Now we’re getting into the thick of things.
Week 14 Picks
Baltimore 27 – Minnesota 17
Push is coming to shove in Baltimore, where the defending Superbowl champions are starting to pick up a little head of steam in their push towards the final wildcard slot in the AFC. The Vikings, on the other hand, are a team with major issues to address, no playoff aspirations, and traveling a good distance to play a team with something to play for.
Indianapolis 24 – Cincinnati 21
This is a gutsy pick, I’m aware, but I’m one to go with my gut when my brain decides to be indecisive. With a higher playoff seed on the line, I like the Colts to play above their post-Reggie Wayne doldrums. I’m still not sold in this Bengals team, which hasn’t changed much in the past two or three seasons. Where did those teams end up?
Green Bay 30 – Atlanta 24
No Aaron Rodgers will have many making snap judgments on this game, but when you factor in the Falcons having to travel and play in inclement weather, with nothing much more to motivate them than pride, well…I don’t think the Packers are going to let this game get by them. Believe it or not, Green Bay still has a faint hope at a playoff berth, but they’ll have to win out to have a chance.
New England 31 – Cleveland 17
Trap game? I can’t recall the Patriots getting caught in too many of these over the Bellichick era, and knowing that they’re also fighting for playoff positioning, I doubt they let a lackluster Browns team come into their home stadium and steal a game away.
New York 20 – Oakland 10
In what will most likely be this week’s least cared about matchup, the Jets will bounce back from a series of demoralizing losses with a victory that will mean little to nothing in the long run, hosting the cross-country traveling and identity-less Raiders.
Philadelphia 37 – Detroit 33
Expect the city of brotherly love to be a slugfest of offensive firepower as the tested and determined Lions offense trades blows with the new breed of fast-paced, run-oriented Chip Kelly offense. In the end, an overachieving Eagles defense will make the difference with a handful of turnovers, and the Lions will once again be on the wrong end of the media’s incessant questions about whether or not they’re ‘for real’.
Miami 31 – Pittsburgh 24
The Jets game was a momentum builder, and something tells me Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace will effectively make the Dolphins offense click….by using Wallace as a decoy and feeding Brian Hartline and Charles Clay about ten receptions each. Combine that with one of the league’s most underrated defenses, and the Dolphins playoff hopes continue while the Steelers start thinking about what area of their aging defense needs the most work come 2014.
Tampa Bay 28 – Buffalo 16
Another game in December with nothing at stake but pride. I like the Bucs at home, playing football better than their record reflects. As the Bills have shown us over and over again this year, most recently last week against the Falcons, they’re a good team who can’t seem to stay out of their own way.
Kansas City 31 – Washington 28
I really, really want to pick the Redskins in this game. They’ve got the home field, they’ve got a Chiefs team that isn’t quite the juggernaut they had convinced some of us they were, and the injuries are starting to take their toll while Washington remains mostly unscathed. Regardless, the better team wins this game in my estimation, and the Chiefs are simply a better team.
Denver 41 – Tennessee 24
Manning hangs up another five and works his way towards the season record for touchdown passes, blowing past a team that is coming off the kind of loss that takes the heart out of lesser teams. The Titans are a lesser team right now, no way around it.
Arizona 24 – St. Louis 13
The Rams will not give up the fight, not against a divisional opponent, not when they know they’re playing the role of spoiler. Jeff Fisher has been in this position frequently throughout his coaching career, and will have his team (particularly his defense) chomping at the bit to pull off the upset. In the end, however, no amount of passion on the Rams’ side will overcome a Cardinals defense that should quite simply shut this team down for four quarters.
San Diego 34 – New York 28
Neither team has much going for it, even if the Giants are still technically alive in the playoff race. In close matchups, I never like the team that has to travel from coast to coast, and that’s the essence of this pick in a nutshell.
Seattle 26 – San Fransisco 20
This is going to be one of the most physically brutal games played in 2013, mark my words. There will be blood. There will be bruises. There will be field goals. The Seahawks will, finally, without any shadow of a doubt, claim their place at the top of the NFC West, the NFC and perhaps the entire league with a huge road victory.
New Orleans 31 – Carolina 26
As the NFL turns. If anyone would have told me these teams would be tied at 9-3 going into this game before the season started, I’d have had some serious doubts. Considering the matchup may be the closest in terms of overall talent of any game this week, the 12th man of New Orleans will be the deciding factor, limiting the Panthers to field goals when touchdowns are needed, giving the Saints the room they need to take a close one.
Chicago 38 – Dallas 33
I see Brandon Marshall. I see Alshon Jeffery. Hell, I even see me some Martellus Bennett. I see a little Matt Forte as well. I see too much firepower for the Cowboys to handle. Just a little more than the Bears defense can handle.
Fantasy Start ’em/Sit ’em
Good luck in the playoffs, if you happen to be in them! I am. In both of my leagues. Hot damn.
Nick Foles – QB – Philadelphia Eagles
Josh McCown – QB – Chicago Bears
Eddie Lacy – RB – Green Bay Packers
Danny Woodhead – RB – San Diego Chargers
DeSean Jackson – WR – Philadelphia Eagles
Torrey Smith – WR – Baltimore Ravens
Zach Ertz – TE – Philadelpha Eagles
Charles Clay – TE – Miami Dolphins
Phil Dawson – K – San Fransisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals D/ST
Andy Dalton – QB – Cincinnati Bengals
Cam Newton – QB – Carolina Panthers
Frank Gore – RB – San Fransisco 49ers
C.J. Spiller – RB – Buffalo Bills
Mike Wallace – WR – Miami Dolphins
T.Y. Hilton – WR – Indianapolis Colts
Tony Gonzalez – TE – Atlanta Falcons
Vernon Davis – TE – San Fransisco 49ers
Sebastian Janikowski – K – Oakland Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST