By Nick Clarke
Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, December 15th 1:00 PM
The “RGIII-less” Redskins will travel to the Georgia Dome to take on the Atlanta Falcons in a matchup of disappointing teams. The Redskins will look to preserve the small pride they still have and end their five game losing streak against a Falcons team that has lost six of their past seven games. The biggest story of this otherwise meaningless battle of 3-10 teams is the absence of Robert Griffin III. Mike Shanahan announced early Wednesday morning that the Redskins will be shutting down RGIII for the remainder of the season. The decision was strictly made with only Griffin’s health in mind, it had nothing to due with Griffin’s sub par performance in the last couple of weeks. Kirk Cousins will be starting in place of RGIII and it will be Cousins’ chance to prove to potential suitors that he has what it takes to become a full time NFL starter. The Falcons will look to pad tight end Tony Gonzalez’s stats in one of his last games ever and Matt Ryan will be sure to get the green light to throw all over the Redskins’ defense. Even with the Falcons’ record being as bad as it is, the fans will still pack into the Georgia Dome hoping to see some last couple moments of greatness from their future hall of famer, Tony Gonzalez.
Final Prediction: The Redskins look more self defeated than any team in the NFL right now, the Falcons should roll right over them at home. Expect Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense to have a field day against a defense fresh off allowing over 40 points. Tony Gonzalez will get into the end zone at least once. Falcons, 29- 14.
The red hot Philadelphia Eagles will travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in a battle of top tier rushing offenses. Nick Foles and the Eagles will look to pick up their sixth straight victory, while the Vikings will look to grab just their fourth win all year. The Vikings will likely be without their star MVP running back, Adrian Peterson, and with Peterson likely out the Vikings will have to come up with some creative ways of moving the ball against a much improved Eagles defense. The Eagles are sure to be happy playing indoors after their crazy snow filled game last weekend, and with the favorable conditions Nick Foles should have no problem picking apart the third worst pass defense in the league. Even with the Eagles’ defense catching a break in the likely absence of Peterson, they will still need to contain the mercurial rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson certainly displayed his ability in the waning seconds of the Baltimore game last week when he took a screen pass 79 yards for a score.
Final Prediction: The Vikings have a very small chance of winning this game if Peterson does in fact play, but if not, they will not be able to come close to matching the Eagles’ offensive output. I think Cordarrelle Patterson will contribute in a big way in a losing effort and Nick Foles will again look like the elite quarterback he has been for the last six weeks and lead his team to victory. Eagles, 31-17.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants, Sunday, December 15th 1:00 PM
The NFL’s best, the Seattle Seahawks will travel to MetLife stadium to take on the New York Giants in a battle of a current and former NFC power houses. The Seahawks will look to bounce back from a close loss against their division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Giants will look to find something positive in these last few games to take into the offseason. The Giants’ offense, which has been mediocre all season, will face its biggest test when they face Richard Sherman and the legion of boom. The Seahawks are limiting their opponents to the fewest passing yards per game in the league. The Giants’ defense will have to contain one of the best read option offenses in the league, as the combination of Marshawn Lynch running the ball and Russell Wilson both running and throwing the ball for the Seahawks has proven to be deadly.
Final Prediction: The Seattle Seahawks are too much for about any team in the NFL and especially too much for the lowly Giants. Expect Russell Wilson and Golden Tate to continue their wave of success and possibly watch for Percy Harvin’s first taste of greatness as a Seahawk. Seahawks, 34-21.
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, December 15th 4:25 PM
The Green Bay Packers will travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a battle of struggling teams fighting for their playoff lives. The Cowboys are currently second in the NFC East and need to win their next two games to guarantee a chance to play for the division title against Philly in week 17, while the Packers are a win behind both the Bears and the Lions they will need to win every game from here on out in almost any scenario. The Packers look to be without Aaron Rodgers for a seventh straight week and will start Matt Flynn. With Rodgers likely out, the Cowboys offense can breathe a sigh of relief as they now won’t be required to score every drive, now just every other drive. The Cowboys’ defense, which is the worst in the league, will look to shake off their embarrassing effort on Monday night and shut down an offense that will be missing its grand centerpiece. The Cowboys should have no problems scoring points against the Packers’ defense, and their most favorable matchup will be using DeMarco Murray in space, whether it is as a pass catcher or as a runner, much like the beginning of the Bears’ game.
Final Prediction: The Cowboys have been great at home and Tony Romo is due for a monster game. Even if the Cowboys defense plays half as bad as they did last week, the ‘boys should still win this game in a close call fashion. Cowboys, 31-27.