Welcome to my Week 14 NFL picks and previews. Last week, I went 8-8, putting my overall record at 112-78-1 (113-78-1 with Week 14 TNF). As the playoffs approach, this week will be filled with scoring and exciting rivalries. Which teams will come out on top and advance in the playoff race? Keep reading to find out what I think, and as always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.
Lock of the Week
Against an underrated Titans defense, QB Derek Carr and the Raiders will struggle to put up points. Carr will be without WR Hunter Renfrow, and the Tennessee defense should be able to handle RB Josh Jacobs, WR Tyrell Williams, and TE Darren Waller. Meanwhile, expect Oakland to struggle stopping RB Derrick Henry. QB Ryan Tannehill will also have a strong game, tossing multiple touchdowns and leading the Titans to a blowout victory with help from Henry.
Upset of the Week
This one should be close, but look for the Rams defense to slow QB Russell Wilson down more than usual. Meanwhile, QB Jared Goff and his receivers will take advantage of a good match-up against an inexperienced Seahawks secondary. RB Chris Carson should have a strong game for Seattle, but it won’t be enough as the Rams have too big an advantage against the Seattle secondary.
The Other Games
|Posted to Twitter Thursday
||Look for QB Mitch Trubisky and his receivers to have a strong day against a young Cowboys secondary and lead the Bears to victory. However, RB Ezekiel Elliott will help Dallas make this close against a strong Bears defense that will shut down QB Dak Prescott.|
|Led by their strong run game, the Bills will put up a good amount of points and make this close. But even a rising Buffalo defense is no match for QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson will rely on RB Mark Ingram and a variety of receivers in addition to running the ball himself. Jackson’s versatile skillset will lead Baltimore to a fairly easy victory.|
|Without RB Le’Veon Bell, the Jets will have to rely on QB Sam Darnold and his receivers. But against a Dolphins secondary that’s decimated by injuries, I think the Jets are capable of victory without Bell. The Dolphins will put up a fight, but they won’t win in New York.|
|With TE David Njoku back, QB Baker Mayfield and his offense will be up to full speed in this game. They’ve had time to develop chemistry and get healthy. Now they’ll take advantage of a favorable match-up against Cincinnati. QB Andy Dalton and his receivers will make it close, but the Browns should win in the end.|
|Even without WR Will Fuller V, the Texans should be able to take down Denver here. Expect the Texans D to severely limit QB Drew Lock and his offense. It’s hard to tell how QB Deshaun Watson and his receivers will do, but the Texans should win with ease regardless.|
|The Colts young secondary will have a very hard time stopping WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. This will allow QB Jameis Winston to have one of his best games of the year and lead the Buccaneers to victory. QB Jacoby Brissett and the Colts will put up some points on an inconsistent Tampa Bay defense, but without WR T.Y. Hilton and TE Eric Ebron, they won’t have enough in the tank.|
|This will be closer than people expect, as Washington surprises against a young Green Bay defense. But the Packers will win in the end, as they rely on RB Aaron Jones and QB Aaron Rodgers, who can make just about any WR look good.|
|Even without WR Adam Thielen playing, this should be a blowout. The Vikings will lean on RB Dalvin Cook to lead them. Meanwhile, the Minnesota defense will easily shut down QB David Blough and his receivers, and with RB Kerryon Johnson hurt, Bo Scarbrough is the best RB the Lions have to compete with Cook.|
|This will be an exciting game, as it could preview this year’s NFC Championship. QB Drew Brees will lean on RB Alvin Kamara and TE Jared Cook with WR Michael Thomas likely to be covered by CB Richard Sherman for most of the game. QB Jimmy Garoppolo and his receivers will find a way to make this close, but the Saints will prove themselves as NFC frontrunners in this one.|
|In Atlanta, QB Kyle Allen will struggle with TE Greg Olsen sidelined. RB Christian McCaffrey will have a strong game, but he cannot win Carolina games on his own. QB Matt Ryan and a strong Falcons offense will be too much for McCaffrey to compete with here.|
|Even with QB Gardner Minshew starting again, the Jags will struggle against the Chargers D. WRs Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark will be out-matched by a strong Chargers secondary, especially now that S Derwin James is back. Meanwhile, QB Philip Rivers will rebound against a weak Jags D after a tough loss.|
|This is going to be the biggest shootout of the year. Against a below average Chiefs D, QB Tom Brady will rebound. The Pats defense will struggle as QB Patrick Mahomes continues to succeed and makes this close. As Brady relies on his young receivers, the Pats will edge out a victory. But it won’t be easy.|
|Even with QB Duck Hodges starting, I think the Steelers should be able to take down Arizona. Hodges and his offense will put up a decent game against a young Cardinals defense, and Pittsburgh’s defense will limit QB Kyler Murray and his receivers to just 2 TDs to allow Pittsburgh to edge out the victory on the road.|
|With QB Daniel Jones out, QB Eli Manning will have to start. Under pressure from a strong Eagles front seven, he will struggle. The Eagles won’t have the most flattering of games, but they’ll get by against an aging Giants defense as QB Carson Wentz relies on his tight ends.|
That’s all for my picks this week. Stay tuned for more posts soon, including some MLB free agency coverage as Winter Meetings approach.