Tailgate Confidential: Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton – QBs Dominating Differently

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Game of the Week

Green Bay Packers  @  New York Giants

 This isn’t my traditional Game of the Week.  I think the Packers win and cover a touchdown relatively easily, but I think that watching Aaron Rodgers dominate against a traditionally good team will be great TV.  Here’s Rodger’s stat line: 72% 3,475 yards, 33 TDs, 4 interceptions.  That’s absolutely ridiculous. 

The Giants may be able to keep it close for a while against a Green Bay defense that gives up a ton of yards, but only scoring 18 points per game during their current three game losing streak isn’t going to be enough to prevent a big Packers victory.

Green Bay 38  –  New York 21

Upset of the Week

The Carolina Panthers will beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the third worst run defense in the league.  The Carolina Panthers rush for 135 yards per game on 5 yards per carry.  This might be the shortest Upset of the Week section ever.

But it gets even more lopsided.  Tampa Bay is coming off allowing a season high 202 rushing yards to Tennessee last week, while Carolina ran for a season high 201 yards last week.  So, how many yards will a defense on a six game losing streak give up to Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams?  I’m guessing 150 rushing yards and three TDs.  If I’m right, and the Panthers score 21 points, they’ll have Tampa Bay’s average score per game beat by three.  Since I think Steve Smith will get a score, too, I’m pretty confident that Carolina will get this upset.

Carolina Panthers 28  –  Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17


Eagles -3Seahawks Eagles Eagles Don’t get this pick confused with me thinking that Philly is good and can still make a run. They are not, and they will not. But Seattle is just as bad. Tavaris Jackson and Michael Vick’s numbers are almost identical, but LeSean McCoy already has 1,000 yards rushing and will score all the points Philly needs to win. Here’s an interesting tidbit: both these teams are 4-7 and out of the hunt. Both also won their division last year. The cliff approaches quickly in the NFL. **Post Game** Wow. I don’t mind missing a pick, it happens, but this Philly team is starting to look like they truly belong in the bottom third. 
Panthers +3Buccaneers Panthers Panthers  Cam Newton, Rookie of the Year.
Bengals +6.5Steelers Steelers Bengals  This game will mirror these teams’ prior matchup this season, except it will be Ben Roethlisberger leading the Steelers on a game ending drive. The only difference will be that Ben will throw a touchdown pass instead of an interception. Cincinnati has proven that they belong in the playoff discussion, but Pittsburgh’s experience will be the difference. And Mike Wallace.  
Falcons -3Texans Falcons Falcons The public continues to think Atlanta is a bad team, and they’ll continue to win games. Houston will rely heavily on Arian Foster to take pressure off of T.J. Yates, but Foster will be facing a stiff Atlanta defense. Atlanta has the second best run defense in the league – allowing 83 yards per game – and is 5-1 in their last six. The Falcons are in a three way tie for the two NFC wild card spots, and knows that Chicago’s QB issues have opened the door for them to surge into the playoffs.
Jets -3Redskins Jets Jets  I think it’s fair to assume that anyone who reads my NFL picks knows how little I like the Jets. That opinion hasn’t changed, but the Redskins just can’t score. Ever. Seriously. They’re in Browns territory with 16 points per game. Switching back to Rex Grossman will help the Washington offense, but not enough to overcome how well Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes have been playing, in spite of Mark Sanchez, lately. 
Colts +20.5Patriots Patriots Patriots  This is my favorite game of the year. Not because I love New England or hate Indy, but because we might get to see a team lose by 50 twice in one season. (Saints 66 – Colts 7) Bryan Hoyer could start for New England and lead the team to a cover.  
Raiders -3Dolphins Raiders Raiders  Carson Palmer is starting to play better, coming off a 300 yard performance. Now that the dangerous backfield of tandem of Michael Bush and Darren McFadden finally have something to balance the offense, the Raiders should be pretty unstoppable against the Miami defense. The Dolphins have played well, going 4-1 in their last five. Look for Reggie Bush to have some success against the porous Raiders rush defense, but it won’t be enough. Oakland is closing in on their first playoff berth in nine seasons, and they’ll be able to close out bad teams to get there.
Broncos +2Vikings Broncos Broncos  If Minnesota is without Adrian Peterson against Denver, the Broncos defense will be able to get after rookie QB Christian Ponder enough to control the game. The only real question is how Tim Tebow will handle having a fourth quarter lead. 
Titans +2.5Bills Titans Titans Buffalo is on a four game losing streak during which they’re allowing an astounding 33.5 points per game. Tennessee RB Chris Johnson finally had a good game last week, amassing 190 rushing yards in a victory over a better team than Buffalo. These two teams are going in different directions, and the Titans will be playing hard in hopes of catching the crippled Houston Texans. 
Chiefs +7Bears Bears Bears In a battle of backup QBs, it’s a defense and running game that will take center stage. Chicago’s defense will stifle Tyler Palko, certainly, but they would have stifled Matt Cassel just as much. Throw in Matt Forte and his ho hum 985 yards on 5 yards per carry and a Devin Hester kick return touchdown, and you’ve got a double digit loss for KC.
Ravens -6.5Browns Ravens Browns Baltimore will win this game for all the reasons that they’ve won every game. The defense is world class and Joe Flacco does JUST enough by getting the ball to Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin. Cleveland’s defense is pesky, though, and should get some sacks on Flacco. Rice ought to have a good game, but the Browns have been Vegas killers recently, and I think they’ll be playing hard going into a back to back against hated rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh. 
Cowboys -4.5Cardinals Cowboys Cowboys Beanie Wells has carried the Cardinals this season, but without any help, he’s only carried them to a 4-7 record. Dallas’ offense is too balanced to have trouble scoring on an Arizona team that’s allowing 375 yards per game. The Cardinal’s offense should get a boost from the return of QB Kevin Kolb. Until the second possesion, when DeMarcus Ware and his 14 sacks send him back to the bench. 
Packers -7Giants Packers Packers How much better is this game than the San Diego / Jacksonville snoozefest on Monday night? I vote 621% better.
Rams +13.549ers 49ers 49ers It’s not often that the worst offense in the league faces off against the best defense. I fully expect San Fransisco to give up six points or less, virtually ensuring the cover against a team that’s giving up 24 points per game.
Lions +9Saints Saints Saints Matthew Stafford’s 26 touchdowns – 12 to Calvin Johnson – will keep Detroit in this game early. Ultimately, depth at RB and in the defensive secondary will be the difference. Drew Brees will carve up Detroit, and as the game wears on, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas will put the game away.
Chargers -3Jaguars Chargers Chargers If the Chargers can’t cover three points against an offense that scores less than a puebescant band geek with a sweat gland problem, they should be sent down to the PAC 12. Oregon can take the spot.

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