NFL Predictions Week 14: Underdogs Who Will Shock the World
There are several interesting matchups during Week 14 of the NFL season, and in some of those matchups, the underdogs are set to stun their superior opponents with a victory.
Let's take a look at some underdogs who will shock the world this week.
New Orleans Saints (vs. New York Giants)
Its been a rough season for the Saints in 2012, but that hasn't stopped Drew Brees and company from throwing the ball all over the field en route to the No. 3 passing attack in the NFL.
In Week 14, the Saints will have the chance to exploit the Giants' weak secondary with their passing attack. The Giants are ranked No. 22 in the NFL against the pass this season and could be without safety Kenny Phillips (per ESPN.com).
As is, New York can't defend the pass well, and their best cornerback, Corey Webster, has been getting beat deep on a weekly basis. Now, the Giants will be without Phillips and that will only make their problem with stopping big plays worse.
On top of that, the Giants are ranked No. 21 against the run, so the Saints should be able to get their ground game going and that will make them far less predictable for the Giants to defend.
Brees has had two bad weeks in a row after throwing seven picks to just three touchdowns. Last week, Brees was downright dreadful after tossing five interceptions without a single touchdown to speak of.
This streak of bad games won't last much longer for Brees as he is just too good to play this poorly again in Week 14. Brees will snap out of it against the Giants and throw his team to a victory in a matchup that qualifies as just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Saints quarterback.
Washington Redskins (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
With the way both of these teams are playing, you would think the Redskins are the favorites and the Ravens are the underdogs. But coming into this game, the Ravens have the third-best record in the AFC, while the 'Skins are trying to claw their way into the playoffs in the NFC.
Baltimore's record is not indicative of how this team has played this season. Sure, they are 9-3, but the Ravens offense has struggled to score points and are ranked No. 15 and No. 23 in the pass and run, respectively.
It won't take a perfect defensive effort for the Redskins to keep the Ravens offense at bay, but that doesn't matter as Washington kept New York's superior offense in check last week.
Defensively, the Ravens are not the same team they once were. Ranked No. 23 against the run and pass this season, Baltimore can barely stop a nose bleed anymore and even surrendered 23 points to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week with Charlie Batch behind center in a losing effort.
Robert Griffin III is one of the most explosive players in the NFL today. RG3 can throw the ball all over the field, especially against weak defenses, and passing the ball has come easier now that No. 1 receiver Pierre Garcon is healthy.
To make matters worse for the Ravens, even if they can get into the backfield, RG3's athleticism allows him to avoid the sack and turn a negative play into a positive one.
To complement RG3, the Redskins have Alfred Morris and the league's No. 1 rushing attack.
Washington has so many weapons to throw at Baltimore, and the Ravens have yet to prove they can stop anyone with a legit offense. The Redskins should have no problem putting points on the board, and with the ineptitude of the Ravens offense, they won't have to score that much to win.
Miami Dolphins (vs. San Francisco 49ers)
The Dolphins' playoff hopes are pretty much shot, but that won't stop them from giving the 49ers a run for their money.
In Week 13, the Dolphins defense was nothing short of spectacular against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Miami was able to keep Brady quiet after allowing just 238 yards through the air, which was good enough for one of Brady's lowest totals this season.
The Patriots rushing attack, which ranks No. 8 in the NFL, barely broke the 100-yard mark also. The only problem for the Dolphins was that they couldn't muster up much offense to ultimately win the game.
San Fran has not been good through the air this season, whether it has been Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick behind center. That's fortunate for Miami considering it is ranked No. 26 against the pass.
But the most important key to beating the Niners is stopping the run, which is a facet the Dolphins excel at. Miami is ranked No. 8 against the run this season, so San Francisco will not have an easy time moving the ball on the ground.
That will force Kaepernick to win this game with his arm, and that proved to be a recipe for failure last week after the Niners weren't able to gain significant yardage on the ground and had to lean on their passing attack.
Granted, the Dolphins won't be able to score much in this game, but the St. Louis Rams already proved that the Niners can be beaten without much scoring as long as the running game is kept in check.
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