Welcome to NFL Week 14. This is the time of year when the real colors show up. Who are the real Super Bowl contenders? The Falcons appear to have flown to the top of the NFC and are now the favorites. In the NFC West, the Rams, led by rookie stud, Sam Bradford, are currently in first. And the Patriots once again have risen to the top of the AFC.
Lets take a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.
TheSportsKraze: 114 CV3: 118
Sadly, I did not make up any games on the tenacious CV3. Can I begin the comeback trek this week?
Browns at Bills: The Bills were traditionally a powerhouse in the mid 90s while the Browns have been in the crapper for some time. That is not the case this year. Cleveland has won 2 straight games, and are coming off a big time road victory in South Beach. I got two words for Buffalo fans. “Peyton Hillis.” Sure the Cleveland bruiser was slowed by a tough Dolphin’s defensive front. Well this week Hillis gets to stack up against the worst rush defense in the NFL. Expect the Browns to ride their bruising back to a 7 point victory in bitterly cold Buffalo.
Bengals at Steelers: One of football’s best rivalries will add another chapter on Sunday at Heinz Field. Sadly this year, the Bengals are having possibly the most disappointing year of any team in the League. Cincinnati has not won a game since September 26th. Do not expect that to change Sunday against the Steeler’s outstanding defense. Cincy may make it close, but sadly, I do not see the Who Deys pulling off the upset. Pittsburgh by 6 at home.
Packers at Lions: Both of these teams live and die on the pass. Sadly for Detroit though, they have not figured out a way to win close games this season. In order to beat Green Bay, you have to be able to win a tight game. Ford Field will witness a 6th straight loss as Aaron Rodgers shreds a mediocre Lion’s defense. Packers by 5 over the Try’n Lions.
Giants at Vikings: In the preseason, this appeared to be one of those games that would go a long way towards determining the NFC playoff picture. The G Men have won 2 straight games and looked awesome last week against the Skins. The Vikings on the other hand looked great last week. Granted they were playing against the Bills. Can they pull off the upset at home over NY? All logic points towards the Giants winning this one. But I got the Vikings playing inspired football as they have nothing to lose. Vikes by 1 at home in a wild one.
Buccaneers at Redskins: The Redskins have gone from good, to mediocre, to horrible. They are on a downward trend. Sadly for them, the schedule does not get any easier this week against a pretty solid Tampa team. I think there will be two key determining factors in this one. First of all, McNabb has struggled with the turnover bug lately. Josh Freeman has been a pretty good game manager. Secondly, Tampa can run the ball effectively. The Skins can not. These will be the difference as Tampa wins by 3 in DC.
Falcons at Panthers: This week’s most lopsided matchup. The NFC’s best vs the NFC’s worst. Carolina has lost 6 straight games. Number 7 is on the way. Atlanta will continue to fly behind an outstanding offensive attack and a stingy defense. The ATL boys by 14 in a blowout.
Raiders at Jaguars: Both of these team are coming off big time victories last weekend and are still right in the thick of things in their divisional races. In addition both of these teams run the ball with great effectiveness, yet struggle with their aerial attacks. Maurice Jones-Dream vs Darren McFadden. Who you got? I am going with MJD and the Jags at home. Jaguars by 3 at home in a very exciting game that goes down to the wire.
Seahawks at 49ers: A good old-fashioned battle between a pair of NFC West rivals. Can the Seahawks keep pace with the Rams? Or will the 49ers wreck the day as they look to make a run of their own? Look for SF to bounce back in a big way after a disappointing lost to the Cheeseheads last week. Neither of these squads do anything especially well. But I expect the 49ers to come out motivated in front of the home crowd and nab the divisional victory. 49ers by 6 at home.
Rams at Saints: If you would have asked me about this game during the preseason, I would have laughed. I would have said, you got the NFC’s best team at home vs possibly the worst team in all of football. Give me a break. Ironically, the Rams are leading their division, while the Saints are in 2nd in the NFC South. The Rams are playing solid football behind their fearless rookie QB, Sam Bradford. Sadly, it will not be enough though against a Saints team that has now won 5 straight. Too much offense from the defending champs who have put up 30 plus in 4 straight games. Saints by 10 at home.
Dolphins at Jets: The Dolphins are a solid team. They play solid football on both sides of the ball. Sadly for them, they have to face a very talented Jets team coming off of a horrific loss on Monday Night Football. Can you say redemption time? New York will come out with a chip on their shoulder and show the world that last week was a fluke. The Jets are the real deal, and will demonstrate this with an easy victory at home. Jets by 11.
Broncos at Cardinals: Both of these teams are in the midst of horrible years. They have a combined 6 wins between them. Their years are over and they are already looking ahead to next year. Now the Broncos have been bad in losing 3 straight games, but they are have not been nearly as bad as the Cardinals, who have now lost 7 straight games. Expect the 2 month losing streak to continue as the Denver boys play inspired football behind a new coach. Broncos by 3 on the road.
Chiefs at Chargers: Welcome to the AFC West. This game means a ton for both teams in their hopes to make the playoffs. The Chargers had been on a tear until last week’s setback against the Raiders. KC on the other hand has answered the call of a rising SD team and has won 3 straight games. Both of these teams get the job done in very different ways. KC lives on a lethal two-headed rushing attack, while the Chargers air it out better than any team in the League. This is a pass first League now right? Chargers by 3 at home.
Patriots at Bears: The Jets are the frontrunners in the AFC East? Give me a break. New England showed the world who the real favorite was on the big Monday Night stage. This Pats team has been rolling behind monster numbers from their QB, Tom Brady. Well this week they take on one of the NFC’s best. No problem right? Chi Town’s finest has won 5 straight games and currently sit atop the NFC North. Can they handle the Patriot’s potent offensive attack? I don’t think so. Pats by 3 in a barn burner at Soldier Field.
Eagles at Cowboys: A bitter NFC East rivalry is renewed. Many envisioned the Cowboys sitting atop this division a few months ago. Many were wrong. The Michael Vick led Eagles are currently tied for first, while the Cowboys sit in last. Can they contain Vick and the potent Eagle’s offense? Well they gave up 35 points last week to the Colts. Yet they still won in Indy. I am going out on a limb and taking the Boys at home to shock the Eagles. Cowboys by 1.
Ravens at Texans: The Monday Night Affair pits two of the AFC’s most talented groups. Baltimore is coming off of a devastating 3 point loss at the hands of the Black and Yellow boys last week, while the Texans were “Michael Vicked” by the Eagles. Though this game is in Texas, I expect Baltimore to display a sense of urgency and really shut down a potent Texan’s offensive attack. Ravens by 3 on the road.
Browns over Bills by 3
Packers over Lions by 9
Giants over Vikings by 10 (Vikings haven’t beaten a good team yet)
Bucs over Skins by 3
Falcons over Panthers by 14
Saints over Rams by 7
Jags over Raiders by 9 (Battle of two teams that know how to run the ball)
Seahawks over 49ers by 1
Bears over Patriots by 3 (Will the Pats be prepared after a hyped up Monday night win)
Jets over Dolphins by 9 (The only thing buried in this game may be the Phins)
Broncos over Cards by 5
Chargers over Chiefs by 17
Eagles over Cowboys by 7
Ravens over Texans by 1 (Monday night thriller)
Bengals over Steelers by 6 (Big Ben with one Pick 6 and the Bengals hold on to the ball this time)
So there you have a look at this week’s games. Hard to believe that it is already Week 14. But realize there is no full slate of College Football games this weekend. So make sure to savor Sunday. It is the one full day of football we will get this week.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.