2018 NFL Week 14 Picks & Previews: Playoffs on the Line

Welcome to my NFL Week 14 picks and previews.  Last week, I went 12-4, putting my overall record at 108-82-2 (109-82-2 including TNF Week 14).  I am ahead of 1 CBS Sports expert, but no ESPN experts. This week, 3 teams can clinch a playoff berth, and 5 teams are on the verge of elimination.  Who will clinch and who will fall short? Keep reading to find out what I think.

Lock of the Week

The Bengals won’t be able to do much without QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green.  Look for QB Philip Rivers and the Chargers to take advantage, leading the Chargers to under the radar dominance against Cincy’s aging defense.  This will lead the Chargers to win with ease.

Upset of the Week

The Bucs won’t be as good as they were last time against an improved Saints defense.  But you cannot underrated this Tampa defense, especially up front. This defensive line should easily handle Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, and if the Bucs secondary can keep Michael Thomas locked up, QB Drew Brees will struggle to find open men.  The Bucs will work their magic and take down the Saints for the second-consecutive loss. New Orleans’ win streak is over, so their momentum is gone. Their WR depth issues and lack of momentum will cost them here.

The Other Games

TNF (Posted to Twitter Thursday Night; Actual Score: 30-9 Titans)

The Jags offense will be slowed significantly by the Titans D.  The Titans won’t be much better offensively, and overtime will be forced thanks to the strong defense on both sides and lack of scoring.  But I think with the home-field advantage, the Titans should pull off the OT victory.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

The Dolphins secondary may struggle to contain New England’s receivers without CB Xavien Howard.  Their pass rush should still be on task though, limiting the Pats offense. However, Miami’s young offense will be no match for the postseason hungry Patriots defense.  The Pats will come out on top and clinch the division.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

QB Sam Darnold is back, and after an extra week to recover, I think he’ll come back ready to go, tossing multiple TD.  However, QB Josh Allen won’t have the same success, as his WR depth issues cost him against the strong New York secondary.  For this reason, the Jets will shock the Bills in Buffalo after losing at MetLife.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

The Chiefs won’t be quite up to speed without RB Kareem Hunt, especially against the tough Baltimore D.  QB Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will make this close, but the Chiefs should be able to get by at home.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

Expect QB Cam Newton and his receivers to get back into the swing of things against the young Browns D.  Cleveland will have a decent offensive day, but the Panthers run defense should still slow down RB Nick Chubb.  QB Baker Mayfield will have to rely on his young receivers more. Mayfield and his receivers won’t be enough for Cleveland, so Carolina will just barely squeeze by.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

Expect Indy’s struggles to continue after the embarrassing loss to Jacksonville last week that stopped their momentum.  The defense will struggle to contain Houston’s WR trio. Meanwhile, the Texans D should dominate, holding the Colts TD-less.  QB Andrew Luck will struggle to find his receivers against Houston with quite a few of them banged-up. The Colts run game won’t do much either, especially against DE J.J. Watt and LB Jadeveon Clowney.  
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

QB Eli Manning won’t be able to do much without WR Odell Beckham Jr.  That will allow QB Mark Sanchez (helped by his TE duo) and the Redskins to get by at home.  The Giants will begin to seriously contemplate moving on from Manning after this game.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

QB Aaron Rodgers will thrive after the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy, tossing 3 TD against a weak Atlanta defense.  QB Matt Ryan and his receivers’ will also look good and make this close. But Rodgers’ dominance and a strong game by RB Aaron Jones will lead Green Bay to victory.
Sunday, 4:05 PM EST

The Broncos won’t be as strong offensively now that they are without WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders as well as TE Jeff Heuerman.  But they will be able to rely on their run game against the weak Niners run defense. Meanwhile, San Francisco will be shut down by Denver’s dominant defense, as the Broncos slip by for their third straight against one of the worst teams in the league.
Sunday, 4:25 PM EST

The Steelers’ run game won’t be any more than subpar without RB James Conner.  But if QB Ben Roethlisberger is at his best, the Steelers should win with ease.  The Raiders only thrived offensively last week because the Kansas City defense is so inconsistent.  Oakland will struggle to do much of anything, even though Pittsburgh’s D is only slightly better. Oakland’s banged-up offense won’t help matters.
Sunday, 4:25 PM EST

Look for QB Carson Wentz to lead Philly to a surprising victory in a back and forth offensive shootout.  Wentz should rely on his deep group of receivers in order to thrive against the Cowboys secondary. QB Dak Prescott should have similar success against the Eagles defensive backs, making this close.  But Philly will just barely come out on top as Wentz outplays Prescott.
Sunday, 4:25 PM EST

Look for QB Josh Rosen and the Cardinals to get by against the anemic-looking Lions.  The Lions offense will not be the same without RB Kerryon Johnson and WRs Golden Tate and Marvin Jones.  The Lions D will be better than usual, but it won’t be enough with the offense struggling regressively.
Sunday, 8:20 PM EST

A lot of people would expect a shootout here, but this is a battle of two of the better defenses in the NFC.  I don’t expect much scoring here, and I think majority of the TDs that are scored will be on turnovers.
Monday, 8:15 PM EST

Expect QB Kirk Cousins to turn it around after a loss in New England for a big prime time win.  The Seahawks will lack the energy they usually have, but QB Russell Wilson will still toss multiple TD at home to make this close.  However, it won’t be enough, as the Vikings win, getting out to an early lead and sticking with it.

That’s all for today’s picks.  Stay tuned for more posts soon.

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