Last week, I was 8-8, which can only be described as a massive disappointment. I assure you that will improve. Last December, I was 43-21 in correctly predicting games, which led me into my decent playoff pickings (including correctly calling the Super Bowl… well… not the blackout part), but that’s just me making excuses for my 8-8 picks last week. It was bad… I can only hope my Week 14 NFL Predictions come out a little better. I personally think this is my week to be perfect.
I missed on Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Arizona, the Jets, Buffalo and Washington last week.
I thought, like many, that Green Bay would at least make things competitive, but instead that were the losers in arguably the most lopsided game this season, maybe longer.
Pittsburgh had a shot, but they are just a broken team between injuries and a sudden lack of depth/talent. Still a proud team that could make the playoffs, but they are shadows of their former teams at this point.
I couldn’t pick the Jaguars, but now I know that Brandon Weeden has a larger negative impact on games than the Jaguars do. Good for future reference… bad for Weeden’s career prospects.
Chicago should have won with Alshon Jeffery going off in Minnesota. Instead, the Bears attempted a 47-yard field goal on 2nd & 7 that was ultimately missed, opening the door for Minnesota to drive and win with a field goal of their own. At least the Bears’ game-winning field goal attempt wasn’t run back, right!? Am I right!?
I wrote about being torn between Philly and Arizona. I picked wrong. Dang it.
The Jets are no longer worth picking. Geno Smith is rattled and his team is actually pretty bad in terms of talent.
Buffalo’s ship has sailed. They are too young at key positions to take seriously at this point.
Washington is being held back by that defense. It is awful, meaning the Redskins’ offense must play perfectly to be competitive and, frankly, that’s not going to happen either.
If you have any questions or simply want to discuss my Week 14 NFL Predictions, simply contact me and I’ll try to get back as soon as I can.
Thursday, 12/5 – 8:25 pm ET
Houston Texans 2-10 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 3-9
Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars
Both teams are coming off solid performances, but Jacksonville is actually the team who pulled out the win against Cleveland. The Texans played well in a loss to New England, but Houston was unable to close out a win even with another halftime lead. In this matchup I am taking Jacksonville. Houston was so successful against the Patriots because of their run game. Case Keenum continued his gradual cool off as opposing defenses are acquiring more game tape on him and the defense was strong early, but failed to close again. The Jaguars aren’t a great team, in fact, they are hardly decent, but their rush defense has been solid in recent weeks with their defense as a whole playing tough and motivated to finish out the season strong. The offense doesn’t scare anyone, but with Houston’s troubles defensively and Jacksonville’s extensive knowledge of their divisional foes, I see the Jaguars doing enough offensively, containing the reeling Texans offensive stars and pulling out another win against Houston, this time at home.
Sunday, 12/8 – 1:00 pm ET
Indianapolis Colts 8-4 @ Cincinnati Bengals 8-4
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis pulled out another close win, despite not living up to their, now, 8-4 record. Sure, Tennessee is a divisional opponent, which is always tough, but there is a trend here for the Colts. On the other end, Cincinnati is still looking for Andy Dalton to get back on track. He is capable and could very well find his stride in the end of the season with three of the Bengals’ final four played at home. Cincinnati is undefeated at home to this point with Dalton’s play looking substantially better at Paul Brown Stadium. I don’t worry about Dalton facing the Colts defense and if Indy comes out slow like I expect they might, Cincinnati’s defense will have a field day. I like the Bengals in this one.
Cleveland Browns 4-8 @ New England Patriots 9-3
Prediction: New England Patriots
As a football fan, you have to wish Brian Hoyer had stayed healthy for Cleveland just to see what could have been. Plus, Hoyer would have been going up against his former team in this one just for the added storyline. Alas, he is injured and Cleveland has to keep returning to Brandon Weeden. Now Weeden may be inactive with a concussion, so we could see Jason Campbell back on the field, but he is also still recovering from an injury. So… maybe it is Alex Tanney making his first career start? This is all moot though because I don’t see any of them beating the Patriots in Foxboro in December. That’s why I brought up Hoyer. He would have made this pick a little more interesting potentially…
Oakland Raiders 4-8 @ New York Jets 5-7
Prediction: Oakland Raiders
The battle of the inept! Well, Oakland has played hard this season and has played well considering their team depth and general lack of talent. Now… the Jets… they have overachieved and now are just returning back to earth and back to the team I saw when making my season predictions. Now Geno Smith is looking like a rookie, shaken by the lack of offensive weapons to help him succeed, much like I thought could severely hinder his career when I scouted him. Point being, the Raiders are the more reliable pick this week. I like Matt McGloin to play well enough, or at least better than Smith, and pull out an impressive road win.
