These games are just like the weather........unpredictable. Week 14 will be crucial for teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, and Seattle Seahawks. They are knocking at the door, but not everyone will get in. Check out how I picked them for this week.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS VS BUFFALO BILLS:
The thought was that the Colts would play spoiler to those teams with a glimmer of playoff hopes. This has not quite been the case. They do put up a fight, but they cannot seem to nail the coffin shut. This is a tough call because the Bills have been a mess since the first few weeks of the season. Even with that, they are in the hunt. At this point, this is an opportunity for QB Tyrod Taylor to show off for a potential new team. This will not be a blow out, but expect that the Colts will not be spoilers and the Bills will eke one out.
DALLAS COWBOYS VS NEW YORK GIANTS:
The story for the New York Giants has been all over the sports news. In a divisional game in the NFC East, expect that everything will be left out on the field. Certainly with QB Eli Manning back under center, the Giants will put up a good fight. The Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is starting to look better without RB Ezekiel Elliott, finally, but only a couple games shy of him coming back. In order to stay viable for the post season, the Cowboys need this win.
DETROIT LIONS VS TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
Having the biggest contract in the NFL does not mean much if you get hurt. So, Lions QB Matthew Stafford hurt his hand against the Ravens last week. It appears that he will be starting this week against the Bucs. If the Lions have any chance of making the playoffs, he needs to start. Although this is not the middle finger injury he suffered last year, it is still an injury to his throwing hand. Lucky for him and the rest of the team, the Bucs defense is bottom of the barrel. QB Jameis Winston is back, but still up to his old tricks. Detroit should capitalize on this.
OAKLAND RAIDERS VS KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:
Kansas City will be without the services of CB Marcus Peters due to a team imposed suspension. So without someone to cover, could the Raiders get one in MetLife stadium? This is the implication since they are looking much better than they did when QB Derek Carr was out with injury. Even RB Marshawn Lynch is starting to look like the back they lured out of retirement. The Chiefs should come out looking better, but the nose dive they have taken is not one they can pull out of.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS VS HOUSTON TEXANS:
So QB Jimmy Garoppolo got the start last week and the kicker, Robbie Gould, was the hero. Playing against his former team, Gould kicked five field goals in the win over the Chicago Bears. How did that work out for the much anticipated quarterback? It did not show much. It is a new week and a much better defense that the Niners are going up against. If there is one time to say that Texans QB Tom Savage might look good, it will be this game.
GREEN BAY PACKERS VS CLEVELAND BROWNS:
Only for the slightest of chances that the Packers will make it to the playoffs with QB Aaron Rodgers will they win this game. Packers QB Brett Hundley is the better of the two quarterbacks on the field.
Green Bay Packers
CHICAGO BEARS VS CINCINNATI BENGALS:
Look for Bengals QB Andy Dalton and rookie RB Joe Mixon to exploit the less that mediocre defense of the Bears. The Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky just does not have the needed playmakers around him. RB Jordan Howard has been great this season, but that is Trubisky's only go to person. Chicago needs to build the offense if they expect Trubisky to be their quarterback of the future.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS VS CAROLINA PANTHERS:
Vikings win...first round bye. Carolina wins.....wild card hopes kept alive. The Panthers with Cam Newton, Christian McCaffery, and Devin Funchess will not be a match for the Vikings with Case Keenum, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen. Minnesota is the real deal and they are making it known. If the Panthers do not get too down on themselves, this could be an exciting game to watch.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS VS LOS ANGELES CHARGERS:
Who is to blame for Washington's woes? Injury seems to be their main issue, especially on defense. Can they beat Los Angeles? Not with the Chargers playing like they just found their groove. QB Phillip Rivers and company are coming on strong. Being able to throw to WRs Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and Travis Benjamin, help a lot. This will keep the thin defense of Washington on its toes. Redskins QB Kirk Cousins may have a few tricks of his own, but not enough to deter the focused Bolts. Even though they are taking it game by game, the Bolts are making that push for the post season.
Los Angeles Chargers
NEW YORK JETS VS DENVER BRONCOS:
The way that the Denver Broncos have been playing is the reason why the Rocky Mountains may be starting to crumble. Even against the New York Jets, is there a chance that they will win. There really is not much to discuss here.
New York Jets
TENNESSEE TITANS VS ARIZONA CARDINALS:
Tennessee needs the win and Arizona can stop them. Just when you think the Titans are out of a game, they come back and get the W. To keep their wild card hopes alive, Tennessee needs this game. Will it be easy? Nope. So what if Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert is a turnover machine. They can still run the ball. This will definitely be a close game with serious playoff implications.
PHIILADELPHIA EAGLES VS LOS ANGELES RAMS:
Defense will be the story with these teams. It is pretty obvious that neither team has a problem scoring. These are two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL this season. It is going to come down to defense. IF that is the case, the Eagles defense will have a hard time stopping the likes of RB Todd Gurley. They have not had the opportunity to go up against a running back like him all season. The edge has to go to the Rams defense that causes plenty of turnovers that lead to scores. This is the game of the week.
Los Angeles Rams
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS VS JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS:
QB Russell Wilson cannot do it all by himself. He is not going to do it against the Jaguars. The Jags have the top rated defense and enough offense to make Wilson's head spin. The Jags are keeping pace with the Tennessee Titans for a playoff spot. Seattle is just not who they used to be this season and it is wearing on them. The Hawks will not let it be a blow out, but they will not come away the victors either.
BALTIMORE RAVENS VS PITTSBURGH STEELERS:
Talk about a rivalry! The Ravens will not make this an easy home game for the Steelers. The Steelers do find a way to get it done though. Who would have thought they would come back in that game last week against the Bengals? The killer Bs are always lurking and ready to make those moves. Baltimore is depending on its defense to carry them through. It is apparent that their QB Joe Flacco has not been anything close to what was expected or needed this year. The fact that they at in the hunt is due largely to the defense. With those factors on both sides, it will be a close battle in the AFC North.
In a week where wins truly decide your fate, this should be a good one. Where is your team fitting into all of this? What needs to happen for your squad to get in? This is how I am calling the week. Good luck to your team and picks!
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