With the playoffs lingering just out of sight, it’s time to make our NFL picks and predictions for Week 14 and all of the action that’s sure to accompany it.
We’re only a few short weeks away from the 2016 playoffs. It’s seems crazy, but this season has flown by as we work our way through the early parts of December. So now it’s time to take a look at the NFL picks and score predictions for Week 14.
Picking winners and losers is never an easy affair. With so many factors playing into who wins on Sundays, it’s difficult to really decide which teams will prosper and which teams will flounder. Luckily for you, I’m here to help you out. I’m here to point you in the right direction when making your selections for Week 14.
Based on my recent performances, you’d be wise to at least consider my advice.
Another impressive week is in the books, as I finished Week 13 with a record of 10-4. That boosts my record on the season to 113-76-3. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty strong showing during what’s been an unpredictable 2016 campaign. I’m sure it’s better than what plenty of the big-name talking heads have accomplished this year.
So let’s get the show on the road—here are my NFL picks and predictions for Week 14.
Oakland Raiders (10-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)
For the second week in a row, we get an exciting Thursday night matchup that’s sure to see sparks fly. A divisional showdown to determine if a season series record could come into play at season’s end.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, I don’t think they’re going to walk away from this one with the lead in the AFC West. That’s because the Chiefs are red-hot right now and have the defense to keep the Oakland offense in check.
Don’t get me wrong—this will be an epic battle. One of the league’s top offenses against one of its top defenses is going to leave us with plenty of highlights. Especially with the whole division title aspect driving these two teams, you better believe there will be plenty of big hits, big plays and trash talking.
When it comes down to it, though, I see the Chiefs making one pivotal play in the final minutes that seals the deal. The Raiders have pushed their luck far too often this year and it’s about to run out. It’s been a great run for Oakland and its six-game winning streak. It’s just too bad that’ll come to an end on Thursday in the unfriendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.
I tried to find any reason I could to give this one to the Bills, but I couldn’t do it. No matter which way I tried to spin it, I just couldn’t imagine the Steelers dropping this game to an average Buffalo squad.
You can say that the Bills possess the No. 8 pass defense, which should allow them to slow down Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh’s No. 8 pass offense. However, anytime the Buffalo secondary has faced an elite quarterback this season (i.e. Tom Brady, Derek Carr), they’ve been shredded.
What about Buffalo’s top-ranked running game? I mean, they have LeSean McCoy racking up huge yards this season and the Steelers have the 27th-ranked run defense. That’s gotta give them an edge, right? Well not when you consider Tyrod Taylor has them at the bottom of the NFL in passing yards per game.
The Steelers defense has done a great job of bending, but not breaking this year. They’re also coming off an impressive showing against the Giants in Week 13, and should carry that momentum over to Week 14. That’ll give them all of the edge they need to run away with the win and keep pace in the AFC North.
Will this be a blowout? Probably not. Will the Bills find a way to put more points on the scoreboard? I doubt it.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the best game of the week. These are two teams scratching and clawing for playoff positioning and a win could be the difference. So yes, expect a show on Sunday.
It’s going to come down to the wire. Both of these teams bring a lot to the table, even if their records seem to indicate a clear advantage on Denver’s end. It’s essentially a showdown between one of the NFL’s hotter defenses and one of the NFL’s hotter offenses.
Believe me when I say that Marcus Mariota will make some big plays against the Broncos defense. Even with all of their playmakers, he’ll find ways to keep his impressive second half of the season going strong. DeMarco Murray will also get his usual yardage on the ground. It’s going to be another noteworthy effort from Tennessee’s offense.
Don’t think that Trevor Siemian and the Denver offense won’t get their own, though. Siemian had an exceptional outing two weeks ago, but is dealing with a foot injury that may keep him out. However, if he is available, the Broncos offense should be able to keep up with Mariota and Co. on the scoreboard.
Keep in mind that this pick is dependent on Siemian playing. If he isn’t cleared from his foot injury, I think the Titans get the best of an unprepared Paxton Lynch and keep the race in the AFC South interesting.
Washington Redskins (6-5-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
With the way the Eagles have been playing, I find it really hard to have any confidence in them moving forward. Even though they’ve been better at home, I just don’t see Philadelphia coming away with the win in Week 14.
