NFL Week 14 game picks: Steelers top Bengals; Patriots rebound

Print

Week 14 is upon us, complete with potential playoff previews, what may amount to early elimination games and classic matchups that remind us of of classic NFC playoff battles ... Redskins at Bears and Cowboys at Packers fit the bill.

Elsewhere ...

Ah, but Zach ... Keshawn Martin is facing his former team in Houston. He might catch three balls.

Meanwhile, @DanSievers liked my reference to a certain space-opera-based video game ...

By the time I get the binocular thingies to focus the satellite strike, the snowtroopers blast me through 10 feet of ice. Uh, Blaine Gabbert is doing well. #segue

The 49ers and their new quarterback hope to make it two in a row at Cleveland, which means they'll probably make it two in a row. You can see the prediction below, along with the rest of the Week 14 slate. Feel free to share your thoughts on any game ... @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it...

Elliot Harrison went 13-3 on his predictions for Week 13, giving him a record of 115-77 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 14? His picks are below.

Buffalo Bills 30, Philadelphia Eagles 28

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills make it happen this week in Philly. Both teams are desperate to stay in the playoff race. ... Buffalo is chilling out with the "in the hunt" teams, one game back of the Jets (though the Bills have the head-to-head edge). Chip Kelly's outfit finds itself in a three-way tie in the worst division in the history of pro football after delivering the upset in Foxborough. If the Eagles' defense and special teams performs the way they did in that game, putting multiple touchdowns on the board, the Bills won't have the aerial attack to stay in the game. And the only complaint will be from DeMarco Murray about his 10 carries (though we think that story is mostly bunk). On that note, expect Ryan Mathews' touch total to be right in line with Murray's, as Mathews returns to the lineup against a Buffalo front that has underperformed. The real RB star here will be LeSean McCoy, who is better than anyone Kelly employed this season and should surpass the 100-yard mark. He simply needs to avoid pressing, while Taylor capitalizes off play action.#BUFvsPHI

Seattle Seahawks 26, Baltimore Ravens 10

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

One week after stomping through Minnesota like Jeff Bridges' King Kong did Manhattan, the Seahawks are facing their own 5,000-pound gorilla: Will the offense continue to improve now that it is not attempting to force the football to a trade acquisition? Jimmy Graham is a heckuva receiver, but he was lost for the year in Week 12 -- and the Seahawks sure look like the two-time defending NFC champs again. Doug Baldwin certainly agrees, huh? The definition of hot: Over the last three games, the Seahawks' offense is averaging 35.3 points while converting 60 percent of its third downs. Poor Baltimore can't buy a break, save for the bad kind -- thus, the injuries and one-score losses. Good news: No one-score outcome to sweat this week. #SEAvsBAL

San Francisco 49ers 23, Cleveland Browns 20

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX

#Gabbertmania. You can't stop the man right now, who has provided a spark (and accurate passing for a change) for the 49ers. He hasn't donned headphones in a postgame interview yet, either, so that's a sign of progress. We should tap the brakes on the kittens and rainbows, however, as San Francisco has scored just 69 points since the 2011 10th overall pick entered the lineup ... a mere 14.3 points per game. He's 2-2, though, a far cry from the 2-6 mark the team had under Colin Kaepernick's direction. The real question here: How will the Browns' offense look with Johnny Manziel back at the helm? Currently, the unit ranks 32nd in rushing yards, sacks allowed and red-zone scoring, among other things. The bad news: There are 32 teams in the league.#SFvsCLE

Detroit Lions 27, St. Louis Rams 24

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

Interesting matchup of two teams that remain in the playoff hunt. Detroit has been outstanding of late on offense, which is most noticeable in Matthew Stafford's game. The former No. 1 overall pick has thrown nine touchdown passes against only one pick since Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, the Rams fired their offensive coordinator in hopes of pulling the coal out of Nick Foles' game. Foles, who was traded for a former No. 1 overall pick in the offseason, has failed to live up to his end of the bargain. St. Louis is last in third-down conversions, first downs, 10-play drives, passing yards and passer rating.#DETvsSTL

New York Jets 28, Tennessee Titans 12

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

New York puts the death grip on the AFC's sixth seed. This contest is one of the three wins (at least) down the stretch the Jets need to stave off the surging Steelers. Next week in Dallas should be a winnable game as well. The Titans receiving corps and then Matt Cassel? ... Yeah, man, I am healthy, says Darrelle Revis somewhere. The question mark(s) for Todd Bowles' club will be if it can beat the Patriots in two weeks, and then prevail in Rex-Jets II. As for the Titans, speculation abounds as to whether they will secure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The win last week put a serious dent in the hopes of Tennessee's more cynical fans. They should worry, as the Browns look well on their way to the "top" of this race. The Titans carry a much better shot of winning now that Marcus Mariota is running.#TENvsNYJ

Pittsburgh Steelers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 24

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

Remember last year when these two teams met at Paul Brown Stadium? Ben Roethlisberger connected with a still-not-quite-famous Martavis Bryant for 94 yards, and the Steelers were on their way. Well, we're seeing it that way again. The Bengals' defense looked stout last week, holding the vaunted Browns aerial circus under Austin Davis to three points. Roethlisberger is a different bear altogether. He still moves well enough out of the pocket to make plays on what will be an overmatched secondary. Expect Andy Dalton to get his on the NFL's 29th-ranked pass defense. #gameoftheweek#PITvsCIN

Indianapolis Colts 30, Jacksonville Jaguars 25

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

Frank ... Frank ... Hey, man, now would be a good time for that 100 yards. ... You know, you haven't had one of those yet. ... Remember when you used to run through arm tackles all the time in San Fran, making Alex Smith look like Joe Montana? Haha ... lol ... dude. Seriously. We need you.

Indianapolis beats the Jaguars, rebounding from an awful outing in Pittsburgh. So how do the Colts turn it around, and help their backup QB? Run the football against a front that just let Marcus Mariota rush for 100 yards on them. The last three games ... 2.7, 1.0, and 3.0 yards per carry, respectively. Yuck. They also must stop Allen Robinson, whose 11 receiving TDs are most among NFL wideouts. #INDvsJAX

Kansas City Chiefs 27, San Diego Chargers 13

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

This has stinker game for Kansas City written all over it. The Chiefs have been the hottest team this side of the Carolina Panthers for weeks, starting with a seemingly innocent win over the Steelers, a triumph dulled because the Steelers were trotting Landry Jones out at quarterback. The real story has been a defense that has allowed under 14 points per game during this run, while Alex Smith's running (two first downs and a TD last week) has added a dimension to Andy Reid's attack. The Chargers, meanwhile, followed up a win by looking hapless against Denver. The ground game showed a dash of promise in the loss, and will be the key to San Diego having a shot at Arrowhead. #SDvsKC

Chicago Bears 21, Washington Redskins 17

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

Chicago stays alive in a post wegotbeatbyBlaineGabbertandShaunDraughn world. This Sunday we expect Redskins DBs to pole vault into the pocket while some bandaged dude wails on an electric guitar in a post-apocalyptic Soldier Field. Now, we might have been a little hard on Jay Cutler in the Power Rankings after last Sunday's loss, but the point remains that this is the time of the season when a franchise quarterback must put the team on his back, particularly when given a favorable matchup like this one against Washington. This Redskins group, which has been inconsistent all season, just got beat by a lesser team at home in the middle of the playoff race. Sound familiar, Bears fans? Worth watching: a healthier Alshon Jeffery versus a secondary that has allowed the most quick-strike drives in the league (points in fewer than four plays). Cutler-to-Jeffery was more like Grossman-to-Booker last week. We need it to be Les Grossman to Flaming Dragon.#WASvsCHI

Carolina Panthers 30, Atlanta Falcons 14

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

Carolina stays undefeated for more than one full calendar year, as the team won its first regular-season contest in this 16-game streak back on Dec. 7, 2014, in New Orleans. Last Sunday, the perfect Panthers were tested in a high-scoring contest at that same venue, and managed to pull out yet another W on the road. Perhaps the most underreported fact about the Panthers' success: all the different ways they've won games. Sunday, it was the offense putting up 41 points. But defensive slugfests have also dotted the streak. And Riverboat Ron's guys have blown several teams out along the way, as well. Then there's the stellar special-teams play. About the only thing Carolina hasn't done this season is put up a 50-burger on anyone, which would take the Falcons' offense about three combined games to match. If only Atlanta didn't pace the NFL in red-zone turnovers ... #runDevonta#ATLvsCAR

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26, New Orleans Saints 20

Kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

Tampa Bay wins again, staying relevant in the NFC wild-card chase. Going into Week 14, the Bucs are one game behind the Seahawks for the sixth seed and have one less conference loss. Conference record is the first tiebreaker when there are multiple teams tied for a playoff spot. Now, technically, the Saints are still alive in this thing, as well. Yet, they would need the Vikings to lose out or the Seahawks to drop three of their next four. Oh, and New Orleans has the small task of winning all of its remaining games ... at these Bucs, home versus the Jags and Lions, then at Atlanta. It's possible. So is petitioning the competition committee to join the NFC East.#NOvsTB

Denver Broncos 24, Oakland Raiders 13

Kickoff on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.

Denver stays in the dogfight for both homefield advantage and a bye, as ultimately the Broncos, the Bengals or the Patriots will have to play the sixth seed in the wild-card round. As for the Raiders, a loss here essentially eliminates them; the AFC's sixth seed will likely require at least a 9-7 record to get in, and 8-8 would be the best Oakland could finish. For the Raiders to have a shot, they must shut down a Broncos running attack that has been heavily featured since Brock Lobster took over under center, posting 179, 170 and 134 yards, respectively, during the last three weeks. Also important to this matchup: improved play from Khalil Mack, who hasn't turned in the All-Pro season everyone expected. Seeing a big touchdown from Emmanuel Sanders this week. Gut feeling (or he might, hypothetically, be on my fantasy team).#OAKvsDEN

Green Bay Packers 28, Dallas Cowboys 17

Kickoff on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX.

Don't see Green Bay blowing another game at home. While the Cowboys' D kept the team on the saddle Monday night, Kirk Cousins is no Aaron Rodgers, no matter how much you like that. Cowboys at Packers brings back many memories of clashes past ... even going back to last January, when everyone was in an uproar about Dez Bryant's catch, non-catch instead of DeMarco Murray's fumble -- the play that truly lost the game. Or how about 2010? Green Bay destroyed Wade Phillips' group, ultimately going all the way to Super Bowl XLV, while Dallas fired Phillips and replaced him with Jason Garrett. Of course, one of the most legendary games in NFL history, right next to "The Catch" and "The Greatest Game Ever Played," was played between the Cowboys and Packers at Lambeau Field. "The Ice Bowl" decided who would go to Super Bowl II -- and some say Green Bay's victory is the reason the Lombardi Trophy isn't dubbed "The Landry Trophy."#DALvsGB

New England Patriots 29, Houston Texans 21

Kickoff on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

It's the Romeo Crennel revenge game. Wait, it's the Vince Wilfork Bowl. Call it the Keshawn Martin grudge match.

Bill O'Brien will pay. He will pay. (Martin this week: two catches, 17 yards and one drop.) With Danny Amendola a bit healthier and James White a wee bit more comfortable in the offense, New England should win this game. The Texans' defense has been balling of late, having held opposing quarterbacks to 5 yards per attempt during the four-game stretch leading up to this past Sunday, when Tyrod Taylor hit a couple of vertical shots on them. Houston's pass rush must be in Tom Brady's face all day -- finishing with only one sack isn't going to cut it. Make Brady more uncomfortable than he already is having to throw to those spare parts. #NEvsHOU

New York Giants 20, Miami Dolphins 16

Kickoff on Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Big Blue pulls off the road win, thus ending an ill-timed three-game skid while staying viable in the NFC East race. The pass rush has been issue No. 1 for the Giants throughout much of the season. It is imperative for New York to capitalize on a Miami offensive line that struggles equally in this area. In fact, last week was the first time the Dolphins allowed one sack or less in a game this year. That's because they barely threw the ball. It would be smart for Miami to attack the Giants' pass defense, which is allowing an astronomical 314.5 net passing yards per game -- that's after you subtract sack yardage. It's also far and away the worst in pro football history. No team has given up so much as 300 per game, much less 314.5! All that said, this is the exact kind of game Tom Coughlin wins ... when his job comes into question. And it's the precise right timing for a Dolphins loss ... coming off a win. Get excited. #NYGvsMIA

ALREADY COMPLETED

Arizona Cardinals 23, Minnesota Vikings 14

Kickoff on Thursday at 8:25 p.m. ET on NFL Network.

Arizona keeps moving toward a first-round bye with an in-control win over the slumping Vikings. Not that the defense ever looks under control, as defensive coordinator James Bettcher seemingly sends chaos toward the other team's pocket time after time. But it's controlled chaos. It's working, too, as opposing QBs are completing a mere 53.9 percent of their passes with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions in those hurried situations. This means Teddy Bridgewater will need the support of his run game, i.e., more than the eight carries for 18 yards he got from Adrian Peterson last week. #MINvsARI

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop