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Week 15 – NFC North Preview

The NFC North, week 15,  as it currently stands:
1. Detroit Lions 7-6 (4-1)
2. Chicago Bears 7-6 (2-3)
3. Green Bay 6-6-1 (2-2)
4. Minnesota Vikings 3-9-1 (1-3)

The NFC North is a division that runs a fine line between being “competitive” to being “the NFC East, Part 2.” Detroit has had opportunities to further themselves from the pack, but can’t seem to get out of their own way. Chicago, who now has an offense and zero defense, is playing as a polar opposite from their traditional norm. Green Bay has shown that they can’t do much of anything without Rogers and the Vikings if you look at their nine losses, have stayed competitive in all but three of those games. This week, one half goes up against the NFC East while the other half lines up against the AFC North. With such a tight race for the division, every game counts and in this league, there is NO looking ahead. . .

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Minnesota Vikings at home v.s. Philadelphia Eagles (Vegas has Eagles -4.5)

When I look at the Vikings, I kick myself for thinking something so cliche, but it’s true: If the Vikings had a QB, we would be talking about a totally different team. Unfortunately for them, there is no chance for them to draft anybody at the current moment so their QB Carousel from hell continues. The QB position at this point, is not the cause for concern, but the running back position is. Although Adrian Peterson has said he feels he can play this Sunday, after suffering a foot injury, early reports are calling that “wishful thinking” on his part. What hurts the Vikings even more is that the health of back-up Toby Gerhart is also in question, which leaves the likes of 2nd year man Matt Asiata of the University of Utah. I just looked up Asiata’s career stats : Three rushing attempts for nine yards. Yeah. . . straight beast mode right there. . .

The Vikings are a one dimensional offense that makes it easy for even bad defenses to load the box and take their chances going man to man on their receivers. This is a tough spot for the Vikes because not starting A.P. is like giving this offense no chance at all, but rushing A.P. back from a minor injury in a season that is over doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do at all. The Vikings already give up an average of 30 points and 400 yards a game. Now they’re going up against a team in Philadelphia who’s Chip Kelly led offense just put up 34 points when the field was covered up in snow. Now you put LeSean McCoy and the boys in a controlled environment against a team with no offense and this has disaster written all over it for the Vikings.

Smart Money Man says – Eagles -4 1/2
The Gee says – Eagles win 28-12

Green Bay Packers visiting The Dallas Cowboys (no line as of now)

With Aaron Rodgers still having pain in his collarbone, Mike McCarthy will again have Matt Flynn as his man under center. Green Bay barely pulled a “W” at home against the Falcons who are a bottom five team in my opinion. The Packers have been relying on rookie running back Eddie Lacy to carry the load, but even he had a hard time finding holes to run behind against Atlanta and only managed 65 yards on 20 carries. I thought with the talent on this offense they wouldn’t struggle like they are, but their offensive line is pitiful. For all of us who witnessed the Thanksgiving beating they took from Detroit, lets not fool ourselves – that is exactly who the Green Bay Packers are this year. Luckily for them they’re going against a Dallas Cowboys team that has no clue on how to use their personnel. Dez Bryant isn’t getting enough targets; Romo’s “December Demons” have nested in Dallas and Jason Garrett’s idea of game-planning is to over think and stray away from what’s working. With that being said, I expect points to be scored in this game, Dallas can’t stop anybody . . and neither can Green Bay. The Packers are still coaching their way to about 25 points per game. Cowboys should come away with this one but they won’t make it easy on themselves doing so.

Smart Money Man says – stay away
The Gee Says – Dallas wins 25-22

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Chicago Bears visiting The Cleveland Browns (Vegas has Browns -2.5)

I couldn’t find a line for this game in a lot of my regular places and that’s probably because of the quarterback controversy in Chicago. Does Trestman stay with the hot-hand in McCown or does he hand the reigns back over to Jay Cutler. It’s a tough decision that I’m glad I don’t have to make and although every one is in love with McCown, let’s keep in mind McCown has faced teams whose combined records are 31-45 while Cutler’s opponents are at 46-44. Just throwing that out there because everyone just LOVES the back up QB. . . anyhow – regardless of who’s at quarterback the Bears offense is one that is just rolling. It’s hard for any defense to match up against the size of these wide outs and have to worry about the threat of Forte on the check down throws. Alshon Jeffery has been emerging week after week as “that new dude” as he’s been on highlight reels week after week because of his acrobatic catches. But while Alshon has been the “new dude” – Josh Gordon of the Browns is just “That Dude.” I’m in the belief that nobody can cover this guy and it doesn’t matter who his quarterback is – he’ll get his. The Bears have absolutely no answer for Josh Gordon, or Jordan Cameron. . . and sadly enough maybe not even Greg Little. The Browns defense on average allows less than 100 yards rushing a game and thanks to Haden and company, they help keep rival air attacks pretty average. A lot may ride on the Browns emotions in this game, if they are either up or down because of their loss to New England that left many screaming foul.

Smart Money Man says – Cleveland -2.5
The Gee Says – I love the Bears so the Bears will win 55-10

Detroit Lions at home v.s. the Baltimore Ravens (Vegas has Lions -6)

I’ve been on record and said that I think Jim Schwartz is probably the worst coach in the NFL (Jason Garrett might be edging him out soon enough though). We all know about the lack of discipline on this team – but even more so is the lack of respect some of their players have for the game which makes them hard to root for. This is a team that time and time again shoot themselves in the foot with untimely turnovers or just foolish penalties. The talent is there on both sides of the ball, but they just lack the maturity, it seems, to put it together. The Ravens on the other hand have to be one of the most UN-entertaining reigning Super Bowl champions in recent history. Joe Flacco should get an award every year for cashing those ridiculous checks for being ‘super-average-Joe.’

Both teams will struggle running the ball as Baltimore has the sixth best rush defense in the league and Detroit has the third. Which means Baltimore’s Ray Rice will continue to struggle this season, but Baltimore’s speedy wide outs Jones and Smith should find some open room down field for Flacco to just “chuck it.” As for Detroit, even if Reggie Bush can’t go this week, Joique Bell has proven on more than one occasion that he can carry the load, so there won’t be a massive drop off there. It’s all about minimizing the turnovers on the part of Detroit. If they can do that, this should be a win for the Lions.

Smart Money Many say – Baltimore +6
The Gee Says – Detroit 33 Baltimore 28


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