23 December 2014

2014 NFL Predictions: Week 17

Here we are, the final week of the 2014 NFL season. You have got teams trying to get into the playoffs, teams trying to end their seasons on the right note and potentially teams playing for a higher draft pick.

Last Week: 9-7
2014: 143-103
Locks: 11-5

Sunday, December 28th
New Orleans Saints (6-9) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13) - Fox, 1:00
The Saints had a prime opportunity to seize control of the NFC South and get to the playoffs, and they blew it with a stinker of a performance at home on Sunday to Atlanta. They have lost five straight at the Superdome! But fortunately for them they have won three road games in a row and the Buccaneers are absolutely dreadful. New Orleans gets the win.
Saints 20 Buccaneers 9

Chicago Bears (5-10) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6-9) - Fox, 1:00
Jimmy Clausen was actually not that bad on Sunday but he couldn't get the win and he also got a concussion, leaving the Bears to go back to the embattled Jay Cutler. The Vikings return home after losing their last two road games including a wild one on Sunday in Miami Gardens. Minnesota has won their last two at home but I think Cutler will come out with something to prove and get the win.
Bears 20 Vikings 17

New York Jets (3-12) vs. Miami Dolphins (8-7) - CBS, 1:00
As just mention in the game above, Miami won an absolute thriller at home over the Vikings with a blocked punt out of the end zone. The two combined for 41 points in the fourth quarter, so there's that. The Jets had opportunities to take out the Pats at home and behind another poor performance from Geno Smith, they lost again. I like the Joe Benigno suggestion of starting Bilal Powell. Miami finishes strong.
Dolphins 28 Jets 15

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) vs. New York Giants (6-9) - Fox, 1:00
The Eagles were in great shape after dominating the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but they lost three in a row to eliminate themselves from the playoff hunt. Considering they lost to a Washington team that they did largely outplay shows how far they have fallen. Now they visit the Giants who have won three in a row after taking care of the Rams at the Ed Dome on Sunday. Heaven have mercy if Bradley Fletcher is covering Odell Beckham, Jr. I like the G-Men.
Giants 31 Eagles 30

Indianapolis Colts (10-5) vs. Tennessee Titans (2-13) - CBS, 1:00
Potential Super Bowl talk for the Colts may have died off after a disastrous performance in Arlington on Sunday in which they failed to do much of anything on either side of the football. Fortunately, they will visit a truly dreadful Titans club, home to one of my worst predictions of the season. Indianapolis wins with ease.
Colts 30 Titans 14

Dallas Cowboys (11-4) vs. Washington (4-11) - Fox, 1:00
The Cowboys were likely into the playoffs before Sunday but they finished their case with an exclamation point as they dominated the Colts, leading at one point by 42 points. They will visit Landover and take on a Washington club that pulled a stunner against the Eagles, essentially knocking them out of the playoffs. They have already beaten the Cowboys in Arlington back in October but I like Dallas here.
Cowboys 38 Washington 28

Buffalo Bills (8-7) vs. New England Patriots (12-3) - CBS, 1:00
Buffalo did have slim playoff hopes but they blew any chance by laying an egg Sunday in Oakland. Of course, losing Marcell Dareus to injury certainly did not help matters and played a big role in the Raiders pounding the ground game. His hole is too big for the Patriots not to exploit it, plus they have the advantage of playing at home, even with nothing to play for.
Patriots 24 Bills 16

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) vs. Houston Texans (8-7) - Fox, 1:00
Case Keenum really didn't play all that well but he didn't have to as Arian Foster led the way on the ground, and in the air with a touchdown pass, and Joe Flacco was an absolute disaster (more on that coming up), allowing Houston to keep their playoff hopes alive. They still need help but first they have to take care of the Jaguars. Jacksonville is coming off a win, albeit one against a terrible Tennessee team and one that wasn't all that impressive. I like Houston here.
Texans 23 Jaguars 12

Cleveland Browns (7-8) vs. Baltimore Ravens (9-6) - CBS, 1:00
Speaking of Flacco, he only put together the worst performance of his career and one of the worst quarterbacking performances of the season. Making matters even worse is that it came in a huge game for their playoff hopes but now they need a San Diego loss to get in, as well as beating Cleveland along the way. The Browns do not have a quarterback at the moment as Johnny Manziel is out for the season, Brian Hoyer is hurt and Rex Grossman has family in town. That leaves them turning to either rookie Connor Shaw off the practice squad or Tyler Thigpen off the street. Nice. Flacco bounces back and B'more gets the win.
Ravens 20 Browns 7 