It also doesn’t help that the Redskins have simply been playing better football as of late. Although they’re coming off a disappointing loss to the Cardinals, they’re getting great production from Kirk Cousins and the D.C. offense. The defense is also making plays, although they couldn’t keep the Arizona passing game contained. Still, these teams appear to be heading in different directions at this moment.
Especially with Carson Wentz struggling down the stretch, I can’t find much reason to give the win to the Eagles. They’re bruised, battered, and appear ready to throw in the towel on what was once a promising 2016 campaign.
Philadelphia will keep it close to start, but should waver in the second half. By the time the fourth quarter rolls around, the Redskins will have pulled away with the help of their high-octane offense.
The Dolphins came crashing down to Earth in Week 13, ending their six-game winning streak with a blowout loss to the Ravens. It was a rude awakening for a team that seemed primed to book a trip to the playoffs.
Now, they desperately need a bounce-back win to stay in the race. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re going to get it against a Cardinals team that’s better than their record would indicate.
As we saw in Week 13, Arizona is more than capable of winning big games and playing spoiler. They knocked the Redskins out of the sixth seed in the NFC, overcoming an exceptional Washington team with tough, resilient play and a little bit of luck.
The bigger thing here is the Dolphins’ lack of consistency. They look like a contender one week and a pushover the next. They finally met up with an underrated Ravens team and got run over. Seeing as this Cardinals team had Super Bowl potential at season’s start, I see them giving the Dolphins a similar treatment.
It’s going to be another disheartening outing for Miami, which will take its second-straight loss at the worst time. The playoffs won’t be completely out of the picture at this point, but it won’t make it any easier.
Minnesota Vikings (6-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
If the Vikings have any hope of stealing the sixth seed in the NFC, they need to start winning now. They nearly pulled it off on Thursday, but have a golden opportunity to get back on track against the lowly Jaguars in Week 14.
Realistically, this shouldn’t be too difficult a task for Minnesota. Jacksonville has lost seven games in a row and sports one of the most dysfunctional offenses in the NFL. Blake Bortles has undergone a major regression in his third year, evidenced by his inability to protect the football. The running game also hasn’t produced as expected.
Now obviously the Vikings offense isn’t all that exciting either. Sam Bradford has struggled to make big plays behind the patchwork offensive line, but he’s done a pretty good job of avoiding turnovers. It’s not going to be easy against Jacksonville’s impressive defense, but Bradford can get the job done.
As long as Minnesota avoids big mistakes and forces Bortles into a couple of his own, the Vikings should get back above .500. They’ll need the confidence boost if they plan on running the gamete and giving themselves a shot at the playoffs. My guess is the Vikings will come up with a pick-six late in the fourth quarter to put this one away.
It took longer than it should have, but the Colts are finally looking like a team worth taking seriously. They demolished the New York Jets on Monday night, and have won three of their last four.
Meanwhile, the Texans are a mess. After starting the season strong, it’s all come crashing down as Brock Osweiler continues to disappoint. They’ve now dropped three games in a row, and are on the verge of giving up their flimsy hold on the division.
It’s time for Andrew Luck and the Colts to take their rightful place atop the AFC South. They’ve got the talent to win the division, especially on the offensive end. Their defense hasn’t been that impressive in 2016, but Luck and Co. are making enough plays to keep them competitive on a weekly basis.
I’m really hoping the Indianapolis defense steps up and proves just how bad Osweiler is. A few more interceptions and strip sacks and Bill O’Brien might just find it within himself to bench this offseason’s biggest free agency mistake. More importantly, Luck steals the division from a severely overrated Texans team.
San Diego Chargers (5-7) at Carolina Panthers (4-8)
Both of these teams are better than their records would indicate. However, a load of bad luck and poor timing have done them both in this season, as they’re both all but out of the playoff picture with only four games to go.
Someone will win this one for pride, though, and I’m confident it’ll be the Chargers.
The main reason for my confidence is how fickle the Panthers have been in 2016. Cam Newton hasn’t been his usual MVP-esque self and the defense has lost its life since Josh Norman’s departure and Luke Kuechly’s injury. This just isn’t the same team that went to the Super Bowl a year ago.
