NFL Week 14 Game By Game Predictions

Brent Caldwell@AimYourBrentContributor IDecember 8, 2010

Philip Rivers and The Chargers must win this week to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Philip Rivers and The Chargers must win this week to keep their playoff hopes alive.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

There could be no less than 13 teams in the AFC with at least six wins following Week 14. Every team in the AFC South still has a shot at winning the division. The playoff picture in the NFC is a little clearer, with 10 teams still contending for a spot in the postseason (that includes the NFC West.)

The six hottest teams in the NFC this year are Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Green Bay. And no matter what, one of them will be watching the playoffs from home. Eight of this week's 16 matchups are divisional games.

Indianapolis @ Tennessee

11 interceptions in a three-game period is dreadful for any quarterback. I've always felt that Peyton Manning, while being a great player, is also quite overrated. Looking at what he's done with a banged-up offense has shown that he's not exactly the superhuman that many talking heads on television would like to believe.

I also predicted before the season began that this would be the year the Colts finally missed the playoffs. That being said, if there was ever a good week for the Colts to rebound, it's now, against a Tennessee team that's clinging to their season by a thread. But the Colts cannot turn the ball over. The key to Tennessee winning will be trying to cause those turnovers, and trying to take advantage of the Colts' 29th ranked rush defense. 

Titans 24, Colts 17

Cleveland @ Buffalo

Cleveland is on the brink of breaking out of the basement of the AFC North. Buffalo is Buffalo. The Bills have lost a couple close ones this year, and I expect them to lose one more this week. The Bills are dead last in the NFL against the run. 

Cleveland 14, Buffalo 10

Tampa Bay @ Washington

The Buccaneers are a tough team to figure out. They're young and they're talented, but they can't seem to win against playoff-caliber teams. But they should be able to take one step closer to a possible playoff spot this week. The Redskins are a mess and don't look like they will be able to get it turned around any time soon. Washington is 28th in the NFL in run defense, going up against a Tampa Bay team with a decent rushing attack.

Tampa Bay 21, Washington 13

Green Bay @ Detroit

The Packers have the number six ranked passing attack in the league, and are also sixth best against the pass. Detroit has a respectable passing game, but are pretty middle of the road in every other category. The Lions have been in every game they've played this year, but seldom do they find ways to win. The Packers are battling for a playoff spot, currently sitting one game behind the Bears in the NFC North. It's a must win, but Detroit will be looking to play spoiler.

Green Bay 28, Detroit 17

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh

Anyone who plays for the Steelers is automatically tough. A year removed from sweeping their division, the Bengals have returned to the basement of the AFC North. Following a tough divisional battle with Baltimore, Pittsburgh looks to take a big step towards a first round bye when they face Cincinnati. Pittsburgh is the best team in the NFL against the run. They're only just in the top ten in pass defense, but that shouldn't be a problem, as perhaps the biggest playmaker for the Steelers pass defense in this game will be Carson Palmer.

Pittsburgh 21, Cincinnati 10

Oakland @ Jacksonville

Two of the league's top three rushing offenses square off this week. Somehow, the Jaguars have found themselves on top of a very winnable AFC South. A big part of that has been their second ranked rushing attack. The Raiders are currently 6-6, sitting tied for second place in the AFC West (although technically they own second place all together due to their season sweep of the Chargers... I can't believe I just typed that). They have kept their season afloat thanks to the league's third best running game. 

Jacksonville 20, Oakland 17

Atlanta @ Carolina

Yep. Matt Ryan.

Atlanta 24, Carolina 6

New York Giants @ Minnesota

This game is huge for the Giants, who would really like to win their division to avoid getting shuffled out of the post-season in a tight NFC Wild Card race. The G-men appear to have regained their form following a total blowout of Washington. Minnesota seems to have found second life following the departure of Brad Childress.

The Giants have the sixth best running attack in the NFL, but the Vikings have the fourth best rushing defense. So the key may be the Giants second-ranked passing defense against the gunslinger that is Brett Favre.

New York 24, Minnesota 17

St Louis @ New Orleans

The Saints have found their form. The defending champs are on an impressive six-game winning streak. They have the third-ranked passing attack in the NFL, and are also number three against the pass. The Rams are talented and appear to have a very bright future indeed under Sam Bradford, but that wont be enough to get it done in the Superdome.

