NFL Predictions: Week 14 Picks for Every Game
With the playoffs approaching, divisional races are coming down to the wire, and some will be heavily decided after this week's slate of NFL games. Some games to watch this week are Falcons-Panthers, Texans-Bengals and Giants-Cowboys, as some of those games could decide the fate of those NFL teams.
Here are my predictions for Week 14 in the NFL.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
No run game, not a great quarterback and a below-average defense. The first thing that pops into my head is why the heck would this team be in a prime-time game on Thursday Night Football? Cleveland will most likely manage a few field goals in this game, nothing special.
The Steelers are an absolute lock for the wild card if they cannot come away with their division. Two loses to Baltimore really hurt their chances, but anything can happen. In this game, I expect Dick LeBeau's defense to dominate this game and Big Ben to have a solid game on the other side of the ball.
Prediction: Browns 9, Steelers 24
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
The Colts showed a few signs of life last week against the Patriots, only losing by a touchdown. At least now we know they have a pulse. The Colts are just getting pounded week after week, and this week in Baltimore, I expect much of the same.
Get ready to say "The Indianapolis Colts are now on the clock."
This should be an easy game for the Ravens, just to get warmed up for the playoffs. Although the Ravens have lost very winnable games this season, I don't expect this week to be one of them. Expect Ray Rice to get a lot of carries and Baltimore to put a lot of points on the board against a week Indianapolis defense.
Prediction: Colts 7, Ravens 35
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
The Falcons are coming off a tough road loss to the Texans and are trying to save a possible late-season collapse. In this game, I think Michael Turner will have a solid game against the 32nd-ranked rush defense of the Carolina Panthers, and Matt Ryan will show his maturity and step up big in a game they need to win. I expect Ryan to go to Roddy White constantly against a weak secondary as well.
Cam Newton is the only thing keeping the Panthers from being 0-13. The Panthers are really an awful team besides Newton. DeAngelo Williams has been a complete bust, Jon Beason has been out all season and Newton has had to step up, put points on the board each and every week and live up to expectations. I think he's exceeded expectations, but this week, I don't see him coming away with a win.
Prediction: Falcons 28, Panthers 14
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals
The Houston Texans are a team with a lot of reliable targets, even if they have no quarterback to rely on. Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and company have had success in the past two games with T.J Yates starting.
This week, the Texans signed 41-year-old Jeff Garcia. Are you kidding me? I have no idea who will start this week at quarterback, but assuming it's Yates, I don't know if he will repeat the same success he's had in recent weeks in Cincinnati.
The Bengals up-and-down season all comes down to this game. The Jets are likely to beat Tyler Palko and the Chiefs, so if the Bengals want to keep their playoff hopes alive, this is a must-win game, and I see Andy Dalton stepping up and performing. The Bengals realize what is at stake here and will likely be fired up for this one. I think this win will be up to how the Cincinnati defense performs.
Prediction: Texans 10, Bengals 14
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a tough loss at home to Tim Tebow and the Broncos, and now have to go on the road to face the Detroit Lions, who are fighting to make the wild card. The good news for the Vikings is that Adrian Peterson should return to the field this week, and I think this game will be a lot closer then people expect. Peterson should get a huge amount of carries this week, and it's also a plus for the Vikings that Ndamukong Suh won't be playing as well.
The Lions have their backs against the wall this week, with the Falcons and Giants right on their tails. The margin of error for this team is zero right now, and Jahvid Best is still missing for this team. However, Kevin Smith has been exceeding expectations, and you always have a shot when Megatron is one of your targets. This game will be close, but I think the Lions will have just enough to win.
Prediction: Vikings 21, Lions 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars
My upset pick of the week
The Bucs have just looked awful this season. Josh Freeman has definitely not lived up to the hype, and you never know what you're getting from LeGarrette Blount week to week. This team is consistent at being inconsistent. I think this should be a game the Bucs can handle, but there are just so many questions, and I have many doubts about Tampa Bay this weekend.
With the selling of the team and the firing of Jack Del Rio, the Jags have been through a lot in the past week. The only one they can rely on is MJD, the NFL's second-leading rusher. I expect them to pound the ball over and over again with Jones-Drew until he finally breaks one. Blaine Gabbert will throw a few interceptions when he actually does throw the ball, but the Bucs just don't know how to capitalize.
