By: Peter Lancaster
Follow on Twitter: @PetorLancaster
Dolphins (6-6) @ Steelers (5-7)
This is an elimination game for the Steelers but the Dolphins are in the hunt for the 6th and final AFC playoff spot. The Steelers came up just a bit short on Thanksgiving night and they lost 22-20 to the Ravens and the Dolphins dominated the Jets by winning 23-3 last Sunday. The Dolphins will need to win out the rest of their games this season to get past the Ravens for the 6th spot because they lost to Baltimore in week 5. The Steelers will welcome back former teammate Mike Wallace who signed with the Dolphins this off-season to a big new contract. This will be the must watch matchup of the game, Ike Taylor against Mike Wallace. The Dolphins and Steelers have dealt with their fair share of offensive lineman changes to their starting lineups. Both teams are very similar stat-wise on offense and defense. The one x-factor for both teams will be who can get their running game going while there are snowy conditions predicted in Pittsburgh. The Dolphins are led in rushing by Lamar Miller and the Steelers are led by rookie Le’Veon Bell; but Bell suffered a concussion last week and might not play today. Between these two players, only one has a 100 rushing yard game this season; Miller had 105 rushing yards against the Bengals in week 9. The Weather should be a major factor in this game and I believe the Steelers have more gadget plays to extend drives; even in these harsh conditions.
Prediction: 17-10 Steelers
Lions (7-5) @ Eagles (7-5)
The Lions beat the Packers to take a full one game lead in the NFC North division. The Eagles won a tough NFC battle against the Cardinals to stay in the NFC East division race. Eagles’ QB Nick Foles still has not thrown an interception this season and that has played a major factor in their recent 4 game winning streak. The Lions have been very inconsistent this season and most of the blame for those struggles go to Matthew Stafford’s turnovers. The Lions had an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the NFC North while Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler recover from injuries but they lost to the Steelers and Bucs in back to back games. The Eagles are looking to keep up with the Cowboys in their NFC East division race because they face each other in week 17 and that very well could decide who takes the division. The Lions must take advantage of the NFL’s worst pass defense of the Eagles today but the weather will play a major factor with snow possibly falling in Philadelphia. The Lions will need another big game from running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell but the Eagles are still one of the NFL’s best rushing teams; by averaging 146 yards a game. The Eagles are led in rushing by LeSean McCoy and he will get plenty of touches today along with backup running back Bryce Brown. This game is a tossup between two teams that are in a need of win to stay ahead in this heated playoff battle in the NFC.
Prediction: 20-17 Lions