NFL Week 14 Predictions: Settling the Score
Predicting Week 14 NFL Action
There are just four games left in the regular season. These four games are very important for more than a handful of teams including the Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. Most of the 6-6 teams on that list have to win out to make the playoffs and I don't think they will be able to do it. The NFC and AFC playoff picture is pretty secure, except for that sixth and final spot.
This season has come with some surprises and tragedy. What happened in Kansas City over the weekend is unimaginable for a team. I give them so much credit for playing in general, but winning can only be the work of a higher power. Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Romeo Crennel deserves so much praise for helping his team through something that he had to witness first hand. The entire team grew up a little bit.
Moving past the tragedy, we continue to look at the play of the rookie quarterbacks in this league. Seahawks Russell Wilson and Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck both drove their teams the length of the field to win the game in overtime or as time ran out. Redskins' rookie Robert Griffin III showed the NFL that he is the rookie of the year by beating the New York Giants. All three of them are excellent, but I believe only two of them should make the Pro Bowl. Luck has been the biggest different maker on his team, but Wilson and Griffin have better stats. In the end that is how you make the Pro Bowl.
Teams are set to battle in week 14 starting with "Thursday Night Football". Who will blow their opponent out? Have the biggest upset? And what will be the game of the week? all of these questions I aim to answer in my week 14 NFL predictions, enjoy.
Follow Kase Brammer on Twitter @KBlive33
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
If the Oakland Raiders are thinking they can beat the Denver Broncos they are sadly mistaken. The Broncos have turned into a team to fear from both sides of the football. Whether it's Peyton Manning throwing perfect wobbly spiral or Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil coming off the edge to destroy the quarterback's face. Either way it's not going to be fun for the other team. Manning comes into this game with a league high Total QBR. QB Carson Palmer comes into this game as the only person on the Raiders who wants to win.
Prediction: Dumervil and Miller combine for five sacks and Palmer refuses to play for the Raiders unless Jon Gruden is the coach next season. Broncos 31, Raiders 13
St. Louis Rams at Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams are teams that are basically on the same level of ability. The Rams will be looking to get Steven Jackson going early and take some pressure of Sam Bradford. The Bills seem to just kind of go with the flow. The deciding factor in this game will be which team has the better defense because their offenses look very similar. The Rams are coming off a huge win against the 49ers, so momentum could come into play.
Prediction: The Rams defense is better. Rams 20, Bills 17
Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals
This is my first game of the week. The Cowboys are in the playoff hunt, but they will need to win out to get there. The Bengals are in the same situation. However, their situation is not quite so intense. The Cowboys are looking at a healthy RB DeMarco Murray and that could be the difference in this game. The Bengals will rely on a balanced attack to get them a "W". QB Tony Romo needs to put his "big boy pants on", as Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant might suggest.
Prediction: It's a struggle, but Romo pulls his britches up to his belly button. Cowboys 34, Bengals 27.
Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns
The Chiefs will come into this game with the heaviest of hearts. The Cleveland Browns are still looking to salvage their season after starting the year so rocky. They have won three out of their last four games. The Chiefs beat the Carolina Panthers in an all around team effort. RB Jamaal Charles will be running the ball with force beyond comprehension this week and QB Brady Quinn will try to play as mistake free at he possibly can.
Prediction: The Chiefs will move forward and win their second consecutive game. Chiefs 24, Browns 17
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
The Tennessee Titans and Colts are two teams going in opposite directions. For the Colts, the sky is the limit for the future. The Titans seem to be putting a lot of stock in QB Jake Locker, but I don't think he has that "it" factor that the superstars like Tom Brady have. This game could be a good look into Locker's future. The Titans need to rely heavily on RB Chris Johnson. He is still one of the only running backs in the league that can be gone in a flash.
Prediction: Locker's future looks gloomy. Titans 24, Colts 34
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
This game is it for the Vikings. If they do not win here they will not make the playoffs. The Chicago Bears are coming off a loss to the Seahawks. They lost their leader on defense too. Not having Brian Urlacher could be bad news when going against the likes of RB Adrian Peterson. He has the team on his back and that is the only reason they still have a playoff shot. However, the Vikings have not had much to celebrate losing four out of their past five games. This game will be determined by the play of QB Jay Cutler.
Prediction: Cutler puts the team on his back and slings four touchdowns in an awesome victory. Bears 31, Vikings 17
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is my blow out of the week. The Philadelphia Eagles are desperate for a win, but announcing Nick Foles as the starting quarterback for the rest of the season is not the best way to do it. Just like a few teams this week, the Buccaneers are in a win or don't go to the playoffs situation. However, not making the playoffs this year should not be a total disappointment. They have a young quarterback and an even younger running back. RB Doug Martin needs to get going in this game after two straight disappointing efforts or the Eagles could be in the game at the end, and that is not what Tampa Bay wants.
