NFL Picks Week 14: Division Leaders That Will Struggle in Week 14
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It's Week 14 in the NFL. The playoff picture is starting to become a bit clearer with each game.
Division leaders are starting to pull away from their rivals, and some have even clinched a playoff spot.
While teams may have a spot clinched or a big lead in their division, no one wants to suffer a loss.
This week, a few division leaders won't be so lucky.
Here are five division leaders on upset alert in Week 14.
The Texans have a tough matchup with the Patriots, one they might not win.
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The Texans have had a stellar season. They dodged two close overtime games against the Lions and Jaguars, but looked much better against the Titans in Week 13 to stay on top of the AFC South with just one loss so far this season.
This week will be no walk in the park. The Texans will head to New England on Monday night to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The Texans are 1-0 on Monday night this season, but haven't been the greatest in prime-time games. Their one loss of the season came on a Sunday night game against the Packers, who trucked the Texans, 42-24.
Taking on another elite quarterback in Tom Brady could spell disaster for Houston in Week 14. Their 19th-ranked pass defense will take on the sixth-best passing attack in the league. One too many big plays by Wes Welker or Tom Brady could set the Texans up for their second loss of the season.
PREDICTION: Patriots win 35-24
Anquan Boldin and the Ravens lost to a Charlie Batch-lead Steelers team. Their schedule won't get easier as they head to Washington to meet RGIII.
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The Baltimore Ravens have had a rough three-game stretch. Two weeks ago, they barely beat the Steelers 13-10. The next week, they needed overtime and a ridiculous 4th-and-29 conversion to beat a bad Chargers team. Last week, they lost to Charlie Batch and the Steelers. Yes, you read that right. Not Ben Roethlisberger, not Byron Leftwich even. Charlie Batch.
In Week 14, the Ravens will head to Washington DC to take on RGIII and the surprising Redskins.
The Raven defense is struggling, allowing over 240 passing yards per game and almost 130 yards on the ground per contest. A bad combination before taking on RGIII.
RGIII can run and throw. He's got the Washington Redskins looking like contenders, and they're coming off a huge win over the New York Giants.
PREDICTION: RGIII is too much for Baltimore to handle, Redskins win 21-17.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers won an ugly game against the Vikings. As they continue to battle injuries the Lions will come to town looking to steal a win.
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The Packers haven't looked good since their Week 6 matchup with Houston, where they trounced the Texans in glorious fashion.
The Packers have only lost one game since Week 6, but they haven't looked like that dominant 15-1 team of last season.
Green Bay is dealing with a laundry list of injuries on its offensive line and defense, which is making it hard for it to contain a pass rush, or an offense at all.
Another factor to keep in mind as the Packers take on their NFC North rivals in the Detroit Lions is the history between the teams. While the Packers win most of the meetings, the Lions always make it close.
Just three weeks ago, the Packers needed a late-game drive by Aaron Rodgers and a great catch by Randall Cobb to beat the now 4-8 Lions.
The Lions pass rush is scary for the Packers' patchwork offensive line and Packer fans everywhere, and will be a huge factor in the outcome of the game.
PREDICTION: Green Bay wins, but barely. Packers win on Crosby getting his mojo back, 24-21 with a late field goal.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady and the Evil Empire have won six games in a row, but Monday Night Houston rolls into Foxboro looking for a big win in Prime Time
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The Patriots are used to being on top of their division, but they aren't as used to being on upset alert.
Their matchup with the Texans on Monday Night Football can hardly be called an upset. The Texans have just one loss so far this season, but as we see in the first slide, have struggled as of late, barely beating bad teams.
The Patriots defense gives up the third-most yards through the air, which could be the weakness that Schaub and Andre Johnson go after on Monday.
PREDICTION: As we saw in slide No. 1, Patriots win 35-24.
New York Giants
Manning and the G-Men suffered a tough loss to RGIII and the Redskins. Now the Giants have to turn around and take on Drew Brees and the Saints.
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The Giants are still on top of the NFC East after losing to RGIII and the Washington Redskins in Week 13.
The defending Super Bowl champs haven't played at the world champion-caliber Giants fans are used to recently. Eli Manning has had a hard time finding the end zone and, in some games, his own teammates.
The G-Men have lost three of their last four games and aren't getting any favors with Drew Brees and the Saints coming to town.
Even though the Saints are 5-7, they're still a scary opponent. Especially for the Giants.
The Giants are 22nd in the league in passing yards allowed per game, giving up over 240 yards per game. This is bad news, as the Saints have the third-best passing attack in the league, averaging almost 300 yards per game in the air.
The Giants will have to count on their pass rush if they want to stop Brees.
PREDICTION: Eli gets his groove back, throwing no picks, but doesn't have the receivers to win a shootout against Brees. Saints win 45-21.