Sando's best guesses: Week 14 predictions
December, 7, 2012
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
The Seattle Seahawks used touchdown drives of 97, 94 and 80 yards to claim a 23-17 victory at the Chicago Bears in Week 13.
Seattle is tied for second in the NFL with with six touchdown drives of at least 85 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Only Dallas (seven) has more.
Washington, New Orleans, Denver and the New York Giants are tied with Seattle at six apiece. San Francisco and Baltimore have five apiece. St. Louis is among eight teams with four.
The Arizona Cardinals have two after leading the NFC West with six last season, when their division rivals combined for five.
Enough about the long drives. I'll be making a relatively short one to CenturyLink Field for the Cardinals-Seahawks game Sunday. Two streaks will be on the line. Arizona will be looking to end an eight-game losing streak overall. Seattle will be looking to end a five-game skid against NFC West opponents (four of those on the road).
What's going to happen? Let's project some NFC West outcomes for Week 14:
- St. Louis Rams at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET Both teams' inconsistency makes this a tough one to call. The Bills are averaging 30 points per game at home. The Rams are averaging 19.6 points per game on the road. They are also 1-6 outside the NFC West, for some reason. This feels like a game the Rams can win with their defensive line and running game. They are a tough team to trust, however. Sando's best guess: Rams 20, Bills 17.
- Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05: The Dolphins have lost four of their last five, with their only victory during that time coming against Seattle. I could see the 49ers struggling to a close victory, but I think they're better than that. One potential concern is keeping Frank Gore healthy against a sometimes tough Dolphins defensive front. Gore got additional playing time with Kendall Hunter out last week. He was banged up late last season and finished 2010 on injured reserve. Might this be the week to try out LaMichael James? Sando's best guess: 49ers 27, Dolphins 10.
- Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25: I picked against Seattle last week because the Seahawks defense hadn't been able to hold late leads on the road. Russell Wilson overcame those troubles in spectacular fashion. Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks' home crowd give Seattle advantages against a struggling Cardinals offense. Sando's best guess: Seahawks 20, Cardinals 10