went by the names of Leinart and Young. Continue reading

NFL Preview 2011-2012

Photo courtesy of sports.popcrunch.com. Tom Brady (pictured above) has a great shot to capture the 4th Super Bowl Title of his career come February 5th in Indianapolis.

By Josh Kramer

After the longest lockout in NFL History, America’s most popular sport is back.  And luckily for all parties involved, no games were missed (outside of the Hall of Fame Game).  Last year was a year defined by storied franchises.  What is in store for the 2011/2012 season?

AFC East Champion:  New England Patriots

-Surprise, surprise right?  Teams that win a division are the ones that are able to maintain focus throughout the entire 16 game  (17 week) regular season.  The Patriots know what it takes to win a division title (they have won the East two straight years).  And though the New York Jets are going to be awfully tough this year, they still have not demonstrated the ability to maintain focus throughout the entire grind from September until February.  Could “Brady to Ochocinco” become a familiar catchphrase in Foxborough? Continue reading

“NFL Week 16 Predictions”

After a heartbreaking loss last week to Philadelphia, New York Giant's quarterback Eli Manning (pictured above), leads the G Men into a must win game at Lambeau.

It is Week 16 baby.  Closing time is near.  The playoff picture is starting to become clearer.  There are plenty of teams that have basically closed up shop and are looking ahead to next season.  But there are still a good few teams fighting for their playoff lives. 

Lets take a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze:   131                  CV3:  134

I am still 3 back on the great CV3.  Is there any way I can finally catch him during these final two weeks? 

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Cowboys at Cardinals:  NFL action on Christmas?  After a day full of NBA games, the ratings might not be top-notch for this affair, but a good amount of people will still tune in.  In the “Post Wade Phillips Era,” the Cowboys offense has scored 30 plus points every game.  It has been an impressive offensive outburst for Jerry Jone’s squad.  Maybe Jon Kitna is not so bad?  The Cardinals on the other hand are coming off of a loss to perhaps football’s worst team, the Carolina Panthers.  Expect Dallas to shred a very weak Arizona defense all night.  Cowboys by 9 on the road.

Patriots at Bills:  The Patriots have appeared nearly unstoppable over the past month and a half.  Winners of 6 straight, no team has held the potent Pat’s offense under 30 points since the beginning of November.  Do not expect that to change in Buffalo.  Sure the Bills have won 2 straight games, but they have not played a team the caliber of NE.  Good luck slowing down Brady, Welker, Branch, and Woodhead.  Patriots by 9 in most likely atrocious Buffalo weather.

Jets at Bears:  This is one of Week 16’s best matchups.  Though the Bears have already clinched a divisional title, they are still playing for seeding.  Home games in a cold Chicago could be a major advantage in postseason play.  The Jets on the other hand answered their critics with a huge victory in Pittsburgh last week.  Can they answer the critics for a second straight week?  This will be an old-fashioned defensive struggle at Soldier Field.  The difference in this one will be New York’s ability to run the ball effectively against anyone.  Jets by 3 on the road in a very exciting game.

Ravens at Browns:  The Ravens look to keep pace with the Steelers atop the AFC North as they head to face their bitter rival, Cleveland.  You better believe that this will be a cold and physical affair.  Is Peyton Hillis ready to take on the Raven’s mighty defense?  If the Ravens can stop the run, they will win this game.  And my money is on Baltimore to stop the Brown’s solid rushing attack.  Sadly, Cleveland is about to experience their first 3 game losing streak since they started the season on a 3 game skid.  Ravens by 7 on the road.

Titans at Chiefs:  The Titans ended their horrific 6 game losing streak with authority against the Texans last week.  The Chiefs on the other hand look to remain atop the AFC West.  After a huge victory over the Rams, the Chiefs remain a game ahead of a hot Charger’s team.  Can they hold on to their lead?  I am going to go out on a limb and pick the Chiefs to choke away this one.  The Titans have struggled this year.  But with Chris Johnson, they have a guy who can score on any play.  Look for CJ to give KC a little taste of their own medicine.  And run the Chief’s defense ragged all day.  I got the Titans shocking KC by 1 on the road. 

49ers at Rams:  This is San Francisco’s last chance.  If they want any hope of salvaging their season, this is a must win.  Can they make good on their team owner’s promise of the season not being over when the team struggled to an 0 and 5 start?  I think they can.  St. Louis has had a season where they have exceeded expectations in a big way.  Sam Bradford has been even better than advertised.  There is no logic to why I am picking the 49ers.  But I think they will make this NFC West fiasco turn into a photo finish with a victory in this one.  49ers by 3 on the road.

Lions at Dolphins:  Detroit has shocked the world over the past couple of weeks.  Knocking off the likes of a tough Packers team and a solid Buccaneers team.  Can they keep rolling as they head to Miami?  I think so.  Miami has struggled at home this year for some odd reason.  Detroit is playing their best football.  Look for the Lions to continue their late push with a 3 point victory in Miami.

Redskins at Jaguars:  Washington has lost 4 straight games and Jacksonville just let Indianapolis back into the picture.  Neither team is very happy heading into this rumble in Jacksonville.  Sadly for the Jags, it appears Maurice Jones-Drew will not be suiting up.  Without MJD, the Jaguar’s offense will have to rely on its less that stellar passing attack.  Luckily for them, Washington has a very weak secondary.  This will be an ugly game in every sense of the word.  I do expect the Jags to survive and conquer by 3 though.

Colts at Raiders:  Peyton and the boys are once again full of life after a huge victory over divisional foe, Jacksonville last week.  Indy is a team that strictly relies on a lethal passing attack.  The Raiders are the polar opposite, placing all of their offensive stress on the ground attack.  Old school vs new school.  I am taking the new school.  As long as Indy has Peyton Manning under center, it is very hard to pick against the Colts in any must win game.  Colts by 7 on the road.

Texans at Broncos:  Two teams whose seasons are long over.  Back to the drawing board.  Just based on raw talent, the Texans are an obvious choice to win this game.  Denver’s horrific defense will struggle with the Texan’s balanced offensive attack.  I expected much bigger things from the team out of Houston.  But I still go them winning this game.  Texans by 7 in Denver.

Chargers at Bengals:  Teams heading in very different directions.  Both of these teams were favorites in their respective divisions heading into the season.  Cincy got off to a decent start while San Diego got off to their normal very slow start.  Following a Week 3 win, the Bengals then went on to lose 10 straight games.  Even though the losing streak is finally over for the Who Deys, the bleeding is not. The Chargers will demonstrate their great balance in every aspect of the game.  The real question in Cincinnat is who will they draft and which players/coaches will return.  Chargers by 9 on the road.

Giants at Packers:  This is possibly the biggest game of the week with respect to the NFC Playoff picture.  Two teams fighting for their respective playoff lives.  The Giants possibly suffered their most heartbreaking loss in franchise history last Sunday.  The Packers on the other hand, almost shocked the Patriots without their starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.  These are two teams that are very solid in all facets of the game.  It is a toss-up.  I am going out on a limb and taking the heartbroken Giants by 1 on the road.

Seahawks at Buccaneers:  This is a must win for the Buccaneers.  So was last week’s game vs the Lions.  Can the Buccaneers redeem themselves?  I think that they can, but it will not matter.  I see the Buccaneers just missing out on the playoffs even with a win over Seattle on Sunday.  Bucs by 7 at home.

Vikings at Eagles:  Will Brett Favre play?  Who really cares.  Philadelphia is flying high behind their outstanding offensive attack.  Expect to see the Eagles continue to fly high, with a big victory at home.  Eagles by 12.

Saints at Falcons:  Battle for the NFC South.  Roddy White has made it publicly known that his team will be ready.  The Falcons have won 8 straight games.  New Orleans had won 6 straight until they traveled to Baltimore on Sunday.  I would pick the defending champs if this game was being played in NOLA.  But it isn’t.  Atlanta does not lose at home with Matt Ryan behind center.  Falcons by 1 at home.

CV3 Picks:

Pats over Bills by 9
Jets over Bears by 10
Ravens over Browns by 3
Titans over Chiefs by 6
Rams over 49ers by 10
Lions over Dolphins by 6
Jags over Redskins by 10
Raiders over Colts by 7
Texans over Broncos by 8
Packers over Giants by 9
Bucs over Seahawks by 10
Eagles over Vikings by 21
Bengals over Chargers by 1
Falcons over Saints by 3

It is crunch time in the NFL now.  This week will make or break many team’s playoff hopes.  Most teams are looking to do all in their power to clinch a spot in the postseason heading into Week 17.  Enjoy the great matchups highlighted by a big time Monday Night Affair between the Saints and Falcons.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFL Week 14 Predictions”

New England QB, Tom Brady (pictured above), has without question been the MVP through 14 weeks of play. Can he lead the Patriots to an 11th victory against a tough Chicago team on Sunday?

