Here are the Week 14 NFL picks and previews, with a heavy focus on which games to watch in the AFC and NFC playoff races as we head into the final month of the season.
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Not included: Saints vs Bucs, Jets vs Bills, Falcons vs Packers, Lions vs Cardinals
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) @ Tennessee Titans (6-6)
The Jaguars finally showed some life last week when they held the red hot Colts to 0 points! Their offense was only able to squander 6 points, but clearly enough to win this game and end their 6-game losing streak. The Titans were able to mount a comeback against the Jets last week to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Titans are 1 of 4 teams in the AFC sitting at 6-6 but are in 10th place right now. A loss here can be the nail in the coffin with only 4 games left in the season. Both teams support a top-5 run defense and top-20 pass defense. I don’t expect a high scoring game here but whichever team causes the most turnovers here, I suspect will win the game.
New England Patriots (9-3) @ Miami Dolphins (6-6)
Shocker it’s December the Patriots sit atop the AFC East with a 3 game lead over the Miami Dolphins. The real surprise here is that the Dolphins sit in 7th place at 6-6 so a win here would be HUGE before going on the road to Minnesota next week. Miami got spanked in New England back in Week 4 38-7. They were able to hold off Josh Allen’s last pass as time expired last week to get back to .500. Their defense is one of the worst in the league with of ranks of 30th against the rush and 19th against the pass (29th overall). Their defense will have to pull a 180 this week to pull off this upset and keep their playoff hopes alive.
New York Giants (4-8) @ Washington Redskins (6-6)
Who ever thought we would see Eli Manning vs Mark Sanchez in a game again? Unfortunately we will be seeing those two go head to head this weekend. The Giants season is all but over, but the Redskins sit as of 1 of the 3 teams at 6-6 in the NFC and currently sit in 9th. They need this win before they hit the road for 2 straight against the Jaguars and Titans and finishing up at home against the Eagles who spanked them last week. This is a MUST win for the Redskins. The Giants play their last 4 games against the Redskins, Titans, Colts and Cowboys; all 4 of which are vying for a Playoff spot, so they will have plenty of chances to play the spoiler.
Baltimore Ravens (7-5) @Kansas City Chiefs (10-2)
The Baltimore Ravens and their top ranked defense head into Arrowhead Stadium to take on the 3rd Ranked Offense in the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens currently hold the 6th seed and the 2nd Wild Card Spot. Right behind them are four teams at 6-6; including the Titans and Broncos whom the Ravens have already beaten. The Ravens have won 3 in row since starting Lamar Jackson at QB scoring 24, 34 and 26 points, but will that be enough to keep pace with the league leading scoring offense; 37 points per game; we will just have to wait until Sunday to see.
Carolina Panthers (6-6) @ Cleveland Browns (4-7-1)
The Panthers have just been atrocious of late, losing 4 in a row and slipping to 7th place in the NFC at 6-6. This is a MUST win for the Panthers who play the Saints twice in the last 3 weeks of the season, so they must take advantage of playing an inferior team. 3 of the 4 wins the Browns’ have; have come at home and can be a dangerous team when the “Dog Pound” gets behind them.
Indianapolis Colts (6-6) @ Houston Texans (9-3)
The Houston Texans come into this game as the hottest team in the league, winning their last 9 games since starting 0-3. The Colts had won 5 games in row before losing to the Jaguars last week 6-0!! The Colts will have to somehow jump start their offense against and the O-Line will have their hands full with JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney who have combined for 17.5 sacks. If the Colts O-Line can protect Andrew Luck, will he be able to keep the Texans at bay and get them one step closer to a Wild Card Spot?
Denver Broncos (6-6) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-10)
The Broncos are 1 of the 4 AFC Teams who are sitting at 6-6. Their next 3 games are at the Niners, home against the Browns and at the Raiders before finishing the season against the Chargers. These next 3 games are very winnable for the Broncos and will be crucial in earning one of the Wild Card spots. The Niners shouldn’t be much of a fight, but maybe will be able to play the role of the spoiler this week.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-7) @ Los Angeles Chargers (9-3)
The Chargers are 2 games behind the Chiefs for the AFC West lead but have a 2 game lead for the 5th seed and 1st Wild Card spot. The Bengals are not eliminated yet, but they will be without Andy Dalton and AJ Green for the rest of the season. The Chargers have been one of the better teams on both sides of the ball with the 5th ranked Offense and the 8th ranked Defense. As long as Badgley can continue hitting the kicks for the Chargers; they should be able to keep rolling in this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1) @ Oakland Raiders (2-10)
Pittsburgh next 2 games; they host the Patriots and then visit the Saints before ending the season home against the Bengals. Even without Conner starting at running back the Steelers should be able to put up plenty of points against a struggling Raiders defense.
Philadelphia Eagles (6-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (7-5)
The Cowboys went into Philadelphia 3 weeks ago and started this 4 game win streak as the underdog. They now host the reigning Super Bowl Champions in Dallas with a 1 game lead over them for the NFC East Title. The Eagles have a tough 2 games coming up when they go out to LA and take on the Rams and then host the red hot Texans. This may be considered a must win for the Eagles against a top 5 defense lead by Rookie Leighton Vander Esch and 2 year Jaylon Smith at the linebacker position.
Los Angeles Rams (11-1) @ Chicago Bears (8-4)
The Rams have already clinched the NFC West Title, so they are already playoff bound. The Chicago Bears sit atop of the NFC North and are expected to have their starting QB Mitch Trubisky back this week. Chase Daniel helped the Bears go 1-1 in Trubisky’s absence. The Rams have the 2nd ranked offense while the Bears have the 4th ranked defense. This game will truly be Offense vs Defense, let’s see which one wins.
Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
The Vikings and Seahawks sport the 6th & 5th seed in the NFC right now, occupying the two Wild Card spots for now. The loser of this game may find themselves sitting outside of the playoffs. This game will come down to Cousins vs Wilson. Wilson has proven over and over that he knows how to win games, this will be Cousins chance to show everyone he can win the games when they start to matter.