Week 14. Only three weeks of regular season football left. Both the Packers and the 49ers have clinched playoff spots, and 26 other teams are still alive. Technically. Only four teams, the Jaguars, Vikings, Rams and Colts have no chance at making the playoffs this year. Plenty more are not far from joining those four. As always, lines are from ESPN and my picks are in caps.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (+13.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland can stop the pass. That, paired with the cold weather, should result in both teams relying on the running game. And Mendenhall has been far from effective this year with only one 100+ yard performance. 13 and a half points will be too much for the Steelers to cover. Since this was the Thursday game, here is your proof that I didn’t pick the game after it happened.
ATLANTA FALCONS (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers
As good as Carolina Cam Newton has been, the Panthers are still only 4-8. Atlanta beat the Panthers by 14 when they last played and I expect a repeat of that.
Houston Texans at CINCINNATI BENGALS (-3.5)
The Bengals run defense should limit Arian Foster, which will leave it up to T.J. Yates to win the game for the Texans. I’m so sorry Texans fans.
Minnesota Vikings at DETROIT LIONS (-7.5)
Jared Allen hates Detroit. He hates the city, the team, and everything about Detroit. He would rather kill himself than live in Detroit. Oh, and apparently New Orleans is just as bad because he can’t carry a gun there. This is the same Jared Allen who just punched a guy in the wiener.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-3.5) at Tennessee Titans
Yes, this year might be the year of Aaron Rodgers, but Drew Brees has been amazing. So amazing that he is the first quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in his first 12 games.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (+16.5) at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have lost to Tennessee, Jacksonville and Seattle. Just saying.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+8.5) at New York Jets
Including the playoffs, Mark Sanchez has won 30 games in the NFL. Apparently, it doesn’t matter how good you are as a quarterback, you can still win games with a good defense.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (+3.5) at Miami Dolphins
Matt Moore may be playing the best football of his career, but that really isn’t saying much. The Eagles need to get some wins if they want to save Andy Reid’s job. Although, it may already be too late.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-7.5) at Washington Redskins
The Redskins could still make the playoffs. They just need Dallas to lose the rest and Philadelphia and New York to lose the rest except for their games against Dallas. And Washington needs to win the rest of their games. I’m just saying that they still have a chance.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+1.5)
Name one receiver on the Jaguars that isn’t Mike Thomas. Now imagine how Blaine Gabbert feels knowing that Wes Welker has more receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns than all of the Jaguars receivers combined. At least they have Maurice Jones-Drew.
Chicago Bears at DENVER BRONCOS (-3.5)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals
I love good touchdown celebrations, but 49ers LB Aldon Smith knows how to celebrate a sack. Even better, this celebration came after the 49ers had been flagged for excessive celebration earlier in the game.
BUFFALO BILLS (+6.5) at San Diego Chargers
It’s going to take a little more than a great game against the Jaguars to convince me that Philip Rivers is back.
Oakland Raiders at GREEN BAY PACKERS (-11.5)
Sebastian Janikowski may be having the best season of his career, but even he can’t kick enough field goals to keep Oakland in this game.
New York Giants at DALLAS COWBOYS (-3.5)
The New York Giants are the most average team in the NFL. They are 6-6 and the only team in the NFL that is 6-6. That is how average they are.
St. Louis Rams at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-6.5)
This is the Monday night game? Seriously?