Week 14: NFL's Biggest Games

Eric QuackenbushSenior Analyst IDecember 6, 2008

The regular season is quickly coming to a close, with only three weeks remaining.

We are in the 14th week of the season, and this weekend brings to the schedule some very big rivalry games!


Minnesota at Detroit

The Vikings have wound up having a fairly decent season, with a record of 7-5.

This weekend, Minnesota travels to the Motor City to take on a very lowly Detroit Lions team.

This season, the Lions have been a team that can't get out of its own way. They are horrible on offense, and deplorable on defense!

I really don't see Detroit giving Adrian Peterson and company a lot of trouble, and the Vikings should roll all over the Lions.

Pick: Minnesota Vikings

Atlanta at New Orleans

The Falcons have surprised everyone around the league this year, especially their NFC South counterparts.

Matt Ryan is having a stellar rookie campaign, and I feel he should be a candidate as Rookie of the Year!

Michael "Burner" Turner is just that. He has been burning defenses this season with his speed, and extreme agility and mobility.

Turner is the LT of the East Coast.

New Orleans, a team that was heavily favored to win the NFC South division this year, is in last place, but at least with a .500 record so far.

All in all this should be a very close game, especially considering it will be played in the Big Easy.

Crowd noise shouldn't play a factor for either team, as both Atlanta and New Orleans play in loud indoor environments.

We should see Atlanta improve to 9-4, handing the Saints another loss on the season.

Pick: Atlanta Falcons

Kansas City at Denver

Both the Chiefs and Broncos are 2-2 in the AFC West.

Believe it or not, the Chargers hold the lead for the division title.

Kansas City is coming off a tough win over the hated Raiders.

The Broncos tasted the sweetness of victory over a Brett Favre-led Jets team in the Meadowlands last Sunday night.

My feeling is the Broncos will look to build off of last week's win, and they will play tough against the Chiefs.

Pick: Denver Broncos

Philadelphia at NY Giants

The Giants have been unstoppable this season!

With an overall record of 11-1, an undefeated (4-0) division record, and an undefeated (8-0) conference record; can they make it 12-1, and clinch their division?

The Eagles have had a disappointingly sub-par season, but there was something a little different about the Eagles on Thanksgiving night.

Philadelphia absolutely dominated the NFC West's Arizona Cardinals, all the while looking like a true playoff contender.

The Giants have the fifth-best defense in the league, only allowing 206 points of offense so far on the season.

The Eagles offense ranks seventh, scoring a total of 319 points against opposing defenses.

With the Giants and Eagles both coming off very big wins last week, this is setting up to be a shootout, and one in which the last team that makes a big play will win.

Pick: Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas at Pittsburgh

This is an amazing matchup of sorts.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, quite arguably have the stingiest defense in the league, effectively allowing—170 points on the season—14 points per game!

The Dallas Cowboys, a team that has been riddled with off-the-field problems and their share of injuries, is hoping that the combination of Tony Romo to TO is effective enough to stop the Blitzburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu and company.

I have a bad feeling for Big D in this one; considering the fact Dallas has to travel to Pittsburgh and play in a hostile weather environment, and all those ugly, yellow, Terrible Towels will be swinging in full force.

Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington at Baltimore

The Redskins are in a rough spot right now. Star running back Clinton Portis is questionable for the Sunday night matchup against the Ravens.

In spite of growing criticisim about their aging defense, Ray Lewis and the Ravens have shown their athleticism against some very tough opponents, and have worked together to keep their team in some close games.

The Redskins, also with a rookie head coach, have had a great deal of success with a respectable—and winning—record of 7-5.

I think the difference in this game will be that the Ravens play really well at home.

Pick: Baltimore Ravens

Monday Night

Tampa Bay at Carolina

Wow, I am very nervous about this game.

This is a very tough game for both teams. Whenever these two clubs face off, there is such an environment of disdain and hostility towards each other. It's as bitter a rivalry as the Giants/Eagles game.

Amid reports—and statistic proof—that Jeff Garcia is the Panther killer, I hope the Panthers can squash that record, and keep Garcia from going 6-0 against Carolina.

There are two very helpful factors playing into the Panthers favor for this grueling matchup on Monday night.

The Buccaneers habitually don't play as effectively in colder weather. The game time temperature on Monday night in Charlotte: 39 degrees.

The other factor favoring the Panthers is the luxury of playing at home, and having the crowd noise to drown out Garcia's play calling.

The Panthers defense will need to step up big against the Bucs' running game, while also limiting Garcia in his passing game.

The Buccaneers defense will need to close the gaps that the Panthers offensive line plans on opening for the dual threat of Stewart and Williams.

Pick: Game of the week


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