The Bears just looked lost for most of that game on Thursday night against the Cowboys, but they still made the game interesting in the end. My pick was for Chicago to pull the “upset” but I wasn’t surprised when they didn’t. Jay Cutler just isn’t the answer, and I’m not sure he ever will be with his tendencies for wild shifts. Regardless, the rest of the slate awaits for week 14, featuring a matchup between top-5 teams Seattle and Philadelphia as the marquee matchup.
Here are my picks for Week 14…
Pittsburgh @ CINCINNATI – Time was when the Steelers were near unbeatable at home, but those times they are a-changin’ as evidenced by the pedestrian New Orleans Saints throwing down the gauntlet last week and the Steelers unable to keep up. I think Cincinnati has been playing its best football of the season defensively, and that will show through in this one. The Bengals win a high-scoring contest. Pick: CINCINNATI.
Indianapolis @ CLEVELAND – The Browns looked relatively bad last week, but so did the Colts’ defense. I think Indianapolis gets off to a big lead in this one, but I like Hoyer to bring the Browns back, either him or they pull him for Johnny Manziel again and he shines in the fourth quarter. Either way I don’t see the Colts defense being strong enough to stop the running game of the Browns. Upset city. Pick: CLEVELAND.
Tampa Bay @ DETROIT – The Bucs are still alive in the playoff race, such is the sad reality of the NFC South, but they aren’t playing like a playoff team. They only have two wins on the season, and they aren’t going to make it three against a Detroit team that played well on both sides of the ball last week in obliterating the Bears. Pick: DETROIT.
HOUSTON @ Jacksonville – Was that for real last week, that Ryan Fitzpatrick who showed up, that DeAndre Hopkins who did his best Calvin Johnson impression? I don’t think it was, but I also don’t think it was too much of a fluke. This Jacksonville defense is better than the one in Tennessee, but not so much better that it should give that Houston team too much trouble. Pick: HOUSTON.
Seattle @ PHILADELPHIA – The Seahawks defense has been player better of late, but this Eagles team hasn’t lost at home this season for good reason. While Philadelphia might not be Seattle in terms of crowd support, the Eagles fans do buoy the team, and they will do so again this week. I like the Eagles offense to expose the holes in that Seahawks defense, and for Mark Sanchez to play well once again at home. Pick: PHILADELPHIA.
Baltimore @ MIAMI – Yes, the Dolphins imploded with a chance to make the playoffs last season, but Ryan Tannehill is better this year, that defensive line is better this year, and they’re clicking on all cylinders right now, despite the hiccup against the Jets on Monday night. I don’t think that changes here, and the Dolphins pick up a good win at home. Pick: MIAMI.
NY Jets @ MINNESOTA – The Jets surprised many people by hanging with Miami last week, except that they still lost the game in the end, and I think that was the best game they could have played with Geno Smith under center. Against an opportunistic Minnesota defense that’s at home this week, I think Smith will make those mistakes that characterize him and the offense will sputter because of it. Pick: MINNESOTA.
CAROLINA @ New Orleans – The last time we saw the Saints at home they were in the midst of losing three straight at home for the first time in the Sean Payton era, and after a dominant effort on the road in Pittsburgh what should we expect of them now that they’re back in the Superdome? I’m not ready to say that they’re good enough to string together two strong performances in a row, and Carolina is playing with desperation right now. Pick: CAROLINA.
NY Giants @ TENNESSEE – The Giants can’t even win the games they’re supposed to win this season. Now they’re officially out of the playoff picture, so how do they do on the road against the Titans? I think they do well, but not well enough. Tennessee has studied tape of that game against Jacksonville last week and they could well learn some lessons from it and use that to their advantage. Eli Manning will be hassled all game, which will be the difference. Pick: TENNESSEE.
St. Louis @ WASHINGTON – It feels wrong to pick the Redskins in this one, particularly if DeSean Jackson doesn’t play, but I’m a believer in Colt McCoy leading that offense, and I’m not sold on the St. Louis offense producing like it has the past couple of weeks. They play up to their opponents, but they also play down to to them too, and Washington is certainly down. Pick: WASHINGTON.
KANSAS CITY @ Arizona – This is a popular pick, going with the Chiefs on the road against the Cardinals. Both teams have lost two in a row, but the Cardinals looked especially bad in losing their two, and they are starting Drew Stanton once again. I think the Kansas City offense will do just enough to gut this game out in a battle of two relatively good defenses. Pick: KANSAS CITY.
Buffalo @ DENVER – At home the Broncos roll, and I’m not betting against them in this game, but I do think with Julius Thomas probably out once again the game may be closer than most think. Buffalo’s run defense hasn’t been great of late, and I think C.J. Anderson will run all over them early and often. That will be the difference in a game that has playoff implications. Pick: DENVER.
SAN FRANCISCO @ Oakland – This is the game most in San Francisco will look to when they talk about when Colin Kaepernick turned around his season. Usually Oakland is so bad against the run that most teams run it all over them, and Colin Kaepernick has yet to be unleashed in the running game, but this is the week when it finally happens because I don’t trust Frank Gore to carry the team on his back like he used to do. 49ers roll. Pick: SAN FRANCISCO.
New England @ SAN DIEGO – Trust in Philip Rivers. He steps up in big games, and there’s no bigger one at this point in the season than this one against the current top seed in the AFC, at least when it comes to the Chargers’ playoff hopes. We all know what Rivers can do in these types of situations, and I think he goes mono a mono with Tom Brady in this one and comes out victorious in the end. Pick: SAN DIEGO.
ATLANTA @ Green Bay – This season isn’t over yet for the Falcons. In fact, they’re still very much alive to win their division, despite having only five victories so far. And now they’re traveling to Lambeau Field to face a Packers team that just does not lose at home. But I have a sneaky suspicion that Matt Ryan steps up in this one and Aaron Rodgers has an off game. Upset special. Pick: ATLANTA.
The Fantasy Ace