Welcome to NFL Week 14.  This is the time of year when the real colors show up.  Who are the real Super Bowl contenders?  The Falcons appear to have flown to the top of the NFC and are now the favorites.  In the NFC West, the Rams, led by rookie stud, Sam Bradford, are currently in first.  And the Patriots once again have risen to the top of the AFC.

Lets take a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze:  114                        CV3: 118

Sadly, I did not make up any games on the tenacious CV3.  Can I begin the comeback trek this week?

Browns at Bills:  The Bills were traditionally a powerhouse in the mid 90s while the Browns have been in the crapper for some time.  That is not the case this year.  Cleveland has won 2 straight games, and are coming off a big time road victory in South Beach.  I got two words for Buffalo fans. “Peyton Hillis.”  Sure the Cleveland bruiser was slowed by a tough Dolphin’s defensive front.  Well this week Hillis gets to stack up against the worst rush defense in the NFL.  Expect the Browns to ride their bruising back to a 7 point victory in bitterly cold Buffalo.

Bengals at Steelers:  One of football’s best rivalries will add another chapter on Sunday at Heinz Field.  Sadly this year, the Bengals are having possibly the most disappointing year of any team in the League.  Cincinnati has not won a game since September 26th.  Do not expect that to change Sunday against the Steeler’s outstanding defense.  Cincy may make it close, but sadly, I do not see the Who Deys pulling off the upset.  Pittsburgh by 6 at home.

Packers at Lions:  Both of these teams live and die on the pass.  Sadly for Detroit though, they have not figured out a way to win close games this season.  In order to beat Green Bay, you have to be able to win a tight game.  Ford Field will witness a 6th straight loss as Aaron Rodgers shreds a mediocre Lion’s defense.  Packers by 5 over the Try’n Lions.

Giants at Vikings:  In the preseason, this appeared to be one of those games that would go a long way towards determining the NFC playoff picture.  The G Men have won 2 straight games and looked awesome last week against the Skins.  The Vikings on the other hand looked great last week.  Granted they were playing against the Bills.  Can they pull off the upset at home over NY?  All logic points towards the Giants winning this one.  But I got the Vikings playing inspired football as they have nothing to lose.  Vikes by 1 at home in a wild one.

Buccaneers at Redskins:  The Redskins have gone from good, to mediocre, to horrible.  They are on a downward trend.  Sadly for them, the schedule does not get any easier this week against a pretty solid Tampa team.  I think there will be two key determining factors in this one.  First of all, McNabb has struggled with the turnover bug lately.  Josh Freeman has been a pretty good game manager.  Secondly, Tampa can run the ball effectively.  The Skins can not.  These will be the difference as Tampa wins by 3 in DC.

Falcons at Panthers:  This week’s most lopsided matchup.  The NFC’s best vs the NFC’s worst.  Carolina has lost 6 straight games.  Number 7 is on the way.  Atlanta will continue to fly behind an outstanding offensive attack and a stingy defense.  The ATL boys by 14 in a blowout.

Raiders at Jaguars:  Both of these team are coming off big time victories last weekend and are still right in the thick of things in their divisional races.  In addition both of these teams run the ball with great effectiveness, yet struggle with their aerial attacks.  Maurice Jones-Dream vs Darren McFadden.  Who you got?  I am going with MJD and the Jags at home.  Jaguars by 3 at home in a very exciting game that goes down to the wire.

Seahawks at 49ers:  A good old-fashioned battle between a pair of NFC West rivals.  Can the Seahawks keep pace with the Rams?  Or will the 49ers wreck the day as they look to make a run of their own?  Look for SF to bounce back in a big way after a disappointing lost to the Cheeseheads last week.  Neither of these squads do anything especially well.  But I expect the 49ers to come out motivated in front of the home crowd and nab the divisional victory.  49ers by 6 at home.

Rams at Saints:  If you would have asked me about this game during the preseason, I would have laughed.  I would have said, you got the NFC’s best team at home vs possibly the worst team in all of football.  Give me a break.  Ironically, the Rams are leading their division, while the Saints are in 2nd in the NFC South.  The Rams are playing solid football behind their fearless rookie QB, Sam Bradford.  Sadly, it will not be enough though against a Saints team that has now won 5 straight.  Too much offense from the defending champs who have put up 30 plus in 4 straight games.  Saints by 10 at home.