Prediction: Buccaneers 9, Jaguars 13
Philadephia Eagles at Miami Dolphins
The so called "Dream Team," which was expected to breeze through the regular season and win the NFC East no problem, has been a huge dissapointment. Huge is an understatement to say the least.
A banged-up Michael Vick and a completely depleted Eagles squad has to get themselves together as they head to Miami this week. The Eagles just look like they have given up, and many questions remain to be answered about this team in the offseason.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, have been hot of late. If it weren't for a one-point loss on Thanksgiving Day, we could be looking at one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history. It really has been a great story, and Matt Moore certainly has elevated his game since Carolina. Expect Reggie Bush to pounce on this weak Eagles defense early and often, and a lot of wildcat will be run in this game.
Prediction: Eagles 17, Dolphins 31
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets
Kansas City Chiefs
Here comes a blow out. The Chiefs are heading to New York with possibly the worst quarterback of all time, Tyler Palko, under center. OK, maybe I was a little harsh to say worst quarterback of all time, but he's definitely up there.
I find it hard to imagine this offense accomplishing anything at all in this game, and the windy Meadowlands may even reject the field goal attempts of Kansas City. Ouch. Doesn't look good for Kansas City this week.
New York Jets
Its go time. NOT. The Jets do not look like a legitmate team to me as long as Mark Sanchez—the man who poses more for GQ magazine then ESPN—is taking the snaps. Maybe it's time to bring back the ancient Mark Brunnel. Just joking, but he has not had a very impressive season so far. He needs to limit the interceptions and run more play action if this offense wants to succeed.
Everyone knows they have no run game, and Mark Sanchez won't perform well with extra men in the secondary. However, this game, I expect a nice performance from the Jets all around.
Prediction: Chiefs 3, Jets 35
New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
The Saints are a very dominant team at home; on the road, not so much. However, the Titans don't play in the most intimidating atmosphere and don't have an elite quarterback that can go toe to toe with Drew Brees. I expect the Saints offense to light up the scoreboard in this one and make a big statement that they are good enough to beat a team like the Packers.
The good news for the Titans is that Chris Johnson looks to have his swagger back and just in time; the bad news is, they have to play Drew Brees and company this week. Not exactly the matchup you want when you have to win out for your best chance to make a playoff run.
If the Titans want a chance, Chris Johnson needs to run for almost 200 yards, and Matt Hasselbeck has to look like he's in his prime, both of which we know are unlikely to happen, so Ill take my chances with the Saints in this one.
Prediction: Saints 31, Titans 17
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins
New England Patriots
Tom Brady and the Patriots are heading to Washington in what is just another game for them. Brady throws for three touchdowns, and Green-Ellis pounds the ball in the end zone on 1st-and-goal. Just another game for the Pats. I'm expecting another nice week for Brady and a commanding win over the Redskins at FedEx Field.
It hasn't been the prettiest season for the Redskins. Quarterback dilemmas, running back trouble. The only bright side for this team is rookie Roy Helu. He should have a decent game against the weak linebacking corps of the Patriots, but it wont be nearly enough to overcome the Pats in late-season form.
Prediction: Patriots 35, Redskins 13
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
What a season it has been for these 49ers. Let's be honest, I dont think any of us saw this coming. The 49ers trying to get the No. 2 seed? With Alex Smith as quarterback? Please tell me I'm dreaming. Bigger surprise of the year: Philadelphia Eagles or San Francisco 49ers?
This week, I expect a decent game against a team coming off a huge win. Not going to be a blow out, but certainly a winnable game for the 49ers.
Well, the Kevin Kolb trade was a bust on both sides, and the only bright spot this year has been Patrick Peterson. Unfortunately, unless the Cardinals force punts 15 times a game, I don't think they will come out on top in this one. The 49ers have been in a groove all year, and I don't see that changing.
Prediction: 49ers 24, Cardinals 9
Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos
The chances of the Bears making the playoffs are decreasing week after week, and with Matt Forte now gone, the season is over for the Bears. Unfortunately, I say they have a slim chance with Matt Forte.
