NFL Week 14 Predictions

With week 14 officially underway after Arizona’s nail biting win last night over Minnesota (which you the fans and I picked correctly), we’re officially heading into the home stretch of the 2015 NFL regular season. Two NFC teams have clinched playoff spots, but the other 10 spots league-wide are very much up for grabs. With that in mind, I take a deeper look at the playoff significant games of Week 14, and offer quick hits on the others as I make my weekly predictions. Make sure to play along by making your picks below!

The “Playoffs?!?!?!” Games:

Bills (-1) at Eagles

In what is essentially a pick ‘em, this 1 pm game is one of the most significant and interesting matchups of the week. Both teams are riding high off of an important win that got them back in the playoff mix, but both teams need to keep winning to have a chance at the playoffs. To me, this game comes down to two things: big play ability, and quarterback play. While the Eagles’ special teams can certainly change games as it did last week, I trust Buffalo’s big play ability on offense thanks to some Shady revenge, and believing in Tyrod Taylor more than Sam Bradford. The pick: Bills

Steelers at Bengals (-3)

While Bills/Eagles has playoff significance, the jury is still out on how good those teams can be. But in this game, we’ll see two legitimate super bowl contenders from the AFC square off in a big time AFC North match-up. Both teams are coming off of big time wins in week 13, and both teams need to keep winning to reach their regular season goals. Pittsburgh likely needs to win 3 of their final 4 games to make the playoffs, and Cincinnati desperately wants a bye. This was a tough one for me to call, as I think Pittsburgh’s offense may be the best in the NFL right now, and I expect this game to be much higher scoring than their 16-10 matchup earlier this season. But I think Cincinnati’s defense does enough to let Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense come out with the victory, and AFC North division title. The pick: Bengals

Patriots (-3) at Texans

Another AFC matchup with playoff implications will take place in Houston on Sunday Night Football. Both teams are coming off of tough losses, and need to get back in the win column. JJ Watt will attempt to play hero ball on a broken hand, but I’d be absolutely shocked if Brady/Belicheck lose a third straight game, something the Patriots haven’t done since 2002. The Pick: Patriots

Colts at Jaguars (pick ‘em)

There are very few people who would’ve believed this game would mean so much this season, and I’m one of them. But the whole Andrew Luck debacle and the AFC South’s miserable start has led to this game meaning a ton. If Jacksonville pulls out the victory and the Texans lose as I just predicted, they would be just one game back of the AFC South title with three to play. While it has been fun watching the Bortles led Jaguars offense, they have yet to beat a good team and have lost too many important games for me to pick them. The pick: Colts

The  “One Team Still Matters” Games:

Saints at Bucs (-3.5)

As I said on the podcast earlier this week, the Bucs still have a shot at the playoffs here, and with Minnesota slipping up again last night, they can find themselves within one game of the playoffs with a win at home against the lowly saints. Expect Drew Brees to put up a fight (although likely without his favorite target Brandon Cooks), but for Jameis and the Buccaneers better-than-you-realize defense to pull out the win at home. The pick: Bucs

Titans at Jets (-7)

The Titans put up one of the most fun offensive performances in recent memory in Week 13, highlighted by a quarterback pulling off the longest run of any player in the NFL this season, and ridiculous statistics across the board. But I have a tough time seeing them pulling off similar success against a strong Jets defense needing a win to continue to hold on to a Wild Card spot in the AFC. I expect the (whats turning into) lethal combination of Fitzpatrick to Marshall to keep rolling and Chris Ivory to close this one out as the Jets cruise to a win. The pick: Jets

Chargers at Chiefs (-10)

You don’t usually see double digit spreads in division games. But the Chargers are hurt, and even when healthy have been pitiful, while the Chiefs are the hottest team in football. As long as the Chiefs keep their war horse away from Eric Berry, I expect a few big plays early from Jeremy Maclin to effectively seal the deal as Charcandrick West and Sepncer Ware carry them home. The pick: Chiefs

Redskins at Bears (-3)

The Redskins are still very much alive in the NFC Weak East, and should probably try to come up with a road victory (currently 0-5) if they want to win the division. But the Bears have been better than expected lately, and were it not for some missed field goals last week from the usually reliable Robbie Gould, The Bears could have been sitting with Tampa in a potential run the table for a Wild Card spot scenario. For me, I think the best player on the field in this game will be Matt Forte, and while I don’t trust Jay Cutler, I don’t trust Kirk Cousins on the road. The pick: Bears

Seahawks (-9.5) at Ravens

Despite being a rematch of the first NFL game I ever saw live, an epic Ravens 44-41 OT win, I am not looking forward to this one. When the Seahawks have gotten hot over the past few years, they’ve mauled lesser teams. Russel Wilson is rolling, Thomas Rawls is making an Offensive Rookie of the Year push, and the defense has gotten going. This Ravens team is way too banged up to compete with the red hot Seahawks. The pick: Seahawks

Falcons at Panthers (-7.5)

Even after clinching the NFC South crown last week, the Panthers have a ton to play for between the chase for perfection, and more importantly, securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs. But they’ve looked susceptible lately, and as bad as Atlanta has been, they manage to keep games close. I think Atlanta puts a scare into Carolina and keeps it a one score game, so I’ll pick Atlanta to cover but Carolina to snag victory 13. The pick: Falcons

Raiders at Broncos (-7.5)

The Raiders have surpassed almost anyone’s expectations for them, hanging in the playoff hunt through most of the season. But I’m all aboard the Brock Osweiller train, mainly because the Broncos defense is so ferocious. Latavius Murray and Amari Cooper have slowed down after hot starts to the year, and I don’t expect them to suddenly find the magic in Denver. The pick: Broncos

Cowboys at Packers (-7)

Both of these teams head into Lambeau after wild finishes that revitalized their playoff hopes. Aaron Rodgers’s hail mary may prove to be the difference in the NFC North, and incredibly, the Cowboys wild Monday Night Win got them within one win of the NFC Pathetic East crown. Dallas’s defense has been fantastic all season, so they may have a chance against a disappointing Packers offense that has lost at home twice already this season. But ultimately, it is hard to fathom any scenario where Matt Cassel outduels Aaron Rodgers, even if the Packers have to win this one 7-0. Well let’s call it 8-0 so they cover. The pick: Packers

MNF: Giants (-1) at Dolphins

The last few Monday Night Football games have been lackluster, and this is no different. But hopefully we’ll be in for another spectacular finish, and the one point spread indicates we might be. Here’s a fun fact on the Giants season: if NFL Games were 75 seconds shorter, they’d be 10-2. But instead, they’re 5-7 and need this win to stay atop the NFC Awful East. I think they do it against a Miami team that barely beat a god awful Ravens team last week. The pick: Giants

The “change the channel” games:

49ers at Browns (-1.5)

One of the most perplexing things to me in sports is how much better players can be at one position. You think with so many people competing their whole lives, dedicating years to bodybuilding, practicing and studying their craft that there would be tons of players who can shoot a basketball as well as Steph Curry or play Quarterback as well as an Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. But then we have games like this, where Blaine Gabbert squares off against Johnny Manziel. The pick: 49ers

Lions (-2.5) at Rams

Last and certainly least we’ve got Detroit heading to St Louis. When Todd Gurley got going, it seemed like the Rams could be a force in the NFC with Aaron Donald and a loaded defense. But now Jeff Fisher is “out of answers.” Detroit can score some points lately, but also reminded everyone what Lions football is all about by losing on the longest hail mary in NFL history. I won’t be watching this game, but think that Detroit scores more points than the Rams. The pick: Detroit

Last week: 9-7-0. This Week 1-0-0. Season:  95-92-6

By Aaron Gillette

Steelers vs Bengals Image

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