NFL Week 14 Predictions: Last-Minute Picks for Sunday's Top Games

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2013

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 15:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball against the Seattle Seahawks on September 15, 2013 at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Week 14 might be the most important set of games in the NFL regular season, with so many key matchups between top teams. Unfortunately, this makes it tough to pick winners.

As the NFL's official Twitter account points out, only four teams have been mathematically eliminated heading into Sunday:

This is certain to create plenty of drama as each squad fights to stay alive. Of course, there are a few games that stand out, with five of them featuring two teams entering the day .500 or better.

These battles will likely be competitive throughout, but here are some predictions for the top matchups from Sunday, followed by picks for the entire slate of games.

 

Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 1:  Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws the ball against the San Diego Chargers during their game on December 1, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

No team in the NFL has a better selection of wins than the Colts, but the team has certainly been shaky lately. Last week's win over the Tennessee Titans was actually the first time since Week 7 they did not go into halftime trailing by double digits.

Although Andrew Luck's late-game heroics have kept Indianapolis alive, the team will not always be able to make up for these poor starts.

This will especially tough to do against the Bengals, who are playing as well as anyone in the NFL at this point. They have won six of their last eight games, with the only losses coming on the road in overtime.

Andy Dalton remains the biggest question mark after throwing nine interceptions in the last four games. However, the Colts can be beaten on the ground, and Cincinnati will do enough with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard to win.

Prediction: Bengals 27, Colts 17

 

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

While this game will have a huge consequences in the NFC standings, the contest is more about sending a message. After the Seahawks pounded the 49ers 29-3 in Week 2, San Francisco has to show that it is capable of taking care of business on its home field.

Otherwise, Seattle will have almost too much confidence to lose by the time the playoffs start.

Still, the difference in this game is more than just the change in location. The 49ers have more weapons this time around, and they intend to use them. With Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham joining Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin, Colin Kaepernick will actually have options, even with All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman patrolling the secondary.

San Francisco will come out to play in this game and try to gain a little bit of an edge heading into the postseason.

Prediction: 49ers 21, Seahawks 20

 

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

It is truly amazing how much better the Saints are when they are playing at home. Drew Brees has posted a quarterback rating of 122.2 at the Superdome this year while leading the offense to an average of 33.2 points per game.

Unsurprisingly, they have won all six of their games. 

While things have not been anywhere near as good on the road (87.7 rating, 18.8 points per game, 3-3 record), that will not be an issue this week.

Even with Carolina's great pass rush, Brees will be able to find holes in the secondary and move the ball down the field. Despite the fact that this game features the No. 1 and No. 6 scoring defenses in the league, there will be a lot of points on the board and the Saints will win in a shootout.

Prediction: Saints 31, Panthers 28

Full NFL Week 14 Picks
AwayHomePicks
Indianapolis ColtsCincinnati BengalsBengals
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 49ers49ers
Carolina PanthersNew Orleans SaintsSaints
Dallas CowboysChicago BearsCowboys

 

Rob Goldberg is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and is currently in the 100th percentile on ESPN's Pick 'Em. Follow him on Twitter for the latest news and analysis. 

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