Thursday, December 09, 2004

NFL: Week 14 Picks

Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars… Jacksonville (2)
Don’t be fooled by Jacksonville’s loss to Pittsburgh and Chicago’s victory over Minnesota. The Jaguars continue to play very good football, but have run into some difficult teams in the past two weeks. Chicago exploited a Minnesota team that has a very poor defense. If Jacksonville’s Fred Taylor runs like he did against Pittsburgh, it should be enough to win.

New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens… Baltimore (2)
A very good Washington defense made life hell for the Giants last week. It looks as if the Giants collapse is in full swing. On the other hand, one more embarrassing loss like last week’s upset to Cincinnati and Baltimore will be in meltdown mode. Score one for the desperate Ravens.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans… Indianapolis (2)
The Colts will continue to roll over the mediocre teams of the AFC. Still, it doesn’t prove that they will be equipped to compete with New England and Philadelphia when it really matters.

Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills… Buffalo (2)
I’ll say what I’ve said about Cleveland all season. On the road, the Browns have yet to win a game. Mike Mularkey’s Bills, having started the season 0-4, have climbed back to .500 and generally play good football at home.

New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys… Dallas (2)
It seems like Julius Jones, drafted in the second round, is coming up big for the Cowboys. Believe it or not, Dallas is still in the NFC playoff hunt. It’s only a matter of weeks until Saints Coach Jim Haslett gets fired.

Oakland Raiders at Atlanta Falcons… Atlanta (3)
Another case where a team that plays good at home squares off against a squad who under performs on the road. The danger for Atlanta, though, is that the rest of their regular season is basically moot. With their loss to Tampa Bay and Philadelphia’s win over Green Bay, it’s implausible that Atlanta gets the 1st seed in the NFC. But with Green Bay’s loss, Atlanta is almost assured the 2nd seed and a 1st round bye. Jim Mora, Jr. must find a way to keep this Falcons team focused for the last four weeks of the season.

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings… Minnesota (2)
It’s looking like Mike Holmgren is on his last legs in Seattle. Minnesota’s usually a reliable pick at the Metrodome.

Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots… New England (3)
It is one thing to beat a Ravens team with little offense to speak of. The task of taking on the defending Super Bowl champions is too much for Cincinnati to take on. I’ll venture to guess that New England has few problems in taking care of the Bengals.

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers… Pittsburgh (1)
Say what you want about the Steelers, somehow they find ways to win football games. If you like watching good running backs, this is the tilt for you.

Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos… Denver (3)
I can’t rationalize even contemplating picking a Miami team that turns the ball over seven times in a single football game.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers… Green Bay (2)
Don’t read too much into the Pack’s loss to Philadelphia. The Eagles are the dominant team in the NFC, and frankly, I don’t see Green Bay or anyone else stopping them in the NFC playoffs. Brett Favre is professional enough to bounce back from a tough loss and lead Green Bay to victory over a wholly mediocre Lions squad.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers… San Diego (2)
This isn’t an easy task for Tampa Bay, traveling nearly 3000 miles to California. By defeating Denver, San Diego has proven them worthy of calling themselves the 3rd or 4th best team in the AFC.

St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers… Carolina (1)
Somehow, Carolina has rebounded and is marginally in the playoff race. I’ll reiterate a common theme when it comes to the Rams. On the road, I’ll never be confident predicting a St. Louis win. Combined with the sudden resurgence of the Panthers, look for the Rams to come up short.

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals… San Francisco (1)
Arizona is shaky at QB and SF is due a victory sooner or later. Hopefully a 49ers win gets Miami back in contention for the #1 draft pick.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins… Philadelphia (3)
When these two teams met three weeks ago in Philadelphia, the Eagles won by 22 points. Following Philadelphia’s thorough dismantling of a hot Green Bay team, it’s hard to imagine this one being any different.

Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans… Kansas City (1)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through 13 weeks, it’s never to pick the Titans to win at home. The Tennessee secondary remains decimated and Trent Green should have a big game.


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