Punt, Pass and Pick: Week Fifteen
Jonathan Munshaw, News Editor: My heart is slowly melting over the fact that this is the last Punt, Pass and Pick of the semester. I have taken on opponents ranging from the dude who takes photos for us to the dude who used to write sports stories and now only has one functioning leg (get better soon, Andrew!).
I wanted to get more than one opponent in this last week, so I’m taking on two of Scarborough’s finest, my roommate Curt Zanelotti, and the ‘Borough’s resident Philadelphia Eagles’ fan Kyle Wert. Good luck, gentlemen.
Kyle Wert, Contributing Writer: My name is Kyle Wert. I’m from New Jersey and I’m an Eagles fan (Fire Andy Reid). I met the man known as “Mighty Munch” this year and was thoroughly confused by his love for the Cleveland Browns, poor guy. My goal for doing PPP is to beat Munch at his own game. Even though I won’t be calling all the games, I’ll try to provide as much info as I can to make an accurate prediction and most importantly: win.
Curt Zanelotti, Contributing Writer: I am Curt Zanelotti, roommate of this not-so-great punt, pass and kick football game picker named Jonathan Munshaw. My friend and I are here to teach Munch a thing or two about football. Considering he is a Browns fan, he has quite a lot to learn.
Green Bay Packers -2 at Chicago Bears
Jon: All is right in the football world, as the Packers re-took first place in the NFC North last week with a victory over the Detroit Lions Sunday night.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t look all that good in the win, though, completing 14 out of 24 passes for just 173 yards.
I don’t expect those numbers to be any more overwhelming, as I think the Bears’ defense will be too much for the Pack to handle.
Yes, the Packers are 9-4, but Green Bay’s leading rusher is some guy named Alex Green who only has 429 yards and doesn’t have a single touchdown. Compare that to the Bears who have the 10th-best rushing offense in the game, and the 12th-best rushing defense in the game, and I’m taking Jay Cutler and da Bears.
Bears 29, Packers 20
Kyle and Curt: Aaron Rodgers has always owned the Bears’ defense throughout his career. In their divisional battle early in the season, Rodgers beat the previously dominant Bears’ D. Now that the Bears’ defense has slowed down in recent weeks, Rodgers is poised for a big game with all of his weapons at his disposal, including receiver Greg Jennings, who has missed most of the season. It will be tough for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to keep up as the opportunistic Packers’ D will double cover his favorite receiver Brandon Marshall and force him into mistakes.
Packers 24 Bears 14
Atlanta Falcons -2 vs. New York Giants
Jon: In terms of the division for the Falcons, this game means nothing because they’ve already locked up the NFC South. For the Giants, it’s a completely different story, with Washington’s Robert Griffin and the Dallas’ Jerry Jones breathing down their necks in the NFC East.
The Falcons are still playing for home field advantage in the playoffs, though, which means everything to Matt Ryan, who has an amazing .878 winning percentage at home.
Oh yeah, and this game happens to be at home.
Ryan is in the running for MVP in my book, throwing for 3,932 yards and 24 touchdowns, with only 14 interceptions, five of which came in one game against the Cardinals.
The Falcons take this one, along with home field advantage in the NFC.
Falcons 33, Giants 24
Kyle and Curt: Matty Ice and the Falcons laid an egg against the rejuvenated Super Cam last week. However, that was on the road, where the Falcons always seem to underachieve. Now they are back in the comforts of the Georgia Dome, where they are undefeated this season. The Giants always seem to start a swoon this time of the year, only to pick up the pace once the playoffs start. There is a huge mismatch in this game with wide receiver Julio Jones going against Prince Amukamara, the struggling Giants’ corner. That will be the difference in a closely-fought game.
Falcons 23, Giants 20
Cleveland Browns -6.5 vs. Washington Redskins
Jon: Thank goodness there’s no Towerlight production day on Sunday, as I can be in Scarborough for this one. Curt is a ‘Skins fan, and as a resident of Southern Maryland, I am pretty much surrounded by them.
This game only happens once a year, but when it does, it’s a pretty big deal to me.
To me, this game hinges on whether or not RGIII plays or not. Washington found out its star quarterback has a mild ligament sprain in his right knee, and Head Coach Mike Shanahan wouldn’t say if Griffin would play or not on Sunday.
If he doesn’t, it will be Kirk Cousins, who led a last-minute comeback against the Ravens last weekend.
Despite that comeback, I don’t fear Cousins too much as a Browns fan, especially with quarterback Brandon Weeden improving every week, most recently throwing for 217 yards in a 30-7 blowout of the Chiefs.
If the Browns win, it will be their fourth in a row, something that I honestly can’t remember happening since Derek Anderson was on the team, but I think it can happen.
Browns 21, Redskins 17
Kyle and Curt: RGIII means a lot to the offense. The Redskins will never score as many points with Cousins leading them as with RGIII, but an Alfred Morris run offense will still carry them over the Brandon Weeden-led Browns.
If RGIII plays: Redskins 28 Browns 12
If RGIII doesn’t play: Redskins 17 Browns 9
New England Patriots -3 vs. San Francisco 49ers
Jon: I spent my Monday night working on final projects and watching the Patriots vs. Texans game.
Needless to say, Tom Brady made me look stupid for not picking the Pats to win by more. Brady threw four touchdowns in the 42-14 win, and I expect Tom Terrific to continue his success this week.
Although the 49ers won to improve to 9-3-1, quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn’t look all that great, only throwing for 185 yards and giving up a fumble.
San Francisco leans heavily on its defense, which ranks third in the pass and second in the rush, but Houston was also supposed to have a pretty good defense until Brady came along.
New England should roll in this one on their way to home field advantage in the playoffs.
Patriots 30, 49ers 16
Kyle and Curt: The Patriots proved on Monday Night Football that they are still the class of the AFC and almost unbeatable at home, taking it to the previously dominant Texans 42-14. Now they get to feast on young starter Colin Kaepernick. Tom Brady is playing some of the best football of his life, and that’s saying something. After four touchdowns against the Texans on Monday, Brady will throw three more and lead a game that won’t be as close as the final score indicates.
Patriots 38, 49ers 20
Denver Broncos -3.5 at Baltimore Ravens
Jon: The Broncos have won eight straight games, and could be considered the best team in the league.
Baltimore hasn’t had similar luck, losing to the Redskins last week in the Battle of the Beltway, and firing its offensive coordinator Cam Cameron a day after the game.
Former Colts coach Jim Caldwell will take over the play calling duties, but that doesn’t mean the Ravens’ offense won’t suddenly decide it’s better off without Cameron.
Baltimore’s aging defense won’t be able to stand up to Peyton Manning’s 68 completion percentage and 104 rating.
Broncos 31, Ravens 14
Kyle and Curt: A battle of two teams going in complete opposite directions. The Broncos, led by future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, have won eight games in a row and have already clinched their division. The Ravens, meanwhile, have lost two straight to the Charlie Batch-led Steelers (ouch) and a Kirk Cousins-led comeback for the Redskins (ouch again). The Ravens are still not as good as their record shows, meanwhile the Broncos are the hottest team in the NFL. Manning will carve up the gimpy Ravens D with Ray Lewis and T-Sizzle still potentially hurt, and lead the Broncos to their ninth straight win and closer to a first round bye.
Broncos 34, Ravens 14