NFL Picks Week 14: Baltimore Ravens, NY Jets and Predicted Winners of the Week
We are now in Week 14 of the 2010-11 NFL season, with the playoffs just around the corner. With teams desperately fighting for a postseason berth, this week will be one of the most thrilling yet this year.
At this point in the season, teams realize that every game is absolutely crucial to their hopes of a playoff appearance. So the following questions arise:
Can Jay Cutler lead the Chicago Bears to victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots?
Will the New York Jets bounce back after a devastating Monday night loss?
Take a look, and enjoy the games this weekend...
Cleveland Browns (5-7) Vs. Buffalo Bills (2-10)
Since regaining the starting quarterback position, Jake Delhomme has led the Cleveland Browns to a two-game winning streak. Expect Delhomme to have his first multiple-touchdown game of the season.
The 14th overall ranked rushing offense of the Cleveland Browns should have a field day against the worst rushing defense in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills. The Bills' defense gives up an average of 378.1 total yards per game.
In what will be a close game, the Browns will pull away in the end, extending their winning streak to three games.
Predicted Outcome: Cleveland Browns 27 - Buffalo Bills 23
Green Bay Packers (8-4) Vs. Detroit Lions (2-10)
The Green Bay Packers have won five out of the last six games and shouldn't have too much trouble against the Detroit Lions, a team they've already defeated this season.
Aaron Rodgers is coming off a very solid performance, completing 21 of 30 passes for 298 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 135.1 QB rating.
Rodgers should have another dominant outing in Week 14, facing a Detroit Lions defense that has given up an average of 34.66 points in the past three games.
Predicted Outcome: Green Bay Packers 34 - Detroit Lions 17
New York Giants (8-4) Vs. Minnesota Vikings (5-7)
Brett Favre participated in practice earlier today, which means he will most likely give it a go in Week 14, extending his NFL record for most consecutive starts.
But this will not faze the New York Giants, who need a win this Sunday to remain competitive in the NFC East.
With a huge divisional game next week against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants will come away with the W against Minnesota in the final minutes of a quarterback duel.
Predicted Outcome: New York Giants 31 - Minnesota Vikings 27
Cincinnati Bengals (2-10) Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
The Pittsburgh Steelers have won their last three games against the Raiders, Bills and Ravens and are now looking to extend their winning streak against the Cincinnati Bengals.
After defeating their AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens in Week 13, the Steelers are now 9-3 and in first place in the division.
This should be quite an easy game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, going up against a Cincinnati team that has lost its last nine games after starting off the season 2-1.
Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati Bengals 20 - Pittsburgh Steelers 30
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) Vs. Washington Redskins (5-7)
The playoffs have slowly slipped away from the Washington Redskins after losing four of their last five games. If Washington loses this week against the Buccaneers, then it would be mathematically out of the postseason race.
Unfortunately for Redskins fans, this is very likely to happen.
The Buccaneers have also begun to play their way out of the postseason but could still clinch if they can manage to win out. Facing a fairly easy schedule, the Buccaneers will win their next three games against the Redskins, Lions and Seahawks, setting up a very exciting game with playoff implications in Week 17 in New Orleans.
Predicted Outcome: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 - Washington Redskins 23
Atlanta Falcons (10-2) Vs. Carolina Panthers (1-11)
With Atlanta facing the Carolina Panthers two times out of their next four games, Matt Ryan and Co. should finish the season with at least a record of 12-4, advancing the Falcons into the postseason for the second time in the last six years.
The Carolina Panthers have the 32nd overall passing offense and the 21st overall rushing offense in the NFL, which can simply not keep up with the Matt Ryan-led Atlanta attack.
Predicted Outcome: Atlanta Falcons 30 - Carolina Panthers 16
Oakland Raiders (6-6) Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5)
The Oakland Raiders are now 4-0 in the AFC West after coming away with an important win against the rival San Diego Chargers.
The Raiders now look to continue their race to the postseason against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who also desperately need a win to protect their playoff hopes.
Oakland will come away with the victory in a very close game that will be decided by a field goal.
Don't be surprised if this game goes into overtime.
Predicted Outcome: Oakland Raiders 27 - Jacksonville Jaguars 24
St. Louis Rams (6-6) Vs. New Orleans Saints (9-3)
The Rams have won their last two games and now sit atop the NFC West, tied with the Seattle Seahawks. In a crucial game against the Saints, St. Louis will fall short, being unable to stop Drew Brees and the third overall passing offense of New Orleans.
Brees and the Saints have won their last five games, going 3-0 since their bye in Week 10. In those last three wins Brees has been averaging 349 yards, 2.33 TDs, 1.25 INTs and a 104.6 QB rating per game.
Predicted Outcome: St. Louis Rams 17 - New Orleans Saints 31
Seattle Seahawks (6-6) Vs. San Francisco 49ers (4-8)
With an injured wrist, Matt Hasselbeck was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and is expected to play in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Hasselbeck has been inconsistent this season, but expect him to have his best game of 2010 this Sunday.
Predicted Outcome: Seattle Seahawks 27 - San Francisco 49ers 20
New England Patriots (10-2) Vs. Chicago Bears (9-3)
With a dominating performance last week against the New York Jets, the New England Patriots are the hottest team in the NFL at the moment.
But this Sunday, Brian Urlacher and the lethal Bears defense will cool down Tom Brady and company when they travel to Chicago.
In the last four games Chicago has given up an average of only 14.75 points per game. A defensive battle in the first few quarters will turn into a quarterback duel between Tom Brady and Jay Cutler by the fourth quarter.
Predicted Outcome: New England Patriots 24 - Chicago Bears 27
Miami Dolphins (6-6) Vs. New York Jets (9-3)
After being crushed by the Patriots in Week 13, the New York Jets head back home to take on the Miami Dolphins.
The Jets defeated the Dolphins earlier in the year by a score of 31-23, and they did this without Santonio Holmes and shutdown corner Darrelle Revis.
Expect Mark Sanchez to have a strong performance after scoring zero touchdowns and throwing three picks in the devastating and embarrassing loss to the AFC East rival New England Patriots.
Predicted Outcome: Miami Dolphins 17 - New York Jets 27
Denver Broncos (3-9) Vs. Arizona Cardinals (3-9)
Arizona quarterback Derek Anderson has still not been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in Week 13, which means rookie John Skelton will be leading the Cardinals against the Denver Broncos.
Skelton was selected 155th overall in the fifth round of the 2010 draft out of Fordham University. Unfortunately for Skelton and Cardinals fans, John will receive his first professional loss to the Broncos this Sunday.
Denver will start off 1-0 with its new coach after Josh McDaniels was fired for a terrible 3-9 record 13 weeks into the season.
Predicted Outcome: Denver Broncos 23 - Arizona Cardinals 20
Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) Vs. San Diego Chargers (6-6)
This week's battle against the Kansas City Chiefs is a must-win game for the San Diego Chargers if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
A victory this Sunday would place the Chargers only one game behind the AFC West-leading Chiefs. If not, San Diego's postseason aspirations will be diminished.
The Chargers have the best overall passing defense in the NFL, limiting their opponents to 186.3 YPG, and the fifth overall rushing defense, giving up an average of 95.3 YPG.
Against such a dominating defense, Matt Cassel (or backup Brodie Croyle should Cassel be unable to go due to this week's appendectomy) will lose the quarterback duel to Philip Rivers. Rivers has the third best quarterback rating in the NFL with 102.5, behind Michael Vick and Tom Brady.
Predicted Outcome: Kansas City Chiefs 17 - San Diego Chargers 24
Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) Vs. Dallas Cowboys (4-8)
The Dallas Cowboys came away with an exciting overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14, improving Jason Garrett's head coaching record to 3-1.
In what is a very meaningful game for the Philadelphia Eagles, Michael Vick will record multiple touchdowns and throw for over 300 yards for the third game in a row, leading his team to a much-needed victory.
With a win against the Cowboys, Philadelphia remains on top of the NFC East heading into the crucial Week 15 matchup against the New York Giants.
Predicted Outcome: Philadelphia Eagles 33 - Dallas Cowboys 27
Baltimore Ravens (8-4) Vs. Houston Texans (5-7)
The Houston Texans have lost five of their last six games and now head into Week 14 with another tough matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
This will be a crucial Monday night game for the Ravens after losing to Pittsburgh last week, which made them fall one game behind first place in the AFC North.
Expect Joe Flacco to have a productive game going up against the 32nd overall passing defense of the Houston Texans.
Predicted Outcome: Baltimore Ravens 20 - Houston Texans 10