Week 14 is here and I went 12-4 in my picks and means my total is up to 109-79. This week, there are some very big games in store for all NFL fans this week. To start off the week, we have the New Orleans Saints taking on the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football while Sunday brings crucial matchups between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and L.A. Rams, and the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. All of these games will either move the teams down or up in the playoff seeding so sit back, and enjoy these picks.
Falcons 24, Saints 23; 8:25pm NFL Network/NBC
Thursday Night Football In Atlanta will be a very good one and will almost certainly come down to the wire. The Saints are coming off a great performance against the Carolina Panthers while the Atlanta Falcons are coming off a tough loss to the Minnesota Vikings. For the Falcons it will come down to stopping Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram and forcing Drew Brees to throw, which isn’t necessarily a problem for the Saints. The Falcons will also need to finish long 8-12 play drives in order to keep the Saints offense off the field. The same thing goes for the Saints as they’ll be attempting to shut down the run first and keep Atlanta’s offense off the field. Since this game is in Atlanta, I’ll give it to the Falcons by 1 point.
Panthers 20, Vikings 19; 1:00pm FOX
Another crucial matchup that is tough to call given that these two teams have excellent defenses but the Vikings win streak needs to end at some point right? Coming off a close win in Atlanta may make them a bit overconfident but they have a poised quarterback in Case Keenum who is very accurate in his throws even when under duress. The advantage here for the Panthers is Cam Newton’s mobility which will be essential to neutralizing the Vikings fierce front seven while the defense will need to shut down the Vikings run game to force Keenum to throw a bunch. It should be a low-scoring affair in Carolina and will come down to the team that takes advantage of turnovers… if there even are any in this game.
Colts 21, Bills 18; 1:00pm CBS
The only reason I’m giving this to the Colts is because Tyrod Taylor may not play, but if he does play then it should be the Bills winning this game. The key to a Colts win in this game is the run game, relying on future Hall of Famer in Frank Gore and Marlon Mack. If Peterman plays for the Bills, well… they’ll be hoping he doesn’t throw 5 interceptions in the first half again or else they’ll be stuck with him for the whole game epic Tyrod Taylor can’t suit up.
Packers 24, Browns 17; 1:00pm FOX
This game could bring the Browns their first win of the season but I’m giving it to the Packers because they need to win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Packers are coming off an overtime win against the Bucs while the Browns are coming off their 12th loss of the season against the Chargers. This game will come down to whichever team turns the ball over least amount of times. Hundley is coming off an ok performance while Kizer is also coming off an average performance. Even though this game may be in Cleveland, expect the Packers to walk in and get the job done.
Bengals 23, Bears 20; 1:00pm FOX
The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a brutal loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers and will look to bounce back against a Bears team that lost at home against the lowly 49ers. The reason this game should be closer than people think is because of Burfict’s head injury and Joe Mixon’s concussion, which all happened this past week. The Chicago Bears will most certainly need to rely on their run game to alleviate the pressure on Trubisky and the Bengals will know that dropping the run game will be key to a win come Sunday.
Cowboys 24, Giants 20; 1:00pm FOX
The Cowboys are coming off a dominating performance against the Redskins on Thursday Night Football and could use the extra rest as Sean Lee should be back from a hamstring injury he suffered just a few weeks ago. The Giants are also in shambles after recently firing GM Jerry Reece and head coach Ben McAdoo and Eli will be starting again for the Giants on Sunday. This game really could be a blowout win for the Cowboys but seeing as the Giants know how to keep games close between the Cowboys, this game could be closer than people think.
Texans 24, 49ers 22; 1:00pm FOX
Tom Savage and the Texans will look to score more points against the 49ers who recently defeated the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field this past Sunday. Many should suspect a close game between these two teams because Jimmy Garropolo has looked every bit like the quarterback of the future for the Niners and is still unbeaten in all of his NFL starts (3-0). It wouldn’t be surprising if the Niners came out on top because of his play and because the Texans O-line will have to block the young, hungry Niners front seven. For the Texans, they could use a big performance from Lamar Miller especially against a Niners defense that struggles to start the run (apart from last week), so expect this to be a close affair and a game that could go either way.
Lions 27, Bucs 24; 1:00pm FOX
This game could be a high-scoring affair due to the two teams defense that struggle mightily to defend against the pass, but what will really be a crucial factor will be if Matt Stafford actually suits up on Sunday after suffering a hand injury that kept him out of the remainder of the game in the 4th quarter. If he does play, expect Stafford to light it up against the Bucs as he did against the Ravens last week and is certainly capable of doing all of the dirty work for the Lions offense. The Bucs will just hope they can win another game this season especially since they will be facing division opponents after this week that are all hungry to earn their spot in the playoffs.
