NFL Picks Week 14: Picking Winners and Ranking The Games On Watchablity
NFL Week 14 begins tonight when Peyton Manning and the Colts take on the struggling Tennessee Titans. With just four games remaining until the playoffs teams are starting to find out where they stand in regard to the playoff picture.
Last week's games featured big time matchups that featured the likes of Baltimore-Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay-Atlanta and New York-New England.
This week not so much.
To help you parse through which games are worth checking out this weekend I've ranked them in terms of watchability.
Without further ado here are my Week 14 picks.
No. 16: Denver at Arizona
Two 3-9 teams that have suffered through inconsistent play all year long and a game that doesn't feature any must-see players outside of Larry Fitzgerald.
Sign me up. Just kidding, please don't.
Josh McDaniels is no longer roaming the sidelines for the Broncos after getting the axe earlier this week. The Broncos are in a state of disarray and don't seem to have a clue in what its plan is. The Cardinals on the other hand still haven't recovered from Kurt Warner retiring making this game a stay away unless you are a fan of these two teams.
In that case enjoy.
Why Denver wins: Something called John Skelton is supposed to start for the Cardinals, which actually could be an improvement over Derek Anderson. Nevertheless the Broncos are the better team here. Look for Kyle Orton to rebound after a poor performance last week.
No. 15: Atlanta at Carolina
The Falcons don't exactly play an exciting brand of football and the Panthers have Jimmy Clausen behind center. This has a chance to be a blowout but not an exciting one where Atlanta puts together a reel of exciting players.
Instead it's likely to be a dominating performance on the ground for the Falcons where they gradually break the will of the Panthers. If you're a fan of blowouts and watching a rookie quarterback run for his life this game is for you.
Why Atlanta wins: Carolina let Seattle run on them and the week before Peyton Hillis torched them. Michael Turner will have his way with the Panthers' defensive line opening up the passing game for Matt Ryan to find his favorite target Roddy White.
No. 14: Seattle at San Francisco
A matchup of two NFC West teams is going to come in low because of the quality of play. Matt Hasselbeck is no longer the player he once was and the most exciting part of both teams is its coaches.
Making this game even more unwatchable is the fact that Alex Smith is back under center for the Niners. Without Frank Gore this game lacks star power on the offensive side of the ball. This game should be close but will anybody be watching?
Why San Fran wins: The Seahawks have the better record, but are they that much better than the 49ers? No they aren't. Seattle is too inconsistent on the road to be trusted and the NFC West as a whole is unpredictable on a week to week basis.
Just when you think Seattle is emerging from the West, the 49ers will remind us all how poor this division really is.
No. 13: Tampa Bay at Washington
The Redskins have been consistent this season—consistently boring. Watching Donovan McNabb crumble in Washington hasn't been pleasant on the eyes of viewers.
Fun stat: McNabb has thrown only one multi-touchdown game this season while he's thrown four multi-interception games. Are people still questioning Andy Reid for sending McNabb to a division rival?
Tampa Bay on the other hand is a young exciting team, but the level of stank on the Redskins will make this game hard on the eyes.
Why Tampa Bay wins: The Buccaneers have been hit by the injury bug this past week losing Aqib Talib and Jeff Faine for the remainder of the season. While those are huge long-term losses for the Bucs it won't matter against the 'Skins, who have all but packed it in.
No. 12: Cleveland at Buffalo
Both of these teams have been involved in some close and exciting games this season, but when they get together on Sunday it has a good chance of being the polar opposite of exciting. Snow is in the forecast for Sunday, meaning this game has a chance to get ugly, especially with Jake Delhomme starting for the Browns.
If the weather is poor expect a low scoring sloppy game. And if the weather is good also expect a low scoring sloppy game.
Why Cleveland wins: Peyton Hillis will get a crack against the league's worst run defense in a game where throwing the football will be difficult with snow in the forecast. Buffalo's been competitive in almost every game this season, but got stomped on by Minnesota a week ago.
Look for them to rebound with a better performance, although in the end the Browns will escape in a close one to improve to 6-7.
No.11: Green Bay at Detroit
The Motor City Kitties have been competitive in the majority of its games so far and with the Packers coming into town the Lions are going to need a spirited effort to keep this close.
This game has a chance for fireworks with the Packers offensive in the mix, but the Lions are going to have to keep pace to make this worth tuning in for. I'm betting they don't and this looks like Green Bay's 34-16 win over San Fran last week.
Why Green Bay wins: Too much is on the line for Aaron Rodgers in co. to have a let down game here. The Pack trail Chicago by a game and a loss here would be devastating for its division title hopes.
Green Bay is simply the better team and will prove it Sunday.
No. 10: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
The Bengals remain a more entertaining off the field than on the field. Chad Ochocinco has been irrelevant on Sunday's this season while Terrell Owens has upstaged him. Against the Steelers it could be a rough day for both of them.
Pittsburgh is surging after a big win against Baltimore and Cincinnati continues to free fall. This one has a shot to get out of hand early.
Why Pittsburgh wins: The Steeler defense is going to force Carson Palmer to make mistakes giving Ben Roethlisberger and co. extra possessions to do damage. One thing to look out for is a potential let down game from Pittsburgh after a hard fought game against the Ravens.
Even if that happens the Steelers will prevail in a close one. Cincinnati has shown a tendency to shoot itself in the foot over and over. A good example would be last week when the Bengals jumped offsides late in the game on a fourth down against New Orleans.
No. 9: Miami at NY Jets
Rex Ryan's club was throttled by New England on Monday Night Football leaving many wondering what happened. The Jets' defense is supposed to be one of the best in the NFL, but they were completely embarrassed.
Now, the Dolphins are coming to town looking to improve to 7-6. Miami has a stout defense and you can bet the Jets' D will come out on all cylinders against the Dolphins. With that being said this is going to be a defensive battle where yards and points are hard to come by.
If you're a fan of offense this won't be your type of game.
Why NY wins: Getting trounced by the Pats was a humbling experience for an overconfident Jets team that has squeaked out win after win. This will be a tightly contested game throughout but look for the Jets to pull away in the fourth to take this by double digits.
Miami doesn't have the offensive weapons to score enough points to win this one.
No. 8: NY Giants at Minnesota
Brett Favre needs to play to make this one worth checking out. Sorry Tarvaris, but you aren't exactly must-see TV. It will be interesting to see how Favre responds to the pain and how effective he is.
On the other side the Giants are in the midst of fighting for a division title and have won two in a row like the Vikings. This has a chance to be a good game depending on who is quarterbacking the Vikes.
Why NY wins: There's just too much uncertainty with Favre's status right now. And even if he plays he is a shot or two away from being back on the sidelines. Jackson looked solid last week, but let's not forget he threw three interceptions, including a pick six.
The Giants are expected to get Hakeem Nicks back from injury which will be a big boost for the passing game. With Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs running the ball the way they are it will be too much for an aging Vikings' defense to handle.
No. 7: Oakland at Jacksonville
Many people are unaware of this Jaguars team outside of Maurice Jones-Drew and David Garrard. Despite some early season struggles Jacksonville has bounced back to take hold of the AFC South.
The Raiders are also having a resurgence after a poor start. This game will feature two premiere backs in Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden.. What's holding this game back from being hyped as one of the biggest games of the week is the inconsistent play of both QB's.
If Jason Campbell and Garrard are on this could potentially be a very good football game.
Why Oakland wins: The Jaguars are the biggest fraud in the NFL. Outside of beating the Colts they don't have a win that makes you believe in them. Jacksonville has given up 43 more points than scored this season, which is truly astonishing for a 7-5 division leading team.
The Raiders responded big against San Diego last week and a similar performance will be needed against the Jags. A win would keep Oakland's playoff hopes alive something the organization hasn't had for awhile.
Behind McFadden and solid play from Campbell the Raiders will climb a game over .500.
No. 6: Baltimore at Houston
Anytime the Texans are involved in a game there is a great chance of seeing a high number of points on the board. Houston's porous secondary has been getting torched throughout the season and Michael Vick was latest, who benefited from playing against the Texan defense.
Baltimore brings a grind it out style approach to the field which doesn't always create enjoyable games to watch. But something tells me John Harbaugh will let Joe Flacco air it out Monday night.
Throw in Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Ray Rice and you have a game full of playmakers making this a game worth watching regardless of Houston's record.
