Madden predictions: Luke Kuechly earns his keep

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Just out of curiosity, I played a game with the updated Colts recently just to see if Trent Richardson would be tackled behind the line of scrimmage as much on the game as he is in real life.

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Nope, it turns out the virtual version of Richardson can actually hit a hole. Maybe this is how the Colts scouted him when they pulled the trigger on one of the biggest trades in recent memory. Not that it's been a total bust for the Colts, however, because at least Donald Brown has done well as a change-of-pace back. Though, some might reason Brown is the Colts' No. 1 running back.

That all being said, Brown's OVR should be higher than Richardson's. In fact, I wouldn't mind if they just dropped Richardson down to a 50 or something. That's the way he looks when you watch him on TV.

MOVING UP

Tavon Austin was one of the biggest winners of the week, as we expected. Austin went from a 76 OVR to an 83 thanks to his three-touchdown outburst against the Colts in Week 10. Austin is one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL, so this was a long-time coming. Remember when the St. Louis coaches teased us on a huge year from Austin? Well, we got one game from him, let's see if we can keep the momentum going.

T.Y. Hilton increased a point from 84 to 85, but he really didn't do too much in the Colts' win over the Titans on Thursday night. He might be staying put there for a bit.

Nick Fairley had a dominating stop against the Bears in the Lions' Week 10 victory. For his efforts, Fairley was upgraded from an 88 to a 90. Welcome to the 90s. Enjoy "Full House." Oh wait, not the 1990s, but ratings in the 90s.

Antonio Brown is up a point from 88 to 89; and Luke Kuechly went from an 89 to a 90.

SIX PREDICTIONS FOR SUNDAY

6. Alshon Jeffery will have two touchdowns as the Chicago Bears knock off the Baltimore Ravens 22-19. Josh McCown might not be Tom Brady, but he will likely damn the future of Jay Cutler in Chicago with another solid start. And Marc Trestman will just about cement his status as the Coach of the Year.

5. Danny Woodhead has another solid stat-line this week against the Miami Dolphins when he rushes for more than 100 yards.

4. Greg Schiano and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get a second-consecutive win, this time over the hapless Atlanta Falcons. Mike Glennon will continue to raise his OVR in Madden. He's had six touchdowns and just one interception in his last four games.

3. Luke Kuechly practically guarantees himself the Defensive Player of the Year award by pick-sixing and sacking Brady during a 12-tackle performance on Monday Night Football. He'll also earn another Madden ratings boost for his primetime effort.

2. Rob Ryan is again buying rounds of beers in the French Quarter as the Saints knock off the San Francisco 49ers. Seriously, this is one of the coolest things done by a coach in quite some time. Sure, Joe Maddon did it for Rays fans hanging out in Long Beach, Calif. this season. But how many Rays fans could there be in Southern California? Long live Rob Ryan!

1. They say there will be a playoff atmosphere in Mile High this week. So predictably, Peyton Manning will make some costly mistakes and throw some interceptions. But the Broncos will win a close game. The Chiefs, however, will gain more respect in this loss than they have in most of their victories this season.

Did you know that Adam Rank won last year's Expert's League title? Oh that's right, it's like the only thing he ever talks about. Well congratulations, Rank. You finally did something. What have you done for us lately? Let's worry about 2013 and stop living in the past. Typical Lakers fan, am I right? Oh, if you found this useful (as if) check him out on the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program". And follow him on Twitter, please. He's taking us to lunch if he gets 17 more Twitter followers today. And we only got 15 the last time, so step up fantasy enthusiasts!

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