Chiefs 26, Raiders 24; 1:00pm CBS
Remember the last time these two these two teams played? This game was crazy as it came down to the final play of the game which resulted in multiple repititions of the play because of penalties and resulted in a Raiders win. The Chiefs will certainly be looking to get revenge on them after that loss and their loss against the Jets in which they allowed 38 points to Josh McCown. The Raiders are looking to stay alive in the playoff hunt by defeating the Chiefs for a second time and hope Marshawn Lynch runs all over the defense like he did against the Giants. Expect this to come down to the final drive of the game.
Broncos 22, Jets 20; 1:00pm CBS
The Broncos can no longer make the playoffs after their loss to the Dolphins and their quarterback situation is looking worse than ever before. The only reasons I would give this game to the Broncos is because of the defense and because the Broncos are at home. The Jets will do everything in their power to beat the lowly Broncos ans McCown will look to light up the “No Fly Zone” up like he did against the Chiefs. This game could end up being a lower score than I’ve predicted but this game could really go either way depending on the quarterback play of both teams.
Chargers 26, Redskins 20; 4:05pm CBS
The Chargers are a hot team right now while the Redskins are trending downwards and are plagued with the injury-bug especially on the offensive line. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram should have monster performances which will most likely prevent Cousins from throwing deep balls down the field. The Redskins will look to not turn the hall over like they did last week against the Cowboys because Rivers and Chargers will take advantage of those miscues. The only reason this game should be close is through Samaje Perine because of how bad the Chargers are against the run. Should be a Chargers win in StubHub.
Cardinals 24, Titans 20; 4:05pm CBS
The Cardinals are coming off a tough loss to the L.A. Rams and will look to defeat the Titans at home while the Titans will be looking to upset them after beating the Texans last week. This game will be close because of how good the defenses are against the run and will come down to which quarterback plays better. The Titans will need to shut down Ricky Seals Jones and Larry Fitzgerald while the Cardinals must shut down Delanie Walker and Corey Davis in order to win the game. This game could end up being a sack fest as the Cardinals are one of the most blitz-happy teams and the Titans D-line will get after Gabbert who was a bad O-line. It’ll be a game in the trenches.
Jaguars 26, Seahawks 22; 4:25pm FOX
This game is very tough to call mainly because the Seahawks are very good in December while Sacksonville is very very good against the pass. Last week, we saw Russell Wilson carry the team yet again scrambling out of the pocket and something out of nothing. The Jaguars know that they need to prevent that from happening and have a massive advantage against the Seahawks in terms of D-line Vs O-line. Wilson will be under pressure all day long. The Jaguars will win this game if and only if Bortles doesn’t turn the back over or else Seattle will come away with a win.
Eagles 27, Rams 23; 4:25pm FOX
This is the game to watch if you are a person who loves to watch the games of the week. It’s the battle of the former #1 and #2 draft picks of 2016, Jared Goff Vs Carson Wentz. Goff will look to continue his stellar performance against Philly while Wentz will be looking to play much better against L.A. than he did against Seattle a week ago. This game could end up being a low-scoring affair due to the solid defenses but it’s more likely that this game turns into a shootout between the two quarterbacks. This game will be won by the team that wants to win more and by the team that makes the least amount of mistakes.
Steelers 24, Ravens 19; 8:30pm NBC
The Steelers are coming off a grudge match against the Cincinnati Bengals and will look to win their 10th straight game. The Ravens will look to continue their defensive domination from a week ago against the Lions and upset the Steelers to inch closer to a playoff berth. The Ravens will need to stop Le’Veon Bell to make the Steelers one-dimensional if they want any chance of winning the game while the Steelers will look to stop the pass without Ryan Shazier, who suffered a back injury that hospitalized him a week ago. Again, this could be another grudge match, but the Steelers should come away with a victory.
Patriots 31, Dolphins 20; 8:30pm ESPN
This game spells disaster for Miami as this will be the 2nd time in 3 weeks that they play the Patriots. However, they are coming off a big win against the Broncos and will hope they can shut down Brady. The good thing for the Dolphins is that Gronk won’t be playing, but Brady knows how to keep the ball out of harms way and spread the ball around to his receivers. For Brady, this is simply another game he hopes to win without any major injuries and continue his MVP-like performance against the Dolphins come Monday Night.