Week 14 of the 2022 NFL season has already gotten off to a fascinating start, as the Baker Mayfield (!) led Los Angeles Rams staged a comeback win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night.
We’ve got a fascinating list of games to come on Sunday and Monday, and there’s sure to be even more interesting football to be played. That’s why we’re here again with our usual list of bold predictions.
Lions and Vikings work the scoreboard
There have been 11 games so far this season where the two teams have combined for at least 70 points. The Lions were involved in two of those games, including the highest-scoring game of the year (a 48-45 loss to the Seahawks). Detroit ranks seventh in scoring offense and dead last in scoring defense, while Minnesota ranks 10th and 22nd, respectively. Considering the relative strengths and weaknesses of each unit, this game is about to happen — especially since it will be played at Ford Field, which has become the NFL’s equivalent of Coors Field. Justin Jefferson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Dalvin Cook, D’Andre Swift, Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, TJ Hockenson’s revenge game… there will be points. Many of them.
In Week 9, the Bills put on their worst offensive performance of the year, totaling a minimum of 317 yards, a minimum of 19 first downs and a minimum of 17 points in a loss to the Jets. Josh Allen averaged a season-low 3.38 adjusted yards per attempt, and had a 46.8 quarterback rating, and for the only time this season, didn’t throw a touchdown pass. He also had a season-high five sacks for a season-high 22 yards shed. And he was intercepted twice. Jets quarterback Zach Wilson also had his best game of the season, completing 18 of 25 passes for 154 yards and a score, without being intercepted. Last year in this game, however, the Mike White Show came to an abrupt halt against Buffalo, when he went just 24 of 44 for 251 yards and four picks. We’re not necessarily anticipating a repeat of White’s performance from last season, but we’re certainly not anticipating a repeat of Allen’s performance from earlier this year either. The Bills are the better team, and even though the Jets defense is able to keep Allen largely in check, Buffalo still comes away with a win here.
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Cowboys rack up double-digit sacks against Texans
The highest number of sacks in a single game so far this season is nine. He was achieved by the Patriots in Week 9 against the Colts, and the Eagles throughout Week 3 against the Commanders. The Cowboys lead this week against the Texans to become the first team since 2019 (and only the 57th team in the Super Bowl era) to record double-digit sacks in a game. Dallas leads the NFL in sacks behind Dan Quinn’s ferocious pass rush, and the Texans have surrendered a sack on 7.5% of their losses so far this season. With Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins likely to miss this game for Houston, Davis Mills will have nowhere to go with the ball. Not that he necessarily has enough time with Micah Parsons, Demarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler, Sam Williams, and more.
The Buccaneers may have picked up a win Monday night against the Saints, but they won’t be so lucky against the 49ers. No, San Francisco won’t have its starting quarterback. Or even his backup quarterback. Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo are no longer able to take the field. Brock Purdy looked good against the Dolphins last week, and Kyle Shanahan will lead him to success here again. But more importantly, the Niners’ defense looks very likely to keep this Bucs offense in check. He just shut down one of the league’s best units (the Dolphins – more on that below) last week; and the Bucs offense is no longer one of the best units in the league. The 49ers defensive line has an advantageous matchup up front, and the coverage unit is well equipped to eliminate the deep passes around which Tampa’s offense is built.
Dolphins win Take Bowl I
Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert will always be linked due to where they were selected in the same draft. We’re now in the third year of their career, and there’s nothing the talking heads love more than a good ol’ Tua vs. Herbert. That’s why this Chargers vs Dolphins game should be considered the Take Bowl. And the Dolphins will win.
Of course, the Dolphins were shut down by the Niners last week. But the Chargers’ defense is not the 49ers’. They don’t have the same caliber of pass rush. They don’t have the same caliber of cover players. And they definitely don’t have the same caliber of run defense. Miami’s offense gets back on track Sunday night, with Tua Tagovailoa looking much more like the quarterback he has been for most of this season, and Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert getting things done on the court. Even with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in the lineup for a full game for the first time this season, the Chargers won’t have enough to keep up with Miami in the Tua against Herbert, every TV and radio personality salivating.