NFL 2014 Week 14 Picks

Calvin Johnson now has the record for touchdown catches on Thanksgiving
Calvin Johnson now has the record for touchdown catches on Thanksgiving

There is just a quarter of the regular season remaining and so the race for the 2014 NFL playoffs is heating up.  Here are some of the highlights from the Week 13 action:

  • After losing nine consecutive Thanksgiving Day contests, the Lions won their home contest for a second year in a row, beating the Bears 34-17.
  • There was no such home success for either the Cowboys or 49ers on Turkey Day; Dallas lost 33-10 to the Eagles, losing pace in the NFC East and keeping them in with a chance of finishing 8-8 for the fourth straight year; while San Francisco were beaten 19-3 by Seattle, who had won by the same scoreline the week before against Arizona.
  • Here’s the game I really want to talk about of course, the Packers beat the Patriots 26-21, in a contest many were projecting as a preview to the Super Bowl.  Aaron Rodgers played superbly, as did the Green Bay defense, causing Tom Brady to go on two separate sideline rants. Or, according to Bill Simmons on his weekly podcast with Cousin Sal, the Patriots stayed vanilla to avoid showing the Packers anything ahead of a rematch in February.  That’s why Brady wasn’t too upset I guess…
  • Two points significantly swung the AFC North: Cincinnati hung on to beat the Buccaneers 14-13, surviving thanks to Tampa Bay having 12 men on the field on a play that would have set up a potential game-winning field goal; then the Chargers came from behind to beat the Ravens 34-33 in Baltimore.  With the Steelers losing at home to the Saints and Browns being beaten in Buffalo, the Bengals are now in pole position to win the most competitive division in the NFL this year.
  • The NFC is starting to shape up, with only nine teams still in realistic contention for a playoff place. One out of the Falcons and Saints will make the playoffs from the South,  then there are seven teams battling for five spots in the other three divisions: Green Bay, Detroit, Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia.  Because so many of the contenders face each other, both the Packers and Lions can put themselves in a very strong position prior to their Week 17 meeting.  At 7-5, the 49ers are favorites to be one of the two teams to miss out, but since they play Seattle and Arizona in the final four weeks, they still have their destiny somewhat in their own hands.
  • By comparison, the AFC is congested and the 6-6 Texans are just a game back of six teams tied on 7-5 for the second wild card spot.  The only four AFC teams who are out of playoff contention have won either 1 or 2 games each.  With 12 teams going for the postseason, there are of course many match ups over the next four weeks between two teams trying to make the playoffs.  Over recent weeks, the Patriots have been drafted in as one of the two potential top seeds in the AFC, but if they were to lose in San Diego this weekend (where the Chargers are 5-1 in 2014), and the Dolphins beat the Ravens at home, then next week’s contest between New England and Miami would be for the lead in the AFC East.  I still think the Patriots will win that matchup and the division, but there is still plenty of opportunity for the seedings to shift significantly.

Week 14 Picks

Last week, 8-8; Season, 103-89

Home teams in bold

Bears +3.5 over Cowboys

Steelers +3.5 over Bengals

Colts -3.5 over Browns

Lions -9.5 over Buccaneers

Titans +0.5 over Giants

Rams -2.5 over Washington

Dolphins -2.5 over Ravens

Jets +5.5 over Vikings

Panthers +9.5 over Saints

Texans -4.5 over Jaguars

Broncos -9.5 over Bills

Cardinals -0.5 over Chiefs

49ers -7.5 over Raiders

Seahawks -1.5 over Eagles

Chargers +3.5 over Patriots

Packers -11.5 over Falcons






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