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2015 NFL Week 14 Picks


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NFL Week 14 Picks

 

10-6? Another tough week demands tough answers. And the tough get pickin'! If this season has been a rollercoasting, yo-yo'ing whiplash between great weeks and mediocre ones, then week 14 promises to be the opposite. Right? Right?

 

Game of the Week

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)

The Steelers' offense have been nearly unstoppable this season, with QB Rothlisberger and his galaxy of receiving weapons averaging 36 points per game in the last 4 weeks. While QB Dalton hasn't been anything to scoff at, since he's 14-1-1 in 1pm games, I suspect this game will go to the last team with the ball.

Cincinnati by 3

 

Thursday Game of the Week

Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals (-7.5)

The closer we get to the money season, the stronger the best teams get, and is there anyone playing as well as the Cardinals? Plus the Vikings have been horribly exposed in the last few weeks, a weak 1-3 against teams over .500, and they're banged up on defense. Not a good time to face off a high-powered offense in the desert.

Arizona by 7

 

 

Rest of the Week

Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles (even)

Was the Eagles' victory over the Patriots a fluke, or was it cuz QB Bradford that much better than QB Sanchez? Luckily they're facing a classic consistently inconsistent team in the Bills. Since they won last week, they should lose to the Eagles. Then again, Shady McCoy is coming to town to exact revenge on his old team.

Buffalo by 3

 

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers (-7.5)

While it is unlikely the Panthers will finish 16-0, it won't happen this weekend at home to a team who never recovered from that beating in the Superdome. Of course it'll be close, like any division game on the road, so take the points. But the Falcons are in complete freefall, mostly from self-sustained injuries.

Carolina by 7

 

New England Patriots @ Houston Texans (+3.5)

While the Patriots are hobbled due to a bevy of injuries, it looks like QB Brady will not let this be a legitimate excuse. Not even against a resurgent Texans defense. But Brady has been hit like 36 times in the last 3 weeks, after being hit for only 4.6 times a game up till that point. Brady was getting off his passes quickly when WR Edelman, Lewis, Amendola, and TE Gronkowski were available. Now only Amendola is left. Plus Coach Belichick just said that J. J. Watt is as good as Lawrence Taylor ever was.

New England by 3

 

 

Lame of the Week

Seattle Seahawks @ Baltimore Ravens (+5.5)

Are the Seahawks back for good? That won't be answered this weekend cuz the Ravens are having the Season From Hell, and nothing they can do will slow down QB Wilson. Even QB Schaub will be forced to throw a pick-six to help out.

Seattle by 7

 

Detroit Lions @ St. Louis Rams (even)

The Rams have fallen off the face of the earth no thanks to their failure at QB. The Lions OTOH are still treading water, and should eke out a win here. They have suffered some tough losses this year, but they haven't quit yet.

Detroit by 6

 

Tennessee Titans @ New Jersey Jets (-7.5)

That was one hell of a QB run by Mariota last week. But it won't be as easy to run on the Jets defense. Plus QB Fitzpatrick and WR Marshall are overdue for the playoffs.

New Jersey by 6

 

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (even)

The Colts don't have a healthy QB and they're facing Jaguars, who can score on anyone, and they'll score easily on the Colts defense. Expect QB Bortles to throw well. But the Colts have been in this situation before this year, and they came through.

Indianapolis by 1

 

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5)

Both teams were dead in the water a couple of months ago. Only one of them rose from the watery grave with a fierce defense and a QB that refuses to turn the ball over. They might be the dark horse in the AFC playoffs, if they do get in.

Kansas City by 13

 

Washington Racial Slur @ Chicago Bears (-2.5)

The Bears are nothing but an inconsistent team that can look like world beaters one week and a lottery team the next. While the Bears are horrible at home, the Racial Slurs are even worse on the road. Plus they're playing on a VERY short week after that bad loss against the Cowboys.

Chicago by 3

 

New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)

The Saints have dominated the Bucs in the Payton era. That the Saints showed up last week against the Panthers is proof that they haven't rolled over and played dead yet. But the Buccaneers are still in the playoff hunt and QB Winston is getting better every week.