San Diego Chargers (9-6) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8-7) - CBS, 1:00
The Bolts bounced back from two three-touchdown deficits in the first half to San Francisco to lead a furious rally in the fourth quarter to tie the game and win in overtime. Now with the Ravens falling to Houston on Sunday, San Diego is in the driver's seat for a wild card spot. All they have to do is defeat the Chiefs in Kansas City. Of course, the Chiefs defeated the Chargers in San Diego a few months ago but they have also four of five since. This will be a close one but I believe that Philip Rivers will lead the way for the victory.
Chargers 28 Chiefs 27

Arizona Cardinals (11-4) vs. San Francisco 49ers (7-8) - Fox, 4:25
Ryan Lindley was a fiasco on Sunday night, to nobody's surprise, and now rookie Logan Thomas will start the finale for Arizona, which also isn't a surprise. As to what Thomas will bring is a total mystery as he may just be an ultimate boom-or-bust case with great highs and comical lows, the likes of which we saw in Blacksburg. The Cardinals have been struggling of late but the Niners have been spiraling down the drain in their own right with four straight losses and an embarrassing chokejob at home on Saturday to San Diego. I've gone back and forth here but I think Bruce Arians' 'next man up' mantra will help lead Thomas and the Cards to win. Lindley will indeed be the starter in a decision that I find highly questionable. San Francisco gets the win.
49ers 16 Cardinals 13

Oakland Raiders (3-12) vs. Denver Broncos (11-4) - CBS, 4:25
Peyton Manning's struggles continued on Monday night as he threw four picks as their homefield advantage dreams died. Now it isn't a guarantee that they get a bye at all. They do get the luxury of returning to the Centennial State and will host Oakland, who did get a nice win at home over the Bills but are a legitimate mismatch. Look for Manning to strike early and strike hard to put this one away here.
Broncos 34 Raiders 17

St. Louis Rams (6-9) vs. Seattle Seahawks (11-4) - Fox, 4:25
The defending Super Bowl champions are looking all the more primed for another run at the Lombardi Trophy. With a win here they will clinched the top seed and homefield throughout the playoffs, key for an elite home team. Seattle is also coming in on a five-game winning streak and hungry for revenge on a Rams team that pulled an upset in St. Louis. Seems easy to me, thus Seattle is my Lock of the Week.
Seahawks 24 Rams 9

Detroit Lions (11-4) vs. Green Bay Packers (11-4) - Fox, 4:25
It has been three months since the last time these two met as Detroit prevailing in a convincing manner in the Motor City. The Pack have only lost twice since then, and both contests came away from Brown County. The Lions have also not won a road game against the Packers (including games in Green Bay and Milwaukee) since 1991. They didn't look all that impressive in barely surviving a Chicago club led by Jimmy Clausen but this is a very good football team. However, the Packers' excellence at home will be the difference.
Packers 30 Lions 28

Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) vs. Atlanta Falcons (6-9) - CBS, 4:25
Well, this is a battle for the NFC South and a battle to host a playoff contest, not to mention the lead game of a doubleheader. As their records suggest, neither team is any good and both have some clear flaws (Atlanta's defense is a joke while Carolina has struggled with injuries as well as consistency). I do think the Falcons have the advantage because their offense has looked strong of late plus they do get the favorable crowd. Atlanta advances to the postseason.
Falcons 23 Panthers 16

Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) - NBC, 8:30
Cincinnati ended their primetime woes on Monday night with an impressive win over the Broncos, made even more impressive given that A.J. Green got hurt on their first series. It does look like Green will play on Sunday night and the Bengals will need him given how good the Pittsburgh offense hase looked of late. I liked a lot of what I saw from the Cincinnati defense on Monday but Denver was still also able to have some success in the passing game. I think Ben Roethlisberger will be able to do the same.
Steelers 26 Bengals 23


  1. Panthers 23 Panthers 16??

  2. Ben,
    Bengals @ Steelers is not on Monday, December 29th, it is also on Sunday, December 28th which is Sunday Night Football on NBC.