Johnny Manziel (2) will get his first start of the season as the Cleveland Browns (7-6) hopes to make a late playoff push.
By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)
In the words of Jack Nicholson in famed movie “The Shining,” Here’s Johnny!
The Cleveland Browns will start the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 draft, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
And quite frankly, it was time. Brian Hoyer led the Browns to a 7-6 record, but has been atrocious as the Browns’ starting quarterback recently. In the past eight games, Hoyer has thrown four touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He was thrown zero touchdowns passes to seven interceptions in the last three games. In the Browns last 26 drives on offense, they have scored only one touchdown.
Cleveland’s seven wins have been in spite of Hoyer, not because of Hoyer. In the Browns’ 25-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck was in a Christmas giving spirit as he tried his best to gift wrap the game to Cleveland. Luck threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. One interception was returned for a touchdown and so was his lost fumble.
The Browns scored just 10 points on offense.
It’s time for Manziel. It’s time for the player who I deem as the most exciting quarterback to enter the league since Michael Vick to become the new face of the franchise for a Browns’ team that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2002.
It’s no better time for Manziel to make his presence felt than to travel on the road to face the division leading Bengals. He’s going to have his bumps and bruises, but Cleveland made the right choice in handing over the reigns to Manziel.
But enough of that. Here are this week’s game picks
Week 14 Predictions Results
Brooks: 9-7; Overall: 131-76
Perez: 12-4; Overall: 143-64
Wooten: 12-4; Overall: 121-70
|Week 15 matchup
|ARI @ STL
|PIT @ ATL
|WSH @ NYG
|MIA @ NE
|OAK @ KC
|HOU @ IND
|JAX @ BAL
|GB @ BUF
|TB @ CAR
|CIN @ CLE
|NYJ @ TEN
|DEN @ SD
|MIN @ DET
|SF @ SEA
|DAL @ PHI
|NO @ CHI
Minnesota Vikings (6-7) @ Detroit Lions (9-4)
Quietly, the Vikings are a game under .500 and Teddy Bridgewater has been the best rookie quarterback not named Derek Carr.
The media has been all over Vikings’ park, and rightfully so in the issue of the child abuse case of star running back Adrian Peterson. Even in his absence, Minnesota has mustered a competitive team.
Bridgewater started off shaky in his first few starts throwing zero touchdowns and three interceptions and battled through nagging injuries, a concern going forward for a wiry 210 pound quarterback.
But he has settled in recently throwing for six touchdowns to two interceptions in his last three games. The Vikings are 2-1 in those contests. It’s highly likely the Vikings won’t make the playoffs in the NFC North behind Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and a talented Lions’ team.
But Minnesota is headed on the right track behind Bridgewater.
As for the Lions, this is a must win game. If the playoffs started today, the Lions would be the sixth seed and face the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card. Capturing their 10th win of the season is vital to keeping the lurking 9-4 Dallas Cowboys at bay.
Detroit will have to win out to keep grasp of the sixth seed in the NFC.
Cleveland Browns (7-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1)
If you took the time to read the opening statements, then you may have drawn the conclusion that I’m rolling with Money—I mean Johnny—Manziel and the Browns over the see-saw Bengals.
On paper, Andy Dalton and the Bengals are the most talented team in the NFL. But they are an enigma. One minute they appear to be a legit Super Bowl contender and the next they look like a bottom feeder team in the NFL.
AJ Green, Mohamed Sanu, Jeremy Hill, Jermaine Gresham and many others, the talent is there on the offensive side of the ball. The same on defense with Leon Hall, Vontaze Burfict (now out for the season), Geno Atkins and Reggie Nelson.
It starts with Dalton and head coach Marvin Lewis. Both have had success in the regular season, but falters in the playoffs. And to make matters worse, Lewis went on the air and was asked by WLW-AM in Cincinnati Monday night about facing the 5-feet-11 Manziel.
Lewis responded: “You’ve got to go defend the offense, you don’t defend the player.”
After a short pause, Lewis then added: “Particularly a midget.”
He later apologized, but it was an immature statement by a NFL head coach.
Eddie P’s Philosophical Take
Arizona Cardinals (10-3) @ St. Louis Rams (6-7)
St. Louis is riding a two-game winning streak. What is more impressive is the Rams have held their last two opponents to a grand total of zero points. Yep, the Rams have pitched a two-game shutout.
The Cardinals are the crème de la crème this season. Even without former Pro-Bowler Carson Palmer, Arizona is still capable of winning. With backup Drew Stanton under center, the red birds are 4-3. However, St. Louis is a scary place to play at right now. That defense is EATING! Give me the Rams.
Dallas Cowboys (9-4) @ Philadelphia Eagles (9-4)
These two teams are literally fighting it out for the NFC East. Both teams are 9-4, but the Eagles are 3-0 within the division – the Cowboys are 2-2. Their first meeting went to the Eagles (duh, they are undefeated within the division). That Eagle-victory came in Jerry’s house. Philadelphia sure as hell won’t find it too hard to beat Dallas again, this time at home.
Words From Wooten
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (5-8)
This is looking to be a good game between both teams. A healthy Julio Jones is a deadly Julio Jones. Going for 250+ yards against Green Bay’s secondary, but look for the inconsistencies of the Atlanta Falcons to come into play, particularly on defense.
With Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, both are top-5 in yards gained at their position. Atlanta is giving up 122 rushing yards per game on the ground, so you’re in for a treat if you’re a fan of Bell. On the other hand, the Steelers defense hasn’t been the greatest as of late.
With veteran players coming back from injury, they can use their leadership to help the younger players through the game. Look forward to the Steelers offense to keep them ahead in the game.
San Francisco 49ers (7-6) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-4)
San Francisco hasn’t been looking the same over the past few games, losing to subpar teams. Kaepernick isn’t looking like the $100 million man that the 49ers thought he was.
The entire Seahawks team is clicking like they should be. With the Seahawks rushing attack and Marshawn Lynch causing chaos to any front seven that he runs into, you can’t expect for him to have another good game. The Seahawks defense is back to their physical selves. Michael Bennett anchoring the front four and Richard Sherman being a shutdown corner that he is, and Kam Chancellor as the hard hitting safety, it’s hard to do anything against them.