Back-to-back weeks of 9-7 records picking the winning teams might keep me on the winning track, but it is far below my weekly average. Thanks to a few upsets that I never saw coming (no thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week!), I need to rebound by having a huge weekend, just like my Baltimore Ravens. I'll do my preview and make my pick on Friday for their game at the Washington Redskins, but here are my week 14 picks & pans, starting with tonight's game:
Broncos over Raiders (Thursday Night Football): The NFL Network is trying to promote this as a battle in the AFC West, but the way Oakland is playing, it will be more like an ambush by Denver, who, while Ravens fans would love to see them stumble before next week's match-up in Baltimore, will more than likely make this game a snooze-fest by halftime.
Bengals over Cowboys: I have to root for Dallas here, but then again, if Cincinnati keeps winning, perhaps they can knock the Steelers out of the post season, which would be fun to see. However, the 'boys are just so inconsistent and in Cincy, this game seems like a no-brainer.
Steelers over Chargers: After seeing how bad Charlie Batch played against the Cleveland Browns, then so good against my Ravens, it's hard to bet against Pittsburgh at home regardless if Batch or Ben Roethlisberger plays. San Diego plays tough at times but is their own biggest enemy and the Steelers will make them pay for their mistakes.
Bills over Rams: Wow, St. Louis looked so tough in their OT win last week but this is on the road, outside, in cold weather and I like the way Buffalo looked last week. Back-to-back home games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Rams will help any team's record.
Falcons over Panthers: Atlanta can't seem to get the respect they deserve even though they continue to win week after week. They still sit behind 2-3 AFC teams in most NFL Power Rankings but will be the team to beat in the NFC, with home field advantage in the playoffs an all but certainty, much less a win this weekend.
Browns over Chiefs: Don't look now but here comes Cleveland! What? Yup, they've won two in a row, should have beaten the Cowboys for three in a row and now host the worst team in the league (other than Oakland)! Don't be misled, they still suck but another win seems in the bag.
Colts over Titans: Indianpolis had an amazing comeback last week and seem on their way to the post season under a rookie QB (sound familiar, Ravens fans?). Tennessee, on the other hand, is in a state of flux, winning big ont he road one week, then horrible at home the next. I'm predicting they look horrible this week.
Jaguars over Jets: This counts as an "Upset Special Pick of the Week," and I'm going with Jacksonville as I'm beginning to like Chad Henne at QB despite their loss last week in Buffalo. New York on the road is not a favorite in my mind, not to mention a mess in the locker room.
Vikings over Bears: Yup, two straight "Upset Special Picks of the Week," as I look at Minnesota's home record (5-1) vs. their road (1-5) and combine that with Chicago's issues and can see the upset in the making. Adrian Peterson's amazing run last week and no Brian Urlacher seals the deal for this pick.
Buccaneers over Eagles: Can you believe this will be Philadelphia's ninth straight loss in a row, as they have only one road win the entire season and that was in Cleveland on opening weekend in a game they had five turnovers and should have lost. Tampa Bay's 6-6 record is still in the mix for the Wild Card and they will fight while the Iggles just want this nightmare to end.
49ers over Dolphins: How could San Francisco seem to have a huge problem with the Rams, tying and losing to them, yet winning so many tough games so easily this season? Who knows, but Miami will not do what St. Louis has done, so don't get excited, 'fins fans.
Giants over Saints: Expect the scoreboard to catch on fire as both teams can light it up while are questionable on defense at best. If my trend theory holds true, New York will rebound from a disappointing loss this past week after an impressive win the prior week at home to outlast and outscore New Orleans, although Drew Brees, the leader of my fantasy team, will rack up my playoff points (I hope!).
Seahawks over Cardinals: Seattle is one of those teams that until last week's OT upset over the Bears, was a team that played great at home (5-0) and horrible on the road (2-5). They're at home, which does not bode well for Arizona on the road (1-5).
Packers over Lions (Sunday Night Football): Detroit has lost four in a row, the last three at home in close games, including one to this same Green Bay team. Now they are up in Lambeau and will probably find a way to keep it tight but "pull out" the defeat in similar fashion.
Patriots over Texans (Monday Night Football): New England is actually favored over a one-loss Houston team and rightly so. The Texans have played amazing ball this season but have shown a chink in their armor, pulling out close wins in games they should have won over lesser opponents. Now they go on the road in prime time against the highest scoring offense in the league. While I would actually like to see Houston win to give the Ravens some breathing room for the #2 playoff seed, I think we'll see the home team put a beating on what should still be the #1 seed for the post season in the AFC.
Last Week: 9-7
Season Record: 123-69-1