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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Mark Hez-pick Prediction League - & Games of the Week - Week 16

If, like us, you're nursing a hangover after a heavy friday night, then grab a coffee, sit down and take a look at our picks and games of the week!

A 10-6 stalemate between Phil and Toby has allowed TomTom Sports to catch up and now sit just 1 behind Phil as well.

With just 6 games covering all our predictors, it's all to play for with 2 weeks left.

Toby's Game of Week: New York Giants (8-6) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-5), Sunday 4.25pm ET

Let's not beat around the bush, both teams REALLY need a win. The Ravens, who looked nailed on for the AFC North and the number 2 seed as recently as a month ago are on a 3 game losing streak and wobbling. While they are assured of at least a wildcard spot already, a home game in the playoffs that comes with a division title would be a huge boost to their confidence. The Giants, who haven't won back to back games since October, have to win out to be assured of a playoff spot. Anything else puts their destiny in an other's hands.

Both teams offenses have been struggling mightily, with Baltimore firing Cam Cameron while New York have spluttered all season. The "break out" season that so many were expecting from Joe Flacco simply hasn't materialized, in fact he might be submitting one of the worst ever contract seasons from a "big name" quarterback in recent years.

Part of that is a lack of talent on the outside but also the offensive scheme which, under Cameron, wasn't exactly the most sophisticated passing system. The Ravens rely on their wide receivers winning against the corners rather than using route combinations to work them into space. Because of that, and the lack of talent, too often the passing game regresses to just "Torrey Smith deep" which can be effective, but isn't the most consistent form of passing offense. New offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell hasn't had the time to chance much, but he does still have Ray Rice, who's usage was one of the big black marks against Cam Cameron's name. If Caldwell can keep feeding Rice, then Baltimore can work the play-action game and open up holes in the coverage. 

A big boost for the Giants going into this game is that running back Ahmad Bradshaw looks set to return and bolster a ground game that has been impressive all year. With the Ravens defense no longer being the force against the run it once was, it's very possible to run a balanced offense against them, which will help Eli Manning who's had an extremely turbulent season. With a raft of injuries in the defensive secondary for Baltimore, Victor Cruz ought to find some gaps, but it would help if Hakeem Nicks could get near to full fitness. His absence, and the lack of a 3rd wide receiver, have really hampered the passing game this season.

It says a lot about the Ravens recent form that the Giants are 2.5 point favourites in this game despite Baltimore's strong home record in recent years with Flacco. And even though the Giants were horrible last week, I'm picking them to win.

Guest Game of the Week : Minnesota Vikings (8-6) @ Houston Texans (12-2), Sunday 1pm ET
 By Lewis English, Until Kickoff (@UntilKickoff)

For me this is the battle of the MVP candidates. Sure Peyton Manning is in the mix but for me I always root for a non-quarterback.

Defensive End J.J Watt is a phenom who is a complete defensive player. He can sack, disrupt and swat and completely dominate offenses, almost single handedly. He should win because defensive players also never win.

On the other side of the ball is Vikings running back Adrian Peterson who is so close to the single season rushing record that it would be rude not to. This season he is gaining more yards running per play than his quarterback is gaining through passing. That is unreal.

There are playoff seedings and wildcard berths at stake as well as two incredible players who are in the midst of possible the greatest offensive and defensive seasons in NFL history. There may be better games this weekend but this is the game I will be focusing on.



Toby
Phil
Gur
ATL @ DET
ATL
ATL
ATL
ATL
ATL ATL ATL
OAK @ CAR
CAR
CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR
NO @ DAL
DAL
NO
NO
DAL
NO DAL DAL
TEN @ GB
GB
GB
GB
GB
GB GB GB
MIN @ HOU
HOU
HOU
HOU
HOU
HOU HOU MIN
NE @ JAX
NE
NE
NE
NE
NE NE NE
IND @ KC
IND
IND
IND
IND
IND KC IND
BUF @ MIA
MIA
MIA
MIA
MIA MIA MIA MIA
SD @ NYJ
NYJ
NYJ SD
NYJ
SD SD SD
WAS @ PHI
WAS
WAS
WAS
WAS
WAS WAS WAS
CIN @ PIT
CIN
CIN CIN
CIN
CIN PIT PIT
STL @ TB
TB
STL
STL
TB
TB TB TB
CLE @ DEN DEN DEN
DEN
DEN
DEN DEN DEN
CHI @ ARI
CHI
CHI
ARI
CHI
CHI CHI CHI
NYG @ BALNYG NYG NYG NYG NYG BAL BAL
SF @ SEA
SEA SEA SF SF SF SF SF
 Last week
10-6
10-6
10-6
12-4
12-4
10-6
11-5
 Total
145-78-1
146-77-1
143-80-1
141-82-1
142-81-1
140-83-1
145-78-1

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