With week 14 underway, the playoff picture is becoming clearer. The Carolina Panthers have clinched the NFC South, and can clinch a first round bye with a win or tie or a Green Bay loss or tie. The Cardinals have clinched a playoff berth, and can win the division with a Seattle loss or tie. Cincinnati can clinch the AFC North with a win or tie, and a playoff berth with a Jets or Chiefs loss. There are 5 scenarios where the Patriots can clinch the AFC East, simplest being a Patriots win and a Jets loss. The Patriots can clinch a playoff berth with a Pittsburgh loss, Jets loss, tie and Chiefs loss, tie and Steelers or Jets tie. The Broncos win the AFC West with a win and a Chiefs loss or tie or a tie and a Chiefs loss. The Broncos can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Jets or Steelers loss or a tie and a Jets or a Steelers loss. Who will make it in this week? Who will have to wait until next week? Who will inch one step closer to the #1 overall pick in the draft? Here are some picks!
Seattle Seahawks @ Baltimore Ravens. The battle of the backup rookie running backs ensues! Thomas Rawls and the Seahawks head to Baltimore to face Buck Allen and the Ravens. The Seahawks have fewer injuries, even missing Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham, than the Ravens who lack Flacco, Forsett, Steve Smith, and Pitta. Seahawks are healthier and better, and win this one on the road. Final score: Seahawks 27, Ravens 10.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers. I want to pick the Falcons upsetting the Panthers this week, but I just can't trust Atlanta to produce. The Panthers are the best team in football right now, and will take care of business at home. Panthers win. Final score: Panthers 24, Falcons 20.
Washington Redskins @ Chicago Bears. Both of these teams lack consistency. One week, they look good, the next, they lose a win-able game. I'm having trouble with this matchup, so I'm going to take a slightly different approach. Story time. The Washington Redskins' team name is controversial; it is seen as offensive to many Native Americans. Many other Native Americans have tried to take the term back, to make it their own. This is still a debate in limbo, with many still calling for the Redskins to change their team name. The Cayuga Indians, of the Haudenosaunee ("Iroquois") Confederation of New York, have a legend about a great bear, the Nyah-Gwaheh. The legend follows four brothers, who were hunters. While three brothers focused on hunting the Nyah-Gwaheh from the beginning, the fat, lazy brother spent his time asking his uncle for food. Eventually, the fat, lazy brother pulled out his pemmican (a Native American food similar to beef jerky) pouch, only to find out that the Nyah-Gwaheh had turned it to worms using magic. He became angry, and ultimately killed the Nyah-Gwaheh after chasing it up what they thought was a mountain top. However, after eating until they were all satisfied, they realized that they were in the stars. Then the Nyah-Gwaheh got up again, and ran off into the sky. This legend explains the origin of the great bear constellation in Haudenosaunee lore (the big dipper is the bear's back). Now what does this mean for this game? The Redskins are the four brothers (former Redskin Albert Haynesworth as the fat lazy brother, anyone?). The Bears are the Nyah-Gwaheh. Just when the Redskins think they have Chicago beaten, the Bears will come back to win the game. The Bears, Nyah-Gwaheh, are who the Redskins, the hunters, thought they were....but the hunters will let them off the hook. Bears win. Final score: Bears 27, Redskins 24.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals. The Cincinnati Bengals will win the AFC North this season, and can clinch it with a win this week. However, as good of a year as the Bengals are having, I just can't trust them against Pittsburgh, still. They tend to struggle against the Steelers in big games, and even though the team beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh this season, I think they may struggle. Historically it's a good bet, even if this team is far better than recent Bengals teams, I have to go with the Steelers in this one. Final score: Steelers 24, Bengals 14.
San Francisco 49ers @ Cleveland Browns. This would have been a good game back when the Browns and 49ers both had a great quarterback and.....wait. The best quarterback Cleveland has had in it's history is Bernie Kosar, and he doesn't nearly fit in the same sentence as Joe Montana and Steve Young. Jim Brown was great though, and remember that receiver the Browns used to have, Josh Gordon? He's still on the team, just suspended? Neither of these teams has an established starting quarterback or an established #1 WR. Yes, Brian Hartline is looking decent for the Browns, but is Hartline really a #1? This game will be decided by the running game and by defenses. That being said, I can't expect the Browns to win anything other than the #1 pick this year. 49ers win this game, and Cleveland continues to be a factory of sadness. Final score: 49ers 24, Browns 14.
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars. I still like some of the Jaguars young talent, but I believe in Matt Hasselbeck! The Jaguars will be good in a few seasons, but the Colts have the weapons to defeat them this week...even though Hasselbeck struggled against the Steelers. Colts win. Final score: Colts 27, Jaguars 17.
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs. UPSET ALERT. I'm going to pick the Chargers to defeat the Chiefs in a divisional rivalry game. Rivalry games are always tough to gauge, and even with the tough year the Chargers have had, San Diego could win this game. I'm picking them. Final score: Chargers 21, Chiefs 20.
Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets. Dorial Green-Beckham has finally arrived. That being said, the Jets are a better team than the Titans, still. In New York, Jets pull off a close one at home. Final score: Jets 33, Titans 30.
Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles. The Bills nearly beat the Patriots this year. The Eagles DID beat the Patriots this year. That being said, LeSean McCoy comes looking for a big game against his former team. I expect him to have a big game, but not big enough to help the Bills win. Chip Kelly is coaching for his job right now, and the Eagles come through for him this week. Final score: Eagles 23, Bills 13.
Detroit Lions @ St. Louis Rams. The Lions were the worst team in football for a while this season. Over the past few weeks, the Rams have been, after losing five straight. This game could legitimately be close, but I think the Detroit Lions have more weapons, and put up more points. As John Madden once said, the team that scores the most points usually wins. To quote Herm Edwards, you play to win the games. The Lions play to win the game this week, and win it. Final score: Lions 27, Rams 14.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This week should be a big week for Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who is finally starting to show signs of being a potential franchise caliber quarterback for Buccaneers. The Saints have had some good games this year, but they've been very inconsistent. I'm going with the Bucs at home in this one. Final score: Buccaneers 34, Saints 14.
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos. The Raiders have a surprisingly good offense this season. However, the Broncos defense is good enough to shut it down this week. Brock Osweiler isn't Peyton Manning, but he's good enough to win games. Broncos win. Final score: Broncos 27, Raiders 14.
Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers. Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel has never started against the Packers. He's 3-1 against NFC North opponents (this includes one relief appearance against the Bears). The Cowboys looked decent last week, and are now only one game out of first place in the abysmal NFC East. The Packers, however, are a far better team with far more weapons, and are coming off of a big win last week. Packers win this one. Final score: Packers 23, Cowboys 12.
New England Patriots @ Houston Texans. Injuries are finally catching up to New England, a team that now has two losses and has lost the #1 seed to Cincinnati, at least for now. The Patriots are still struggling with injuries, and the Texans come in ready to capitalize. Texans win this game, barely. Final score: Texans 23, Patriots 21.
New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins. This is a difficult game to call, but I think the Giants have slightly better weapons, and I trust Eli Manning more than I trust Tannehill. Giants win on the road. Final score: Giants 22, Dolphins 20.
Cincinnati Bengals-clinch playoff berth, fail to clinch division.
Arizona Cardinals-fail to clinch division.
Denver Broncos-clinch division.
Carolina Panthers-clinch first round bye.
New England Patriots-fail to clinch playoff berth.
--Mike B. (115-79)
Chicago Bears 21 Washington Redskins 17
Cincinnati Bengals 35 Pittsburgh Steelers 24
San Francisco 49ers 24 Cleveland Browns 21
Kansas City Chiefs 28 San Diego Chargers 20
St Louis Rams 24 Detroit Lions 20
Tennessee Titans 31 New York Jets 21
Philadelphia Eagles 27 Buffalo Bills 20
New Orleans Saints 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Carolina Panthers 35 Atlanta Falcons 21
Jacksonville Jaguars 27 Indianapolis Colts 23
Oakland Raiders 24 Denver Broncos 20
Green Bay Packers 35 Dallas Cowboys 10
Seattle Seahawks 27 Baltimore Ravens 7
Miami Dolphins 42 New York Giants 35
Houston Texans 30 New England Patriots 28
NFL Week 14
Bills (6-6) @ Eagles (5-7): LeSean McCoy gets a shot a Chip and his old team. This game will be fun. Bills win 29 – 23 over the Eagles.
49ers (4-8) @ Browns (2-10): This game is a battle of who cares. I am going with Gabbert and company in this game. 49ers win 27 – 21 over the Browns.
Lions (4-8) @ Rams (4-8): Yawn. Gurley bounces back finally and carries the Rams to a win 34 – 28 over the Lions.
Saints (4-8) @ Buccaneers (6-6): Um I think Winston is just improving and will use his skills and Doug Martin well here. The Buccaneers will look for a NFC wild card hope. Buccaneers win 32 – 27 over the Saints.
Titans (3-9) @ Jets (7-5): This game is not a hard one to call. Jets win 24 – 13 over the Titans.
Steelers (7-5) @ Bengals (10-2): There is never a guarantee here in this division rivalry. This game is going to be defensive and close the whole way. Bengals win 17 – 10 over the Steelers.
Colts (6-6) @ Jaguars (4-8): UPSET ALRET!!!!!!! Jaguars win 20 – 14 over the Colts.
Chargers (3-9) @ Chiefs (7-5): Chiefs are winning out and going 11-5. Chiefs win 30 – 10 over the Chargers.
Redskins (5-7) @ Bears (5-7): I just don’t care to be honest about this game. It has more importance to the Redskins but I think the Bears win this game. Bears win 29 – 21 over the Redskins.
Falcons (6-6) @ Panthers (12-0): This game would have been good but the Falcons have slept for a while lately. The Panthers are so good and I just think this is easy. Panthers win 39 – 17 over the Falcons.
Seahawks (7-5) @ Ravens (4-8): This will be ugly as it gets for Ravens fans at home. Seahawks win this game with ease 41 – 13 over the Ravens.
Raiders (5-7) @ Broncos (10-2): This is one should be a no brainer. Broncos win 27 – 19 over the Raiders.
Cowboys (4-8) @ Packers (8-4): Aaron Rodgers wakes back up finally and beats the battered Cowboys. Packers win 30 – 17 over the Cowboys.
Patriots (10-2) @ Texans (6-6): I am going to call for an upset. I think the Texans see the playoffs and this defense wins this thing for them. Texans win 20 – 17 over the Patriots.
Giants (5-7) @ Dolphins (5-7): WHY IS THIS MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Giants 35 – 28 over the Dolphins.
Redskins @ Bears - The Redskins win a very important game to maintain 1st place in their division. Washington wins, 23-17.
Steelers @ Bengals - The Bengals win an important game to stay 1st place in the AFC. Cincinnati wins, 24-15.
49ers @ Browns - This game is not going to look very pretty. Although, the Browns are playing worse than the 9ers. San Fran wins, 19-13.
Chargers @ Chiefs - The Chiefs look pretty good right now, and the Chargers have struggled all season. Kansas City wins, 28-19.
Lions @ Rams - The Rams are the better team, and they're playing at home. St. Louis wins, 19-10.
Titans @ Jets - The Jets are the better team, and they're playing at home. New York wins, 23-17.
Bills @ Eagles - The Bills win a tough game on the road, 27-20.
Saints @ Buccaneers - The Buccaneers win an important game, fighting for the NFC wildcard slot. Tampa Bay wins, 31-26.
Falcons @ Panthers - The Falcons are on a downward spiral, and the Panthers are undefeated. North Carolina wins, 35-17.
Colts @ Jaguars - The Colts barely pull out a win on the road, 19-17.
Seahawks @ Ravens - The Seahawks destroy the broken Ravens, 30-13.
Raiders @ Broncos - Broncos win at home, 27-19.
Cowboys @ Packers - Packers win this one at home, 26-15.
Patriots @ Texans - Patriots bounce back this week, and win on the road. The true New England team is back, winning 35-16.
Giants @ Dolphins - The Giants earn a much needed win this week, hoping to pull ahead in their division. New York wins, 27-24.
-Tyler B. [119-74]
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