Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 14

Josh Reed escapes from the Skins last week  

13 down, four to go in the National Football League regular season. Here we are again with the picks for the week, already 1-0 after last night’s win with the Redskins over the Bears. Record on the year at 99-88-2 after going 11-5 last week. Here are my picks for week 14:

Carolina at Jacksonville (-10.5)

The Jags are still smarting after a three-point loss to the Colts last week, while the Panthers actually won their first home game of the year. I don’t expect to see the Panthers being able to keep the Jags contained either on offense or defense, and this is just what the doctor ordered to get Jacksonville back on track. Expect to see a lot of carries for the tandem of Taylor and Jones-Drew, and for the defense to make life tough for Vinny Testaverde. Jacksonville 31 Carolina 10

Dallas (-11) at Detroit

A lot of bad blood now in this one after the comments from Terrance Newman pointed at Jon Kitna. Newman had better watch, as a questionable hit is going to land him in the locker room. The Lions are in a complete tailspin, and a loss here would drop them under .500 at 6-7. The Cowboys should be able to throw all day on the Lions secondary, and their defense will be able to pressure Kitna enough into a few mistakes. Cowboys win this one with ease. Dallas 34 Detroit 14

Miami at Buffalo (-7)

Part of me feels sorry for the Dolphins, as even former HOF QB Dan Marino is pleading with the Fins faithful to be patient. Nevertheless, they will show up Sunday in Buffalo for another beating, as the inspired Bills have 13 players on IR, yet are in the playoff mix in the AFC. Look for the Bills to have some early struggles, but in the end to be able to take care of business and move to 7-6 heading into Cleveland next weekend. Buffalo 23 Miami 9

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-3)

Donovan McNabb will be back under center for the Eagles, and I have to believe he’ll have happy feet after getting sacked what seemed like 20 times the last time these two teams played. Philly will have Brian Westbrook back, unlike the last time they played, and with McNabb avoiding mistakes this should be a close tight NFC East battle. I like the Giants defense better though, and think that they will make more plays in the passing game to get it done. NY Giants 23 Philadelphia 21

St.Louis at Cincinnati (-6.5)

Talk about two teams that have been awful this season. The Rams have been banged up and mistake-prone, while the Bengals defense has been terrible and the offense has not made many big plays. I think this will be a very wide-open, shootout affair, with Carson Palmer and the Bengals WR’s being able to make big plays down the field against a banged up Rams secondary. The Bengals have to be thinking about playing for pride, as I can’t imagine there’s not some heat on Marvin Lewis to win a few more down the stretch. Cincinnati 34 St.Louis 27

San Diego at Tennessee (Even)

This is going to be one hard hitting, tough game. Both teams want to keep rolling, with each winning last week. The Chargers are playing much better than earlier in the year, but have to avoid a letdown here as they take on a Titans team that finally got on track last Sunday breaking a three-game losing streak. The Chargers are the better team, with a better running game and a passing game that will make some plays. I expect it to be the usual Titans game, every yard will be tough, will come down to the fourth quarter, and will be decided in the final two minutes. San Diego 20 Tennessee 17

Oakland at Green Bay (-10.5)

I am enjoying the growth process of the Raiders, and the last two weeks with wins they have proven finally they are on the right track. The Packers have had plenty of time to stew about their loss to the Cowboys, and at home vs the Raiders they should be able to run the ball a ton, while Brett Favre shouldn’t have to wear out his arm. The Pack defense will make life tough in the winter wonderland (expected snow and 30’s), and the Raiders by the foruth quarter will want those buses as warm as possible. Green Bay 24 Oakland 7

Tampa Bay (-3) at Houston

The big story here will be the quarterbacking of each team, and it appears that Jeff Garcia should be back for the Bucs, while Sage Rosenfels will have to go for Houston for an injured Matt Schaub. I like the Bucs defense here, but at the same time think that even with Sage under center, the Texans are going to throw and throw a lot to try and move the football. Expect to see a lot of Andre Johnson, Andre Davis and Kevin Walter. For the Bucs, they will play their game – ball control, tough D and no mistakes. I have a feeling after their last minute win in New Orleans the Bucs are due for a road letdown. Houston 21 Tampa Bay 17

Arizona at Seattle (-7)

The Hawks have revamped their offense, and with it they have run off some wins to take control of the division. They will continue to throw a lot, but mix in the running back combo of Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris, who has been playing well. Their defense played take-away last week with the Eagles, and against Kurt Warner and the banged up Cards, I think the Hawks will be able to pull away in the second half and take home a win that basically will clinch the division. Seattle 24 Arizona 13

Minnesota (-8.5) at San Francisco

Last week the Vikings proved they are a team that you can’t take lightly, blowing out the Lions at home. Where did all this offense come from? 35 points in the first half? Look for them to run with super rook Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, and for Tavaris Jackson only to throw when he has to. Also the Vikings defense should feast on a 9’ers offense that has been pretty bad for most of the season. Look for the Vikings to continue their winning ways and making a push for a #6 wild card spot. Minnesota 31 San Francisco 17

Kansas City at Denver (-6.5)

Two teams that have been major disappointments in 2007 will collide in Denver playing for nothing really more than pride. The Chiefs have lost two straight at home, and five straight overall. The Broncos have lost back to back to the Bears and Raiders, ending any playoff hopes. Travis Henry is back for the Broncos, and their 8th ranked offense should be able to move at home with Jay Cutler and the three-headed monster running attack doing some damage. Denver 20 Kansas City 13

Cleveland (-3.5) at New York Jets

What a letdown last week for the Browns, losing a game in Arizona that they clearly should have won. Now this week it’s the same setup, playing a team they are better against on the road. The Jets have played much better since starting 1-8, winning two of three. They will need to do what everyone does well against the Browns – run the ball and stay with it. Expect to see the Browns try to start better, as the last three weeks they have been flat at the start and have had to rally. The Browns simply cannot afford to lose here if they want to play in January. Cleveland 27 NY Jets 17

Pittsburgh at New England (-10.5)

The line for this game started at 14 on Monday, and just like that another lackluster showing by the Pats has pushed this back almost 4 points. Tom Brady and the Pats have not played all that well the last two weeks, but they have won, and found a way, which teams like this heading towards destiny need to do. The Steelers are 9-3, and have lost three road games by a combined 13 points. They have to do what they do best, run the ball, make a few downfield plays and use the tight ends. They will try to stop Randy Moss, blitz Tom Brady, and make short fields for the offense. The Pats will once again play with something to prove, and I don’t think the Steelers have quite enough. New England 24 Pittsburgh 14

Indianapolis (-9) at Baltimore

The Colts all but clinched the AFC South last week topping the Jags, but they can’t let their guard down here against the slumping Ravens. Baltimore showed a lot of pride but also a lack of brains last week in their fiasco last few minutes loss to the Pats at home. They should have won the game – bottom line. They will try to use the same formula against the Colts, which is to pressure Peyton Manning and jam the wide outs. After a week of seeing the film, the Colts will again be able to prevail. Indianapolis 27 Baltimore 19

New Orleans (-4) at Atlanta

Not much to talk about in this Monday night snoozer. Chris Redman will get the start for the Falcons, the third QB to start this year for Atlanta. The Saints fell at home last week and now are resigned to at best being a 5th or 6th seed as a wild card at 5-7. Look for them to do what they want on offense, while Redman will have trouble just like every other Falcons QB in 2007. New Orleans 28 Atlanta 10

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