NFL Picks Week 14: 6 Games That Will Come Down to the Wire
We've seen plenty of NFL games come down to the wire this season, and Week 14 will be no different.
Some games may be close due to both teams playing at such a high level. Other games will be close because of one team playing down to their level of competition.
Whether it's Tim Tebow bringing us another late victory, or a complete dud of a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars, here are six NFL games in Week 14 that will come down to the wire.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
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We'll start with what will likely be the worst game of Week 14.
Neither the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Jacksonville Jaguars are playing very good football right now. In fact, there aren't many teams playing worse than these two right now.
What both of these teams have in common is that they've both been a disappointment this year. Tampa Bay has been a disappointment as a team, while the Jaguars have seen Blaine Gabbert become a major disappointment in his rookie season.
It's likely that there will be plenty of running, interceptions and poor play in this game. Don't be surprised if either team has difficulty finding the end zone.
Final Score: Tampa Bay 13, Jacksonville 10
A late touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount will put Tampa Bay up late in the fourth quarter, and we all know that Gabbert won't be getting his first career fourth-quarter comeback.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Miami Dolphins
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This game could actually be one of the more exciting games of Week 14.
Even though the Philadelphia Eagles are coming off of a massive letdown against the Seattle Seahawks last week, they still have one of the more explosive offenses in the league. Plus, they will be getting Michael Vick back this week.
The Miami Dolphins are coming off of a complete thumping of the Oakland Raiders last week, and have been playing extremely solid football the past few weeks. Their offense has also been putting up some nice numbers with Matt Moore at the helms.
While the Dolphins defense is much better than Philadelphia's defense, I still expect this game to be a high scoring affair. Neither the Eagles or Dolphins will be able to slow down the opposing offenses.
Final Score: Philadelphia 31, Miami 27
Miami will jump out to an early lead, but a Vick-lead comeback in the second half will be finalized when he scrambles for a long touchdown in the final minute of the game.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers
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Both the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are playing quality football in the last stretch of the season.
For Carolina, it all starts with Cam Newton. He currently leads the entire NFL in rushing touchdowns with 13, and I wouldn't be surprised if he adds another one or two to that total against Atlanta.
The big issue I see in this game is with the Panthers stopping Michael Turner and the Falcons run game. They've let up some huge rushing yards against powerful backs this year, and it could happen again this week.
If Atlanta can effectively run the ball, this could be a low scoring game. However, if Carolina jumps out to a quick lead, look for a shootout between two talented quarterbacks.
Final Score: Carolina 24, Atlanta 21
Even though Atlanta is the much better overall team, Newton is starting to get the taste of victory, and I don't see that stopping at home for him this week.
Newton will put the Panthers up by three with a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Atlanta will have plenty of time, but a costly interception from Matt Ryan will seal their fate.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
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Even with Adrian Peterson as a game-time decision against the Detroit Lions, I still think this will be an extremely close game between two bitter rivals in the NFC North.
The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a heartbreak loss to Tim Tebow, but that game was actually their best game as a team. They had control of the game for the majority of the second half, but late mistakes from Christian Ponder caused them to lose.
The Lions have been sliding down the rankings since their quick start to the season: They have only won two of their last seven games. The big problem has been mental errors, and that isn't a problem likely to be fixed in one week.
If Peterson can play on Sunday, the Vikings should be able to control the tempo of the game. However, if Peterson can't go, pressure will fall on Ponder's shoulders.
Final Score: Detroit 28, Minnesota 24
Ponder's a rookie and he is prone to making rookie mistakes. Just like last week, this game will end because of a late interception from Ponder.
Chicago Bears vs. Denver Broncos
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Don't act surprised. Any game involving Tim Tebow is bound to be a close game.
It will be interesting to see how one of the league's better defenses handles Tebow. The matchup between him and Brian Urlacher should be an extremely enjoyable one to watch.
In fact, it wouldn't be too surprising if the Broncos are forced to pass more than they ever have because of Chicago's ability to slow down Denver on the ground.
If that is the case, this could be a very ugly game.
Final Score: Chicago 10, Denver 7
It has to end sometime for Tebow, right? An ugly, defensive battle will end with Tebow falling yards short of another storybook ending.
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
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On Sunday night, with the division lead on the line, the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys will play a hard-fought game.
Both teams lost last week, and both teams will be looking to avenge that loss with a huge late-season victory. It should be a fun game to watch.
The key players in this game are going to be two breakout players in Laurent Robinson and Victor Cruz. Whichever surprising player has a better game will likely result in their team winning.
The winner of this game will be in first place in the NFC East. If the Cowboys win, they will have a commanding lead. However, if the Giants win, it is likely that the division won't be decided until a Week 17 rematch.
Final Score: Dallas 34, New York 31
Dallas has been playing better football of late, and is the more complete team between the two. Look for DeMarcus Ware to come up with a late sack and forced fumble to give the Cowboys the game.