NFL Week 14: Picking The Scores of Each Game
Is it just me or have the Thursday Night Football games this year been bad? Aside from the Ravens-Falcons, and Texans-Eagles game, the games this season have not been good. Obviously it has been a bizarre NFL season, and many of these games looked like they would be exciting before the season started.
I don't know if it has anything to do with the actual play of the games, or the commentating from Bob Papa, Matt Millen, and the oh, so brilliant, Joe Theisman. Last week during the Eagles game, Theisman's presence was felt when he said, "The Texans need to score, and the only way they are going to do that, is if they stop the Eagles here." Thanks Joe. Don't even get me started on the boring voice of Bob Papa who cannot make a game exciting, even if it was the Super Bowl.
Enough about that. Here are my picks for week 14.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Both of these teams come into this game hurting, but very alive in the AFC South race. Peyton Manning has thrown 11 interceptions the past three weeks, and four in each of his last two games. It looks as if he is a different quarterback. The Titans on the other hand are in a free fall, and it appears Jeff Fisher has lost his team.
These teams always tend to play close games, and with the way both are playing, it could come down to the end. I expect the Colts to try and get on the right path here as they win in Tennessee to get to 7-6.
Fearless Forecast: Colts 27, Titans 20
Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills
In a game that has no playoff implications whatsoever, it could have implications on the Bills future. While Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well this season, the Bills have their sights set on Andrew Luck. The problem is they need to get the number one pick. While a win here is nice, it does not benefit them.
I'm not suggesting they go out there and lose on purpose, but I think you get the gist of what I'm saying.
The Browns come into this game as one of the surprises in the NFL at 5-7. This team plays hard each week and has creeped up on teams this season. Jake Delhomme will start for the third consecutive week as Colt McCoy is still nursing an ankle injury. Delhomme is 2-0 since taking over for McCoy, but is one of the most erratic quarterbacks in the league.
I think the Bills will win here, giving them a two game cushion over the Panthers in the race for Andrew Luck. That is not a good thing.
Fearless Forecast: Bills 17, Browns 14
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Every week the Falcons are finding different ways to win, and continue to move closer and closer to securing home field advantage in the NFC. Last week was a test for this Falcons team, and they passed it, coming back from a 24-14 deficit. Good teams win close games, and the Falcons have been doing it all season long.
With Jimmy Clausen not looking like he can be the Panthers quarterback of the future, the Panthers are in dire need of a quarterback. Similar to the Bills, wins will not benefit them at this point, not that they have to worry about it. They will struggle here as they drop to 1-12.
Fearless Forecast: Falcons 31, Panthers 13
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
In his first career NFL start, Drew Stanton was impressive, going 16-24 for 178 yards and a touchdown against a tough Bears defense. The Lions could have won that game, but that has been the story of their season: missed opportunities.
The first time these teams met, the Packers escaped with a 28-26 victory. The Packers are a different team now, and have rallied around all their injuries. Aaron Rodgers has been an MVP candidate thus far and has the Packers at 8-4.
The Lions will play hard as they do every week, but will come up short again.
Fearless Forecast: Packers 36, Lions 23
Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars
With his 186 yard performance on the ground last week, Maurice Jones Drew now has five straight 100 yard games and counting. The Jags are 7-5, and cannot be taken lightly. They control their fate in the AFC South.
The Raiders are an interesting team. After looking so bad the past few weeks, they had an unexpected win last week when the dominated the Chargers in San Diego, 28-13. I just can't figure this team out. Similar to the Jags, the Raiders have a legitimate shot of winning the AFC West, having swept the Chargers and beaten the Chiefs once.
With each week the Jags win, I am starting to believe in them more and more. David Garrard has had a bounce back season, and Jack Del Rio is saving his job.
Fearless Forecast: Jaguars 24, Raiders 17
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Since Leslie Frazier took over for the Vikings, they have looked like a different team and gone 2-0. Granted, it was against the Redskins and Bills, but in Brad Childress' final days, this team was an embarrassment. Now they have a true test against the Giants.
At 8-4, the Giants are in a battle with the Eagles for the NFC East. With a two headed monster of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants are getting back to the football that won them a Super Bowl. Eli Manning will get back both Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith this week in a receiver corpse that needs some help.
The Giants will win this game, I'm not officially buying into the Vikings. I want to see them beat a good team before I place them as dangerous. Brett Favre is just not the same.
Fearless Forecast: Giants 27, Vikings 16
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Before I start on this game, let me just say this: Ben Roethlisberger is the ultimate warrior. Playing on a broken foot last week, and then breaking his nose, Big Ben willed his team to victory to take control of the AFC North. Roethlisberger escaping from that sack late in the game won it for the Steelers.
The Bengals have been the biggest embarrassment of the NFL season. They have lost nine straight games and don't appear to be slowing down. Last week was perhaps the most painful of them all when on a fourth and one call, the Saints were attempting to draw the Bengals offsides and they actually jumped. Yes, you're reading this correctly. The Bengals jumped! That play never works! Consequently, the next play Drew Brees threw the game winning touchdown pass to Marques Colston. Game. Set. Match.
This game will be ugly. The Steelers roll.
Fearless Forecast: Steelers 23, Bengals 7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins
It's too bad the Buccaneers couldn't hold on last week, it would have been a huge win and would led them one step closer to a playoff berth. Another thing, I wish they would wear these throwback jerseys every week. Is there anything nicer than those?