Dolphins at Jets:  The Dolphins are a solid team.  They play solid football on both sides of the ball.  Sadly for them, they have to face a very talented Jets team coming off of a horrific loss on Monday Night Football.  Can you say redemption time?  New York will come out with a chip on their shoulder and show the world that last week was a fluke.  The Jets are the real deal, and will demonstrate this with an easy victory at home.  Jets by 11.

Broncos at Cardinals:  Both of these teams are in the midst of horrible years.  They have a combined 6 wins between them.  Their years are over and they are already looking ahead to next year.  Now the Broncos have been bad in losing 3 straight games, but they are have not been nearly as bad as the Cardinals, who have now lost 7 straight games.  Expect the 2 month losing streak to continue as the Denver boys play inspired football behind a new coach.  Broncos by 3 on the road.

Chiefs at Chargers:  Welcome to the AFC West.  This game means a ton for both teams in their hopes to make the playoffs.  The Chargers had been on a tear until last week’s setback against the Raiders.  KC on the other hand has answered the call of a rising SD team and has won 3 straight games.  Both of these teams get the job done in very different ways.  KC lives on a lethal two-headed rushing attack, while the Chargers air it out better than any team in the League.  This is a pass first League now right?  Chargers by 3 at home.

Patriots at Bears:  The Jets are the frontrunners in the AFC East?  Give me a break.  New England showed the world who the real favorite was on the big Monday Night stage.  This Pats team has been rolling behind monster numbers from their QB, Tom Brady.  Well this week they take on one of the NFC’s best.  No problem right?  Chi Town’s finest has won 5 straight games and currently sit atop the NFC North.  Can they handle the Patriot’s potent offensive attack?  I don’t think so.  Pats by 3 in a barn burner at Soldier Field.

Eagles at Cowboys:  A bitter NFC East rivalry is renewed.  Many envisioned the Cowboys sitting atop this division a few months ago.  Many were wrong.  The Michael Vick led Eagles are currently tied for first, while the Cowboys sit in last.  Can they contain Vick and the potent Eagle’s offense?  Well they gave up 35 points last week to the Colts.  Yet they still won in Indy.  I am going out on a limb and taking the Boys at home to shock the Eagles.  Cowboys by 1.

Ravens at Texans: The Monday Night Affair pits two of the AFC’s most talented groups.  Baltimore is coming off of a devastating 3 point loss at the hands of the Black and Yellow boys last week, while the Texans were “Michael Vicked” by the Eagles.  Though this game is in Texas, I expect Baltimore to display a sense of urgency and really shut down a potent Texan’s offensive attack.  Ravens by 3 on the road.

CV3 Picks:

Browns over Bills by 3
Packers over Lions by 9
Giants over Vikings by 10 (Vikings haven’t beaten a good team yet)
Bucs over Skins by 3
Falcons over Panthers by 14
Saints over Rams by 7
Jags over Raiders by 9 (Battle of two teams that know how to run the ball)
Seahawks over 49ers by 1
Bears over Patriots by 3 (Will the Pats be prepared after a hyped up Monday night win)
Jets over Dolphins by 9 (The only thing buried in this game may be the Phins)
Broncos over Cards by 5
Chargers over Chiefs by 17
Eagles over Cowboys by 7
Ravens over Texans by 1 (Monday night thriller)
Bengals over Steelers by 6 (Big Ben with one Pick 6 and the Bengals hold on to the ball this time)

So there you have a look at this week’s games.  Hard to believe that it is already Week 14.  But realize there is no full slate of College Football games this weekend.  So make sure to savor Sunday.  It is the one full day of football we will get this week.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Weekly Nickel”

One of the NBA's All Time Greatest Coaches, Jerry Sloan (pictured above), has the Jazz at the top of the West. Are the Jazz a real deal contender?

The College Football regular season is all but finished.  People got their dream BCS National Championship which will pit Auburn versus Oregon.  Also, people got to see the Steelers go to work last evening and they once again showed America that all they do is “Win, Win, Win, Win.”  So I will admit, this week will be a little weird without a full slate of College Football games.  It is the first time since early September actually.

But here is a look into the excitement in store for this upcoming week.

5.  In the NHL, the season is slightly past the quarter marker, and the League’s two best players seem to be leading their teams to an epic Eastern Conference Finals Showdown.  Tune in this week and watch Pittsburgh and Washington continue to ride their stars toward deep playoff runs.

