Welcome to my NFL Week 14 Picks. I went 12-4 last week, placing my overall record at 112-80. How will I do in this week’s slate of games? Read below and comment with your thoughts. This week will be full of many intriguing match-ups, including the battle between sophomore stars Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Who will come out on top?
Lock of the Week
The Cardinals go into this game with Blaine Gabbert as their QB, no established starting RB after Adrian Peterson’s neck injury and the release of Chris Johnson, and one of their top two receivers out. The young Titans defense will shut Arizona’s depleted offense down. Offensively for the Titans, it won’t take much to top the banged-up Cardinals offense as they win with ease in a clinic.
Upset of the Week (SNF)
The Steelers nearly lost this past Monday Night after underestimating their division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals. I expect it to happen again against a hard to predict Ravens squad, and this time it will cost them. Baltimore’s versatile receivers will dominate against a banged-up Steelers defense, who will be without CB Joe Haden. They will also be without both starting inside linebackers, making it easier for RB Alex Collins to strive in Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, the Steelers will struggle to establish a passing rhythm with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster suspended, as Big Ben runs low on options while the Ravens keep eagle eyes on star receiver Antonio Brown. The Ravens will take advantage of Pittsburgh’s problems, winning them an important primetime game.
The Saints offense will have a strong game here, led by their RB duo and their receivers, who will dominate against a struggling Atlanta secondary. But although their own RB duo will struggle, the Falcons will make an effort to fight back, led by QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones, who have big games against the stingy Saints secondary led by young corner Marshon Lattimore. That will lead the Falcons to victory on Thursday Night.
I know the Bills are without QB Tyrod Taylor, but I think Nathan Peterman’s first game was a fluke. This time, he’ll lift the Buffalo offense out of a rough patch against a struggling Colts D. But meanwhile, the Colts will try to fight back as they use a balanced attack to outwit the Bills D, even without WR Donte Moncrief. However, the Bills will win after their offense is rejuvenated.
The Bengals offense won’t be able to produce much itself, but their defense will shut down the Bears, even without LB Vontaze Burfict and CB Adam Jones. The Bears offense won’t be able to fight back here, as even their RB duo can’t save them. Therefore, the Bengals will win this low scoring affair despite the loss of RB Joe Mixon and several defensive stars.
I expect the Packers offense to look a little better against the Browns D, one of the worst defenses in the league. Browns WR Josh Gordon will try to make it close, but the Cleveland defense will just allow too many points. Besides, the Browns are still searching for a good QB to consistently find Gordon. The Packers will win in Cleveland, but not as easily as you would expect since QB Aaron Rodgers is out until next week. However, the Packers offense will help set up Green Bay for success today, even without Rodgers.
Considering the fact that Houston will be without two of their three best receivers, QB Tom Savage will struggle. But the Texans will work their ground game to beat San Francisco, taking advantage of their weak front seven. QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners offense will struggle to fight back, even against a banged-up Houston D, as RB Lamar Miller leads Houston to victory.
Oakland beat the Chiefs at home, and I think it can happen again on the road. They will shock the Chiefs in Kansas City in a fight for the AFC West. Their offense will look dominant, even against a tough Chiefs D. They have WR Amari Cooper healthy this week, and Chiefs CB Marcus Peters is out. Cooper and his fellow Raiders WR Michael Crabtree will dominate against the banged-up Kansas City secondary. The Chiefs offense will do well, but it won’t be enough as the Raiders figure out their depleted secondary.
The Cowboys offense will start to struggle again, even after a big game last week. They will begin to miss RB Ezekiel Elliott against a tough Giants defense. The Dallas offensive line will help them, but it won’t do much. The Giants will try to take advantage as their defense has a big game, but QB Eli Manning will fail to fight back against the Cowboys. The Cowboys will win as the Giants offense continues to struggle without their top two receivers.
The Vikings will dominate offensively yet again, especially against a weak Panthers secondary. The Panthers will try to fight back, but they will fail against the tough Vikings defensive front, even with star tight end Greg Olsen back. Vikes win as QB Case Keenum leads them to another dominant offensive game like they have done all season.
QB Jameis Winston will lead the Bucs offense to victory at home, where Tampa has won most of their games this season. Their versatile receivers will be dominant against the Lions secondary. Led by QB Matthew Stafford and WR Kenny Golladay, the Lions will try to fight back in this tight match-up, but they will fall short as the defense gives up 30+ points to the Buccaneers.
The Denver offense will look better against the young Jets defense despite a major QB controversy. The Jets will still make it close as the Broncos fail to match their early-season feats. But the Broncos defense will have a big game, shutting down QB Josh McCown as well as the Jets RBs as Denver wins.
The Chargers offense will continue to dominate in this game, especially against a banged-up, weak Redskins D. The strong Redskins offense will try to fight back, led by star QB Kirk Cousins and his elite receivers. They will try to take advantage of LA’s secondary weaknesses, even without star TE Jordan Reed. But LA’s offense is just too strong, and they will lead the Chargers to victory in this offensive shootout.
The Seahawks defense will still look strong in this game, even without key secondary members Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. But the Jaguars defense will also shine, shutting down QB Russell Wilson and the strengthening Seahawks offense. This game will bring back memories of Seattle’s early season offensive struggles. The Jags will win as their offense perseveres, even without WRs Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson.
This will be an exciting match-up as Eagles QB Carson Wentz and Rams QB Jared Goff, who were the top two picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, face off. Both of them started in their rookie season although they didn’t do much. But this year, both of them have shined, leading their teams to the top of their divisions.
The Rams will take this one as the Eagles can’t figure out their offense. LA will fail to shut down Wentz, but they will slow down the many strong running backs who have led Philly this season. The Eagles will fail to shut down Goff or RB Todd Gurley as the Rams offense dominates, and their young secondary won’t be able to touch a finger on the Rams wide receivers. LA wins after stumping Philly on both sides of the ball.
The Patriots will struggle to produce as much offense as they usually do without TE Rob Gronkowski (suspension). But QB Tom Brady will come into the game with confidence and find his receivers to beat Miami. The Pats defense will help as their secondary shuts down a strong group of Dolphins receivers. The Dolphins will fail to establish a run game and take advantage of the Pats’ depleted front seven, as the Pats win the game due to complimentary football.