Daily Blog • December 2nd
HERE ARE MY NFL SELECTIONS:
SEATTLE AT CHICAGO
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
SEATTLE 109
178
16
+2
#15
CHICAGO 160
131
21
+13
#1
If familiarity breeds success the Seahawks should do just fine as this is their 4th trip to Soldier Field in the last 3 years winning both regular season games but dropping their 2010 playoff meeting. Last year Caleb Hanie was in his 4th start replacing Cutler (IR) and in the 2H Seattle held Chicago to a TOTAL of 21 plays for 65 yards. The Seahawks were off a bye before last week’s loss at Miami and were slow out of the gate going 3&out their first 4 drives before putting up 3 td’s in their next 4. The Bears have seen their early division lead fade away after back-to-back losses to a pair of elite teams as Cutler was injured in the first and missed the second. In his return last week he was treated to a 25-3 halftime lead so the offense turned very vanilla. While Chicago’s offense has struggled at home their last 4 games (257 ypg) the D stepped it up and only allowed 45 points in their 4 wins. Both play similar D’s so the edge goes to Cutler who practiced against it for years vs rookie Wilson facing a top 5 D with his 6-8 ratio on the road leading his team to just 16 ppg. Keep an eye on the Seattle suspensions in their secondary.
PHIL'S FORECAST: CHICAGO 27 SEATTLE 21
MINNESOTA AT GREEN BAY
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MINNESOTA 153
146
24
-5
#23
GREEN BAY 123
264
32
+5
#12

Last year heading into December the Packers were undefeated with the division wrapped up. This year they are off back-to-back road games. The Packers have taken 4 straight in the series winning by 19 ppg and last year here at Lambeau GB led 17-0 at halftime before scoring 4 straight td’s in the 2H. Packers GB DC Capers loves to dial up blitzes and this year they are #2 in sacks including 12 in their 2 division games while last year they held Ponder to 205 ypg with only 44% completions. Rodgers meanwhile dreams about purple as in his last 3 games vs the Vikings he’s thrown for 299 ypg, 76% completions and a not too shabby 11-0 ratio!! I’m by no means calling the Vikings quitters (yet) but it must be noted after their bye last year they dropped 6 of their last 7 and while they are 6-5 after losing 3 of the last 4 if they fall behind early I’ll wait to see what happens.

PHIL'S FORECAST: GREEN BAY 31 MINNESOTA 20
SAN FRANCISCO AT ST LOUIS
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
SAN FRANCISCO 121
212
28
+6
#2
ST LOUIS 116
216
14
-3
#30

Earlier this season the 49ers had a back-to-back road trips and beat the NY Jets 34-0. Sound familiar? Just 3 weeks ago they hosted this same opponent and lost, well tied, and the D will look for revenge after allowing not only a season high 458 yards but 181 yards over their season avg. While Kaepernick made his first start vs Chicago’s #5 D he led SF to a 5 week high of 353 yards and last week followed it up with a 6 week high of 375 yards. While they’re on the road for a second straight being in a dome again will clearly aid the young QB. St Louis got its first road win of the season and while they matched a season high with 31 pts, 2 td’s came of pick 6’s. The Rams won their first 3 at home vs WAS, SEA and ARZ but their last 2 home games much more represented the caliber of this opp (GB & NYJ) which they went 0-2 against. No problem backing a 49ers team that went into GB and won 30-22, into NY and beat the Jets 34-0, into Arizona on MN and won 24-3 and last week into the Superdome and won 31-21. And, by the way, my exclusive special team rankings have SF with the #2 unit while St Louis is #30.

