NFL Week 14 Picks: Predicting the Winner of All 14 Matchups

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: James Conner #30 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a 1 yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Justin Berl/Getty Images

The playoff picture in the NFL is becoming clearer and the Week 14 slate of games will go a long way in determining which 12 teams we see representing the NFC and AFC in the upcoming postseason.

The Los Angeles Rams have secured their spot in the playoffs by winning their division, but which other teams will inch closer to vying for a championship by taking care of business this week?

Find out with these predictions for every game, with the projected winner of each showdown in bold.

    

Predictions

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (8:20 pm, NBC, Thursday)

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (1:00 pm, CBS)

New York Giants at Washington Redskins (1:00 pm, Fox)

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1:00 pm, Fox)

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (1:00 pm, CBS)8:

Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (1:00 pm, CBS)

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (1:00 pm, CBS)

Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (1:00 pm, Fox)

Carolina Panthers at Cleveland Browns (1:00 pm, Fox)

Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers (4:05 pm, CBS)

Cincinatti Bengals at Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 pm, CBS)

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (4:25 pm, Fox)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders (4:25, Fox)

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (4:25, CBS)

Los Angeles Rams at Chicago Bears (8:20, NBC)

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (8:15, ESPN)

               

Steelers Look to Rebound After Losses

Three weeks ago, the likelihood of a Pittsburgh Steelers appearance in the Super Bowl was relatively high. The team was rolling, with offenses that appeared unstoppable. Since then, they have dropped two in a row.

Sunday afternoon, they have the opportunity to reverse their fortunes.

The Steelers will travel cross-country to face an Oakland team that is 2-10 and cannot seem to get out of its own way. Pittsburgh is coming off two straight losses, including a crushing defeat to a Los Angeles Chargers team it had down 23-7 at halftime. 

Speaking to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dismissed the notion of pressure. Cornerback Joe Haden was even more flippant in his own dismissal of panic. "It's just two losses. We good. We're still on the path of what we need to do. We've still got four games left. We've just got to tighten back up."

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Joe Haden #23 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Haden, formerly a Cleveland Brown who endured many losses, may not see the big deal, but the Steelers allowed the Baltimore Ravens back into the fight for the AFC North. The interdivisional rival is within a half-game of the Steelers and faces an easier path to the playoffs than Pittsburgh, who still has matchups with the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints on the schedule.

Luckily, Roethlisberger rolls into Oakland as the league's leading passer with 3,945 yards and two wideouts in Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster who have had little problem taking over games, facing a Raiders pass defense that ranks 14th overall. 

The key to victory may be second-year running back James Conner, who will play the 31st-ranked rushing defense. Though he has been held under 100 yards in three straight games, he did score twice against the Chargers and will have plenty of opportunities to do so against a bad Raiders front seven.

     

Seattle Rolling as Playoffs Loom

This season did not start well for Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, but there are few teams hotter than the birds from the Pacific Northwest right now. Monday night, they have the opportunity to move closer to a wild-card berth when they play a desperate Minnesota Vikings unit at home.

Wilson's yardage may not impress anyone in comparison to the Breeses, Goffs and Mahomeses of the world, but he has 29 total touchdowns to only five interceptions and is finding success pushing the ball downfield. It is the ground game that is fueling the 'Hawks resurgence.

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 02: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks avoids a tackle by Malcolm Smith #51 of the San Francisco 49ers in the first half at CenturyLink Field on December 2, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Using a game plan that would make the Nebraska Cornhuskers of the 1980s proud, Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have utilized running backs Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis to the tune of 148.8 yards per game for a total of 1,786 yards on the year.

It will face a challenge in a Vikings rush defense that is giving up just under 100 yards per game.

In order to emerge with a win and keep their postseason aspirations alive, the Seahawks may have to lean on Wilson to make the big play against a leaky Vikings pass defense.

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