As for the Chargers, they’ve played some excellent football this season. They’ve also played some ugly football characterized by untimely turnovers and struggles during crunch time. Still, you can never count out a squad with Philip Rivers behind the wheel on offense.
Honestly, I think this game will disappoint in terms of the entertainment level. I wouldn’t be surprised to see too many turnovers, ugly defense and a lot of missed opportunities on both sides of the football. Still, San Diego pulls out the W.
Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-12)
Realistically, this is the best remaining shot the Browns will have at actually winning one in 2016. Unfortunately, I still don’t see it happening for one of the worst NFL teams of all-time. Also, I said I wouldn’t pick them until I had a reason to and I still don’t.
However, with Cleveland coming off the bye, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it difficult for the Bengals. We’ve seen some semi-competitive play from the Browns in recent weeks, and the presence of Terrelle Pryor gives them a consistent threat to score.
When it comes down to it, though, it shouldn’t be enough. The Bengals looked strong in Week 13’s showing against the Eagles, with Andy Dalton putting on a clinic through the air. Considering how porous the Browns’ pass defense has been this year, I would be surprised to see a similar dissection in Week 14.
Cleveland will score some points and keep this one interesting. It may even be worth tuning into, at least if you’re a fan of one of these franchises. I’d be wary of watching this one if I had no rooting interests, though. This is just another step on the Browns’ road to 0-16.
Who would have guessed the Lions would be leading the NFC North by two games heading into Week 14? I can assure you I didn’t and my guess is not many other folks did either. And yet, here we are.
So can they stay hot and win a divisional showdown with the Bears? They’ll need to, especially with the Vikings and Packers both nipping at their heels with 6-6 records. Luckily, based on what we’ve seen from Chicago this season, this one is absolutely winnable.
Now the Bears can’t be completely overlooked. They spent Week 13 slaughtering a pitiful 49ers team, but that has to have them feeling confident heading into this matchup. Being as it’s also a rivalry and they have the opportunity to play spoiler, the Bears should be rearing to go.
Still, I just can’t see their defense slowing down Matthew Stafford and this suddenly efficient Detroit offense. They’re finding ways to win each and every week, and are currently riding a four-game winning streak. The Lions keep the good times rolling on their way to 9-4.
This is right up there with the worst matchups of the 2016 campaign. Two miserable teams just playing a game as a formality, waiting anxiously for the offseason to arrive. As I’ve said many times before, though, someone has to win.
As I have to guess, I’ll say the 49ers will come away with a meaningless victory.
Both of these teams have been awful this year, as evidenced by their laughable records through 12 games. Neither can get decent play at the quarterback position, both are turning the ball over too often, and their defenses are both subpar at best. As the old saying goes–when it rains, it pours.
So why the 49ers? Well they actually might make the wise move of starting Blaine Gabbert in Week 14 after Colin Kaepernick’s historically disastrous start a week ago. It’s still yet to be determined if that’ll be the case, but it would definitely be in this team’s best interests. That is, unless they’re trying to keep losing.
Plus, the Jets will likely go with their raw sophomore under center. Their defense got blasted by the Colts on Monday night. San Francisco has to end this winning streak eventually. I’m going with the 49ers here because, at this moment, they’re the better of two awful teams.
New Orleans Saints (5-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
At the beginning of the year, I had very high hopes for the Buccaneers. And then, a few weeks in, they suffered what seemed like an insurmountable slump. Now they’ve ridden a four-game winning streak to a sixth seed in the NFC, and it’s been an impressive run.
I’d expect that run to continue against the Saints, especially at home. New Orleans has been a mixed bag this year, winning the ones it shouldn’t and losing the ones it shouldn’t. A trip to Tampa Bay, however, should bring their 2016 campaign to a merciful end. It won’t be because of the Saints’ shortcomings, though. It’ll be because of the Buccaneers’ ability to win football games.
Jameis Winston is finally making more big plays than mistakes. Mike Evans is embarrassing opposing secondaries on a weekly basis. The defense is doing the whole bend but don’t break thing, which is allowing the Buccaneers to keep winning as the postseason looms just out of view.
