Week 14 of the NFL season is certain to be a good one featuring a number of tightly contested battles. This means that you might need a little help making your picks this week.
Although fans should feel free to miss the Thursday game between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, the rest of the week is certain to be exciting with five matchups between teams currently .500 or better.
With these close battles, it makes it tough to predict a winner. Fortunately, NFL Pickwatch has compiled a list of the top experts in the media. Here is a look at the composite predictions for each game in the upcoming week.
|NFL Week 14 Expert Picks|
|Away||Home||Expert Pick||Confidence %|
|Houston Texans||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jaguars||64|
|Buffalo Bills||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Buccaneers||80|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Washington Redskins||Chiefs||93|
|Atlanta Falcons||Green Bay Packers||Packers||68|
|Detroit Lions||Philadelphia Eagles||Eagles||55|
|Miami Dolphins||Pittsburgh Steelers||Steelers||80|
|Indianapolis Colts||Cincinnati Bengals||Bengals||95|
|Cleveland Browns||New England Patriots||Patriots||100|
|Oakland Raiders||New York Jets||Raiders||59|
|Minnesota Vikings||Baltimore Ravens||Ravens||98|
|Tennessee Titans||Denver Broncos||Broncos||100|
|St. Louis Rams||Arizona Cardinals||Cardinals||95|
|Seattle Seahawks||San Francisco 49ers||Seahawks||64|
|New York Giants||San Diego Chargers||Chargers||82|
|Carolina Panthers||New Orleans Saints||Saints||75|
|Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||Cowboys||70|
|via NFL PICKWATCH|
There are quite a few toss-ups, although not necessarily the ones you would expect looking at the weekend's schedule.
The closest battle features a matchup of the 7-5 Detroit Lions and the 7-5 Philadelphia Eagles. While the Lions have a long time to prepare after destroying the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving, the Eagles are hotter, coming into the week with a four-game winning streak.
However, the difference will be which poor pass defense will be able to step up against a strong passing attack. While 55 percent of the analysts think Nick Foles and the Eagles will win this battle at home, you should not count out the connection between Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson against the NFL's No. 32 pass defense.
Interestingly, the only other game within 60 percent of predictions is between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets, two teams that got off to decent starts but are fading fast.
Both sides have major quarterback questions going forward, and they will each use the next month to see if this problem can be answered with someone currently on the roster. Of the two teams, Matt McGloin has been the best passer as he has brought some consistency to the Raiders offense.
Meanwhile, Geno Smith has been downright awful and has not thrown a touchdown pass since Oct. 20. This is likely to continue as the Raiders look to prove 59 percent of experts right.
There are a few other matchups that seem close on paper, but the analysts seem to be in agreement for one side. Home-field advantage appears to play a role as the majority of people think the Cincinnati Bengals will have an easy time with the Indianapolis Colts and that the New Orleans Saints will beat the Carolina Panthers.
While the Saints do play well at home, the Panthers have won eight games in a row and might have the best defense in football. Even on the road, Cam Newton and Co. might provide a tougher test than many are expecting.
Finally, 64 percent of experts believe the Seattle Seahawks will beat the San Francisco 49ers on the road. Although the Seahawks did dominate this matchup at CenturyLink Field earlier in the year, the 49ers will fare better at home, especially with Michael Crabtree fully healthy.
Then again, if Seattle is able to beat the Saints and 49ers in consecutive weeks, you can probably just give the team a ticket to the Super Bowl now.
On the other hand, there are quite a few easy picks in Week 14. The New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs all have confidence ratings of over 90 percent and should be able to cruise to victories.
These could be smart options for those in a survivor league in an otherwise tough week for picks.
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