Predicting the MVP for Each Week 14 NFL Game
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Week 14 is underway, and the Denver Broncos extended their winning streak to eight games by defeating the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football. Three teams in the AFC and one team in the NFC have already claimed playoff berths.
The Broncos, New England Patriots and Houston Texans are in. Only the Atlanta Falcons are in the postseason from the NFC. The games this weekend may only clear up the playoff picture a little, but they will go a long way in determining tiebreaker scenarios.
Here are the predictions of who will be the MVP in each game. The winner has to come from the team that is the victor.
St. Louis Rams vs. Buffalo Bills: Steven Jackson
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The Buffalo Bills defense has given up the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL per game. Buffalo and Oakland are tied at 17 scores allowed, but the Raiders played Thursday night. The Bills rushing defense is ranked 30th in the NFL and gives up 4.9 yards a carry.
Steven Jackson has rushed for 369 yards in his last four games and is really carrying the St. Louis Rams offense right now. The Rams are on a two-game win streak and will need a big game for Jackson to get the win.
Look for Jackson to rush for over 100 yards and eat up the clock as the Rams win a much-needed game on the road.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Dez Bryant
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The Cincinnati Bengals actually have a solid pass defense, ranking 11th in the NFL in yards allowed per game. But the Dallas Cowboys are a pass-happy offense that allows quarterback Tony Romo to throw the football as much as any quarterback in the NFL.
Dez Bryant has 475 yards receiving in the last four games for the Cowboys. The Cowboys won three out of four. Bryant has six total touchdowns in those four contests as well. When Bryant is hot, so are the Cowboys.
Bryant will bring home the MVP award with a 100-yard-plus receiving effort, adding a score as Dallas wins.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns: Brady Quinn
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Brady Quinn gets to face the team that drafted him after being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his effort in the win over the Carolina Panthers. Quinn threw for two touchdowns versus the Panthers and will match that feat versus the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have the 24th-ranked passing defense in the NFL and give up 22.1 points a game. This game will be a defensive battle and a low-scoring affair. Quinn will get revenge versus his old team and do just enough to lead his squad to victory.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Doug Martin
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In any other NFL season, Doug Martin’s name would be at the top of the list for Rookie of the Year honors. But in the "Year of the Rookie quarterback," Martin’s 1,480 total yards from scrimmage through 12 games is hardly a blip on the screen.
Martin has been held in check the past two games. Expect a huge game for the former Boise State star versus a Philadelphia Eagles defense that has allowed 12 runs of over 20 yards. The Eagles defense allows 26.7 points a contest.
Martin will score twice and gain over 150 yards from the line of scrimmage as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trounce the Eagles.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins: Joe Flacco
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The Washington Redskins have the 29th-ranked defense in the NFL and allow 25.1 points a game. The pass defense of the Redskins is ranked 31st in the NFL.
Joe Flacco is all over the board with passing the last five games. In Week 9 versus Cleveland, Flacco threw for 153 yards. Then he responded with a 341-yard effort the next week. Flacco followed that up with 164 yards through the air.
Versus San Diego, Flacco threw for 355 yards only to answer with 188 yards passing last week. The pattern should continue as Flacco will throw for over 300 yards and a score as the Baltimore Ravens win the “Beltway Bowl.”
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers: Jacquizz Rodgers
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While running back Michael Turner is the starter, Jacquizz Rodgers is a vital part of the Atlanta Falcons offense and will play a huge role this week. The Panthers have the 25th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL.
With the playoffs already locked up for the Falcons, look for head coach Mike Smith to rest Turner some for the playoffs. This will allow Rodgers to get more opportunities to showcase his skills.
Rodgers will make a big play in the return game as well as from the line of scrimmage. Rodgers will have over 200 total yards and will score at least once for the Falcons.
New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Shonn Greene
Shonn Greene has rushed for over 100 yards in two games this season, and the New York Jets won both. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano needs to continue with that formula and give the ball to Greene over 25 times.
The Jacksonville Jaguars give up 144 yards a game on the ground and have allowed 16 rushing touchdowns on the season. With a lack of a passing attack, if the Jets simply rush the ball 50 times, they will eat up the clock and wear down the Jaguars' banged-up defense.
Look for Greene to top the century mark for the third time this season and find the end zone at least once as the Jets win a game that may set offensive football back quite a few years.
Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts: Reggie Wayne
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The Tennessee Titans defense is not good against the pass, ranking 27th in the NFL. Reggie Wayne had 91 yards receiving versus the Titans in the Indianapolis Colts' Week 8 win.
Wayne is in the top four of the NFL in receiving yards, receptions and yards receiving per game this season. He will use his impressive route-running skills to take advantage of the Titans secondary. The Titans have given up 29.9 points per game this season and allow 7.7 yards a pass play.
Look for Wayne to go over 100 yards in receiving and add two scores as the Colts blow out the Titans.
Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Forte
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Matt Forte has only played in 11 games this season due to injuries and has only rushed for over 100 yards two times.
The former Tulane star has not had a rushing touchdown in the last four games. Versus the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, Forte was held to 42 yards rushing on 14 carries and was knocked out of the game.
The Vikings have an average run defense, ranking 14th in the NFL, and they only allow 3.8 yards a carry. But that defense of the Vikings has shown weakness of late and has allowed three rushing scores the past two weeks—two by Forte’s backup, Michael Bush.
Forte will bounce back against the NFC North foe and will help the Chicago Bears win the game. He wins MVP with a touchdown and over 90 yards on the ground and 50 yards receiving.
San Diego Chargers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Heath Miller
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is back and getting the start, but do not expect this to be the Ben of old. His ribs and shoulder are still tender. Roethlisberger complained earlier in the year about offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s “dink and dunk” offense. That offense will now help Ben this weekend.
Quick-hitting passes to Heath Miller will keep Roethlisberger from getting his injuries exposed and hit. Miller will get targeted on over 15 short passes versus the 21st-ranked San Diego Chargers pass defense. That defense has allowed 155 first downs this season.
Miller had 97 yards receiving last week. Look for him to have his first 100-yard-plus receiving game of 2012 versus the Chargers.
Miami Dolphins vs. San Francisco 49ers: Michael Crabtree
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Michael Crabtree is coming off a 101-yard effort versus the Rams in Week 13 and will produce another 100-plus-yard game versus the Miami Dolphins in Week 14. The Dolphins pass defense is ranked 26th in the NFL and has given up 45 passes of over 20-plus yards.
Crabtree has found a connection with quarterback Colin Kaepernick and will look to continue that rapport. Look for Crabtree to find the end zone at least once on a long pass play. He will be the MVP and lead the 49ers to a solid victory at home.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch
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Marshawn Lynch rushed for 80 yards versus the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, yet the Seattle Seahawks still lost. The Seahawks do not lose at home and will not versus a struggling Cardinals squad.
Lynch has rushed for over 85 yards in every game he has over 20 carries. The Cardinals defense has given up over 170 yards in back-to-back weeks.
Look for Lynch to have over 150 yards rushing and a touchdown as the Seahawks get an easy win at home versus the worst team in the NFC West.
New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants: Drew Brees
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Drew Brees played one of the worst games of his career last Thursday night. He threw five interceptions, and his consecutive games with a touchdown streak was broken. Brees will be looking to rebound versus the 22nd-ranked pass defense in the NFL and start a new streak.
Brees has 31 touchdowns on the season and is fourth in passing yards with 3,674. The New York Giants give up 8.1 yards a pass play but only allow 20.1 points a game.
Look for Brees to throw for over 300 yards again this week and to throw for at least three touchdowns. He will keep his team in the playoff hunt with a major win over an NFC foe.
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers has not had a 300-yard passing day since Week 7 versus the St. Louis Rams. That will change this week versus the Detroit Lions. Rodgers has already led the Green Bay Packers to a win over the Lions in Week 11 and will do so at home Sunday.
Rodgers is facing a Lions defense that has allowed 26.5 points a game. The Lions defense has allowed 10 passing plays of over 40-plus yards and has given up 21 touchdowns through the air.
Rodgers will get his 300-yard passing game and at least two touchdowns as the Packers win a tough NFC North game at Lambeau Field.
Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots: Tom Brady
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In the marquee matchup of Week 14, two teams that have already clinched playoff berths go head to head in a game that may be a prelude to the AFC Championship game.
Tom Brady has the New England Patriots on a six-game win streak. Brady has 15 touchdown passes to one interception in those same six games. The Houston Texans pass defense is 19th in the NFL and has given up 44 pass plays of over 20 yards.
In a close, hard-fought win, Brady will step up in the spotlight and produce a 300-yard game with three touchdowns.