With the 2018 NFL regular season nearing a close and Week 15 set to get underway in just over 24 hours, it’s time for another round of five bold predictions.
After week 14 produced some wild results, including Miami’s last-second win over New England and Pittsburgh’s upset loss against Oakland, let’s find out just what could go down when Week 15 gets underway.
Miller Meets Mayfield in The Middle
Let me get started by saying that rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield has been very solid for the Cleveland Browns in 11 games and 10 starts this season. The top overall pick in the draft and former Heisman Trophy winner has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 2,877 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions heading into Week 15 against the Denver.
Having said all of this, I’m going on record right now to say that I’m expecting Broncos superstar linebacker Von Miller to meet Mayfield ‘in the middle’ for a pair of sacks and one costly forced fumble. Denver is in all-out desperation mode after getting upset last weekend and I believe they’re going to unleash Miller on Mayfield this coming weekend.
Jackson Runs Wild On Bucs
The Baltimore Ravens may have suffered their first loss with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson under center in their narrow 27-24 overtime loss against Kansas City last weekend, but the fleet-footed former Heisman Trophy winner out of Louisville clearly brings a special set of skills to the table.
After rushing for 119 yards in his first career start, Jackson has topped 70 yards in each of the last three games. Now, with Jackson and the Ravens getting set to face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that ranks an uninspiring 20th against the rush (119.4 ypg) and 30th in points allowed (29.5 ppg), I’m thinking Jackson is due for another 100-yard day at the very least.
Barkley Stars for G-Men – Again!
I’ve been saying it for three years now, but if you weren’t paying attention then you should know that Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley has Hall of Fame talent! The former Penn State star has rushed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns on 209 carry to average a healthy 5.4 yards per carrying. In addition to that, Barkley has an additional 78 catches for 629 yards and four scores. Make no mistake about it, Barkley is a dual-threat weapon that can make game-changing plays from literally anywhere on the field. Barkley has topped the 100-yard plateau in four straight games while going over 125 yards three times and scoring six touchdowns during the span. I’m thinking another 125 yards is a lock against Tennessee in Week 15.
Brady Bests Big Ben – Again
While the Pittsburgh Steelers are a perennially good team that generally reaches the postseason and challenges the New England Patriots for conference superiority, make no mistake about it, Tom Brady and the Pats have basically owned Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. The Patriots have won five straight in this series dating back to 2013 while also winning nine of the last 11 meetings and 12 of 15 dating back to 2002. Pittsburgh is in the midst of an ugly nosedive and I believe they’re in trouble against the Patriots this weekend. Yep, you guessed it, Tom Brady bests Big Ben Roethlisberger – again!
Mack Makes Minced-Meat Out of Rodgers!
It’s nice the Green Bay Packers picked up a feel-good win last weekend against Atlanta, but really…I’m not impressed. The Packers beat up a Falcons team that has basically given up on this season, but that certainly won’t be the case when they face the impressive Chicago Bears in Week 15.
While Green Bay previously owned Chicago for years by winning five straight and nine of the last 10 meetings overall, Chicago is now the better team – and on both sides of the ball too. Not only am I expecting Chicago to put their fair share of points on the board this weekend against a Green Bay defense that is mediocre in every way, but I’m thinking Chicago’s defense is going to make the great Aaron Rodgers look ordinary. More specifically, I’m thinking Chicago’s Khalil Mack is going to get after Rodgers and make minced-meat out of the future Hall of Famer at some point in this contest. I’m thinking Khalil Mack is good for one sack of Rodgers In this one and one huge, game-changing turnover as well.