NFL Outlook: Bandit's Blog
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NFL OUTLOOK WEEK 15

My apologies to everyone for missing the last couple of weeks. I am hoping to reclaim lost interest towards my blog that may be rendered by FanNation members. Consider the last few weeks as a recession on my part, and hopefully, I can finish the final 3 weeks of the season on a strong note.  With only 3 weeks remaining into the season, several games have playoff implications, some have teams that are primed to play spoilers, and the rest have virtually no impact at all but 2 teams playing for pride.  It is without a doubt a critical time for teams to step up and position themselves into a playoff spot, wether it is for the wild card or for home field advantage.  Along with my predictions, I have provided a FFP(Fantasy Football Prospect) with the objective of assisting those who are Fantasy Football junkies.  FFP are players who are likely to break out from the realm of obscurity not to mention mediocrity in which they have dwelled upon for most of the season. Such players are chosen by me, and their projected stats are not based upon any kind of criteria except for that it is just my arbitrary estimation.  FFP will not include supreme stars such as Brady,Moss, Owens, Romo, Manning, Tomlinson, etc, who deliver superlative stats on a consistent basis.  With that said, I would also like to remind everybody to BEWARE of the HOME UNDERDOGS!!!  Please feel free to comment on this blog, it's always nice to hear from somebody regardless of wether they agree or disagree with my picks. Let's begin, shall we...

Denver @ HOUSTON- missed   FINAL:   TEXANS    31     Broncos  13

Cincinnati over SAN FRANCISCO- Considering the below average performance that Carson Palmer has exerted over the last couple of weeks, it's mind boggling to see the Bengals favored by 8 points on the road. Palmer has been a disappointment this season for the most part, and those who have him on their FF roster are clinging to him somewhat awaiting patiently as to when he will break out.  My assumption is that since the Bengals are out of playoff contention, I believe Palmer has no motivation to pile up the stats.  It seems they have resorted to the running game for the majority of the game.  Seeing Cincy as an 8 point road favorite is still baffling to me, especially how awful they have been on the road this season( 1 win at Baltimore).  Either the oddmakers aren't giving the 49ers enough respect, or they are just abysmal.  I will go with the former due to the defunct Cincy pass D, and the underdog 49ers will be barking all game long with the generous pointspread.  Palmer does have a favorable matchup with a suspect 49er secondary, but a heavy dose of Frank Gore against feeble Bengal frontline should keep this game close throughout.  This contest warrants a Beware of the Home 'Dog game alert. Bengals will come out on top but not by much.   Bengals    27    49ers   24

FFP:           TJ Houshmanzadeh        7  rec   105  yds   1   TD
             Frank Gore         27  rush   110  yds   2   TD    4  rec  32 yds

Arizona over NEW ORLEANS- Both teams are in the hunt for the post-season via Wild Card spot.  Saints played well last Monday night while the Cards are biten by the injury bug. Boldin is still questionable, but that could change come Sunday. Fitz would also be more than likely to play, and with both star receivers at Warner's arsenal..I like Arizona's chances on the road.  Look for a high scoring affair, as the Cards are injury depleted up front while the Saints have the 29th rank pass defense.       Cardinals     37         Saints       33

FFP:     Larry Fitzgerald        7 rec    117  yds   2  TD's
             Aaron Stecker         18 rush        94 yds        1 TD      3  rec  26 yds

TAMPA BAY over Atlanta- Although Redman has been a surprise thus far, he will more than likely have trouble finding success against a tenacious Bucs defense.  Jeff Garcia is primed for a triumphant return, and Earnest Graham should continue to find success in the end zone.  It should be a physical battle with the home team coming out on top.  With the victory, Bucs should take the NFC South division.   Buccaneers     23        Falcons      10

FFP:     Jerious Norwood       18 rush       90 yds        1 TD     4 rec     38 yds
             Earnest Graham      23 rush       105 yds       1 TD     2 rec      12 yds

MIAMI over Baltimore- Despite the ineffectiveness that the Dolphins have registered so far this season, I believe that they still have a lot of fight left in them.  The drive to prevent a winless season will nonetheless motivate the 'Fins D to play with some resurgent pulse.  Jerry Porter, Jason Taylor, and the rest of the Miami D wouldn't want the embarassment of having their moniker etched with a season of futility.  In comes the Ravens, who themselves are looking very bleak as evident with their 7 game losing streak.  After watching Baltimore's Sunday Night matchup with Indy, I can't help but think the Dolphins have more than enough intensity to hang with them not to mention sneak out their first victory.  This game is sort of a last hurrah for the fins to prevent themselves from going down in history on a notorious note. Look for a couple of scores from the arm of Cleo Lemon, who is definitely an upgrade compared to Beck.    Dolphins   24     Ravens    19

