26 November 2014

2014 NFL Predictions: Week 13

Ah yes, Thanksgiving. We all know that nothing (with the possible exception of pie) goes together better with Thanksgiving than football and fortunately we will have a triple helping of football, with all being NFC games for what it's worth. Who will seal the deal this week and we enter December at the end of it? Here are my picks.

Last Week: 10-4
2014: 103-79
Locks: 7-5

Chicago Bears (5-6) vs. Detroit Lions (7-4) - CBS, 12:30
The Lions have now dropped two in a row after getting blown out in Foxborough by the Patriots and have now fallen out of first place. One can think that they will get a good matchup in the Bears, but the Bears have appeared to have stopped their bleeding with a two game winning streak. Of course, those two wins did come over the Vikings and Buccaneers (by identical 21-13 scores nonetheless). Detroit will get off the schneid on Turkey Day but it will be a tight one.
Detroit 20 Bears 17

Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-3) - Fox, 4:30
Maybe it's me but I think it's fun that the top teams in the NFC East are each 8-3 while the bottom two are 3-8. This is a huge game in this divisional race and I think the home team here has an edge. Mark Sanchez has either looked pretty good or mediocre and he still has turned the ball over a good amount. That could be an issue against a team that can run the ball and control the clock, which could help mitigate the high-powered Chip Kelly offense.
Cowboys 28 Eagles 24

Seattle Seahawks (7-4) vs. San Francisco 49ers (7-4) - NBC, 8:30
Of course, we all remember what happened the last time these two met so this should be a fun one. As to whether we'll see some further action between Michael Crabtree and Richard Sherman, who knows but with both bringing strong defenses, you can expect some smashmouth football here. The difference, in my opinion, will be whether either offense can push the action. San Francisco's offense has been really inconsistent all season long and I don't have the faith in them that they can get it done.
Seahawks 17 49ers 14

Sunday, November 30th
Oakland Raiders (1-10) vs. St. Louis Rams (4-7) - CBS, 1:00
Hey, the Raiders won on Thursday! Sure, they did their best to give the Chiefs plenty of opportunities to win the game but in the end, Oakland scored more than Kansas City did. And once again, we will not have a winless team. I don't think they'll go on a winning streak as I think they will lose this Sunday in St. Louis. The Rams have been playing some good football of late and their defensive line will cause Derek Carr to make some mistakes.
Rams 17 Raiders 7

New York Giants (3-8) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) - Fox, 1:00
The Giants gave it their all on Sunday night against the Cowboys, even with the help of an amazing catch by Odell Beckham, but they still came up short as they lost late. They have now lost six in a row and while they take on a pretty bad Jacksonville team this week, they really should not have too much confidence that they can go on the road and get this win. That said, I do think they will win a game that will be closer than expected.
Giants 16 Jaguars 13

Tennessee Titans (2-9) vs. Houston Texans (5-6) - CBS, 1:00
Ryan Mallett really struggled in his team's loss to the Bengals on Sunday. Yes he's inexperienced but still, he did not look good at all against Cincinnati. Will he look better against Tennessee? Ryan Fitzpatrick will start with Mallett on IR so it's a moot point. Will it matter? I ask that because the Titans have been dreadful against the run, and Arian Foster, who will likely return this Sunday, has played well, and they have done a bad job protecting the passer which is great when going up against J.J. Watt and friends.
Texans 23 Titans 12

Carolina Panthers (3-7-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (4-7) - Fox, 1:00
It is wild to think that the Panthers have lost five games in a row, and are less than a game back from the division lead. The Panthers have looked like a mess on offense and in particular Cam Newton has struggled. Can they end their winless streak of almost two months against a team that has lost two in a row, but has also shown a solid defense that largely held the Packers in check? I say no.
Vikings 14 Panthers 10

Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9) - CBS, 1:00
You can laugh at Lovie Smith for saying he won't play the inexperienced players because they are "still in the playoff hunt" but what is comical is despite his team looking terrible, he is right! If they actually were to make a real playoff push, they would need to win this one right here. I just don't see it happening, particularly against a Bengals team that has rebounded from the dreadful loss to Cleveland to win two in a row.
Bengals 21 Buccaneers 10

