NFL Week 14 game picks: Seahawks nip Eagles; Cards crumbling

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Are the Cardinals plummeting? Is Green Bay going to keep up this general shellacking of our little pro football league? Is the "bully" back in the Pacific Northwest?

We'll get to Seattle in a second. But before we jump into the Week 14 picks, it should be noted that every AFC matchup this weekend has serious playoff implications.

OK, back to the Seahawks. If they are truly rising to reclaim their throne, they will have to push around an Eagles ballclub that's been doing some pushing of its own since getting embarrassed in Green Bay three weeks back. Of course, another Arizona loss (to K.C.) would certainly help Seattle's cause ...

Which leads me to ... best Santa movies!

1) "Rudolph" (You know the full title. You can't stop claymation -- other than the Jets' offense.)
2) "Miracle on 34th Street" (Up for debate.)
3) "Bad Santa" (The movie version of the 49ers.)

By the way, the Chiefs-Cardinals pick is below. (Spoiler alert: The team with red in its logo wins. You're welcome.) As always, feel free to share your take on that contest or any other game on the Week 14 slate -- @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 10-6 on his predictions for Week 13, giving him a record of 126-65-1 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 14? His picks are below.

This game marks the season for Pittsburgh. Lose in Cincy, and not only does any shot at winning the AFC North go away, but so does the likelihood of snagging an AFC wild-card bid. Both spots will probably require 10 wins. I think San Diego will do it. Who else? The Steelers would be forced to win out if they were to lose Sunday, which is precisely why I think they will win. At this point, who knows what to make of Andy Dalton's play -- or which Dalton will show up? I say he should break out the David Caruso goatee and play Danny Bonaduce-good. (Bonaduce from "The Other Half," not goody-goody Bonaduce from "The Partridge Family.") The Bengals, by the way, haven't had a 300-yard passer versus Pittsburgh since Jon Kitna in 2001. #PITvsCIN

Obviously, Cleveland's quarterback conundrum is the overarching narrative. (By the way, when did the word "narrative" become the narrative in sports lexicon?) Here's my humble take on what the Browns should do with Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer: Why not replicate what the 49ers did in the first half of the 2012 campaign, when they started Alex Smith and played Colin Kaepernick in spots? (Before Smith got hurt, of course, and ended up losing the job.) Manziel could be quite effective in the right package -- so long as he's involved for a few plays at a time, as opposed to the random one-play changeup, à la what the Jets did with Tim Tebow a few years ago. The issue in this game will be how the Cleveland secondary will fare if the pass rush can't get to Andrew Luck enough. By enough, I mean at least five times. #INDvsCLE

This is a huge game for Detroit. The Lions simply cannot afford a letdown here, as this one is absolutely winnable (as is the home date with Minnesota next week). Somebody in the NFC is going to be left at the postseason doorstep with a 10-6 record. Detroit must continue to win games that are there for the taking. For Tampa, it's evaluation time -- starting, I think, with Doug Martin. Will he ever again be the back who ran for 1,458 yards and looked like Tiki Barber in his prime? Or will he continue to disappoint, like Tiki the broadcaster? Martin is averaging under 3 yards per carry right now. #TBvsDET

Did you all see Marqise Lee run into the tunnel after scoring last week? Reminded me of Emmitt Smith and Bo Jackson. Those are players of similar ilk, too. Maybe not. Speaking of, can the Jags run the ball this week? Isn't this the question we ask every week? A strong ground game wouldn't hurt, given the erraticism of the aerial attack. Sometimes Blake Bortles sets the passing game back decades. Then he'll look like a big, strong kid with field presence. On the other side, "The Amish Rifle" took his buggy into town last week and pulled a Harrison Ford. Give him two touchdowns this week, not six. Give J.J. Watt two more sacks against a less-than-mediocre Jags offensive line. And give Houston a winning record! #HOUvsJAX

This is a gem on the Week 14 slate, and one of the more difficult games to predict. (Of course, if I get it wrong, Ravens fans will hammer my Twitter feed. If I get it right, all quiet on the tweep front.) So, let's say this: As much as any game, this is any man's ballgame. ... Even-steven. ... Six of one, half-dozen of the other. ... Matchy matchy. ... OK, you get the point. Baltimore has fared OK on the road, going 3-3 this season. The Dolphins are just 3-2 at home, but both of the clubs they lost to -- Kansas City and Green Bay -- are pretty darn good. Miami's front seven must do a better job in run support than it did against Chris Johnson this past Monday night. The Ravens' O-line has really improved in run blocking this year, as evidenced by Justin Forsett's 1,009 yards (compiled at a healthy 5.6 yards per pop). On the other side of the ball, though, Baltimore just took a serious hit with the Haloti Ngata suspension. #BALvsMIA