FFP:     Willis McGahee       25 rush        122 yds       no TD's       2 rec     18 yds
             Ted Ginn           5 rec      82 yds     1  PR (punt ret) TD

CLEVELAND over Buffalo- This looks to be an intriguing matchup whereby Derek Anderson and Trent Edwards are primed to have success through the air.  Lee Evans is emerging once again, but it remains to be seen wether he'll continue that trend.  He does have a favorable matchup against a generous Browns D.  Regardless of Evan's performance, I like the Brownies at home with a juggernaut trio of B.Edwards, Winslow, and Jamal lewis. It could be a see-saw battle as both defenses seem to yield a lot of yardage with no end in sight.   Browns    31       Bills         23

FFP:     Trent Edwards          23 - 34 att   302   yds         2   TD's   1  Int
             Kellen Winslow       7 rec    107 yds        1 TD

Green Bay over ST. LOUIS- Bulger is set to return but Favre and company are playing very good football, wether it will continue remains to be seen.  I believe this game will be closer than the projected spread of 10 points in favor of the Pack.  Interceptions are likely to victimize Favre in the late going, with defensive stalwarts such as Atogwe.  In spite of that, the Packers have more than enough talent to compensate for their mistakes .   Packer rush D is very much due for a letdown, and it happens here as Steven Jackson should find some room to scamper. Unfortunately, it won't be enough.    Packers   22         Rams   20

FFP:           Steven Jackson        24 rush       108 yds      1  TD     4  rec   27   yds
                    Koren Robinson        4  rec     68 yds        1   TD

PITTSBURGH over Jacksonville-  Look for an all-out physical battle between these formidable defensive squads who are likely to meet up again during the playoffs.  Steelers look to redeem themselves from the shellacking they received courtesy of the Pats.  Hopefully, no guarantees handed out from Mr. Smith for this game .  Despite the success that Del Rio's team have had so far this season, I look for Tomlin's squad to be focused and energized from the get go especially on the defensive side.  Look for a nip and tuck affair, as both teams are very resilient.   Steelers   19     Jaguars   16

FFP:           Marcedis Lewis    4   rec    52   yds         1   TD
             Willie Parker           18  rush        96 yds        1  TD


NEW ENGLAND over NY Jets- Brady to Moss..Brady to Welker..Brady to Stallworth, or Gaffney, or Watson.  In simplest terms, pick your poison because the Jets are in for a long day.  This contest has the controvesial "SPY GAME" written all over it, and Belichick will be content to run up the scoreboard.  Might as well call this game "Spy vs.Spy" just like the comic strip.  Unlike the comic strip though, this won't be an even battle. It seems the Pats have been playing with conviction since week 1 against the Jets where the  illegal videotaping fiasco has tainted their reputation for much of the season, and as a result, they have played outstanding football thus far taking it out on their opponents.  This will be a one-sided affair in terms of scoring because the Jets feeble D won't be able to contain Brady.  If not for the gloomy weather that's forecasted for this game which will somewhat hinder the Pats, the final score could be worse.  Brady should be closing in on Manning's TD record, which I believe he will exceed by this game or next.  Look for the Pats to continue their unblemished season, and it's a solid bet that they will go undefeated.    Patriots    38     Jets   10

FFP:           Wes Welker    7  rec   109 yds   1  TD
                    Laurence Maroney    15 rush   91 yds  1  TD
                    Jericho Cotchery      6 rec  85 yds  1  TD

Seattle over CAROLINA- The Panthers are just abysmal in all aspects of the game.  Playing at home should help but only on a minimal level. The shuffling of QB's has not helped the game of the once explosive Steve Smith, whose fantasy numbers have dwindled down drastically as the season comes to a close. Matt Hasselbeck has been playing stellar of late, and hopes to maintain success on the road.  Seattle has captured the NFC West, and Mike Holmgren wants his squad to enter the playoff on a positive note although there are still 3 weeks left in the season, so there is a possibility of a letdown by Seattle in this game.   Carolina should be energized to play well enough at home, or at least much better than last week.  With that said, I would like to consider them as underdogs to be aware of.    Seahawks  20       Panthers     16

FFP:           John Kasay     3  FG's  (2 over 40 yds)
                   Bobby Engram        7 rec  101 yds    1  TD

KANSAS CITY over Tennessee- Although the Chiefs offense have been non-existent for much of the season, their D plays well enough at home to keep them in the game.  I look for both teams to employ the run for the majority of the snaps which will turn this game into a very low scoring affair.  Such is a product of a time consuming, well executed running game.  Both Young and Croyle are inexperienced QB's who are still learning, and they have not really amassed spectacular stats early in their career .  This contest should also be a defensive battle, and as bad as the Chiefs have been outplayed at Arrowhead..they are due for a win at home.     Chiefs  20     Titans   19