Kansas City Chiefs 9-3 @ Washington Redskins 3-9
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs
Welcome back Kansas City. This is the week they get back on track. The Redskins defense is still pretty awful, ranked 22nd in the NFL, and Robert Griffin III isn’t Peyton Manning, so I’m not expected a five touchdown performance from him. The Chiefs defense isn’t the same without their pass rushers, but they are plenty good enough for Washington. Plus, I really liked seeing the Chiefs compete in a shootout. If the defense shores up again and the offense keeps putting up points with urgency, this is a dangerous team.
Minnesota Vikings 3-8-1 @ Baltimore Ravens 6-6
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens
I still don’t believe in this Ravens team, but I don’t see Minnesota pulling off a win. The main reason for that though is because the Ravens are playing at home where their defense has looked more “Raven-like” and because the Vikings don’t really have a quarterback whether the depth chart says Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder or Josh Freeman in the “QB” slot. This could be a great game for Ray Rice. The Vikings have been atrocious against the run this season. The questions is; do the Ravens actually take advantage of that though? It would mean they had to actively look to run the ball…
Atlanta Falcons 3-9 @ Green Bay Packers 5-6-1
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
Frankly, I don’t want to pick either here. Atlanta won last week in Buffalo, but it is hard to trust them to follow that win up with another in Green Bay against a Packers team that, on paper, is more talented than the mighty Bills. On the other hand, you can’t get more dominated/owned/man-handled/beaten/tyrannized than the Packers did in front of millions of Turkey lovers on Thanksgiving day. They looked awful on offense, which didn’t help their defense, and helped contribute to my failure of a fantasy football season because they didn’t feature Jarrett Boykin offensively. I like Green Bay here because Detroit’s defensive line was the difference-maker last week, but name one Atlanta defensive lineman not named John Abraham… chances are you can’t. Heck give me five starters on the Falcons’ defense… yeah… they aren’t that good. In fact, they are 26th in the NFL in total yards allowed. I expect Eddie Lacy to get back on track for the Pack, while the cold weather seemingly saps the Falcons’ strength and their chance at a win.
Buffalo Bills 4-8 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-9
Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I like the way the Buccaneers have played as of late. They just keep trucking and competing even against superior teams. The Bills are still a very young team in key positions, so there is some inconsistency involved with that as well as some struggles on the road in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers defense hasn’t been a problem this season. I wouldn’t say it is something to brag about ranked 16 in the NFL in total yards allowed, but if they can harass E.J. Manuel and his receivers just enough, I think Mike Glennon can put some points on the board with Vincent Jackson.
Miami Dolphins 6-6 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 5-7
Prediction: Miami Dolphins
Pittsburgh is a proud organization and really should pull out this win at home, but with injuries hitting the Steelers hard, I don’t think they can overcome them and a Dolphins team that has suddenly come on as of late. Ryan Tannehill is playing well and the defense’s biggest issue is containing running backs at times, but Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell could miss this week’s game due to a concussion suffered in their loss on Thanksgiving night. If Bell is ruled out, I think Miami wins comfortably. If he plays, it should be closer, but there are a lot of factors playing against Pittsburgh, so I’m taking Miami.
Detroit Lions 7-5 @ Philadelphia Eagles 7-5
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles
Detroit looked great last week in beating down the Packers, but I’ll take the Eagles this week. Nick Foles has been incredible over his past four games, with 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. LeSean McCoy is still a monster at running back and DeSean Jackson should be able to find open space against the Lions secondary. Philly’s defense won’t be able to contain Calvin Johnson, but I think this shootout ends with an Eagles win. The Philadelphia defense is still very much a work in progress, but has improved greatly during the Eagles’ win streak.