Washington (3-8) vs. Indianapolis Colts (7-4) - Fox, 1:00
Robert Griffin still struggled to throw the ball but behind a strong rushing attack, they actually gave the 49ers a pretty stiff challenge before falling late. Could this be the sign of a turnaround? Fat chance, even now as they will start Colt McCoy this go-around. Andrew Luck should be able to find similar success that Colin Kaepernick found in throwing the ball and the Colts will get a nice win as they advance towards the playoffs.
Colts 31 Washington 16

Cleveland Browns (7-4) vs. Buffalo Bills (6-5) - CBS, 1:00
Now that it looks like this game will be played at the Ralph, the Bills get to return home are playing on Monday night in Detroit. Their demolition of the Jets ended a two game losing streak and keeps their playoff hopes very much alive. Meanwhile, the Browns got a big benefit when Mike Smith forgot what clock management was and allowed Cleveland to get another chance to win the game. Who will win this contest of contending sleepers? I still think Cleveland has gotten a good amount of luck and isn't as good as their record is but they'll pull it out here.
Browns 23 Bills 19

New Orleans Saints (4-7) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4) - Fox, 1:00
Pittsburgh is coming off the bye and that bye came at a good time after they somehow lost to the Jets and struggled to defeat the Titans. But now they do get to return to the Steel City and they'll host a franchise in New Orleans that is reeling with three straight losses, has not looked as imposing offensively (with Drew Brees also not looking like his old self), and has also struggled away from home. The Steelers will get a key win.
Steelers 31 Saints 21

San Diego Chargers (7-4) vs. Baltimore Ravens (7-4) - CBS, 1:00
Justin Forsett has really been a revelation for the Ravens and he at times has helped carry the Baltimore offense when Joe Flacco has been in the game manager. And as their defense showed against New Orleans on Monday night, they can get after the quarterback and force turnovers. The Chargers have won two in a row but they have not looked that impressive in tight wins over Oakland and St. Louis, and I think that the Ravens will get this one.
Ravens 34 Chargers 28

Arizona Cardinals (9-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-7) - Fox, 4:05
The Arizona offense looked they could really use Carson Palmer last week in Seattle as Drew Stanton was wholly ineffective and the offense as a whole struggled to move the ball as they lost convincingly. Meanwhile, some disastrous clock management by Falcons coach Mike Smith allowed the Browns to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This Falcons team has looked pretty mediocre in games outside of the division and they'll drop another one here.
Cardinals 20 Falcons 10

New England Patriots (9-2) vs. Green Bay Packers (8-3) - CBS, 4:25
It is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXI and could it be a preview of Super Bowl XLIX? Perhaps as both teams look to be peaking at just about the right time as we get to December. For the past month, the Patriots have been drilling their opposition as they have won every contest going away. Meanwhile, the Packers have won three games in a row but they had to tough one out in Minneapolis against the Vikings. This is a tough call but could the Lambeau factor be the difference? I say yes.
Packers 31 Patriots 30

Denver Broncos (8-3) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) - NBC, 8:30
So the Chiefs just lost to the Raiders, not exactly a great look. However, I wouldn't fact that one contest too much as they welcome the Broncos to Arrowhead on Sunday night. Speaking of the Broncos, they had to rally in the fourth quarter in order to defeat the Dolphins as they opened the quarter with 22 unanswered points to erase an 11 point Miami lead. I don't think that Alex Smith has got the guys he needs to chase down Peyton Manning on the scoreboard and Denver will get the win.
Broncos 35 Chiefs 24

Monday, December 1st
Miami Dolphins (6-5) vs. New York Jets (2-9) - ESPN, 8:30
It looks like the Jets are going to continue with starting Michael Vick but at this point, there really is no reason to continue to do so. The team is going nowhere, Vick hasn't played well and they might as well go back to Geno Smith Geno Smith will in fact be the starter this week but let's not act like this is some upgrade. Meanwhile, the Dolphins gave the Broncos a very tough contest in Denver on Sunday but allowed 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter as they blew an 11 point lead. They did blow the game but they won't do that here. I have had terrible luck with my locks but alas, Miami is my Lock of the Week.
Dolphins 30 Jets 9

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