NFL Game Picks: Week 14
Although no team has clinched a playoff spot yet, someone is almost guaranteed to do so this week. The NFC is filled with talent while the AFC is wide open, so it will be interesting to see how the dominos fall in these final four weeks.
There are a lot of key games coming up to finish out the season including a few this week. Let’s take a look at Week 14’s matchups:
New Orleans Saints (9-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (7-5)
With a 9-3 record and a season sweep of the Panthers, New Orleans is sitting atop the competitive NFC South. Holding onto that crown won’t be easy though, as Drew Brees and company head to Atlanta this week for the first of two late-season showdowns. With the Falcons a game behind the NFC wild card, they’ll be giving the Saints their all.
The pick: Atlanta, 31-26.
Indianapolis Colts (3-9) @ Buffalo Bills (6-6)
A tough yet expected loss came for Buffalo last Sunday when they fell to the Patriots at home. The loss puts them on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. They need to grab some wins to stay afloat. Fortunately, a win over Indianapolis is very doable. However, with Tyrod Taylor potentially out for the game, a win here might not be earned easily.
The pick: Buffalo, 20-17.
Chicago Bears (3-9) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-7)
Last Monday night’s bloodbath against Pittsburgh did not end favorably for the Bengals, who couldn’t maintain a 17-3 halftime lead. The injury to Joe Mixon right when he was getting hot is just salt in the wound. Although this team’s postseason hopes are looking shot, Cincinnati can rebound with a win over the struggling Bears on Sunday.
The pick: Cincinnati, 25-18.
Green Bay Packers (6-6) @ Cleveland Browns (0-12)
Maybe Green Bay isn’t done just yet. After an overtime win against Tampa Bay, the Packers are 6-6 with Aaron Rodgers expected to come back for Week 15’s tilt in Carolina. It’s going to be difficult with Minnesota and Detroit still on the schedule, but if the Packers can run the table, perhaps they’ll be playoff-bound yet again.
The pick: Green Bay, 30-16.
Dallas Cowboys (6-6) @ New York Giants (2-10)
The same things previously stated for Green Bay ring true for Dallas as well. The Cowboys shook off a three-game losing streak with a decisive victory over Washington and will have to play the Giants and Raiders before Ezekiel Elliott returns against Seattle. If the Cowboys can keep on winning without their running back, their postseason hopes will rise.
The pick: Dallas, 27-14.
Detroit Lions (6-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8)
The bad news: The Lions are 6-6 and currently sitting well outside the playoff picture. The good news: Detroit has a relatively easy schedule down the stretch until Week 17’s home game against division rival Green Bay. Just as was the case with the Packers and Cowboys, wins, wins and more wins are the only way that the Lions stay afloat in the NFC playoff hunt.
The pick: Detroit, 33-19.
Oakland Raiders (6-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (6-6)
Absolutely astonishing. In Week 8, the AFC West looked like a done deal. No one was going to catch Kansas City. Well, here we are: a three-way tie between the Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers. It doesn’t take an expert to realize that this game has massive implications on the playoff picture. Surely Kansas City can’t slide forever... right?
The pick: Kansas City, 29-27.
Minnesota Vikings (10-2) @ Carolina Panthers (8-4)
Fun fact: Case Keenum has now tied Brett Favre and Daunte Culpepper for the most consecutive games with a 100+ passer rating with four. That’s probably a big reason why the Vikings are currently the number one seed in the NFC. But having a shutdown defense helps, too. Let’s see if they can continue their winning ways in a tough matchup against Carolina.
The pick: Minnesota, 30-22.
San Francisco 49ers (2-10) @ Houston Texans (4-8)
Another solid day by Jimmy Garoppolo brings another win to San Francisco. It wasn’t a dominant win, but a win is a win. Garoppolo looks like he could be the quarterback of the future, but it would help if he could throw some more touchdowns. His next test is the slumping Houston Texans. A win here and some nice stats would be good for Garoppolo.
The pick: San Francisco, 21-14.
New York Jets (5-7) @ Denver Broncos (3-9)
Somehow, against all rhyme and reason, the New York Jets are still somewhat alive in the playoff race. The Broncos, meanwhile, had their postseason hopes dashed long ago. The team’s leadership is basically throwing darts to decide who their starting quarterback is going to be. All things considered, Denver’s losing streak should keep rolling.
The pick: New York, 29-7.
Tennessee Titans (8-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (5-7)
One false move could be all it takes. Since Week 8, Jacksonville has been absolutely hounding Tennessee for the top spot in the AFC South. Fortunately for the Titans, they’ve been able to eke out win after win for the past seven weeks, too. Can they keep it up? You never know with the Cardinals, who beat Jacksonville recently, but the Titans should be feeling confident.
The pick: Tennessee, 24-16.
Washington Redskins (5-7) @ Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)
Bad luck for the Redskins, who, at 5-7 after a disheartening loss to the Cowboys, are probably finished in terms of playoff hopes. It’s obvious this team is trending down. The Chargers have done the exact opposite and have risen from the grave after starting the season 0-4. Now, they’re looking to take the AFC West from Kansas City, and they just might do it.
The pick: Los Angeles, 25-17.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (9-3)
In a week filled with impactful matchups, this one might be the king. Just one loss to the Seahawks sees the Eagles dropping to the number two seed in the NFC after weeks of dominance. They want to regain that top spot, but a trip to Los Angeles is going to make that difficult. It’s a battle of young offensive stars. There’s potential for this one to be a game for the ages.
The pick: Philadelphia, 30-29.
Seattle Seahawks (8-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)
The perfect game to show the disparity between the AFC and NFC. At 8-4, the Jaguars are looking like playoff locks. Meanwhile, the Seahawks, at 8-4, are in a dogfight to grab a playoff spot in the incredibly competitive NFC. Russell Wilson is continuing to prove himself as an MVP candidate, so it’s highly possible that he’ll lead his team to a win on the road this week.
The pick: Seattle, 24-19.
Baltimore Ravens (7-5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2)
The Steelers have won their last seven games, three of which coming in primetime. The Steelers are in the spotlight again, but this time, they’ll likely be without Ryan Shazier and JuJu Smith-Schuster. It seems like a prime opportunity for the Ravens to strike after dropping 44 on the Lions last week. Can they overcome their fiercest rival and inch closer to the playoffs? We’ll see.
The pick: Pittsburgh, 27-24.
New England Patriots (10-2) @ Miami Dolphins (5-7)
New England will be without Rob Gronkowski for Monday night’s game, but does it really matter? Probably not. New England hasn’t given up more than 17 points to any team they’ve faced since their Week 4 loss to Carolina. Miami did put up 35 last week, but that’s only because they were playing Denver. New England ought to win this one.
The pick: New England, 36-16.
DJ Bauer is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To email him, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.