2009 NFL Picks | Week 14
We were once again teased by an undefeated team, pulling at our heart strings, and allowing us to believe that perfection could be ended.
God makes it clear in the Bible, that no man should (or will) know the end of the world, and so too, will no man know the ending of the Colts or Saints winning streak.
This writer has been betting against both teams nearly every week, and the attempts have been exhausting. Our picks are still rock solid, but considering we’re going against the grain and saying both teams will continue to 13-0, we almost suggest picking the either way.
On a lighter note, we really like what we saw from the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, but expect both the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings to bounce-back in style.
Read on for this week’s picks and some quick analysis:
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
The Steelers are reeling after losing their fourth straight, but is there really any doubt they take care of the Browns? Big Ben should have a field day against Cleveland’s atrocious defense.
Steelers 34, Browns 16
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Depending on Matt Ryan and Michael Turner’s availability, this could turn out to be a huge game.The Saints still can’t stop the run, and the first team to truly expose this fact was Atlanta in a fairly close game several weeks back. The 6-6 Falcons are desperate and need a win to stay in the playoff chase. If Ryan and Turner play, change this pick, but for now, the match-up on paper looks ugly.
Saints 37, Falcons 20
Detroit Lions @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are definitely dispirited after losing a big game to the Green Bay Packers. After such a roller coaster season, Baltimore has to be just about ready to pack it in, right? Perhaps, but not against a horrible Lions team, and not when they still have some life in the AFC Wild Card chase.
Ravens 30, Lions 17
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
This is a bigger game than a lot of people are giving it credit for. The Bears bounced back from a bad run by beating the lowly Rams, and while they don’t get much credit for that, they will be hosting a Packers team that they played very closely in the first game of the season.
The Packers are winners of four straight, but they didn’t look particularly great doing so in Week 13, and we all know how close division games can be. This is either the week Green Bay finally declares itself a front-runner for a Wild Card spot, or begins it’s descent. They’re a good team, but the Bears have pride, and will play to keep Love Smith under contract.
Bears 19, Packers 16
Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans
This is a sad battle between two 5-7 teams that have very slim hope for the playoffs. The loser will be sent home early and relegated to “spoiler” duty, while the winner gets to last another day (but not really). Even with Houston’s struggles, it’s impossible not to take them over a Seattle team that is a few blocking assignments from being a mess in almost every game they play.
Texans 34, Seahawks 27
Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts
Remember when both of these teams were 6-0 and all of Denver was calling “monstrosity” when writers were ranking the Colts higher? Well, now the Broncos (and their fans) finally get the match-up they were waiting for.
Have the Colts just been getting lucky? Was the Broncos four-game slide a fluke?
You can probably answer no to both, and fairly emphatically, but we still bet on Denver giving Indy a run for their money. Like I said in the opening, when it comes to the Saints and Colts, just pick the opposite of what we’re picking this week.
Colts 27, Broncos 23
Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Dolphins are now tied with the Patriots after their 22-21 victory in Week 13, and all they need to do is keep pace and finish with the same record for a shot at the playoffs. It won’t be easy, as they may have to win out to accomplish the task, but an over-rated Jacksonville squad just might do the trick.
Neither team can stop the run or pass consistently, and while conventional wisdom says go with the team that has Maurice Jones-Drew, we’d rather hang our hat on the team with better coaching.
Dolphins 24, Jaguars 20
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Cassel looked awful last week, and he won’t look much better going up against a very solid Bills pass defense. Buffalo still doesn’t know which running back is best for their offense (neither?), so expect Ryan Fitzpatrick (yeah, him) to concentrate on exploiting KC’s lack of speed in the secondary. Terrell Owens could and should go off again.
Bills 31, Chiefs 21
Cincinnati Bengals @ Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are back at home before they take a two-game road trip, and can ill afford to lose a big game after getting absolutely trounced by the Arizona Cardinals. Every facet of their team was off of it’s game, which leads us to believe that we saw a stinker performance out of the Vikes, rather that what they “truly are”.
Cincy definitely has the defense to match the Vikings offense, but we’ve seen other offenses have success against this Bengals squad, and considering their main strength is running the ball, we’re looking for their offense to sputter on the road. Besides, Minnesota just doesn’t lose at home.
Vikings 33, Bengals 24
Carolina Panthers @ New England Patriots
The Panthers prolonged their nine lives to 10 after beating the lowly Buccaneers, but will hit a season-ending road-block in the New England Patriots on Sunday. Carolina’s pass defense is good enough to give Tom Brady fits, but their run defense stinks. Look for Laurence Maroney to get in a groove and take the pressure off the Patriots passing game.
Patriots 31, Panthers 13
New York Jets @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Even with all of it’s issues, the Jets are still 6-6 and a game back in the division. They’re still facing a tough battle to get back to where they need to be to make the playoffs, but a nice match-up with the Buccaneers is a good start.
Jets 27, Buccaneers 9
St. Louis Rams @ Tennessee Titans
It’s too bad the Titans couldn’t get past the Colts last week, as this game would almost certainly mark their seventh straight victory, and would have propelled them to a 7-6 record after starting the season 0-6. They still have some life with their eyes on the playoffs, and you can be sure they won’t let the Rams get in the way.
Titans 26, Rams 10
Washington Redskins @ Oakland Raiders
This could end up being a solid game, as both teams are bottom feeders, but are actually playing extremely well at this point in the season. The Raiders are fresh off of an upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Redskins were a late field goal miss away from putting the Saints to sleep for the first time in 2009. The Raiders are on a high and the Skins’ are depressed, so we’re taking Oakland.
Raiders 17, Redskins 14
San Diego Chargers @ Dallas Cowboys
This is a huge game for both teams, as the both have a one-game (or less) lead in their respective division, and can ill afford to lose this week. San Diego has Denver breathing down it’s neck, while Dallas just finished getting swept by the New York Giants, and is tied with the Eagles ay 8-4 atop the division. The Chargers are playing better football, and could give Tony Romo fits, even without Eric Weddle.
Chargers 31, Cowboys 28
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Much like the Chargers/Cowboys game, this match-up has serious playoff and division implications. The winner isn’t guaranteed the division or a playoff spot, but it would vault them into the division driver seat.
Philly is fresh off a very dominant performance over the Falcons, while the Giants rebounded from an embarrassment against the Broncos to sneak past the Cowboys. It should be a fight to the very end, with the Eagles escaping due to a better performing defense.
Eagles 26, Giants 20
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers blew it against Seattle last week, missing an opportunity to set up a very important Monday night divisional showdown. Instead, the Cardinals are one win away from clinching the division, and a loss this week would almost certainly eliminate the 49ers from playoff contention.
It’s a division game and the 49ers are at home, so were banking on the blood pumping and San Francisco keeping the NFC West interesting for one more week.
49ers 21, Cardinals 17