Thursday, December 5, 2013

NFL Week 14 Picks: New Orleans Saints to Come Up Big Against Carolina Panthers

Houston (2-10) at Jacksonville (3-9)

The Jaguars have won three of their past four games. Who saw that coming?

The Texans have lost 10 in a row, including two weeks ago against the Jaguars at home.

Momentum seems to be in Jacksonville’s favor, but the Texans have shown that they refuse to give up. Their last sixes are all by only one score. People may say there are no sentimental victories in the NFL but if you keep plugging enough, one of those bounces is bound to go your way.

Houston running back Ben Tate had a huge week last week and the Jaguars are 29th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.

Houston wins.

Indianapolis (8-4) at Cincinnati (8-4)

Both teams are division leaders but haven’t been the most consistent teams this season. The turnover battle will be key in this game.

Four games ago, Andrew Luck had three interceptions against the Rams. It was a bad performance but it was still more of an anomaly for this season. It was the only time this season he had more than one interception in a game, compared to six games where he hasn’t thrown an interception at all.

Andy Dalton has only two games this season where he hasn’t thrown a pick. He has four games where he’s thrown two or more interceptions, three of which have come in the past four games.

Indianapolis is a plus-six in turnover differential, while Cincinnati is a minus-one.

Indianapolis wins.

Cleveland (4-8) at New England (9-3)

The Browns don't have any of the first three quarterbacks are all hurt. Jason Campbell just began practicing but wasn’t cleared at the beginning of the week. Against a division leader like the Patriots, who keep finding a way to win close games, that just spells out trouble.

New England wins.

Oakland (4-8) at New York Jets (5-7)

The Jets can run the ball with Chris Ivory, but they just don't give him enough touches, especially early in the game.

Turnovers doom this offense, and while the Raiders aren't the strongest team in the league, they do have the ability to move the ball.

With Rex Ryan benching Geno Smith last week, with all the turnovers and missed opportunities, with the current losing streak, the Jets do not inspire confidence no matter who the opposition is.

Oakland wins.

Atlanta (3-9) at Green Bay (5-6-1)

It’s possible Aaron Rodgers returns soon and the Packers still have a chance to get in the playoffs. They absolutely need a win here. Without Rodgers they need to grind it out.

Eddie Lacey is having a very good rookie season, and the Packers are eighth in the league in rushing yards per game.

On the other hand, the Falcons are 30th in rushing yards allowed per game.

Last week was Atlanta’s first victory since Week 7. The Packers, at home, should also be aided by a dome team (Atlanta) playing in the cold December of Green Bay.

Green Bay wins.

Detroit (7-5) at Philadelphia (7-5)

The Eagles are on a roll, wining four in a row. Nick Foles is cementing himself as the Eagles starting quarterback and he hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season.

The Lions have been average this season: some good games, some bad games, and no real streaks, winning or losing. But Matthew Stafford has not looked sharp as of late. He has six interceptions in his past two games and 10 interceptions in his past five games.

The Eagles are finally taking care of business at home, and their overall play has been much better recently than that of the Lions.

Philadelphia wins.

Miami (6-6) at Pittsburgh (5-7)

The Dolphins play calling has been suspect this season but it seems like they are finally starting to get the passing game going.

The offensive line looked better against the Jets last week, even if they didn't have an ideal performance. More importantly, they finally have gotten Mike Wallace involved in the offense. After having only one touchdown through the first 12 weeks of the season, he has one in each of the team's past two games. Not only has Wallace performed well, but when Miami gets him involved it opens up the field further for Charles Clay and Brian Hartline, who have had some big weeks this season.

Pittsburgh's defense has showed its age this season and doesn't have the same momentum that the Dolphins currently have.

Miami wins.

Buffalo (4-8) at Tampa Bay (3-9)

The Bills have four wins, but they keep finding ways to lose games. They had the Falcons on the ropes last week but couldn't put them away. Holding on to the football is crucial and the Bills let the ball and the game slip through their hands last week.

The Buccaneers return home, which should help them bounce back from last weekend's loss. Mike Glennon seems to have developed a good relationship with Vincent Jackson and they should have a good game against the Bills.

Tampa Bay wins.

Kansas City (9-3) at Washington (3-9)

The Redskins defense cannot stop the pass. It's the same story week in and week out.

While the Chiefs have gone into a rut, Alex Smith put on a good performance last week against the Broncos. Against a team of the caliber of the Redskins, the Chiefs should finally be able to get back on track.

Kansas City wins.

Minnesota (3-8-1) at Baltimore (6-6)

The Vikings have played in two consecutive overtime games and are 1-0-1. It's been a pleasant surprise for Minnesota compared to the rest of the season.

The Ravens were very shaky in the beginning of the season, but they've been on the winning side more often than not in recent weeks, especially at home. They seem to be putting things together, despite still struggling in the running game.

Baltimore wins.

Tennessee (5-7) at Denver (10-2)

The Broncos beat the Chiefs last weekend for the second time in three weeks. All season, they have looked like one of the best teams in the league.

At home against an inconsistent team like the Titans, it is hard to think Tennessee will top the Broncos.

Denver wins.

St. Louis (5-7) at Arizona (7-5)

The Rams have put forth some spirited efforts this season, but last week they were brought back down to Earth.

While the Cardinals did lose last week, it was on the road to a very hot Philadelphia team.

At home, they should be able to bounce back. Michael Floyd has developed into a good wideout this year with Carson Palmer at quarterback, and he's benefited from being on the opposite side of Larry Fitzgerald.

Arizona wins.

New York Giants (5-7) at San Diego (5-7)

The Giants are working on a shortened week, were away last week and travel to the West Coast this week. It's not an ideal schedule.

Although the Giants won last week and the Chargers lost, both teams have been inconsistent this season. With home field advantage and an extra day of rest, the Chargers should have the edge in this one.

San Diego wins.

Seattle (11-1) at San Francisco (8-4)

The Seahawks are 11-1, but they have had some rough games this season where big comebacks late have been necessary.

Against winning teams like the Saints and 49ers, however, the Seahawks have blown them out of the water.

Both of those wins did come at home for the Seahawks, and the 49ers have improved as the season has gone on, especially the efficiency of their passing game.

Still, the Seahawks defense seems to be firing away without any issues. They've stymied teams, particularly in the passing game, and have already handled the 49ers once this season.

Seattle wins.

Carolina (9-3) at New Orleans (9-3)

The Panthers are on a roll, but Drew Brees and the Saints seem to always rise to the occasion during home games in prime time.

New Orleans wins.

Dallas (7-5) at Chicago (6-6)

Even with Alshon Jeffrey's huge game last week, the Bears found a way to let the game go to overtime and lose. That's been happening a lot in recent weeks.

The Cowboys have taken care of business in recent weeks and have a little bit of extra rest since they played on Thanksgiving.

Dallas wins.

Last Week: 12-4

Overall: 120-72

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