Ace Picks: Week 14

Last week I went 11-5, which makes a solid three weeks in a row. The best pick of the week was my Eagles pick to upset New England, and their defense wasn’t about to make me lose that pick. I did get burned by Houston, the Bears, and the Raiders, but that’s the nature of the beast. The Eagles victory makes up for it all.

That’s in the past, though, and we’re on to a new week, which means a whole new slate of picks. This week brings a host of important matchups, a revenge game, and perhaps a three-game losing streak for the Patriots. I never thought I’d say that this season, but that’s where we’ve gotten to this week. Are the Bengals for real enough to beat the hot Steelers, and can the Cowboys win a second game in a row, even against the Packers?

I’m already 1-0 after Arizona somehow found a way to take out the Vikings on Thursday night, so let’s see if I can keep the streak going. Here are my Ace Picks for Week 14…

SUNDAY GAMES

Washington @ CHICAGO – The Redskins don’t play well on the road. At least that’s been the knock on them since Cousins has been their number one guy. Can they take care of business against a Bears team that came crashing down to earth last week against the 49ers, of all teams? This one will be close, but the Bears rebound to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Pick: BEARS.

San Francisco @ CLEVELAND – Johnny Football gets a 4-game audition against that very same 49ers team that hasn’t played poorly of late. He played solidly his last time out, but I like the way Blaine Gabbert has looked, and I think he keeps up his good play in this one. Pick: 49ERS.

Seattle @ BALTIMORE – I don’t even know if I have to say anything about this one, but I will give you a statistic. Every single one of the Ravens games has come down to a single score. Do I see this one going the same way? Not a chance. Not with the way the Seahawks (and particularly Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin) have been playing lately. Blowout alert. Pick: SEAHAWKS.

Atlanta @ CAROLINA – Trap game. The Falcons have been downright miserable lately, and the Panthers are on an absolute roll, so why do I feel it’s a trap? Matt Ryan can’t be so bad for so long, and the Panthers have been giving up points on the defensive side. But the Falcons have nothing but pride to play for, and honestly I don’t see how they could be proud right now. Pick: PANTHERS.

Buffalo @ PHILADELPHIA – This has been billed (ha ha) as the great revenge game for LeSean McCoy, but I can guarantee you Chip Kelly will be focused more on his own offense than the one across the field. And the Eagles offense will shred the Bills defense. Versatility running the football for the Eagles will take a close one. It’s good to have Ryan Mathews back. Pick: EAGLES.

Pittsburgh @ CINCINNATI – No, it’s not the playoffs, but this game has all the makings of a playoff game… except as it stands right now, the Steelers aren’t in the playoffs. And if they don’t win this game it makes their road that much harder. Besides, I believe in this Bengals team that is currently first in the conference, especially at home. Pick: BENGALS.

New Orleans @ TAMPA BAY – Drew Brees is on the road, and you know the narrative behind that. It won’t go well. We know how bad that Saints defense is, even though the offense went toe to toe with the Panthers last week. Winston comes alive in this one, though, shredding that defense like he did against Philadelphia a few weeks ago. Pick: BUCCANEERS.

Indianapolis @ JACKSONVILLE – Matt Hasselbeck came back down to earth in that game last week, and there will be more of the same in this one, against a resilient Jaguars defense that will come to play. Blake Bortles gets Allen Hurns back, and that won’t be a small addition to his receiving corps. Look for both Allens to have big games. Pick: JAGUARS.

San Diego @ KANSAS CITY – Speaking of pride, that’s what this Chargers squad is playing for lately, but that might not be enough as they play out the string. That Kansas City defense will get it going early and often, keeping Philip Rivers on hi toes, and forcing a few turnovers. Pick: CHIEFS.

Tennessee @ NY JETS – I like that Mariota kid, and I really like how he rallied his team and took care of a close one against Jacksonville last week. I think that carries over here against a Jets defense that has been inconsistent. Fitzpatrick is a journeyman for a reason, and I think it shows up here. Pick: TITANS.

Detroit @ ST. LOUIS – The Lions have got to be downright apoplectic right now after gift-wrapping a game for the rival Packers last week, but they’ve had 10 days to think about it, and I think they come to play angry in this one against a Rams team that has been awful on both sides of the ball lately. Pick: LIONS.

Oakland @ DENVER – That Denver defense is still for real, and it’s the defense that will take the Broncos to the playoffs and beyond. Oakland has been out of sorts offensively lately, and that doesn’t bode well traveling to Mile High this week. Pick: BRONCOS.

Dallas @ GREEN BAY – The Packers found lightning in a bottle last week, an elixir that brought their offense back to life, right? No. They benefited from a bad call, and then ran into a horrible defensive alignment on one play, sneaking out a victory. But they did. not. look. good. And Dallas comes in on life support but with a chance after knocking off their division rivals. I’ll pick Aaron Rodgers over Matt Cassel any day, though. Pick: PACKERS.

New England @ HOUSTON – Can the Patriots really lose 3 games in a row this season? Sure they can. Of course the Texans defense took a step back against the Bills last week, but that only motivates them more for this tilt against the Patriots. Tom Brady looked frustrated last week, and if this team can get to him often enough it might be a long day. I don’t see the Pats losing three in row, though, and they will take a close one. Pick: PATRIOTS.

MONDAY NIGHT

NY Giants @ MIAMI – The Giants win games they shouldn’t win and lose games they should win. This counts as the latter, because Eli Manning is up to his turnover happy ways again. It’s like the Giants want to make sure the rest of the division keeps hanging in with a chance to win it, and the Dolphins will expose them on Monday night. Pick: DOLPHINS.

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