Tampa Bay by 3

 

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos (-7.5)

Ever since the Broncos switched to QB Osweiler, they've been unstoppable. Moreover, their bloodthirsty defense will shut down QB Carr like they did in Oakland a few months back. The Raiders have plenty of talent to keep the game close, but they're really playing for next season.

Denver by 6

 

Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-7.5)

Injuries have decimated the Packers to the point that they're an average team - one that needed a Hail Mary to beat a weak team last week. Since the Cowboys are laughable without QB Romo, they won't even be in the game after halftime.

Green Bay by 11

 

New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins (even)

Both teams are just playing out the string, but at least the Giants are still alive for the NFC Least division title. Whenever pressure is on, every team in the NFC Least rolls over and plays dead.

New York by 3

 

 

Shame of the Week

San Francisco 40 Whiners @ Cleveland Browns (-1.5)

The 40 Whiners were bad on offense, but the Browns are even shittier on defense (allowing 399 yards a game). And hey, QB Johnny Football is back. That spells another loss for the Browns.

San Francisco by 3

 

Last Week: 10-6

Season to Date: 119-72

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New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)

The Saints have dominated the Bucs in the Payton era. That the Saints showed up last week against the Panthers is proof that they haven't rolled over and played dead yet. But the Buccaneers are still in the playoff hunt and QB Winston is getting better every week.

Tampa Bay by 3

Yeah. You're right. Tampa Bay wins. But I guess I need to say more. Let's see: For the Bucs, Kwan Alexander has been suspended. That hurts them. Then again, the Saints have to keep playing Brandon Browner, because they are simply out of CBs. They played someone named Chris Owens for maybe 10 plays against Carolina (probably at nickel); that Chris Owens apparently is NOT the 80-something year old woman who still has a nightclub on Bourbon Street, but the Owens who played gave up a perfect QB rating when he was in the game; so, I guess the nightclub performer really couldn't have done worse. Also, Delvin Breaux pulled a hamstring in the first quarter, a little bit after his great INT; don't know if he'll be back. Swann is probably still out with his concussions. Who knows if Ellerbe will be back. No DBs because of injuries; no LBs because of injuries. Sheesh, even Willie Snead was out against the Panthers. Maybe he'll be back to help out the offense, but what the offense really needs more than another receiver is OL help, and that's not happening.

 

Okay, I really don't have any contrarian picks. But that doesn't mean I can't make up at least one!

 

Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles (even)

Was the Eagles' victory over the Patriots a fluke, or was it cuz QB Bradford that much better than QB Sanchez? Luckily they're facing a classic consistently inconsistent team in the Bills. Since they won last week, they should lose to the Eagles. Then again, Shady McCoy is coming to town to exact revenge on his old team.

Buffalo by 3

I wonder if the Eagles' players are afraid of winning, because if they win two out of their last four games, they will probably make the playoffs, and that might mean Chip Kelly ain't going nowhere. Hmmm. Well, we know they won't tank. If they lose, it's just because they are a terrible team. Philadelphia wins despite being a terrible team and because I'm making up a contrarian pick.

 

I don't know that I have enough imagination to come up with any other contrarian picks. Maybe I'll get inspired as the week goes along.

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I just found out that the Saints injury situation is even worse than I thought! Mark Ingram might be lost for the rest of the season. So, who gets to be the RB? Spiller or Hightower? Right now the Saints would have the 6th pick in the 2016 draft. I reckon this means it is even more likely that they will move up that ladder of ignominy.

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It is time for the New Orleans Saints to face reality and start rebuilding.

1. Brees is a franchise QB, but he is near the end of his Hall-of-Fame career, and Father Time is right around the corner. Before it is too late, trade him to a quarterback starved team like the Jets, Texans or Rams.

2. Their cap situation is absolutely godforsaken. They're 42 million dollars into the hole for 2016. Nothing in the offseason worked (extending Galette, signing Bird, dumping Jenkins and Sproles). Plus Loomis also runs the Pelicans, who are underachieving. So,  Dump Loomis ASAP.