PHIL'S FORECAST: SAN FRANCISCO 24 ST LOUIS 13
ARIZONA AT NY JETS
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ARIZONA 84
193
16
+4
#14
NY JETS 148
154
22
-3
#6

NYJ has a clear situational edge at home for the second straight vs Arizona playing in an early game in a division sandwich. The Cardinals QB carousel landed on Ryan Lindley at Atlanta and 7 FD’s with 178 yards was the result. Last week he threw 51 passes (31 comp) but finished with an 0-4 ratio. The Jets are off a Thanksgiving loss and while most teams would prefer the extra rest at home they’re dealing with the NY media and fan base off a 30 point loss to your rival which doesn’t sound very restful. The one positive for the Jets is that they totaled a season high 405 yards with 12 FD’s at halftime and 25 overall but turned it over twice inside the NE 31 and were SOD on 4&gl from the 1. The Jets D has been a consistent and they always bounce back after allowing 400+ yards. This is the first time they allowed 400 this year and only the 6th time since ‘09 giving up 245 ypg and 13 FD’s/gm the following week. Weather won’t be a factor for the SDSt alum QB but the disposition of the opposing D will certainly be frosty.

PHIL'S FORECAST: NY JETS 23 ARIZONA 10
CAROLINA AT KANSAS CITY
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
CAROLINA 114
160
17
-3
#26
KANSAS CITY 134
170
12
-21
#16

The Panthers are off their first Monday Nighter since 2009 and edged the Eagles 30-22. Clearly a tough 2 game road trip for Newton and crew with the short week but at least they’re traveling to KC, although this game has taken on an added dimension for the Chiefs and their fans after yesterday’s tragedy. The Panthers have had a difficult road schedule taking on 4 teams that have combined for 28 wins but they have collectively outgained them by 55 ypg. The Chiefs have discovered 2 things and those are that Quinn isn’t the one to guide your team (52.9 QBR, 0-3 ratio) and neither is Cassell (66.7 QBR, 6-12 ratio). The 2 have combined for an 8 game losing streak scoring only 10 ppg the last 7 while not topping 300 yards the last 6 games. Certainly with the tragedy, I'm not sure what the frame of mind will be here and for now I will call for the road team by 1.

PHIL'S FORECAST: CAROLINA 21 KANSAS CITY 20
INDIANAPOLIS AT DETROIT
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
INDIANAPOLIS 107
252
20
-14
#29
DETROIT 106
324
26
-7
#28
The Lions are off another Thanksgiving loss. They played more than well enough to win vs HOU with the penalty on Schwartz nullifying a review on an obviously down RB Forsett td run. Both teams are statistically even with DET having the #2 and #15 units (-7 TO’s) and IND having the #5 and #20 units (-14 TO’s) but the Lions have played a top 10 schedule this year while IND has played a bottom 5. While IND is a feel good playoff contender they have only played 1 team with a top 10 offense (NE) and 7 games vs teams ranked 17th or lower on offense. Luck has avg’d 276 ypg (61%) with a 6-6 ratio over the last 6 games vs pass def ranked 21st or lower that have given up a combined 47 more td’s than int’s this year. DET’s secondary has its own issues (17-7 ratio) but the NE game showed that the Colts defense isn’t built for a shoot out. DET has won the yardage battle in 9 games this year by an avg of 94 ypg and I’ll call for the home team off a brutal loss to get the win here.
PHIL'S FORECAST: DETROIT 31 INDIANAPOLIS 24
JACKSONVILLE AT BUFFALO
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
JACKSONVILLE 67
197
19
0
#32
BUFFALO 162
251
26
-6
#3

Bills fans would certainly prefer it to be colder than the forecasted mid 40’s but they’re happy to host another Florida teams after beating Miami here 2 games ago. Credit must be given to the Jaguars as they’ve not let up getting their second win of the season in beating Tennessee last week thanks to Henne stretching the field with six passes over 20 yards including a 59 yd td pass. Jacksonville has seen 3 of their 5 road games this year go to OT. The Bills have moved the ball at home avg 370 ypg and 29 ppg. While Henne has given the Jags a spark the last 2 games it was vs Houston in a bad situation and a Tennessee team off a bye with equal talent. Buffalo was listless vs Indy last week but now returns home and when facing a team they’re expected to beat they’ve knocked off KC by 18, Cleveland by 10 and Miami by 5 points. I’ll call for the Bills by a td.