New Orleans 34, St Louis 10

Seattle @ San Fransisco

The NFC West is still anyone's to win. I've said from week one that a 7-9 record might do it in that division, and now it's looking like that may be a reality. The 49ers are very, very talented, but very, very inconsistent. Still, they are clinging to hope of a playoff spot after starting the season 0-5. A Seahawks win here coupled with a Rams loss would be huge.

San Fransisco 17, Seattle 14

New England @ Chicago

Tom Brady is making the best case for league MVP right now. He is leading his team to victory after victory, most recently, a Monday night beatdown of the Jets. It wont get much easier from here, but the Patriots are riding a wave of momentum unmatched by any other team in the league right now. The Bears will have to try and exploit the Patriots' 31st ranked passing defense, but so far, no one has really been able to take advantage of that. New England is scoring more points per game than everybody. I expect that to continue.

New England 37, Chicago 17

Miami @ New York Jets

Have the Jets been exposed as the biggest frauds in the NFL? They found ways to win close games, in overtime, against Cleveland and Detroit. But in their last two games against playoff contenders, they were shutout 20-0 against Green Bay, and annihilated by the Patriots 45-3 on Monday Night Football. This week they look to stay ahead in the AFC Wild Card race against their AFC East rival Miami. The Dolphins are fifth best against the pass and ranked ninth against the run, while the Jets are third best against the run, but only 14th against the pass. It should be a defensive battle with plenty of emphasis on the ground game. Could it come down to the Jets' kicking woes?

Miami 17, New York 14

Denver @ Arizona

Apparently the key to turning around struggling NFL franchises this year is to simply fire the head coach. So far, it's worked for Minnesota and Dallas, so let's see how well the Broncos fare as they face off with a struggling Cardinals team. It may be a battle of 3-9 bottom feeding teams from Western divisions, but Denver is a lot better than their dismal record shows. They have the league's fourth best passing game. The Broncos may want to try and get the ground game going however, as Arizona is 30th in the league against the run.

Denver 17, Arizona 9

Kansas City @ San Diego

This one may be for the AFC West. The Chargers were the hottest team in the NFL going into week 13, they had been number one in total offense and total defense for most of the year. But this season, the Raiders have been the kryptonite to the "super" Chargers. San Diego is still very much in the fight, but this game is a must win for the Bolts. The Chiefs stunned the Chargers in week one, and have been very consistent ever since, improving to an 8-4 record.

Both the Chargers and the Chiefs would like to win their division, because it's not likely that a Wild Card spot will be open for the runner up. Kansas City has the league's best running game, but the Chargers have a stout defense against both the run and the pass, and with Philip Rivers playing quarterback, the Chargers are contenders for the win every time they play.

San Diego 24, Kansas City 14

Philadelphia @ Dallas

The Cowboys' season was all but over a month ago. But you wouldn't know it by the way they're playing. Both of these teams rely heavily on their passing games, but a key factor could be Dallas' ability to contain Mike Vick. The 'boys are 28th against the pass, so they'll really need to step it up to pull off the upset. Still, they beat the Colts, and the Eagles aren't quite the powerhouse team everyone expected them to be a few weeks ago when they destroyed the Redskins. 

Philadelphia 24, Dallas 17

Baltimore @ Houston

The Ravens have looked good all year, but somehow, they're still only 8-4, hanging on to the final Wild Card spot on the AFC, which they seem to earn every year. They get it done with defense, which they'll need against Houston's top ten passing attack. The Texans are barely clinging to life in the AFC South. If they could pull off an upset here, coupled with a win by Tennessee, they would be in a three way tie for second in their division.

A Texans win would also create a more interesting Wild Card picture in the AFC. But a Ravens win would essentially end the Texans' season, as well as put some more cushion between Baltimore and the rest of the AFC contenders. 

Houston 17, Baltimore 13

Projected playoff picture after week 14:


Division leaders

1. New England 11-2

2. Pittsburgh 10-3

3. Jacksonville 8-5

4. Kansas City 8-5

Wild Card teams

5. New York 9-4

6. Baltimore 8-5

In the hunt

7. San Diego 7-6

8. Miami 7-6

9. Tennessee 6-7

10. Houston 6-7

11. Indianapolis 6-7

12. Cleveland 6-7

13. Oakland 6-7


Division leaders

1. Atlanta 11-2

2. Philadelphia 9-4

3. Green Bay 9-4

4. St Louis 6-7

Wild Card teams

5. New Orleans 10-3

6. New York 9-4

In the hunt

7. Chicago 9-4

8. Tampa 8-5

9. Seattle 6-7

10. San Fransisco 5-8

Thanks for reading!


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