NFL Week 14 Picks: New York Giants and 8 Teams Desperate for a Win
The New York Giants suddenly need a win in the worst way after the Washington Redskins beat them on Monday Night Football, but they're far from the only NFL team that is desperate for a win in Week 14.
With just four games remaining in this 2012 season, there are many teams for which the playoffs have already begun.
There are three teams in the AFC with a legitimate chance to secure one of the two wild-card spots, and there are an astonishing five teams vying for the No. 6 seed in the NFC.
It's do or die time for these nine teams. Follow along as we predict how they'll fare in Week 14.
Cowboys at Bengals
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This slide counts as two teams, because both the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals need to come away with a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Cowboys are tied with the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins with a record of 6-6. All four teams are one game behind the Seattle Seahawks, and the Cowboys and Redskins are one game behind the New York Giants for the NFC East divisional crown.
The Bengals, at 7-5, are essentially one-half game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the Steelers have the edge in head-to-head competition this season.
The Bengals are hosting this contest, and I don't see the Cowboys beating them in Cincinnati.
Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Geno Atkins and the rest of the men on the defensive line for the Bengals will simply be too much for the porous offensive line of the Cowboys to handle.
Tony Romo will inevitably be forced into a couple of bad plays, and the Bengals will capitalize.
Prediction: Bengals win 27-21
Bears at Vikings
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This slide also counts as two teams, as the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings are both in desperate need of a victory.
The Bears have lost three of their last four games—their lone victory coming against these Vikings just two weeks ago. The Packers have now tied them for the NFC North, and if the bleeding doesn't stop soon, the Bears may not make it into the playoffs at all.
The Vikings, at 6-6, are tied with three other teams—all of which are chasing the Seattle Seahawks for the No. 6 seed in the NFC.
Jay Cutler was effective in the last meeting between these two teams, and Michael Bush scored two touchdowns on the ground.
The Bears did a good job of containing Christian Ponder and the Vikings passing attack, minus Percy Harvin, and I don't expect any of this to chance in this upcoming meeting.
Prediction: Bears win 27-13
Eagles at Buccaneers
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been hot and cold this season, and after losing two straight games, it's time for them to get hot again or lose out on the playoffs in 2012.
At 6-6, the Bucs are involved in that heated scrum for the No. 6 seed in the NFC, and they must win every game going forward to ensure they have a good chance to sneak in.
Thankfully for Greg Schiano's gang, the team they'll face this week is the Philadelphia Eagles—a team on a eight-game losing streak.
The Eagles have been giving up monster numbers to opposing quarterbacks since Juan Castillo was fired, and Josh Freeman won't have any trouble doing the same.
Rookie quarterback Nick Foles has looked sharp at times, but he can't keep up with the Bucs offense—especially considering Bryce Brown is about to get shut down by the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL.
Prediction: Buccaneers win 28-17
Ravens at Redskins
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How crazy is it that I trust Robert Griffin III more than Joe Flacco in this game?
The Washington Redskins stunned the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, improving their record to 6-6 on the season and pulling one game closer to making an improbable late-season surge to the postseason.
They'll host the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday, and the home crowd will be as loud as it's been since the Joe Gibbs Super Bowl era.
I expect Griffin and Alfred Morris to expose the Ravens poor rush defense all game long, which will open up big plays downfield for Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss and the rest of the Redskins receiving corps.
Prediction: Redskins win 31-28
Chargers at Steelers
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The Pittsburgh Steelers have been in dire straits ever since Ben Roethlisberger went out a few weeks ago, and now, at 7-5, they need to keep winning to ensure they even get into the playoffs.
Troy Polamalu returned to the starting lineup for the first time in a couple of months in Week 13, and his return couldn't have come at a better time. His play, along with a resurgent James Harrison, adds fuel to one of the league's most potent defenses.
Even if Roethlisberger can't go again in this contest, I fully expect the Steelers defense to force turnover-happy quarterback Philip Rivers into a few key interceptions, keying a crucial victory for the Steelers.
Prediction: Steelers win 27-24
Cardinals at Seahawks
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The Seattle Seahawks showed a lot of gumption in Week 13, beating the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. They currently occupy the No. 6 seed in the NFC with a record of 7-5 and are currently one-and-a-half games behind the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West.
Yet if the Seahawks falter for even one moment, they may find themselves on the outside looking in when the postseason rolls around.
The Cardinals shouldn't be a problem for the Seahawks, as their offense makes the New York Jets offense look phenomenal.
Still, this game is just as important as any on the Seahawks schedule, and a loss would be catastrophic.
Prediction: Seahawks win 28-9
Saints at Giants
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Surprise, surprise. The New York Giants have once again backed themselves against a wall.
We all knew it would happen, but somehow it's a shock every time it happens.
I mean, this team is one of the best in the NFL when it's playing up to its potential, but we rarely see the best of the Giants.
The New Orleans Saints will bring plenty of firepower to MetLife Stadium next Sunday, and the Giants must play up to their potential to bring home the win.
Prediction: Giants win 35-30