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Berry Tramel  


NFL predictions: Playoff dreams still alive for many

by Berry Tramel Modified: December 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm •  Published: December 20, 2013
The Dallas Cowboys haven't been great recently, yet they're still in the NFC playoff hunt. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
The Dallas Cowboys haven't been great recently, yet they're still in the NFC playoff hunt. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

The NFL rarely fails to produce drama down the stretch.

Two weeks left in the season, and there are as many divisions with three teams still alive for the title as divisions that been clinched. Indianapolis has won the AFC South. Meanwhile, Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago all remain alive in the NFC North.

Ten of the NFC’s 16 teams remain alive for playoff berths. Eight AFC teams remain alive. Let’s get to the predictions.

Dolphins at Bills: Miami 23-10. What a comeback for the Dolphins, who have won four of five to get into serious playoff contention. Meanwhile, another lost season in Buffalo, where the game will be blacked out Sunday because of low ticket sales.

Vikings at Bengals: Cincinnati 26-20. Leslie Frazier’s job appears in jeopardy, but say this for him. His Vikes haven’t quit. They may be 4-9-1 overall, but Minnesota is 3-3-1 since Halloween, and two of the losses were 27-23 at Dallas and 29-26 at Baltimore.

Colts at Chiefs: Kansas City 29-24. KC is in position to take the top seed in the AFC, should Denver stumble at Houston on Sunday or at Oakland the next Sunday.

Buccaneers at Rams: Tampa Bay 19-17. Greg Schiano appears to have saved his job. Can a coach be comeback player of the year?

Browns at Jetropolitans: New York 23-19. Talk about a tough decision. Cleveland doesn’t know how to win, and the Jets don’t know how to function. I have no idea which is worse.

Cowboys at Redskins: Dallas 28-24. Who would ever have thought that Washington wouldn’t be the soap opera of this matchup? By the way, the ‘Skins will use Kirk Cousins at quarterback. Which makes four straight games the awful Dallas defense gets to go against a backup quarterback. Green Bay’s Matt Flynn, Chicago’s Josh McCown and Oakland’s Matt McGloin.

Saints at Panthers: Carolina 26-16. New Orleans doesn’t travel. Meanwhile, the Panthers have gotten good and appear ready to pilfer the NFC South title.

Titans at Jaguars: Jacksonville 16-13. The Jags appear to have found a coach in Gus Bradley, who started 0-8 but is 4-6 since. Can a team be comeback player of the year?

Broncos at Texans: Denver 51-14. The Broncos get serious and wax the hapless Houstons.

Giants at Lions: Detroit 38-20. The G-Men are Home Alone. They’re lost in New York. Of course, it’s not like the Lions are humming along. How they lost to Baltimore is beyond comprehension.

Cardinals at Seahawks: Seattle 27-19. Arizona has played well and remains in playoff contention. But the 9-5 Cardinals finish uphill against the wind. At Seattle, home against San Francisco.

Steelers at Packers: Green Bay 26-24. The Packers are a proud franchise. Every reason to pack it in. No evidence they’ve done so. Now Green Bay controls its own destiny to win the NFC North.

Raiders at Chargers: San Diego 33-21. An underrated AFC rivalry. Not many major league rivalries sport franchises that came from the same city but different from their current home.

Patriots at Ravens: Baltimore 31-28. New England has been living on the edge. The 10-3 Patriots have won games by 2, 3, 7, 3, 3 in overtime, 3 and 1.

Bears at Eagles: Philadelphia 29-25. Why do I think of Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka when I think of this matchup?

Falcons at 49ers: San Francisco 34-17. What happened to Atlanta? Heck, what happened to San Francisco? The 49ers haven’t even locked up a wild card berth yet.

Last week:  10-6,. Season: 133-76-1.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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