4.  Jayson Werth has signed with the Nationals.  Lance Berkman will return to the NL Central, but this time as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Captain will remain in the Pinstripes for at least 3 more years.  And the Red Sox are on the cusp of a major deal.  Could Adrian Gonzalez land in Boston?  This will be a huge pickup for the Bo Sox and really aid in picking up their offensive production.  The million dollar question still remains though.  Where is Cliff Lee, Mr. October himself, going to end up?  Also there is a guy named Carl Crawford that can run a little bit who is available out of Tampa.

3.  College Basketball is starting to heat up as teams continue to prep for big time conference play.  There are a good few major non conference matchups.  Here is a closer look.

Tuesday:

Memphis at Kansas:  This duel between top 20 foes should be very exciting.  In this rematch of the National Title Game of a few years ago, each squad looks to make a major statement and pick up a big time non conference win.  It is a shame that Kansas Freshman phenom Josh Selby will not be eligible for this one.

Michigan State at Syracuse:  A matchup between two of College Basketball perennial forces.  Two programs that have really been at the forefront of the game for the past decade.  Also, these are two programs led by two of the best coaches in America.  Which squad will come out victorious as each not only fights for a big non conference win and to maintain their top ten ranking, but each are looking to make a statement about their conference.  This game should help in the debate about which conference is the best in America, the Big Ten, or the Big East.

Wednesday:

Notre Dame vs Kentucky:  What a game this should be.  Notre Dame has been a pleasant surprise so far and looks to maintain their undefeated record vs their first ranked opponent of the season.  Sadly for the Fighting Irish, they get to take on a Kentucky team that is coming off a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Tar Heels.  This should be a very high scoring affair between two teams that can really put the ball in the basket.

Thursday:

Butler at Xavier:  A matchup between the two top “Mid Major” programs in America.  So what if both teams are off to a slower start out of the gates than most expected.  Both teams always find a way to sneak into March, and I expect nothing different this year.  Also last year, Butler beat the Musketeers on one of the most controversial calls I have ever witnessed in my life.  Will the Muskies have lady luck on their side this time and pick up a much-needed non conference victory over a solid opponent?  The home court advantage could really help XU in this one.

Saturday:

Tennessee at Pittsburgh:  A game that pits two top 20, undefeated squads.  The Vols have looked awesome thus far and already have knocked off a top 10 Big East foe this year.  Freshman, Tobias Harris, and seasoned vet Scotty Hopson have been simply awesome in the early going.  Can Pittsburgh continue to ride their very experienced group and amazing rebounding ability to another big time non conference victory?  This game should be close from start to finish.

2.  The NBA Bus rolls on.  The Knicks are over 500 and have won 4 straight games.  Plus the team that was “too old,” San Antonio, sports the League’s best record.  It is the NBA and you got to love it.

Some of the marquee matchups for the week.

Monday:

Oklahoma City at Chicago:  Two of the League’s best teams go to war in the Windy City.  Who is a better young point guard, Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose?  Take your pick because both guys are capable of taking over a ball game at any time.

Wednesday:

Miami at Utah:  The South Beach Show travels to Utah to take on a surprise Utah team that is really showing the power of team basketball.  Jerry Sloan is one of the League’s all time great coaches, and this year, he is putting on one of his best performances. 

Thursday:

Orlando at Portland:  Yes, I realize that Portland is under 500, but they are always dangerous.  The year is still young, and Portland could really gain some confidence in knocking off the team sporting the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference.

Friday:

Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago:  It is always fun to watch two first place teams get together.  Neither of these teams are off to as stellar of a start as expected, but both are definite contenders in their respective conferences.  Look for Kobe to provide some fireworks in this one.

Atlanta at San Antonio:  Can the talented boys out of ATL show the “old men” of San Antonio a lesson?  San Antonio has been outstanding all season and are really a remarkable story.

Orlando at Utah:  Two of the League’s best go to battle in Salt Lake City.  This is a definite game that I would love to tune in and watch.  Could this be a possible preview of the Finals?

Saturday:

Utah at Dallas:  Both of these mainstays in the West continue to win each and every  year.  It never gets old watching two of the best and most consistent franchises in basketball go head to head.

1.  We enter Week 14 of the NFL Season.  Real football weather is here.  And all teams are getting ready for the stretch run.  Next week’s lineup features two great matchups. 

