Cowboys fans hate hearing it, but until Tony Romo and Co. purge the ghost of Decembers past with a strong finish down the stretch, they will keep hearing it. While Romo had one of his best games last week, passing for nearly 400 yards, the defense and special teams gave up too many big plays en route to (yet another) December loss for the Cowboys. With the Chargers coming to Big D this weekend (and the Saints, Redskins and Eagles still on the slate), the Cowboys face a tough road to get back to the playoffs. And SB Nation's NFL bloggers -- who went a respectable 10-6 last week -- don't expect things to change, at least not on Sunday. They like Philip Rivers and his cast of mammoth wide receivers to continue their hot streak.
In some of the weekend's other big games, our bloggers like the Saints and Colts to remain unblemished, the Dolphins to continue their surprising resurgence, and Brett Favre and the Vikings to dispatch the Bengals.
Browns, Bucs, and Rams will all lose, of course. As always, home teams are listed second.
Pittsburgh Steelers [Ed.note: Oops.]
||Will the Steeler's month of hell continue? SBN's Dawgs by Nature makes the case for why the Browns might have a chance this week: the Steelers are reeling, the Browns have been secretly decent on offense recently, and the short week and potentially bad weather could negate the Steeler's better talent. Still, even Dawgs by Nature couldn't bring themselves to predict a Browns win, instead calling for a tie. Our bloggers don't see Cleveland winning either. Look for the Steelers to get back on track.|
|New Orleans Saints||With Matt Ryan and Michael Turner on the sidelines last week, the Falcons could only muster a meaningless last-second touchdown against the Eagles. With Ryan still looking doubtful, Atlanta will be hard-pressed to do much better this week. For some reason, our bloggers don't think that will be enough against the offensive juggernaut that is New Orleans.|
|New York Jets||With Mark Sanchez taking a seat this week, expect an even heavier dose of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene against a woeful Bucs rush defense. As long as Kellen Clemens doesn't turn the ball over, that should be enough against a Tampa team that is still playing hard, but is simply a few years away.|
|Miami Dolphins||In what is a de facto playoff game, our bloggers were nearly evenly divided over who would win the Battle for Florida (sorry Bucs fans, Tampa doesn't count this year). Their verdict? Look for a suddenly relevant Chad Henne to take advantage of the vulnerable Jaguars secondary, as Miami keeps the pressure up on New England.|
|Minnesota Vikings||SBN's Cincy Jungle asks whether the Bengals should open the passing game given the Vikings' stout defensive front. This is the conundrum for the Bengals: their formula of playing strong defense, rushing the ball down opponent's throats, and not making mistakes has gotten them this far, but will it be enough against the league's elite? Our bloggers say no, at least not this week.|
|Houston Texans||Talk about two 5-7 teams going in opposite directions. While the Seahawks aren't exactly the league's most exciting team, they more or less win the games they should and lose the games they should; the Texans are great on paper, but invent new ways to blow winnable games on a weekly basis. So who will pull out this battle of mediocrity? Our bloggers are going with the more talented team. Playing at home won't hurt either.|
|Kansas City Chiefs||In a matchup of two of league's...ahem, winning-challenged teams, our bloggers will go with the team with the better quarterback (who also happens to be playing at home). Sounds about right.|
|Green Bay Packers||It's never a good sign when a team's fans are wondering who their "biggest ripoffs" are, as SBN's Windy City Gridiron did. With the Packers jockeying for playoff position, and the Bears simply playing out the stretch of a disappointing season, expect the Packers to sweep the season series.|
|Baltimore Ravens||Who's the biggest underdog of the week? According to Advanced NFL Stats (via the Fifth Down Blog), that would be the Detroit Lions, who they give an 11% chance of winning this week. With the Ravens desperate to stay in the AFC wildcard race, and Ray Rice looking to take advantage of a porous Lion's defense, our bloggers agree.|
|New England Patriots||If Matt Moore lights up the Pats' secondary, then it will really be panic time in Beantown. As it is, Pats fans at SBN's Pats Pulpit are hoping the team commits to gashing the Panthers' 26-ranked rushing defense, and get back to basics. Our bloggers expect the Patriots to do just that.|
|Indianapolis Colts||The Broncos have had issues playing against the no-huddle this season. The Colts have Peyton Manning. The Colts should remain undefeated. QED.|
|Oakland Raiders||While it's muuuuch too early to anoint Bruce Gradkowski the "next Rich Gannon", he's made the Raiders a potentially dangerous spoiler down the stretch by simply introducing the threat of a forward pass. With the Redskins victims of some terrible karma, our bloggers like Oakland to get a second consecutive win. Really.|
|Tennessee Titans||Chris Johnson needs a nickname. In honor of MTV's Jersey Shore, may I suggest "The Situation", since Chris Johnson is also indescribable; you can't even begin to describe him. Look for Johnson to pile up the yards against a vulnerable Rams defense, as he and the Titans try to keep their faltering playoff hopes alive.|
|San Diego Chargers||Will December be the cruelest month once again for the Cowboys? The news that Tony Romo will be the holder again certainly portends excruciating losses for a team that has had its fair share them the past few Decembers. At least this year, the story might not be the Cowboys collapsing, but rather just a brutal end-of-season schedule. Our bloggers like the Chargers to keep their seven-game winning streak going.|
|New York Giants||Despite the fact that the Eagles have owned the Giants as of late, our bloggers expect -- albeit, narrowly -- the Giants to reverse the trend and inch closer to a playoff berth. Call it the more-desperate-team-wins-in-the-NFL theory.|
|Arizona Cardinals||If the Cardinals, who have had a hard time defending tight ends this season, can keep the Niners' Vernon Davis in check, they should be able to lock up their second consecutive NFC West title. Our bloggers think the Cardinals should get ready to uncork the champagne.|