Caleb Hanie struggled last week at home against Kansas City, so I can't imagine what will happen against the Broncos in a hyped up atmosphere. Let's just say Robbie Gould will get his work in this weekend. You can stop Tebow for 50 minutes, you can stop him for 56 minutes, but those last four minutes are going to kill you.
The question everyone is asking, "Tim Tebow? Is it luck or skill?"
Anyone who starts out 6-1 as a quarterback in the National Football League has legitimate skill. He may not run an NFL offense, but he's making some defenses look silly against the option. Kind of ridiculous, but it's working, and he could be revolutionizing the game.
Off the field, Tebowing and #TebowTime have been exploding in the sports world and in the Mile High City. They're at home this week and have some momentum off of a nice win against the Vikings, so I'll take my chances with them this week.
Prediction: Bears 6, Broncos 17
Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers
After an embarrassing loss last week to Miami and the Denver Broncos on their tail, the Oakland Raiders are in panic mode right now, and this is not a good week to be facing the best team in the National Football League.
The Raiders will most likely get slapped in Green Bay this week, and I don't see them beating out the Broncos, Jets or Steelers to get into the playoffs unless Carson Palmer elevates his game sometime soon and playmaker Darren McFadden returns to the field.
Green Bay Packers
If any team left on the Packers schedule had a chance to know them off, it was the Giants last week, and they came up just short. Now, I see the Pack cruising to the AFC Championship game. It doesn't look like anyone can stop this team, and I don't think anybody will.
This will be just another five-touchdown game for Aaron Rodgers at Lambau, and it will only help their case for one of the best teams of all time thanks to youth, health and Rodgers.
Prediction: Raiders 10, Packers 42
Buffalo Bills at San Diego Chargers
After a hot start to the season, the Bills completely fell apart. With playmaker Fred Jackson done for the season, I think the Buffalo Bills are too. It's time to start looking forward to the NFL Draft next year for the Bills and trying to figure out what to do with flashy wide receiver Stevie Johnson. He is really hurting his chances of being picked up next season on and off the field, and it looks like the Bills will have another unsuccessful season.
It's hard to tell which season has been worse, the Buffalo Bills' or the San Diego Chargers'. A six-game losing streak was finally snapped last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and they may be getting into a little bit of a groove now facing yet another weak team this week. I see Rivers having a very nice game, but I don't think this game alone will be enough to save Norv Turner's job.
Prediction: Bills 17, Chargers 24
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
It's been a rough year for the New York Giants. Injuries, injuries, and more injuries. Also, they probably have had the toughest last nine-game stretch in the NFL: New England, New Orleans, Green Bay and Dallas. It doesn't get much tougher then that, but somehow, the Giants are a win away from being in first place in the NFC East.
The Giants realize what's on the line this week. They could lose their head coach, season and confidence down the stretch. However, If they win, I could see them winning out against Washington, NY Jets and Dallas. Their fate will be decided this week.
Tony Romo has to be great Sunday night; otherwise, Eli Manning will capitalize on every mistake he makes. The defense has to be stellar against this wide recieving corps and watch out for Jake Ballard and Victor Cruz. The key is not giving up the big plays and not turning the ball over. However, the Cowboys could be starting to lose it now after a big loss to Arizona, and they have given the Giants life.
It's time to close the door in the NFC East this week, and I think it will be a high-scoring, intense battle this week in Big D.
Prediction: Giants 35, Cowboys 31
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
To be honest, I think more football fans will be watching 2 Broke Girls on CBS Monday night over this "prime-time matchup."
St. Louis Rams
Where do I begin with the Rams? It's been such an awful year for the Rams, and with Sam Bradford not looking sharp at all, It could be foreshadowing tons of trouble in St. Louis for years to come. Many were expecting bigger and better things this year out of Bradford and the Rams this season, and they have been a major disappointment.
Steve Spagnuolo is on the hot seat, and now possibly Sam Bradford? Certainly not a good season at all this year for St. Louis.
A great surprise for the Seahawks in recent weeks has been Marshawn Lynch. A lot of people didn't think he had anything left once he left Buffalo, but he's been proving everyone wrong. He's becoming the go-to-guy in this offense and is the most—possibly only—valuable player on this team.
I see him running wild this week against the Rams and possibly putting the Seahawks in the hunt. That's how inconsistent the NFC has been this year.
Prediction: Rams 7, Seahawks 21