New England at Chicago:  Two of the best teams meet at Soldier Field.  I will tell you that I would much rather watch this one from the couch.  It will be bitterly cold.

Kansas City at San Diego:  The amazing AFC West race continues.  Can the Chargers rebound and pick up a must win vs KC?

So there you have events to look for regarding the sporting stratosphere for this week.  Make sure to take it all in.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFL Week 13 Predictions”

Welcome to Week 13.  We are entering the final quarter stretch.  3 of the AFC

Can Big Ben (pictured above) lead the Steelers to a huge victory over their divisional rival Baltimore on Sunday Night despite foot injuries?

Divisions have ties at the top.  The NFC West leader has a record of under 500.  Plus the Vikings and Cowboys, 2 of the preseason favorites have a combined 7 victories.  Parity.  The NFL has it.  And you got to love it.

Here is a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze:  103                         CV3:  107

I still got a ways to go to catch Mr. CV3.

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Saints at Bengals:  The defending Champs head to Cincinnati to take on a struggling Bengal’s team.  This team has self destructed, and all parties involved are already looking towards next year.  The Saints are perhaps involved in the best divisional race that the NFC has to offer.  Expect Drew Brees and the phenomenal Saint’s aerial attack to pick apart a depleted Bengal’s secondary.  Saints by 10 on the road.

Bears at Lions:  Da Bears head to Ford Field to take on the 2 and 9 Lions.  These are two teams heading in very different directions.  The Bears have won 4 straight games and appear to really be coming together both offensively and defensively, while the Lions have lost 4 straight.  In addition, the Lions have not even really looked competitive the past couple of weeks.  It may be freezing in Detroit, but the Bears are going to continue rolling behind their stellar defense.  Bears by 7 on the road.

49ers at Packers:  Green Bay is doing all they can to keep up with Chicago and remain in the playoff picture while the 49ers have vaulted themselves back into the NFC West race.  After starting out 0 and 5, the 49ers are now 4 and 7, and just 1 game out of 1st place.  The 49ers have not really wowed me any respect all season though.  And with Frank Gore going down for the season, they will struggle in the tundra that will be Lambeau on Sunday.  The Packers need a win in a big way to stay in the playoff hunt and they will do just that in front of the home crowd.  Packers by 3 at home in a freeze bowl.

Jaguars at Titans:  Who would have thought that the Jaguars would be sitting atop the AFC South come December?  I know that I did not.  Jacksonville has looked very sharp lately, despite coming off a tough 4 point loss in New York last weekend.  The Titans on the other hand have dealt with much inner turmoil and are currently on a 4 game losing skid.  Well that skid ends this week as Jeff Fisher gets his team hyped, and lights a fire under Chris Johnson, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt, and the entire Titan’s offense.  The race in the AFC South could involve 3 teams down the stretch.  Titans by 6 at home.

Broncos at Chiefs:  Times have changed.  And in a hurry.  The Broncos are now the AFC West bottom dwellers while the Chiefs sit at the top.  The Chiefs sport the best rushing attack in the League while the Broncos sport one of the worst.  In a cold weather atmosphere, running the ball efficiently is the key to success. The Chiefs are able to do this while the Broncos cannot.  Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones will be the difference in this game.  Chiefs by 7 at home.

Browns at Dolphins:  The Browns are playing good football.  Yes I said it.  The Browns are actually a team that can go out and beat most teams in this League.  Peyton Hillis, a former 3rd stringer at Arkansas (granted he was behind Darren McFadden and Felix Jones) is turning into one of the best backs in the League.  The Dolphins on the other hand are coming off a big time victory over a tough Raider’s team.  Conventional wisdom would point towards the Dolphins winning this game considering they are playing at home.  Oddly enough the Dolphins are just 1 and 4 at home this season.  Maybe the distraction of that South Beach Basketball All Stars has hindered their performance?  Whatever it is, I am taking the Brownies on the road by 3 in a great game.

Bills at Vikings:  The Bills have played very strong football lately and really should have beaten Pittsburgh last weekend.  The Vikings played better than they have played in a month in Washington last Sunday.  My gut is telling me to pick Buffalo in this one, but logically, I am thinking to go with the home team.  Expect Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, or whomever the Vikings throw in the backfield to have a field day.  Vikings by 3 at home.

