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NFL Picks: Week 14

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Week 14: NFL Picks

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There’s an old adage in the NFL, if you can stop the run and run the ball then you will win a lot of football games. I do agree that stopping the run is still paramount for a successful defense but the ability to run the ball is severely overrated. Can teams still win with a good running game, of course they can but they better be able to throw the ball as well. The NFL is a passing league and if a team cannot make big plays in the passing game, then they are going to have a difficult time winning big.

The defending World Champion, New York Giants were the worst rushing team in the league last season. The New England Patriots, this season notwithstanding, have won more games than any other team over the past decade and they have gone weeks without running the ball effectively.

The best example of this is the Denver Broncos. In 2011, they were the best running team in the league by a wide margin but where did it get them? Sure they won their division at 8-8 but they could not compete with the better teams. Their inability to make explosive plays in the passing game was always going to limit how far they could go. Fast-forward to the 2012 Broncos with Peyton Manning, they rank towards the bottom of the league in rushing but are 9-3. What’s the difference? It’s simple, Manning can throw the ball downfield and in 2012 that’s what wins football game.

There’s always a time to run the ball, it’s important that teams mix it up but the days of ground and pound are over. If a team is going to win big in this day and age, it has to be through the air.

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Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have wrapped up the AFC West and are now playing for seeding in the playoffs. The Oakland Raiders are playing for next season and individual players are playing for jobs. It’s a rivalry with great history but these two teams are worlds apart in 2012. Yes the Broncos are on the road on a Thursday night which hasn’t been a good thing this season, but it won’t matter. The Broncos win their eighth in a row with ease.

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St. Louis Rams at Buffalo Bills

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams are playing their best football of the season and head to New York to take on the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are coming off of one their best performances of the season, so this actually has a chance to be a decent football game. The Rams are a more complete team and do not make the mistakes that the Bills do, so I’ll take the Rams.

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Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals

Jason Miller-USA TODAY Sports

For one week, the Dallas Cowboys are back in the playoff race but it will only last a week. The Cincinnati Bengals are playing very good football and they need this one to stay in the race. Next week at this time, everyone will be criticizing the Cowboys again. The Bengals stay alive with a home win.

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Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns

Jason Miller-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are dealing with far more important things than football, but they will take on the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Browns have won two in a row and the Chiefs are going to be mentally drained, rightfully so. Because of those two factors, the Browns win their third in a row.

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Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The best story of the season continues to be the Indianapolis Colts who pulled out another miracle win last week. It would be a surprise if they did not make the playoffs, and the Tennessee Titans will be no match for the train known as the Colts.

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Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

If the Chicago Bears miss the playoffs, they will be kicking themselves for the loss to the Seattle Seahawks. They cannot afford another loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but that what’s going to happen. The Vikings deal the Bears a major blow in their push for the playoffs.

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Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

One team is playing to keep their playoff hopes alive and another is playing to get the season over with. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need this one and the Philadelphia Eagles have not won a game since baseball season, they won’t win one on Sunday either. The Bucs get a much needed victory.

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Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins

Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

The battle of the beltway takes place as the Washington Redskins host the Baltimore Ravens. All of the sudden the Skins are hot and the Ravens look very beatable. I’m biting; give me the Skins in a close one.

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Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to start believing in the Atlanta Falcons, not that I didn’t before but they have been very impressive over the past couple of weeks. They are playing to lock up home-field advantage and the Carolina Panthers are playing for 2013. It might be closer than people think but the Falcons move to 12-1.

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New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Are they really going to make people watch this game? If the NFL really wants to make it interesting, just tell the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars that first score wins. Even in that case, the game could go into overtime. Give me the Jets, I have no idea why.

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San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The freefall of the San Diego Chargers will continue when they travel to the Keystone state to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers need the game and are likely to get Ben Rothlisberger back. The Chargers invent new ways to lose every week, how will they lose this week?

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Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins travel cross country to take on the San Francisco 49ers and the Niners will be in an angry mood. The Dolphins have played better at times this season but this will be too much. It would be a shock if the Dolphins scored 10 points. The 49ers win in a walk.

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Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

They found a way to win on the road and now the Seattle Seahawks have a great shot at the playoffs. They host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and if the New England Patriots can’t win in Seattle, there’s no way the Cardinals can. The Seahawks keep rolling.

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New Orleans Saints at New York Giants

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints will be playing their first game with the knowledge that they can’t make the playoffs, how will they react? The New York Giants need to keep winning and they will. It could be back and forth for awhile, but the Giants pull away late.

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Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers and while it’s a dangerous game for the Pack, they get the win. The Lions are just dangerous enough stay in games but just dumb enough to lose them. That’s what happens here, Packers by 10.

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Houston Texans at New England Patriots

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In what looks like the game of the year, the New England Patriots host the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. The Texans have had the best record in the AFC all season but the Patriots are playing the best football right now. In a terrific football game, Tom Brady leads the Patriots to a late field goal for the win.

The last quarter of the season is underway and teams are playing for playoff spots, and positioning. Every possession, every touchdown and every turnover is that much more important. December football, you have to love it!

Last week’s record-10-6 Overall record-54-19-1

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