07 December 2016

2016 NFL Predictions: Week 14

There are some serious games with a lot on the line for the NFL Playoff race this week, starting with the action on Thursday night. As we count down the days to 2017 and to the playoffs, here are my predictions for Week 14.

Last Week: 9-6
2016: 118-74
Locks: 10-3

Thursday, December 8th
Raiders (10-2) vs. Chiefs (9-3) - NBC/NFL Network, 8:25
Oakland Raiders (1964 - 1981)Kansas City Chiefs (1972 - Pres)
I've grown to dislike the Thursday night games because they've generally been terrible but it's saying something that perhaps the game of the week is on Thursday Night Football. The Raiders have been rocking and rolling with six straight wins as they hope to lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs but I think they're going to fall here to the Chiefs. Their offense isn't that great but their defense gets the job done and I think at home at night, that'll be enough.
Chiefs 27 Raiders 24

Sunday, December 11th
Steelers (7-5) vs. Bills (6-6) - CBS, 1:00
Pittsburgh Steelers (1977 - Pres)Buffalo Bills (1982 - 1983)
It's a big game for both of these clubs as they aim to get to the NFL postseason. Pittsburgh has been playing well of late as they have won three games in a row as the defense has looked better and Ben Roethlisberger is playing like, well, Ben Roethlisberger. Meanwhile, Buffalo is coming off a loss to the Raiders after winning two straight. Even at home in Orchard Park, I don't love this matchup for the Bills considering Pittsburgh has been good against the run this season. Give me the Steelers.
Steelers 20 Bills 17

Broncos (8-4) vs. Titans (6-6) - CBS, 1:00

Denver Broncos (1997 - Pres)Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)
This may be a situation where a really late bye week could come back to help the Titans as they host a team playing back-to-back road games and a team that didn't look that strong against the hapless Jaguars. It is always tough to move the ball on this Denver defense but regardless of who is under center for the Broncos, I'm not that confident that either can power this offense at a high level.
Titans 17 Broncos 16

Washington (6-5-1) vs. Eagles (5-7) - Fox, 1:00
Washington Redskins (2004 - 2008)Philadelphia Eagles (1996 - Pres)
Considering these two teams have lost a combined five games in a row, this has become what we would call a must-win for both teams. That said, I have more confidence here in Washington than the Eagles. Remember when Carson Wentz was the second coming of Norm Van Brocklin? I do like the guy and think he will be a pretty good quarterback but there are concerns now about his delivery and it is hurting his performance. Look for a good performance from the Washington offense and that'll be enough.
Washington 30 Eagles 23

Cardinals (5-6-1) vs. Dolphins (7-5) - Fox, 1:00
Arizona Cardinals (2005 - Pres)Miami Dolphins (2013 - Pres)
Miami was in for a rude awakening on Sunday in Baltimore as they got trucked by the Ravens, bringing their six-game winning streak to a nice halt. Now they get to return home to Dade County and host an Arizona club that got a nice home win against Washington as Carson Palmer put together his finest performance of the season under center. Even in an early game for them, I like Arizona here to keep their playoff hopes alive with another win.
Cardinals 21 Dolphins 17

Chargers (5-7) vs. Panthers (4-8) - Fox, 1:00
San Diego Chargers (1988 - 2001)Carolina Panthers (2012 - Pres)
The Chargers has spent a decent amount of the year on the playoff contending fringe but now after losing two out of the last three, they are basically out of it. Carolina, meanwhile, is already out of it as we all know and now they are a mess with the whole Cam Newton benching fracas and a hideous performance by the team on Sunday night. I think with all of that negativity, the Panthers will have a big league chip on their shoulder and will crank out a win for the sake of pride on Sunday.
Panthers 31 Chargers 28

Bengals (4-7-1) vs. Browns (0-12) - CBS, 1:00
Cincinnati Bengals (2004 - Pres)Cleveland Browns (2015 - Pres)
Granted the Eagles aren't any good right now but hey, a win was pretty nice for the Bengals. And by just about any and every reason, they should win against their intrastate rival. Cleveland can't score and can't play defense and thus why they're 0-12. But I'm feeling an upset special here in the Forest City. I don't believe they're gonna go 0-16.
Browns 17 Bengals 14

Bears (3-9) vs. Lions (8-4) - CBS, 1:00
Chicago Bears (1974 - Pres)Detroit Lions (2009 - Pres)
A strong performance from Matthew Stafford this past Sunday in New Orleans and now all of a sudden, they have won four games in a row and have a two-game lead in the NFC North. That said, they can't afford a loss here to the Bears. Chicago did crank out a win in the snow against the Niners but that doesn't change how bad they are. Give me Detroit at home and they are my Lock of the Week.
Lions 27 Bears 17

Texans (6-6) vs. Colts (6-6) - CBS, 1:00
Houston Texans (2006 - Pres)Indianapolis Colts (1984 - 2001)
The AFC South race is so bad that these two mediocre teams are leading the charge in that division. Houston's offense was miserable, again, in the bad weather in Green Bay while the Colts looked magnificent thanks to a despicable performance from the Jets on Monday night in the Meadowlands. Houston's pass rush may be able to take advantage of a garbage Indianapolis offensive line but I think Andrew Luck will make enough plays for this team to take the division lead.
Colts 21 Texans 20

Vikings (6-6) vs. Jaguars (2-10) - Fox, 1:00
Minnesota Vikings (1966 - 2012)Jacksonville Jaguars (2013 - Pres)
The Vikings continue to slide and lose ground in the playoff picture, both in the NFC North and with the Wild Card, after a game they could've pulled an upset against the Cowboys this past week. Now they will get to feast on a dreadful Jacksonville team and an offense that isn't doing anything right now.
Vikings 12 Jaguars 3

Jets (3-9) vs. 49ers (1-11) - CBS, 4:05
New York Jets (1967 - 1977)San Francisco 49ers (1968 - 1995)
Colin Kaepernick may have been really, really bad against the Bears in a snowy Chicago, I would still take that over the disgusting performance we saw from the Jets on Monday night against the Colts. They absolutely showed no heart and no desire and it is those kind of performances that get coaches fired. San Francisco may be bad but I'd rather have a team that puts in effort than one that doesn't.
49ers 14 Jets 9

Seahawks (8-3-1) vs. Packers (6-6) - Fox, 4:25
Seattle Seahawks (1976 - 2001)Green Bay Packers (1980 - Pres)
Green Bay has looked good in winning two in a row but we won't really know until a game like this because there's a difference from the Eagles or Texans and the Seahawks. The Packers have always been a tough out at home in December but while they have been winning, I'm not sold that they are good enough to take out a quality team like the Seahawks and push the action against their defense.
Seahawks 28 Packers 21

Saints (5-7) vs. Buccaneers (7-5) - Fox, 4:25
New Orleans Saints (2000 - 2005)Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014 - Pres)
If you have not been paying close enough attention, you would have missed that the Buccaneers have won four games in a row and have pulled into a tie for first in the NFC South. We all know about Jameis Winston but you have to give coordinator Mike Smith and their defense credit as they have really stepped up their play of late. This is a huge game against a sliding New Orleans club and while you can't ever rule out Drew Brees, I like Tampa Bay here.
Buccaneers 24 Saints 21

Falcons (7-5) vs. Rams (4-8) - Fox, 4:25
Atlanta Falcons (1966 - 1989)Los Angeles Rams (1989 - 1994)
LA has now lost seven of their last eight games but hey, why not give Jeff Fisher a contract extension? I'm a fan of mediocrity and bad football as much as the next guy but hey, what do I know? The Rams are so bad offensively that I don't think they can take advantage of a bad Atlanta defense and thus I like the Falcons, now tied atop the NFC South, to rebound from that tough loss to Kansas City.
Falcons 20 Rams 10

Cowboys (11-1) vs. Giants (8-4) - NBC, 8:30
Dallas Cowboys (1964 - Pres)New York Giants (2000 - Pres)
The Giants gave the Cowboys their only loss of the season thus far and they could very well be a prime candidate to give the Cowboys their second loss. That said, I think their chances became weaker in the wake of the news that Jason Pierre-Paul is likely out for the rest of the season. That's a key loss to their defense and in the wake of that news, I like Dallas to win another one here on the road.
Cowboys 31 Giants 30

Monday, December 12th
Ravens (7-5) vs. Patriots (10-2) - ESPN, 8:30
Baltimore Ravens (1999 - Pres)New England Patriots (1993 - 1999)
Going into Foxborough under the lights is always a tough situation but I think the Ravens could have a shot thanks to how good their defense is. Baltimore comes in having won two in a row and they looked really good as they blasted the Dolphins thanks in part to a great performance from Joe Flacco. They will keep it competitive but I still like the Pats here.
Patriots 20 Ravens 16


  1. Titans have played well of late but with Siemien coming back I think Denver will win 24-21 Cincinnati won't lose to Cleveland what so ever even with RG3 likely back the Browns will have no chance as for Seattle & Green Bay they have been better defensively the last 2 weeks but I believe Russell Wilson will have a rough day at Lambeau I'm picking Green Bay 27-20

  2. Hi Ben
    Your opinions are quite logical but the NFL isn't. Many x-factors like on-field injuries and bad umpiring decisions change games in the blink of an eye. I agree Arizona is a better team than Miami man for man and should win. Our running game has slowed down following that mid-season burst. Then again Baltimore was the Number 1 rush defense...
    Anyway my LOTW is Minnesota over the Jags because quite honestly Bortles just doesn't cut it. He is a lower-class version of Ryan Tannehill - he takes a year to make a decision with the ball and basically invites turnovers to occur en masse.