2012 NFL Week 14 Picks: Bengals over Cowboys

Jake WestrichSenior Writer IDecember 4, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Running back Cedric Peerman #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball, as quarterback Andy Dalton #14 looks on against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 2, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

A month ago, the Week 14 matchup between the Bengals and Cowboys appeared to be an extraneous event. After all, Cincinnati had just dropped their fourth straight to Denver, bringing their record to 3-5 and placing them miles away from foes Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the standings.

Dallas was in a similar 3-5 disorder after suffering a defeat to the Dirty Birds, with their aspirations of a division crown seemingly squandered thanks to the Giants' 6-2 mark.

However, the NFL landscape underwent significant alterations in November, as the Who-Deys reeled off four consecutive W's to assert themselves back into the AFC playoff hunt. Simultaneously, three victories for America's Team, along with a precipitous fall from grace by the G-Men, has the Cowboys just a game back in the NFC East.

With two of the hottest teams in the NFL looking to continue their good fortune in the Queen City, this Cincinnati soiree serves as our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.

One certainly would not claim the Bengals survived a daunting gauntlet in November, with three of the wins coming against the lowly AFC West (Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego). However, in a league satiated with parity, there are no gimmies on the gridiron, and Cincinnati's conquest over the Giants, then at 6-2, was no easy feat.

This riverfront rejuvenation has been spurred by signal caller Andy Dalton. The second-year man out of TCU shook off a pedestrian display in the fall by turning in a remarkable performance the past month, finding the end zone 12 times (10 by air, two by land) with just two turnovers in his last four contests.

Considering the Red Rifle is working with a fledgling receiving corps, albeit one that employs one of the best wideouts in the AFC in A.J. Green, the transformation of the Cincinnati offense from laughingstock to one of the more efficient units in the conference is nothing short of remarkable.

Helping Dalton in this endeavor is running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who has posted 100 yards or more in his last three outings despite operating behind a depleted offensive line.

Such an effort on the terrain would be much appreciated in Texas, as Dallas struggled mightily on the terrain while starter DeMarco Murray was sidelined with ankle issues. Luckily for backers of the 'Boys, Murray returned from a six-game absence last Sunday. Though he was far from healthy, Murray at 70 percent is better than full exertion from most rushers in the league.

Nevertheless, as Tony Romo goes, so goes Dallas.

The Cowboys field general does have a whopping 18 turnovers on the current campaign, but the miscues have been reduced as of late, with a meager two interceptions in 200 attempts in the last five weeks.

This is even more impressive given the lack of a viable running game and an inconsistent stable of wideouts. With the Cowboys in prime position to dictate their January destiny, Romo has a platform to prove his merits as an elite performer under center.

So who emerges on top in this Week 14 showdown? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com football simulation engine, the Bengals get the victory 55.3 percent of the time by an average margin of 24-22. For the rest of this week's predictions, check below:

NFL Week 14
Matchup Win% Avg Score
Philadelphia Eagles 27.2 19 Boxscore
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 72.8 27 Buccaneers&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Philadelphia+Eagles" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Arizona Cardinals 29.4 14 Boxscore
@ Seattle Seahawks 70.6 20 Seahawks&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Arizona+Cardinals" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Detroit Lions 34.8 23 Boxscore
@ Green Bay Packers 65.2 28 Lions" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Kansas City Chiefs 39.5 21 Boxscore
@ Cleveland Browns 60.5 25 Chiefs" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Miami Dolphins 40.9 17 Boxscore
@ San Francisco 49ers 59.1 21 49ers&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Miami+Dolphins" target="_blank">Simulate Game
San Diego Chargers 44.2 22 Boxscore
@ Pittsburgh Steelers 55.8 24 Chargers" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Dallas Cowboys 44.7 22 Boxscore
@ Cincinnati Bengals 55.3 24 Simulate Game
Tennessee Titans 45.5 24 Boxscore
@ Indianapolis Colts 54.5 26 Colts&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Tennessee+Titans" target="_blank">Simulate Game
New Orleans Saints 45.3 25 Boxscore
@ New York Giants 54.7 27 Saints" target="_blank">Simulate Game
St. Louis Rams 49.4 23 Boxscore
@ Buffalo Bills 50.6 24 Rams" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Baltimore Ravens 57.8 23 Boxscore
@ Washington Redskins 42.2 20 Redskins&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Baltimore+Ravens" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Houston Texans 61.5 25 Boxscore
@ New England Patriots 38.5 21 Texans" target="_blank">Simulate Game
New York Jets 62.6 19 Boxscore
@ Jacksonville Jaguars 37.4 15 Jaguars&vSeason=2012&vTeam=New+York+Jets" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Chicago Bears 67.3 24 Boxscore
@ Minnesota Vikings 32.7 19 Bears" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Denver Broncos 74.3 30 Boxscore
@ Oakland Raiders 25.7 19 Raiders&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Denver+Broncos" target="_blank">Simulate Game
Atlanta Falcons 80.2 27 Boxscore
@ Carolina Panthers 19.8 16 Panthers&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Atlanta+Falcons" target="_blank">Simulate Game

Each Tuesday, WhatIfSports.com's NFL simulation engine will provide you with predictions, box scores and statistics for every NFL game that week. The NFL simulation engine generates detailed information including the home team's chances of winning (Home Win %), average score and comprehensive box score link. If you want to share your new found NFL knowledge with friends and family, make sure to check out our NFL Widgets on the WhatIf To Go page or click on the social networking share bar located at the top and bottom of the article.

The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically based player ranking. Roster modifications have been made for injuries and suspensions and those players are not part of their team's game simulation.

To account for injuries and roster moves announced late in the week, we will be re-simulating some games on Thursdays throughout the 2012 NFL season.

Check out our 2012 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.


    Report: Jameis Braces for Suspension

    NFL logo

    Report: Jameis Braces for Suspension

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Bengals Ranked Poorly in Pass Protection Efficiency

    Cincinnati Bengals logo
    Cincinnati Bengals

    Bengals Ranked Poorly in Pass Protection Efficiency

    Chris Roling
    via Bengals Wire

    Rivers' Offseason Job? Playcaller for Son's Football Team

    NFL logo

    Rivers' Offseason Job? Playcaller for Son's Football Team

    Eric D. Williams
    via ESPN.com

    Dak: Cowboys Made Moves Knowing What They Already Have

    Dallas Cowboys logo
    Dallas Cowboys

    Dak: Cowboys Made Moves Knowing What They Already Have

    via WFAA