Prediction: The Eagles don't have a chance. Eagles 10, Buccaneers 34
Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III is about to find out if he has what it takes to make the playoffs in the 2012 season. The Baltimore Ravens have a firm lead in their division and the Redskins are on the outside looking in. Griffin's play has been impressive, but this game is where champions are made. The Ravens' defense has not been as punishing as it has been in the past, but they sure know how to put a beat down on someone when necessary. The Ravens will rely on RB Ray Rice and their entire defensive unit to win this game. If they can stop Griffin, the Redskins do not have much of a chance.
Prediction: Griffin shows flashes of his usual brilliant self, but fumbles down the stretch. Ravens 27, Redskins 20
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers only have a chance in this game because it's at home. QB Cam Newton has been impressive over the past two weeks, but those were against two teams that are just not that good. The Atlanta Falcons have only lost one game this season, but they also have the easiest schedule is the NFL. That may come back to haunt them in the playoffs. Newton will have to win this game by himself to even half a chance this weekend.
Prediction: Newton's effort comes up short. Falcons 27, Panthers 17
New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars
Here is a game that nobody cares about. The New York Jets have already announced Mark Sanchez will remain at starting quarterback, but for how long? Probably as long as Rex Ryan has a job. So, four more games. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a much improved team over the past few weeks, but that doesn't mean they are good. They are still a terrible football team. Sanchez realizes that he needs play better or he will be looking for a job next season. He probably won't get very many calls.
Prediction: Nobody knows how, but the Jets pull one out. Jets 23, Jaguars 20
San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Just like the Eagles, the San Diego Chargers are desperate for a win. They have lost four games in a row and the fact is they should have never hired Head Coach Norv Turner. The Steelers are still playing an old school style of football that is obviously still effective. QB Ben Roethlisberger is expected to start this weekend and that does not bode well for the Chargers.
Prediction: Turner is fired after the loss. Chargers 16, Steelers 30
Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers
This is my upset of the week. Without QB Alex Smith the 49ers become one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL. Colin Kaepernick has a higher upside, but his downside lost a game to the Rams. The Miami Dolphins are another unpredictable team, but this is a game they can win. QB Ryan Tannehill has the potential to light up opposing defenses if they rest on him for even a second. This game will be up to the legs of running back Frank Gore.
Prediction: The Dolphins pound Gore early and often. Dolphins 27, 49ers 24
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
The Arizona Cardinals are probably the worst team in football right now. Their defense keeps them in games, but their offenses gives it right back. The Cardinals will have a chance in this game if QB Kevin Kolb starts. Oh wait, The Seahawks are playing at home. The Cardinals are going to lose hard. The combination of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch was too much for the Bears on the road. What do you think will happen to the Cardinals?
Prediction: Bobby Massie blows and eardrum and his out for the season. Cardinals 10, Seahawks 31
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
The New Orleans Saints do not have a realistic shot at making the playoffs this year. The Giants are starting to feel the heat from the Cowboys and Redskins. QB Eli Manning knows the playoffs are inching closer, so he will be playing at a very high level. His most recent loss to the Redskins had to hurt and he knows it's time to bounce back. The wild card here, as always, is the play of QB Drew Brees. He can do all sorts of bad things to defenses, but as we saw last week he knows how to throw interceptions as well.
Prediction: The Giants' defense makes one more defensive stand than the Saints do. Saints 31, Giants 38
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
This is one of those games that could be close, but since the Green Bay Packers are playing at home, it's probably not going to happen for the Detroit Lions. Their passing attack is vicious, but in the NFL you need more than that and the Packers have it. They have a better defense and that is really the only factor here. The Lion's defense just lets teams walk all over them. There is no way the Colts should have won last week, but that is precisely the same reason they will lose this week. However this week they won't be in the game at all.
Prediction: The Packers win and the Lions lose. Lions 21, Packers 31
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
This is my second game of the week for obvious reasons, but it could also be a blow out. The Houston Texans have lost one game this season. The New England Patriots are on a six game winning streak and their three losses have been by a combined total of four points. In my opinion, they are the best team in football. The Texans will continue to rely on a very balanced attack and hope that DE J.J. Watt continues to make enough plays to stop Tom Brady.
Prediction: If the Patriots don't win it's going to be a close one, but if they do, it will be a blow out. Texans 13, Patriots 38