Redskins at Giants:  This is a good old-fashioned NFC East throwdown.  In the division that sports the best rivalries in the NFL, there are no gimme games.  Sadly this year, the Giants appear to be far superior in every facet of the game.  I fully expect the Giant’s extremely balanced offensive attack to shred a Redskin’s defense that is lacking in all sorts of ways.  I got the Giants by 9 at home.

Raiders at Chargers:  After a very slow start, the Chargers leapfrogged the Raiders last weekend in the suddenly very competitive race in the AFC West.  Since a major victory in overtime over the Chiefs on November 7th, the Raiders have just looked abysmal.  The Chargers on the other hand have looked awesome since Halloween in winning 4 straight games.  And you better believe that the Chargers are looking for some payback from an October loss to the Oakland boys.  The Chargers will exploit a weak Raider’s running defense which will open up the pass for one of the best QB’s in football, Philip Rivers.  Chargers by 9 at home.

Panthers at Seahawks:  The Panthers are probably the worst team in  football.  They are in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, and do not appear to be making improvement in any facet of the game.  They can’t pass the ball.  They struggle running the ball.  And you better believe that they cannot stop the run.  The Seahawks on the other hand have not been much better in getting blown out the past two weeks. Call me crazy but I am taking Carolina on the road.  They are bound to win again sometime.  Panthers by 1 in Seattle. 

Falcons at Buccaneers:  Two of the NFC’s best will link up in Tampa this weekend.  The Bucs are coming off a tough loss to a very good Baltimore team and are looking to make a statement to the rest of the NFC.  And I will admit that their chances to pull off the upset improve dramatically in getting to play at home, but the Falcons appear to be just too strong all around to drop this one.  The Falcons are looking to remain atop the Saints in the NFC South and will put on a great performance in Tampa.  Roddy White will have a huge day against a weak Buccaneers secondary.  Falcons by 7 on the road.

Rams at Cardinals:  The Cardinals have lost 6 straight games and in the words of Derek Anderson, “This isn’t funny.”  Derek is right, but sadly for Arizona, they are playing a Rams team that continues to improve each week.  Even with Arizona at home, I got the Rams behind rookie Sam Bradford to keep rolling.  The NFC West is wide open folks.  Rams by 3 on the road.

Cowboys at Colts:  In September, this appeared to be a big time matchup where one of the NFC’s best would get to take on one of the AFC’s best.  Sadly, the Cowboys did not pan out the way people expected.  In addition, due to a plethora of injuries, the Colts have struggled more than people expected as well.  Well expect those struggles to end.  Peyton does not ever lose 3 games in a row.  Though I think this will be a very close and high scoring affair, I got Indy by 3 at home.

Steelers at Ravens:  What a matchup this will be.  It is almost as good as the Monday Night Affair.  The NFL got it right in scheduling the night games for this week.  This is probably the best combo of Sunday Night/Monday Night games we will get all year.  Both teams are rolling at the moment and are living large on their stellar defensive units.  Earlier this year, Pittsburgh fell in a very close game against the divisional rival Ravens.  You better believe that they still have that loss on their mind as they head into Sunday Night.  Expect the Steelers to play inspired football behind a banged up Ben Roethlisberger.  Steelers by 1 on the road.

Jets at Patriots:  This may be the best matchup of the entire season thus far.  These two teams realize the importance of this game in gaining a divisional title and possible home field advantage.  Both squads are extremely familiar with each other and have been rolling.  The Patriots have been winning behind an electric offense while the Jets have been relying on their great defensive unit and the timely big play offensively.  The Jets beat the Patriots at home earlier this season by 2 TDs.  Due to home field advantage and a chip on their shoulder from the earlier defeat, I got the Pats by 1 at home in a thriller.

CV3’s Picks:

Saints over Bungles by 16
Bears over Lions by 3
Pack over Niners by 10
Jags over Titans by 3
Chiefs over Broncos by 14
Dolphins over Browns by 1
Vikings over Bills by 17
Giants over Skins by 12
Chargers over Raiders by 2
Colts over Cowboys by 21
Rams over Cards by 7
Panthers over Seahawks by 8
Falcons over Bucs by 10
Steelers over Ravens by 10
Patriots over Jets by 14

This is just a great slate of games.  The AFC will be much clearer after this weekend.  The two night games are especially exciting though as both teams at the top of the AFC East and AFC North lock horns for divisional supremacy.  Can Rex Ryan outsmart the ultimate coach in Bill Belichick?  Who will survive the physical struggle that will ensue in Baltimore this weekend? 

He could go all the way..or could he?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze