This is going to be a great week of NFL football with a card that plays out like a Wrestlemania card. Sure there are a few stinkers, but for the most part there are a lot of great games, and a lot of great story lines.
Last week I went 10-6, ouch. Should've taken the Giants and the Cardinals considering that day I was telling everyone they were going to win. That's what happens when I have to make these picks on a Tuesday.
Without further excuse, check out my Week 14 picks.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns - The Steelers will win this one despite being one of the leagues most disappointing teams through the 3/4 mark of the season. If the Steelers are disappointing, the Browns are just bad. No one should expect them to win this one despite showing effort last week against the Chargers.
I'm taking the Steelers on the Road.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears - The Bears aren't that good of a team and I picked them to win a few times too many this season. The Packers on the other hand are a good team and I picked them a few times too little this season. Why not stay stuck in my ways?
I'm taking the Bears at Home.
Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars - This is a good game that won't get too much attention because of the other ealry games. The Dolphins and Jaguars have both snuck into the front of the AFC playoff picture, but neither team can make it with a loss in this one. An important thing to notice about the Jaguars is that they usually don't win games like this, while the Dolphins usually play their best against good teams. Chad Henne is starting to look like a pro QB.
I'm taking the Dolphins on the Road.
Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts - Denver absolutely hate playing the Colts, who have been the teams biggest detractor this decade. What better opportunity for the Broncos to get revenge against the team who ousted them from the playoffs in back to back years then to end their bid at a perfect season. If the Colts are going to lose one of their final four (given they start their starters the final four games) this is going to be the game. It'll be hard for the Broncos to win this game though, beating Indy at home isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world; and the Colts are playing really good football and can wrap up home field with a win. It's going to be a close game.
I'm taking the Colts at home.
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons - If Matt Ryan comes back this game will be close, but the Falcons just aren't healthy enough to win this game. Right now the Falcons are looking towards 2010 and what they need to make it to the Super Bowl then. Poor Tony Gonzalez though. Will that guy ever get a playoff win?
I'm taking the Saints on the Road.
Carolina Panthers @ New England Patriots - As awful as the Patriots have looked on the
road (to be honest they haven't looked that awful, four of their five losses were close) the Panthers have looked even worse. In one of three Super Bowl rematches to take place this week, Super Bowl XXXVIII's rematch presents us with the most recent rematch. Surprisingly, these teams are "close enough" to their 2003 shells that this game could have some grudge factor it. John Fox is holding onto his job, and he'll need to beat the coach who prevented him from getting a ring in 2003 to keep it. I don't see it happening.
I'm taking the Patriots at Home.
Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans - Two of the more disappointing teams of 2009, this game could go in so many ways. What Texans team will we see, the one who dominated the Bengals, or the one that got beat up in Jacksonville on Sunday? Which Seahawks team will we see, the one that embarassed the Jaguars, or the one that got embarassed by the Vikings? Neither team is going anywhere so both teams will be playing hard. I'd go with the home team in this one.
I'm taking the Texans at Home.
New York Jets @ Tampa Bay Buccanneers - Mark Sanchez is likely to play this one, in the battle of rookie QB's. Even though the Bucs haven't been awful, and the Jets have been inconsistant, the Jets should walk home with this one. The Bucs just aren't ready to win games like this yet.
I'm taking the Jets on the Road.
Cincinnatti Bengals @ Minnesota Vikings - One of the several heavyweight matches on this weeks titanic card, the Bengals vs Vikings will be a barometer for just how good both teams really are. A loss by Cincinnatti and they'll fall to "playoff teams who can't be the really good teams," a loss by the Vikings and the "Favre is too old to play a 16+ game season" comments may be confirmed. A win by either team and they're instantly a contender. My heart is telling me to take the Bengals but my head is telling me to take the Vikings. Both franchises are historically pretty good at losing games like this one though.
I'm taking the Vikings at Home.
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs - An absolute snooze. It will really be a bummer to live in these markets without NFL Sunday Ticket this week. The only thing the Chiefs have left to play for is to see if Matt Cassel is at least "decent" enough to be their future starter. The only thing the Bills have left to play for is to see who is worth keeping for 2010. In a game like this, all you can do is go for the team that looks better on paper.
I'm taking the Bills on the Road.
Detroit Lions @ Baltimore Ravens -The Ravens aren't that good of a season, and they were very overrated at the beginning of the season. That being said they're definitely not bad enough to lose to the Lions. If they are then it's time to deconstruct this roster.
I'm taking the Ravens at Home.
Washington Redskins @ Oakland Raiders - Younger fans probably wouldn't even recognize this game as a Super Bowl XVIII rematch, but football historians and older fans alike will be yearning for the days of John Riggins, Jim Plunkett, Joe Theismann, Art Monk, and course Marcus Allen. Unfortunately the closest we'll come to seeing the greats from this game on Sunday will be by watching Matt Millen or Howie Long on their respective pre-game, post-game shows. 26 years later, this is a bit of a snoozer, but the Redskins should finally get that evasive 4th win.
I'm taking the Redskins on the Road.
St. Louis Rams @ Tennessee Titans - Super Bowl XXXIV was undeniably one of the greatest football games ever played. This week 14 matchup probably won't be. Vince Young and the Titans lost a brutal one to the Colts, and the only way they lose this game is if their most recent loss cripples their morale. Odds are that won't be the case.
I'm taking the Titans at Home.
San Diego Chargers @ Dallas Cowboys - In a week of the quadruple main event (Den @ Ind, Cin @ Min, Phi @ NYG, and this one) this game is perhaps the most intriguing. The Cowboys are not a good December team, in part because they've run into some brutal December schedule's lately. On the same note the Chargers have been arguably the hottest team in the league (outside of... you know... those two 12-0 teams) but haven't really beaten a team like the Cowboys yet (you know... a good team... playing well... on the road). The Chargers need this game if they want the #2 seed, but not as much as the Cowboys need this game if they just want to win their division. This game will be a huge confidence booster for whoever wins.
I'm taking the Cowboys at Home.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants - This is a really hard game to pick. The Giants and the Eagles could both easily make a run to the Super Bowl this year despite their flaws. I also wouldn't be shocked if either team missed out on the NFC playoffs all together. In a game like this I'm going to pick against the less schizophrenic team.
I'm taking the Eagles on the Road.
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers - The Cardinals will win this game and they're probably going to win it big. By big, I mean the Cardinals are probably going to make the 49ers regret they ever won that game in week 1. It's not because the Cardinals are a dominating, forceful team, because they're really not. It's moreso because the 49ers just don't have what it takes to win games like this one, yet.
I'm taking the Cardinals on the Road.