Week 15 NFL Predictions: Bold Predictions for Sunday's Action
It's a great time of year to be a football fan, but it's more than a little sad as well.
Sure, we're in the thick of the playoff chase, but that also means that the regular season is winding down, which will mean the end of the fun for fans of many teams.
OK, so "fun" may not the best descriptor for the 2012 Arizona Cardinals, but still...
So, with something of a heavy heart but still looking forward to a weekend of great NFL action, here's a look at yet another week's bold predictions for Sunday's games.
Sure, they don't come true very often, but when they do, boy do I look smart. Or something.
Aaron Rodgers Will Throw 4 Touchdown Passes
Tom Lynn/Getty Images
I almost said five, but there's a thin line between bold and just nuts.
The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears meet Sunday in a huge NFC North battle that will clinch the division for the Packers with a win.
Add in that the two teams are barreling in opposite directions, with the Packers having won seven of eight and the Bears having dropped four of five and the stage would seem to be set for Chicago fans to have their hearts crushed by their most hated rivals.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers will give a masterful performance on that stage, topping 300 passing yards and throwing four touchdown passes in a blowout win for Green Bay.
The Indianapolis Colts Will Stun the Houston Texans
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
For a team that didn't lose their second game of the season until Week 14, the Houston Texans aren't getting a lot of respect of at the moment.
There's a reason for that, however, as the Texans were just blown out by the New England Patriots in a game where their secondary was once again exposed badly.
That secondary has allowed nearly 350 passing yards a game over the past four weeks, and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck will exploit that on Sunday in a victory by the Indianapolis Colts that suddenly makes the AFC South a lot more interesting.
Adrian Peterson Will Rush for 175 Yards
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
It's crazy that in today's pass-wacky NFL, the league's worst passing team is still in playoff contention, but that's the situation the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in.
That's just how good running back Adrian Peterson has been this season.
Peterson leads the NFL in rushing and needs to average about 170 yards a game over the last three weeks to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards.
That may seem an impossible goal until you consider that Peterson has topped 170 yards three times already this season, and the sixth-year pro will make it four this week in a win over the St. Louis Rams.
Calvin Johnson Will Catch 15 Passes
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Speaking of individual records.
The 2012 season has been very disappointing for the Detroit Lions, but wide receiver Calvin Johnson has still been piling up the yardage, and at 1,546 yards on the season, Johnson needs only 303 yards to break the record for most receiving yards in a season.
Given that Johnson is averaging nearly 120 receiving yards a game and that the Lions don't have anything left to play for, the team will focus on getting its star wideout the ball.
That will equate to a ton of targets in the passing game that will result in 15 catches and a huge day for Johnson against the Arizona Cardinals.
Aldon Smith Will Get Shut out by the Patriots
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith is another player making a run at the history books this season.
The second-year pro has tallied an eye-popping 19.5 sacks this season and has at least one sack in seven straight games.
With 3.5 more sacks this season, Smith will set the all-time mark for chasing down quarterbacks in a season, but those chances will take a hit Sunday night against a New England Patriots team that has allowed only 20 sacks in 13 games this year.
No worries. The 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16. That record's still toast.