NFL Picks Week 14: Injury-Plagued Teams That Could Fall This Weekend

R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IDecember 6, 2013

Nov 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (left) sits on the bench next to quarterback Matt Flynn (10) during the fourth quarter of a NFL football game against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

While some teams continue to be blessed in the injury department, others can't seem to shake the injury bug and it could cost some teams victories this weekend.

Several stars like Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler are out for another game, and their absences could be the difference in a few closely contested matchups. Following a full line of picks for this week is a breakdown of a few games where the outcome could be determined by injuries.

Complete Week 14 Picks
Away TeamHome TeamPick
Houston TexansJacksonville JaguarsJaguars
Indianapolis ColtsCincinnati BengalsColts
Atlanta FalconsGreen Bay PackersFalcons
Cleveland BrownsNew England PatriotsPatriots
Oakland RaidersNew York JetsRaiders
Detroit LionsPhiladelphia EaglesEagles
Miami DolphinsPittsburgh SteelersSteelers
Buffalo BillsTampa Bay BuccaneersBuccaneers
Kansas City ChiefsWashington RedskinsChiefs
Minnesota VikingsBaltimore RavensRavens
Tennessee TitansDenver BroncosBroncos
St. Louis RamsArizona CardinalsCardinals
New York GiantsSan Diego ChargersChargers
Seattle SeahawksSan Francisco 49ersSeahawks
Carolina PanthersNew Orleans SaintsPanthers
Dallas CowboysChicago BearsCowboys
NFL.com

 

Green Bay Packers

The Packers appear to have plenty of issues other than just the loss of Aaron Rodgers, but the lack of a passing game has been one of the main concerns for a team that was once 5-2 and looked like a lock to make the playoffs.

Rodgers has already been officially ruled out for Sunday's game, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, meaning Rodgers will miss his fifth consecutive game. During that stretch, Green Bay has gone 0-4-1 and have dropped behind both the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears in its division.

Though the Packers are playing the lowly 3-9 Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta is actually coming off a 34-31 win against the Buffalo Bills. Atlanta now has a healthy Roddy White to feature alongside Tony Gonzalez, Matt Ryan and Steven Jackson.

Nov 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) on the sidelines during the first quarter of a NFL football game against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

 

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are as balanced a team as there is in the NFL right now, but the possibility of DeAngelo Williams and Charles Johnson both missing a game against the New Orleans Saints might swing the contest back in the Saints' favor.

Both Johnson and Williams are listed as probable, according to John Clayton of ESPN:

Nov 10, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) returns to the sideline after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

While the likelihood that either Johnson or Williams misses this game is unlikely, the predictability of injuries is never a certainty. While both could start on Sunday, the lingering effects of injuries alone could be the difference between these two teams.

 

Chicago Bears

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 17:  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears talks to a teammate on the sidelines against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field on November 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Ravens 23-20 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonath
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The loss of Jay Cutler might not appear to be that devastating from the outset, especially with how well Josh McCown has played in his absence, but the facts don't lie. The Bears are 2-3 without Cutler as a starter and haven't looked the same since his injury.

Much of that blame should be placed on the defense that is allowing teams to literally run all over them, allowing a league-high 153.6 rushing yards per game. But while McCown has been effective, the chemistry between Cutler and Brandon Marshall is as lethal as any other quarterback-wide receiver combination in the NFL.

Without Cutler behind center, the Bears will have a tough time keeping up with the Cowboys offense and could fall to below .500—putting the team's playoff hopes on life support.