Why Baltimore wins: The Ravens had a shot to prove that they are a legit title contender with a win over the Steelers. In fact they had the game wrapped up, but Troy Polamalu came up big for the the Steelers.
This is an important rebound game for Baltimore as a loss would pretty much eliminate them from having a chance at winning the division.
The Texans have consistently found ways to lose games this season, especially of late. Houston may put up a fight but they'll ultimately come up short, which has been the story of its season.
No. 5: Indianapolis at Tennessee
It's been a rough season for Peyton Manning, especially of late with all the criticism he's taken for his recent barrage of interceptions. Manning's struggles make tonight's game against the Titans all that more interesting.
If Manning goes out and has a dominating performance all the critics will be put to rest, but if he continues to struggle and the Colts lose, the panic button will be hit in Indy. Tennessee has also been struggling of late and will look to get Chris Johnson back on track tonight.
This is definitely worth watching.
Why Indy wins: If the Colts were going up against a team that was playing solid football this pick might be different. Instead they have the luxury of playing the Titans who have lost five in a row. Jeff Fisher's squad is spiraling down hill and things may not have hit rock bottom yet.
Manning will bounce back from his recent poor play with a nice game to shut everyone up.
No. 4: St. Louis at New Orleans
A matchup that pits an established team that is the reigning Super Bowl champs against an up and coming team that is going to be good for years to come. Beating a New Orleans squad that is clicking on all cylinders currently may be too tall of a task for the young Rams, but this is a good chance for them to make a statement.
It will be a joy to watch Sam Bradford go up against Drew Brees. Hopefully, St. Louis can make this a game and even if they come up short this should be a fun one.
Why New Orleans wins: Simply put, the Saints are the superior team. Brees will carve up the Rams' defense and make it look easy. St. Louis has had a nice season but they don't have the receiving threats to make enough plays down field to keep up with the high scoring Saints.
No. 3: Kansas City at San Diego
For those that don't remember, the Chiefs upset the Chargers in Week 1, 21-14. After a disappointing loss to the Raiders last week San Diego will look to bounce back and exact revenge against KC.
The Chargers are in a must-win situation against the Chiefs and a loss would pretty much seal its playoff fate. Luckily, for San Diego the Chiefs are likely going to be without Matt Cassel who underwent an appendectomy this past week.
With or without Cassel this is a huge game with playoff implications. For that reason alone it's worth keeping an eye on this one.
Why San Diego wins: The loss to Oakland at home was inexcusable and it very well could cost them a playoff berth. Regardless of the loss to the Raiders, beating the Chiefs would have had to happen even if they were to have won last week.
Philip Rives is going to have a big bounce back game and the Cassel-less Chiefs won't be able to move the ball against the San Diego defense.
No. 2: Philadelphia at Dallas
The Michael Vick show will be heading to the biggest, shiniest and brightest stadium of all which resides in Dallas to play in primetime. Sunday night's game will feature the reinvigorated Vick against Jason Garrett's suddenly hot Cowboys.
Dallas is a Roy Williams fumble from being on a four-game win streak while the Eagles have won four out of its past five games.
Bottom line: anytime the Eagles are playing it's must-see TV with the way Vick is playing.
Why Philadelphia wins: With Dez Bryant out for the season the Dallas offense and special teams become a little bit more ordinary. Jon Kitna is proving to be reliable, but against the Eagles they are going to need him to be better than average.
This one has shootout written all over in it and in that don't bet against Vick.
No. 1: New England at Chicago
Tom Brady has been masterful this season picking apart opposing defenses. It's amazing what he's doing without an established receiving threat or running back. Brady will have another tough defense opposing him this Sunday in Chicago.
The Bears continue to be doubted by many despite winning five in a row. A win over the Pats would prove the doubters wrong and send a big message to the rest of the NFL.
With Jay Cutler leading the Bears anything is possible in this one. It could be a blowout or an absolute thriller. Either way the NFL world will be watching.
Why New England wins: This should be a close one. Don't expect the Pats to come out flying like they did against the Jets. In fact don't be surprised if New England starts off slow coming off the big Monday night win.
But when it's all said and done Brady will have the last laugh over Cutler's Bears.