I’d expect this to be a high-scoring affair. Both offenses have been finding the end zone early and often as of late. When it’s all said and done, though, Tampa Bay will come out on top.
I’d love to tell Rams fans their team has a chance in Week 14. If I did, I’d be lying. This Los Angeles squad has been a train wreck through the middle of the season, and it hasn’t gotten any better down the stretch. Even with Jared Goff taking over under center, the offense has been utterly inept and the defense isn’t exactly doing its part either.
Meanwhile, the Falcons are looking strong as the postseason looms only a few weeks away. Although they’re coming off a tough loss in Week 13, it was a game they easily could have won. It just so happens they can get back on track against the Rams, allowing them an opportunity to keep pace in the NFC South race.
The Los Angeles defense has been solid this season, but they don’t stand a chance against Atlanta. Expect the trio of Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones to put them through the meat grinder on Sunday.
I already would have picked the Rams to lose this one. But after the team brass opted to sign Jeff Fisher to an extension, they deserve another L. Heck, they deserve to get blown out in each of their remaining games since they obviously seek out pain and despair.
Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1) at Green Bay Packers (6-6)
This is not going to be an easy game for either of these teams. Snow will likely be falling at Lambeau Field, which should make conditions slippery and sloppy. It would seem the cold weather would give the Packers the edge, especially with home-field advantage.
However, I’m not so sold they’re ready to take down the Seahawks. Green Bay may be on a winning streak, but they’ve still looked like a shell of the annual contender they were considered not long ago. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are coming off a dominant Week 13 performance.
More importantly, Russell Wilson is looking like the star Seattle paid him to be. I’m not entirely sure we can say the same about Aaron Rodgers, who is having a down season. Tie in the fact that Seattle’s defense is near-elite and you’ve got an exciting matchup between two teams in different situations.
Can the Packers muster the offense to keep their late-season surge alive? Or will the Seahawks make enough plays on both sides of the ball to overcome the weather?
My guess is Seattle finds a way to pull this one out on the road. It’ll be difficult, and there will be a lot of mistakes made on Sunday. However, when the clock strikes zero, I’m confident the Seahawks will have secured their ninth win of the season.
Right now, I can’t find any reason to pick against the Cowboys. They’ve won 11-straight, continue to pull out close wins, and are playing relatively mistake-free football. Can a Giants team that just got embarrassed by the Steelers really topple them in Week 14? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no.
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are still playing out of their minds. The offensive line is still the best in the NFL. Even the defense is doing its part and keeping opposing teams in check on the scoreboard. I’d expect all of these things to continue against New York.
Honestly, I think this Giants team is overrated. Eli Manning is solid, but isn’t exactly a star. Odell Beckham Jr. is lightning in a bottle, but can be contained. The running game is average at best and so is the offensive line. The defense has plenty of talent, but can be a bit inconsistent.
Hence, the Cowboys run away with this one. They redeem themselves for their Week 1 loss to the G-Men and even the season series. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one was over by halftime.
Baltimore Ravens (7-5) at New England Patriots (10-2)
With the Raiders losing to the Chiefs, the Patriots can take control of the No. 1 seed with a win here. It’s just too bad that won’t happen—at least that’s what I’m predicting.
The Patriots have been exceptional all season, but are starting to pile up the injuries and are coming off an unimpressive win against the Rams. In Week 14, they find themselves in a matchup with the Ravens and their NFL-best defense. In my opinion, this has upset written all over it.
Rob Gronkowski is done, which limits Tom Brady’s options a bit. New England still has plenty of weapons to work with, but we’ve seen this offense sputter this season when put up against a daunting defense. Just ask the Seahawks, who secured the win against the Patriots only a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the Ravens just demolished the streaking Dolphins in Week 13. It was a intimidating performance and one that shows the true strength of this Baltimore team. While the Patriots are a much tougher foe, the Ravens have shown some serious resilience this year.
Joe Flacco finally found himself in Week 13, and will be looking to keep the momentum rolling in Week 14. Considering how average the New England pass defense has been, I think Flacco finds a way to steal this game on the road—with some serious help from his defense, of course.