Word on the street says the Jets are aware of the forward pass, but not sure we will see it unveiled this weekend in Minnesota. Pulled my TI-81 calculator out of retirement to figure out the run-pass ratio for New York. Here's what I came up with, in the context of play:

Run ... run ... run ... run ... run ... run ... pass (illegal formation, as Jets players aren't used to seeing this, so run on first-and-15) ... run ... run ... run ... pass (third-and-46) ... run ...run.

At least Nick Folk makes up for it by missing field goals.

Meanwhile, my colleague Marcas Grant alerted me to the nickname "Teddy Two Gloves," due to Mr. Bridgewater's penchant for, well, wearing two gloves. Hey, at least he has a solid grip on the football before he checks down. Vikings win, as the improved defense makes the difference at home. #NYJvsMIN

New Orleans runs away with this one. Well, actually, it'll be close in the first half, but then in the second half, viewers will see a certain someone with a towel on his head. The only person I want to see with a toweled head is this person. By the way, my car just hit a water buffalo. These days, great Panthers defensive plays are about as rare as buffalo on the Great Plains. What happened? Last year, through 12 games, Carolina allowed 13.1 points per contest. This season? 27.6. Last year, the Panthers allowed all of 12 touchdown drives to this point of the season. Try 35 so far in 2014. Meanwhile, you gotta love what Mark Ingram is doing. The former first-round pick is posting 85.2 rushing yards per game after entering this season with a career average of 39.5. #CARvsNO

Started writing this game blurb and began thinking about a safety. After jotting down the score, a realization came to mind: Haven't we seen this score before? I'm such an idiot. The answer is yes, and it involved the Giants! They, of course, just fell in Jacksonville, 25-24, with Eli Manning getting strip-sacked to lose the game. Can they rebound? Will they mail it in? Wait, have you ever seen a Tom Coughlin team mail it in? Interesting that this game features the two worst run defenses in the league, as well as two bad losing streaks -- the Giants' is at seven games, the Titans' is at six. So, yeah, maybe this interconference "battle" will resemble a turd sandwich. Or maybe we finally see a big-time performance from Bishop Sankey and/or an Eli Manning revival. #NYGvsTEN

This is a tough deal to call. Taking the Rams on the road, though, somewhat against my own judgment. Colt McCoy won't be the problem for Washington. Rather, my concern lies with the Redskins' defense. I trust St. Louis on that side of the ball much more right now. That said, other than last week, Washington has been stout against the run, allowing just 3.97 yards per rush on the season. But can the Redskins get to Shaun Hill the way the Rams will be able to get to McCoy? St. Louis has 28 sacks, all but one of which came in the last seven games. If those come in bunches, so do wins.

Side note: Only the Raiders have won fewer games (five) than the Redskins (six) over the last two seasons. Seriously. #STLvsWAS

Call this the "Red Dawn" of this weekend. Chiefs- Cardinals should present the most hotly contested matchup of Week 14. It's the game with the most riding on it -- and maybe a little more red than we want to see on one screen. (Especially if the Cards go with their red pants.) If Kansas City falls, the walls might start to cave in on # ChiefsKingdom. At 7-6, the Chiefs would have to win out -- vs. Oakland, Pittsburgh and San Diego -- to have a shot at the playoffs. Not impossible, but certainly not the position Andy Reid wants to be in. Meanwhile, Bruce Arians has to figure out how to muster something on offense. Stat of the Week: Arizona has scored one TD in its last 29 drives. And while the Cardinals' defense has thrived off the fourth-quarter turnover, K.C. has been the best team in the league in the NFL's most important period. #KCvsAZ

While it might seem easy to simply chalk up another home win for Denver, the Bills should have a better chance than you think. They will not make things easy for Peyton Manning. I would anticipate ...

1) C.J. Anderson getting 18 to 20 carries to mitigate the Buffalo pass rush.
2) Peyton taking a lot of short drops -- and Broncos receivers running a lot of short routes -- to get the ball out of his hands quickly.
3) The Bills causing at least one big turnover.

Buffalo is plus-nine in turnover differential this season. Since 1970, the team that wins the turnover battle wins roughly 70 percent of the time. That is an amazing stat when you really think about it. That said, the much-improved Broncos defense is the great elixir here. Over the last month, the unit has made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks, allowing fewer than 6 yards per pass attempt. #BUFvsDEN

This matchup feels like it's going be a hot piece of garbage, like the last "Terminator" movie. (Was it as bad as "Terminator 3"?) This is my Rick Reuschel-get-it-done-ugly Game of the Week. Will Colin Kaepernick scan the field before getting skittish in the pocket? Will the Raiders score? Will Niners fans be disappointed when they arrive at the cross-Bay stadium and no one is enjoying a peppy cabernet? Raiders fans might have to wait until these teams meet again in 2018 before seeing Kaepernick throw a fourth-quarter TD pass. He's started 12 games this season without logging a single fourth-quarter scoring toss. The next closest guy? Robert Griffin III, who has five starts without a fourth-quarter TD pass. At least Kap is in good company. Interesting that Derek Carr has the lowest completion percentage (59.3) among rookie starters ... because he has the best TD-to-INT ratio (14:11). Still believe in him. #SFvsOAK



Seattle's defense doesn't absolutely dominate this game, it merely wins the day. While I don't see the Eagles' offense getting stampeded here, and while I think Mark Sanchez is capable of making some plays, I do feel this is a tough matchup for Philly. In celebrating Sanchez's Turkey Day efficiency, people overlooked LeSean McCoy's contributions -- particularly the impact his presence had on the second half of that game in Dallas. McCoy will probably accumulate 70-something rushing yards over the course of Sunday's entire game, as opposed to reaching that number in each half, like he did on Thanksgiving. Expect short passes from Sanchez. Expect the Seahawks to pound Marshawn Lynch at Fletcher Cox, much like they ran right at San Francisco. Ultimately, Russell Wilson's third-down rushing could be the deciding factor -- he leads the NFL in said category. #SEAvsPHI

What a matchup! This one goes to overtime. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers are the unquestioned leaders of their teams -- like Marino and Elway in the '80s, or Aikman and Young in the '90s. Rivers was the MVP of the league through September in my book, while Brady is probably third on many updated ballots, behind 1) Aaron Rodgers and 2) J.J. Watt. For more on that, click here. Ryan Mathews is the X-factor here. If he goes off, San Diego runs clock, Brady only gets eight to nine possessions and the Chargers win at home. By the way, Brady is 45-7 all-time in December, the best record of any active QB. Second place? You guessed it, my boy Philip, at 30-6. #NEvsSD

Predicting another Packers blowout. Not so much because I think Green Bay is on its way to its fifth Lombardi Trophy, but rather because I don't trust the Falcons. Well, I trust them as much as I trust Gary Busey to have his hair nice and parted and say sensible things. The Falcons' best hope is for Steven Jackson to run 20 times for 101 yards, allowing Atlanta to hold the ball for 35 minutes. That said, among the many stats that don't bode well for the Falcons sits this albatross: Atlanta is 1-14 all-time in road games on "Monday Night Football". Oy. At least the Falcons can hang their hat on the fact that Aaron Rodgers throws an interception at Lambeau once every five billion pass attempts. (It's been 13 home games since the last instance.) #ATLvsGB

ALREADY COMPLETED

It's Mr. Everyone-cares-when-he-falters vs. Mr. Does-he-really-care-at-all? Tony Romo against Jay Cutler presents a fun matchup, but this game really comes down to whether the Bears are going to get mauled by the Cowboys' offensive line and the bearclaw in DeMarco Murray. Speaking of, what's better: cake doughnuts or bearclaws? (@HarrisonNFL) Meanwhile, Matt Forte presents certifiable matchup problems for a Cowboys LB corps -- minus Justin Durant -- that won't be able to cover him out of the backfield. Expect at least seven catches for No. 22 in blue. On a different note, make sure to check out "The NFL's Infinite DVR" this week on NFL.com and NFL NOW, which takes a fun dive into Cowboys- Bears classics from yesteryear (1985, 1992 and '96). #DALvsCHI

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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