PHIL'S FORECAST: BUFFALO 27 JACKSONVILLE 20
NEW ENGLAND AT MIAMI
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NEW ENGLAND 109
308
40
+24
#5
MIAMI 107
316
21
-10
#11

MIA welcomes in the #1 scoring offense with extra rest that has won the last 4 by an avg score of 36-17. In that span Brady has avg’d 293 ypg (66%) with an 8-1 ratio and he’s only had 2 games this year where he has thrown an int (ARZ/SEA). NE quality stat edges with the #1 and #27 units (+24 TO’s) vs the Dolphins #26 and #21 units (-10 TO’s). MIA has allowed a 7-1 ratio over the last 6 games and has gone 4 straight games without a takeaway. While NE gives up yards by the truckload (3 straight over 400 yards) they have not lost the TO battle in any game this year. NE has also allowed a very palatable 7-8 ratio over the last 5 games getting a huge boost thanks to CB Talib the last 2 games who has stabilized the unit. In the NFL QB’s are the dominating factor and I’ll go with a rested Brady with a run game that has avg’d 133 ypg (4.4) the last 5 games vs Tannehill (7-12 ratio).

PHIL'S FORECAST: NEW ENGLAND 40 MIAMI 20
HOUSTON AT TENNESSEE
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
HOUSTON 128
229
28
+8
#24
TENNESSEE 128
226
24
-4
#4
HOU has some much needed rest after back-to-back OT games in 5 days. Phillips will be fuming after giving up over 500 yards despite the circumstances. Including playoffs HOU is 5-0 after giving up 350+ yards allowing an avg of 249 yards/11 ppg not counting DET under Phillips. HOU has monster stat edges with the #3 and #6 units (+8 TO’s) vs TEN’s #24 and #29 units (-4 TO’s) but the best edge is HOU’s #5 scoring defense (19.2 ppg) vs #31 TEN’s (30.5). Locker only has 3 pass att’s vs HOU dislocating his shoulder in the 38-14 loss in the first meeting this year. While HOU is a run oriented team (143 ypg, 4.2) getting the #27 rush def (130 ypg, 4.3) a key matchup is Schaub who since the GB game is avg 292 ypg (66%) with an 11-5 ratio (2 int vs CHI) getting a TEN defense allowing a 275 ypg (70% NFL worst) with a 22-10 ratio. Despite the layoff and having a MNF game vs NE on deck the Texans won’t overlook the Titans here.
PHIL'S FORECAST: HOUSTON 31 TENNESSEE 17
TAMPA BAY AT DENVER
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TAMPA BAY 69
206
21
+11
#25
DENVER 112
368
31
-3
#17

Tampa Bay was outgained by 224 ypg at the NYG and Dallas and hasn’t played an elite team such as Denver since they became a formidable foe. On the road Tampa is avg 152 ypg and 5.1 ypc but none of those teams were ranked in the top 12 in rush D and combined their avg rank is #23. Denver’s rush D will be their toughest opponent by far as they’ve allowed 77 ypg and 3.3 ypc. Freeman and the OL have been the true beneficiaries getting sacked only 9 times the last 8 games but now have to face the league’s top sack team led by Von Miller (14 sks). On the flip side it certainly spells trouble when your team is dead last in pass D and now you’re facing a rejuvenated Payton Manning who owns a 13-1 ratio at home. Weather won’t be a factor with the forecast in the high 50’s but the Bucs and their #32 schedule will be off an OT road game and a hard fought division loss and now playing in altitude.

PHIL'S FORECAST: DENVER 34 TAMPA BAY 20
PITTSBURGH AT BALTIMORE
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
PITTSBURGH 89
160
11
-10
#18
BALTIMORE 81
195
20
+12
#9

Not many teams can say they’ve started 3 different QB’s in their last 3 games but Pittsburgh can. The Steelers turned the ball over 8 times and were -7 in TO’s yet still only lost by 6 at Cleveland. A second straight week of #1 reps will do Batch wonders, however PIT is 0-5 vs the Ravens withouth Big Ben since ‘04. Just 2 weeks ago when these two met Baltimore got to face a hobbled Leftwich who wouldn’t have beaten RGIII in a 100 yd dash with a 70 yard lead yet the Ravens still got outgained 311-200. The Ravens D continues to be overvalued as they now been outgained 6 of the last 7 games and last week at SD they had only 90 yards and 5 FD’s in the 1H but the Chargers couldn’t put them away. When you get a team that knows how to win (11 wins/yr the last 5), has the better D (#1 vs #24), has triple revenge and is looking up in the standings you have a fight on your hands. However, BAL is going for its 17th straight home win and can clinch a playoff berth with a win here.

PHIL'S FORECAST: BALTIMORE 17 PITTSBURGH 14
CLEVELAND AT OAKLAND
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
CLEVELAND 147
181
28
+8
#27
OAKLAND 86
222
19
-7
#10

OAK beat CLE 24-17 last year with a 329-268 yd edge. While Cleveland would normally be at disadvantage traveling to the West Coast, Oakland just lost at Cincy so that negates it. The Browns knocked off the Steelers for only the second time in 18 games and despite having faced a 3rd string QB they still held them to a season low (242 yards) while holding each of their last 5 opponents under their season avg by 74 ypg. There’s a new excitement amongst the Browns since the new ownership officially took over and that includes wins vs SD and Pittsburgh and in their 3 losses they led 13-0 at halftime vs Dallas (outgained 320-311), led Baltimore14-13 in the 4Q (outgained them 290-282) and got outgained by 2 yards in a 4 point loss at Indy. Oakland started this season off with a 3-4 record but the defense has wilted with the league’s worst secondary (101.9 opp QBR) and they’ve allowed 42 ppg during their 4 game losing streak and on the season are allowing a 23-6 ratio (on a record setting pace). I’ll also pick a team with something to play for vs a “here we go again” Raiders attitude.

PHIL'S FORECAST: CLEVELAND 26 OAKLAND 24
CINCINNATI AT SAN DIEGO
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
CINCINNATI 125
168
21
+1
#8
SAN DIEGO 100
173
18
-3
#13

CIN is making only its second road trip in the last 7 weeks. Their win last week gives them 3 straight and puts them at 6-5 keeping their playoff chance alive. If you check out the Bengals home/road splits you’d be impressed that they’ve outgained their opponents by 79 ypg but none of the D’s ranked in the top half in the NFL (combined avg #23) while SD was #10 into this writing. SD meanwhile went into last week’s Baltimore game having dropped 5 of 6 but the only opponent they didn’t outgain in that stretch was a Denver squad that is playing the best football in the league (#4 off & #4 D). The Chargers are a complete head case as despite having the #25 off and #10 defense they are now 4-7 with their wins coming against teams that have a combined nine wins. The talent on the field still calls for the Chargers but any week they’ll pull the plug and blow this team up. I’ll call for SD by 3 but with some hesitation.

PHIL'S FORECAST: SAN DIEGO 24 CINCINNATI 21
PHILADELPHIA AT DALLAS
Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
PHILADELPHIA 107
240
19
-14
#22
DALLAS 93
271
30
-11
#19

If you were in Las Vegas this past spring and wanted to bet on the NFC Champion these 2 were listed #2 and #6 and now they’ve combined for 13 losses. Huge situational edge to Dallas off a Thanksgiving Day game while Philly hosted Carolina on Monday Night without Vick or McCoy and lost 30-22. No matter who’s under center for the Eagles you have to be concerned about the psyche of the entire team but Dallas is not much better.

PHIL'S FORECAST: DALLAS 30 PHILADELPHIA 17