Week 14 and the playoff races are heating up. The games will be intense as teams are fighting for their playoff lives. Here are the picks.
Dallas at Cincinnati
Condolences go out to the family of Jerry Brown, who was killed in a car accident on Friday night. Defensive end Josh Brent is charged with vehicular homicide, and driving under the influence. This will be very difficult for the Cowboys to stay focused on the task ahead. Plus the Bengals are playing very well as of late. Cincinnati wins.
Baltimore at Washington
This one should be a beauty. The Redskins are coming off a huge Monday night win over the Giants and are making a charge to the NFC East title. The Ravens are coming off a very tough loss to Pittsburgh. This will be a battle between the Ravens tough defence, versus Robert Griffin III. I kind of like RG3 in this one. Washington wins.
St. Louis at Buffalo
Both teams have very slim chances at a wildcard spot in their respective conferences. The Rams have looked good at times, including last week’s upset win over San Francisco. The Bills have been very inconsistent and you never know which Buffalo team will show up. Tough one to call. Weather could be a factor. Take the home team. Buffalo wins.
Chicago at Minnesota
These two division foes met two weeks ago at Soldier Field, where the Bears pounded the Vikings. The scene has now shifted to the Metrodome where the Bears won’t have Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings in the lineup. Another big concern for the Bears is their run defence, which has struggled the last several weeks. Adrian Peterson smells blood, and the Vikings want revenge. Minor upset here. Minnesota wins.
San Diego at Pittsburgh
The Steelers are coming off a massive win at Baltimore last week, and will welcome Ben Roethlisberger back into the lineup. The Steelers are now poised for a playoff run, and Big Ben knows how to win this time of the year. The Chargers are in disarray, with rumours abound that coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith will be fired at the end of the season. Plus travelling cross-country to face a tough team is always arduous. Pittsburgh wins.
Kansas City at Cleveland
The Chiefs won last week, despite going through a tumultuous week after the Javon Belcher murder-suicide. The Browns have been getting better with each passing week. I expect the Browns trend to continue. Cleveland wins.
Tennessee at Indianapolis
The Colts are coming off a miracle win over Detroit, as quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly developing into a star in the league. The Titans are still alive for a wildcard spot, but are too unsteady to stay in the hunt. The Colts have been the biggest surprise of the season, and a playoff berth is in their hands. Indianapolis wins.
New York Jets at Jacksonville
Ugh! The Jets soap opera continues as Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback, even though Greg McElory led the team to a win over Arizona last week. The Jaguars have been brutal all season, but I have a feeling they can win this game. Call it a hunch. Jacksonville wins.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
The Bucs are still in the thick of the wildcard race, and they will be honouring the 2002 team that won the Super Bowl. The Eagles have lost 8 straight, and may not win a game until Andy Reid is fired. No contest. Tampa Bay wins.
Atlanta at Carolina
The Falcons have wrapped up the NFC South, and are now pursuing home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Panthers are playing for next year. The only thing Atlanta has to worry about is a let-down. I don’t think that happens this week. Atlanta wins.
Miami at San Francisco
The 49ers are angry, after losing to St. Louis last week. The Dolphins barely remain alive in the wildcard chase in the AFC. San Francisco wants a bounce back performance, and while the Dolphins have a bright future, the 49ers are the team of today. San Francisco wins.
Arizona at Seattle
The Seahawks hold the final wildcard spot in the NFC, and are coming off a huge road win over Chicago last week. Many people talk about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as the top rookie quarterback. Don’t overlook Russell Wilson. The Seahawks rookie signal caller is having a superb season and has all the potential of being a superstar in the league. The Cardinals have lost 8 straight, and look very lost. Seattle wins.
New Orleans at New York Giants
The Giants are still in first place in the NFC East, but lost to Washington last week. The Saints playoff hopes are slim, and they need a win to keep their chances afloat. Drew Brees has had terrific success against the Giants over the years, but those games have been at New Orleans. This one is in East Rutherford, and rain is forecasted. The Giants always play better with their backs against the wall. Expect the G-Men to come out firing. New York Giants win.
Detroit at Green Bay
The Packers control their destiny in the NFC North, and don’t want to lose their grip on the division title. The Lions have lost 4 in a row, and have seen their playoff chances go up in smoke. Some history here. The Lions have lost 20 straight road games to the Packers dating back to 1991. Expect that trend to continue. Green Bay wins.
Houston at New England
The game of the week. A possible preview of the AFC Championship game. The Texans have clinched the AFC South, and a win would all but secure home field advantage in the playoffs. The Patriots have clinched the AFC East, and still entertain thoughts of home field advantage. Should be a beauty. However, I don’t want to play in Foxboro on a December night. New England wins.
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