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Bold predictions: Jared Goff throws for 300 yards
Jared Goff throws for 300 yards in first career win
When Jeff Fisher comes under siege, the Rams'coach always finds a way to wiggle out of trouble. Like a carnivore backed into a corner, Fisher will strike Sunday. The coach will demand offensive coordinator Rob Boras displays Los Angeles' offense as fully armed and operational with Goff at the helm. The rookie unleashes an array of bombs against an unsuspecting Falcons defense allowing a league-worst 280.8 passing yards per game. Goff will blow by his career-high, plastering the 300-yard mark. In one swoop, the Ryan Gosling stunt double becomes the toast of L.A. and calms the choppy waters within the Rams' building. When the dust settles and the Rams knocked off the NFC South leaders at the Coliseum, Fisher will stride to the podium with all the vigor of Mick Jagger. He'll smile, beam about his star rookie quarterback making strides and having a bright future. Fisher's eye will twinkle, a glint ever so slight you'll miss it if you blink. He knows 2016 will not be the end.
-- Kevin Patra
DeSean Jackson amasses more than 200 receiving yards
Buoyed by the recent reports that he could someday return to Philadelphia, DeSean Jackson will make a major impression on the receiver-less team that drafted him back in 2008 this weekend. A boom-or-bust prospect every week, Jackson will boom against the Eagles, putting up 207 receiving yards and a touchdown. Jackson has not topped 200 yards in a game since 2010 as a member of the Eagles in a 30-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Jackson will be the catalyst for Washington (6-5-1) keeping their still-intriguing playoff hopes alive.
-- Conor Orr
Robert Griffin III accounts for three touchdowns, Browns win
For our midseason bold predictions, I put the Browns in the grave. 0-16. History of the worst kind. And yet, this week, the Bob Griffin Era Part Two begins, and with it comes Cleveland's best chance to avoid going winless in 2016. With Griffin under center, the Browns' offense instantly improves from dead-cat liveliness to registering a heartbeat, as his mobility offers another dimension for which the Bengals must account for. Cleveland gets the advantage of being at home in a game that will likely include plenty of empty orange seats, but also brings the welcome feeling of spending the week in the comfort of a familiar city. This combo sets up the Browns for a possible win, with nothing more to support this prediction.
Cleveland, at 0-12, doesn't possess statistics worth researching or referencing. The most encouraging note to point out is how the Brownswere competitive earlier in the season when closer to full strength. They'll enter the rematch with the Bengalswith the addition of Jamie Collins on defense, who hasn't provided much to cheer about, but also isn't his fault on a roster largely devoid of talent. So we'll instead point to the intangibles, the traits that cannot be quantified, the effort and the #grit the Browns will need to display to have any shot in this contest. In their favor is Cincinnati's season, which isn't progressing toward the playoffs, and an offensive unit that is missing stars A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. We're overlooking the Bengals' thrashing of the Eagles last week, and we're riding an overflowing glass level of optimism necessary to make this pick. Cleveland wins and prays San Francisco manages to pull out a victory before 2016 comes to a close. One win is far from the Browns' ultimate goals, but anything is better than going winless. It's time to end that streak of days without a win. Keep Hue Jackson from press conference tears. Victory Monday is ahead for the Browns.
-- Nick Shook
Buccaneers seize one-game lead in NFC South
Five weeks ago on Thursday Night Football, Matt Ryan and the Falconslaid waste to a sorry Buccaneersdefense, cementing their position as the division's undisputed best with a 43-28 victory. But things change quickly in this topsy-turvy universe. The Bucs haven't lost since, and now Atlanta and Tampa Bay enter Week 14 tied atop the NFC South at 7-5 with two and three division opponents, respectively, left on their schedule. Tampa hasn't been special at home this season, but Dirk Koetter's squad has won their last two Raymond James games, including a stunning upset of Seattle. Enter the Saints, who fell flat at home against Detroit last week. Drew Brees has won four straight games in Tampa, but if last week's three-pick performance was any indication, he isn't playing the same football. New Orleans won't be able to handle Mike Evans, who should look to top two bills in receiving yards in a two-score Bucs victory.
Meanwhile, across the nation in La La Land, Jeff Fisher is coaching for his job. Guaranteed a non-winning season for the seventh consecutive year, there is no pressure left on the coach to overachieve; he's ready to settle for some 7-9 bull. The coach's final march toward that magic mark begins Sunday in the Coliseum, where the Rams' defense plays its best ball. Sizing up the league-best Atlanta offense is an arduous task, but if Los Angeles can keep Ryan under 30 points, it has a chance of pulling an upset; the Falcons are 1-5 when scoring 30 points or fewer. Jared Goff takes advantage of a Desmond Truant-less secondary in his breakout game, leading the Rams to a one-point win and pushing Atlanta out of pole position in the South.