They are still alive in the NFC playoff picture, but they're bubble will burst if they lose this week.
Luckily, they get a Redskins team who is in the midst of a meltdown. Mike Shanahan has messed up two things this season, and they aren't minor problems either. He refused to give Albert Haynesworth his orders, and the saga went on all off-season into the regular season. It was only a matter of time before he got suspended. With McNabb, Shanahan questioned both his ability in the two minute drill and his stamina. Why would you question your starting quarterback such as Donovan McNabb? Once again, this is another example of Donovan McNabb getting disrespected.
I'm a believer in this Bucs team and I love what Raheem Morris is doing. I think they go 8-5 here while the Redskins drop to 5-8.
Fearless Forecast: Buccaneers 20, Redskins 17
St.Louis Rams at New Orleans Saints
I'm very curious to see how the Rams respond in this game. At 6-6, they control their fate in the NFC west, and get a true test this week in New Orleans. Sam Bradford has been better than anyone expected at this point, and with an improving defense, this team is headed in the right direction.
The Saints are quietly 9-3, and started to return to Super Bowl. Although Reggie Bush has not been a factor since returning, it is always a luxury to have him out there.
Expect the Rams to struggle here as the Saints stay on the Falcons tail.
Fearless Forecast: Saints 30, Rams 16
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
It's a miracle the Seahawks are 6-6 and a have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. This team is just flat out bad, and are now hurting at wide receiver. They will struggle in San Francisco.
Alex Smith will return from a shoulder injury this week, and has to prove the 49ers that he can be their guy. He's had every chance to prove why he was taken number one overall, and he has not lived up at all. This is his final chance.
He will get off on the right foot as the 49ers cruise to victory.
Fearless Forecast: 49ers 27, Seahawks 10
Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals
Give me one storyline that is intriguing about this game. I dare you. Both teams are in a free fall, and the Broncos have fired Josh McDaniels as their coach.
However, I expect them to beat the Cardinals, and do it convincingly. The Cardinals are a mess, and will be starting rookie John Skelton out of Fordham as their quarterback. No team in the NFL is in need of a quarterback more than this team.
The Broncos will win this game as the Cardinals drop their eighth straight game.
Fearless Forecast: Broncos 30, Cardinals 10
New England Patriots at Chicago Bears
The game of the week features the 10-2 Patriots traveling to the Windy City to play the surprising 9-3 Bears. Hate on the Bears all you want but this team is for real and have their sights set on a first round bye.
The bad news for them is they get a Patriots team who is playing better than any team in the league. The Patriots set the tone in the AFC last week when they embarrassed the Jets 45-3 on Monday Night Football. Tom Brady has shredded the best defenses in the league, such as the Steelers and Jets. He gets another test this week in Chicago.
I am sold on the Bears as a contender in the NFC, but they are not as good as the Patriots, and lose a close one here.
Fearless Forecast: Patriots 27, Bears 23
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
The Dolphins are a team I just can't figure out. They are 5-1 on the road, and just 1-5 at home. Huh? The Dolphins always play the Jets close, and I like them in an upset here.
The Jets are fresh off of their embarrassing performance on national television and would badly like to wash that bad taste of their mouth. Mark Sanchez had his worst game of the season, throwing three interceptions, and he is the key to the Jets success.
I have been so bad at picking Dolphins games this year, and am going to pick them to win on the road in this one. The Jets drop their second straight.
Fearless Forecast: Dolphins 21, Jets 20
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
Last week, riding a four game winning streak, the Chargers had a chance to take control of the AFC West. However, they failed to show up and got it taken to them at home against the Raiders. The Chargers have just one win in the AFC West, and with the first place Chiefs coming to town this week, it's a must win.
The Chargers chances have gotten higher over the week. With Matt Cassel undergoing an appendectomy this week, his status for Sunday is uncertain. Don't expect him to play though. Assuming Cassel is a no-go, Brodie Croyle will get the nod.
It's been hard to put an identity on many teams this season, and the Chargers are one of the most up and down teams in the NFL. They win here and pull to one game behind the Chiefs.
Fearless Forecast: Chargers 31, Chiefs 17
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
As an Eagles fan, I feel it is my duty to pick them to win, but it won't be easy this week. The Cowboys are looking to play spoiler, and are 3-1 since Jason Garret has taken over for Wade Phillips.
The Eagles come into this game at 8-4 and in a battle with the Giants for the NFC East. The two teams will meet one more time, but in New York. As you well know, Michael Vick has been the story of the NFL season, placing himself in the MVP talk.
After looking so lifeless with Wade Phillips coaching, the Cowboys are playing inspired football under Jason Garrett. I don't know what he's doing, but hes' doing something right. The Cowboys are running the football much more, and limiting their turnovers. They are maintaining a balanced offense and it is showing.
The Eagles lost to the Cowboys three times last season, and would love revenge. They get it here.
Fly Eagles Fly.
Fearless Forecast: Eagles 23, Cowboys 16
Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans
In this weeks edition of Monday Night Football, the Ravens go on the road to play the Texans. At 5-7, the Texans are still alive, but barely. A loss here would end their season, and it would cap off yet another disappointing year.
The Ravens are coming off of a loss against the Steelers in a game they could have secured first place in the AFC North. Now, they are likely headed towards the wild card. This will be a tough game for the Ravens, and the Texans will play well.
I like the Texans in this one as they play well in front of their home crowd.
Fearless Forecast: Texans 34, Ravens 31
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