3. Trade Coach Payton for picks to start the rebuild properly.

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It is time for the New Orleans Saints to face reality and start rebuilding.

1. Brees is a franchise QB, but he is near the end of his Hall-of-Fame career, and Father Time is right around the corner. Before it is too late, trade him to a quarterback starved team like the Jets, Texans or Rams.

2. Their cap situation is absolutely godforsaken. They're 42 million dollars into the hole for 2016. Nothing in the offseason worked (extending Galette, signing Bird, dumping Jenkins and Sproles). Plus Loomis also runs the Pelicans, who are underachieving. So,  Dump Loomis ASAP.

3. Trade Coach Payton for picks to start the rebuild properly.

These possibilities get a lot of air time down here. Some quick thoughts:

 

1. I like Brees. I think he still has at least a couple of quality years left in him. Last year he had an oblique injury; those who have sufficient experience with chronology know that once you get to your mid-30s, muscle pulls and other soft tissue injuries simply do not heal as rapidly as they used to. So, it is not surprising that Brees seemed to be struggling in 2014, as an oblique is just the sort of injury that is to be expected to nag throughout a season. He looks much stronger this year. What is surprising is that he only missed one game after injuring his shoulder in the first Tampa game. Anyhow, of the teams you mentioned, I think the Jets would be good for Brees (but then what about the possible future QB Newman School currently has among the Brees offspring?!?!?!?!), because I get the impression that they have a deeper receiving corps. I mean, do the Rams have any receivers?!?!?!

 

 

2. The word is that Loomis and Payton are running the Saints. If Tom Benson's grand-daughter, Rita, were to win the suit against Tom, then (rumor has it that) she would can Loomis immediately, and maybe somebody could at least get her to think about what to do with Payton rather than just can him as well.

 

3. I think Payton has two more years on his contract: meaning that, given the current Benson situation, he's not going to be traded unless he wants to be. If the Saints could get enough high draft picks for Brees and Payton, then, yeah, that is probably the most sensible route to take, because there is not enough on this team with which Brees can succeed. But it's scary to go forward without a QB.

 

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And now it is being reported that Brandin Cooks has a concussion. Must have occurred during the Wednesday Saints practice, because he practiced Wednesday but did not Thursday. As if matters were not already bad enough for the Saints. Don't know yet whether he'll play on Sunday, but we had already pegged a Tampa Bay victory. Still, there's no need to make it harder for the Saints to at least put on a good offensive performance.

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Ellerbe played; the Saints won. I think that makes the Saints 4-1 when Ellerbe plays. It's likely no coincidence that the Bucs TEs did not tear up the Saints the way other teams have when Ellerbe has been out. And, for a little while at least, pending the Giants game tonight, the Saints have moved up to 31st in total defense in terms of yards per game!!!!! WooooHooooo! Statistics aside, I'm ignoring the fact that the Bucs had a couple of dropped passes. I'm also ignoring the fact that there was one play where the Bucs split RB Sims wide left and had him lined up opposite Ellerbe; Sims ran a fly; Ellerbe could not keep up. Of course. And Sims was wide open, but Winston could not throw accurately enough on what could well have been a TD. Winston overthrew Sims badly. Brees, Brady, Rodgers, and QBs of that caliber would have made that play. Maybe Winston will become more accurate with time. On the dark side of the game, Swann also played and also had another concussion - his third in the last three games for which he has been on the field. Swann is a rookie, but that has got to be the end of his playing career, Maybe the Saints can find him a place elsewhere in the organization.

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How about those Panthers, though?

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Panthers?!?!?! Well, at least Ginn managed NOT to drop two TD passes this week, but, in the long run, it's better for Carolina if they don't end up relying on his receiving skills. Besides, look who they were playing: Atlanta! The Falcons are quite a story in themselves. Still, as you know, I am very enamored of the Panthers defense. If Stewart's injury is not serious, then Carolina's prospects are looking very good -- especially since the much improved Seahawks lost Rawls for the season and still don't know when or if Lynch will be back. A Panthers-Cardinals game would be very interesting, and I would give the edge to Carolina at the moment.

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