Sunday, 12/8 – 4:05 pm ET
Tennessee Titans 5-7 @ Denver Broncos 10-2
Prediction: Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick in Denver? Come on…
Sunday, 12/8 – 4:25 pm ET
St. Louis Rams 5-7 @ Arizona Cardinals 7-5
Prediction: St. Louis Rams
I’m taking the upset. As I’ve talked about before, divisional matchups are oftentimes toss-ups, regardless of record, because each team knows the other so well after years of multiple meetings per season. I know Arizona is a great defensive team with a quality offense – when Carson Palmer doesn’t throw interceptions anyway – and that they have only lost one home game all season (5-1). However, I like what Zac Stacy has to offer at the running back position. He has played well in worse looking matchups than the one this week and a breakout performer this week is Jared Cook. The tight end went off for 141 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, but has disappointed throughout much of the season. His big game in Week 1 was no accident. The Cardinals can’t cover tight ends, so opposing offenses have targeted that weakness (see Zach Ertz’s two touchdowns last week for Philadelphia). Cook isn’t a game-breaking tight end at this point in his career, but his physical tools are phenomenal and will be the difference between a win and loss for the Rams.
Seattle Seahawks 11-1 @ San Francisco 49ers 8-4
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers
Seattle is an incredibly talented team with an elite defense, a pounding and efficient offense in addition to a confident coaching staff. They are dangerous and Super Bowl favorites, but I like San Francisco this week. Seattle dominated the 49ers in Week 2, winning 29-3 in Seattle. They ran the ball, contained Colin Kaepernick and were clearly the better team. However, there are a couple key things to consider in this pick. First of all, the Seahawks are a different beast at home. You never pick against them when they are playing in Seattle, but when they are on the road, you have to expect a more “down-to-earth” performance. Second of all, this is the second go-around for San Francisco. You think they are mad about getting man-handled in Seattle? Of course they are and with the home crowd at their back in one of the great flourishing rivalries in the NFL, you know they will do their best to make things hard on Seattle. Finally, in divisional games, the second time around normally benefits the loser of the first matchup. Think about it… Seattle had the perfect gameplan that worked… San Francisco gets to look at that gameplan and scheme to stop that while Seattle has to gameplan in preparation for something they haven’t necessarily seen yet. Let’s not forget that San Francisco is still a great team who has quietly been reeling off wins. I like the 49ers here.
New York Giants 5-7 @ San Diego Chargers 5-7
Prediction: San Diego Chargers
I’m taking the Chargers. They didn’t look like a playoff team last week against the Bengals, but the Giants simply aren’t as good as Cincinnati. New York has won five of their last six, but those wins have come against Minnesota, Philadelphia (Nick Foles/Matt Barkley), Oakland, Green Bay (Scott Tolzien) and Washington. I think traveling to San Diego to take on a talented, Philip Rivers-led offense is a more difficult task. I like San Diego to win this one.
Sunday, 12/8 – 8:30 pm ET
Carolina Panthers 9-3 @ New Orleans Saints 9-3
Prediction: New Orleans Saints
Some teams may struggle to respond to a beat-down like the Saints received on Monday Night Football to the Seahawks, but I think this team will be focused and ready for the red-hot Panthers. I like the Panthers. They have a great defense and Cam Newton’s offense is exciting to watch. That said, New Orleans is hosting this game on Sunday Night Football. I think the Superdome is another venue, especially in primetime, that can single-handedly influence a game, so I think it will be an electric atmosphere, very loud and the Saints will benefit greatly from that. This is an angry Saints team that will have the stadium at their back. I like them to snap the Panthers’ eight-game win streak.
Monday, 12/9 – 8:40 pm ET
Dallas Cowboys 7-5 @ Chicago Bears 6-6
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys
There is no guarantee that Jay Cutler is coming back this week and even though Josh McCown has filled in admirably, this game, in all likelihood, should turn into a shootout. I like the Cowboys to pull it out though behind Dez Bryant and Tony Romo. The high potential playmaker here is DeMarco Murray, who has the chance to take advantage of a Bears run defense that has been gashed in back to back weeks by St. Louis and Minnesota. The Cowboys defense has given up a ridiculous amount of yards, but let’s keep in mind that most of those were given up in games to Peyton Manning, Matt Stafford (ok… more Calvin Johnson) and Drew Brees in New Orleans. I’m not saying the Cowboys defense is great or anything, but just keep in mind the quality of opponents skewing the data. I don’t think McCown has the ability to do what Manning, Stafford/Johnson and Brees have done, but Alshon Jeffery has become nearly uncoverable for the Bears… hence the shootout.