FFP:           Rob Bironas   4  FG's
                    Lendale White    28 rush   108 yds   1  TD     1 rec  12 yds
                    Dwayne Bowe   6 rec  83 yds   1  TD

Indianapolis over OAKLAND- Peyton has found a new weapon in Anthony Gonzalez, who is playing for an injured Harrison.  The Raiders pass D has been stellar for much of the season, although they have been burned last week courtesy of Favre. This week is even tougher with Manning at the helm.  If Addai finds room to scamper, it could be a very long day for Oakland's D.  The frontline has to focus on containing Addai, and let Peyton beat them with his arm instead of the other way around.  I like the odds on that considering Oakland has a talented secondary. Offensively, Fargas has a tough matchup against a stout Colts frontline that can be suspect at times especially with the loss of Freeney.  The Raiders are huge home dogs who I think will give the Colts all they can handle, and Jamarcus Russell should give them a lift if and when he does come off the bench.   Colts    27      Raiders  23

FFP:     Joseph Addai    20 rush   125 yds   1  TD      3  rec   24 yds
             Justin Fargas      25 rush   105  yds    1  TD     4  rec  45 yds
             Sebastian Janikowski      3  FG's

SAN DIEGO over Detroit- I have come to call the Lions "the close-but no cigar" team as they play exceptionally well against high caliber foes only to come up short.  It'll probably be no exception here but Detroit have the daunting task of stopping LT.  The Lions haven't had much success against San Diego whom they have lost 5 straight games to.   LT is once again the prolific player everyone expect him to be after a slow start. His performance is evident of the sudden success the Chargers are now having, despite the inconsistent play of Phillip Rivers.  Lions D will surrender, and surrender points by the bundle as an insurmountable lead by San Diego will force Kitna to play comeback. As usual, they won't come close but good enough to make it respectable.  Chargers  34   Lions  24

FFP:     Calvin Johnson     7 rec  115 yds   1  TD
            Chris Chambers      6 rec   96 yds   1  TD
             Antonio Gates     5 rec   82 yds   1  TD


DALLAS over Philadelphia- Is it me?, or does Dallas have that magic of finding out how to win games at the last minute.   Romo should exude confidence, like he has all season long, after throwing a TD strike to Witten with 22 seconds left leaving the Lions discouraged.  Now they have to face their division rival Eagles, who are out of the playoff chase and would love nothing more than to play spoiler.  The Cowboys are too talented offensively and defensively to ever have a letdown.  Looks for T.O. to have a spectacular outing against his former team.      Cowboys    31      Eagles     14

FFP:     Brian Westbrook    20 rush   92 yds   1  TD   5 rec 57 yds
             Marion Barber         17  rush    78 yds    1  TD     4  rec  40 yds 

NY GIANTS over Washington-  Giants have control of their destiny as one of the front runners for the Wild Card spot.   Eli has been less than spectacular yet effective.  He has regained some lost chemistry with Plaxico last week. He hopes to continue  throwing in his direction against a Redskins pass D that is yielding 222 yards a game.   So Eli does have a favorable matchup and it's only a question of wether he is able to exploit it or not . Should the Giants offense  amass a comfortable lead, Strahan and company would do more than enough plays to sustain it.   Todd Collins gets the start once again, and he will be harassed by the pass rush which has become a trademark for the Giants of late.   Look for Eli to improve on his performance and make confident decisions, leading the Gmen to victory.   Giants    26     Redskins   16

FFP:     Jeremy Shockey   7  rec   90 yds   1  TD
             Clinton Portis   24 rush   97 yds   1  TD   3  rec  25 yds


MINNESOTA  over Chicago- Kyle Orton takes over as Chicago's QB.  I really do not know what to make of this, but wether he struggles or plays well,  the Vikings are becoming a force to be reckoned with.   The Vikes have racked up 4 straight wins, and in the process have possibly stumbled their way into the postseason.  Having a dependable back in Chester Taylor to complement a now healthy Adrian Peterson, Minnesota should have no trouble running the ball down their opponents' throat. Tavaris Jackson is improving as a  passer, and with the emergence of rookie wideout Sidney Rice...Minnesota has averaged just under 35 points a game.  A good portion of that being can be credited to their defense, who has made the most out of turnovers.  Chicago has already packed it in for the season, as their organization has much to ponder about in the offseason.   I like the Vikes at the Metrodome to have a well balanced outing, in all aspect of the game.  The Bears will be playing for pride, and Lovie Smith knows he still has a good group regardless of how unfortunate their season has turned out to be.     Vikings    27    Bears   16

FFP:           Desmond Clark   4  rec   46  yds   1  TD
             Adrian Peterson      22 rush   133 yds   1  TD   2  rec 14 yds

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