Hammering it Out: Week 14 Predictions

It’s Week 14 and the Playoff picture about as bleak as I can remember seeing it this deep in the season. As of this week, ONLY Green Bay and San Francisco, both NFC teams, have clinched their Division. All 10 remaining Playoff spots are up for grabs. Let’s get down to business, shall we?

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-13.5)

After only scoring 10 points against an equally effective defense last week, there isn’t a lot of hope for the Browns this week. Pittsburgh is coming off scoring 35 points in a rout of Cincinnati. I can’t see anything but a blowout here. Pittsburgh is hanging on to the 5th seed and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. -Jared

Jared – Steelers win by 14 or more

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (+2.5)

At this point, I see Atlanta in “must-win” territory. However, I see Carolina as “can win” opponents. The line is pretty weak at +2.5, especially given that Atlanta beat Carolina 31-17 in October. My gut says Atlanta big (again), but something tells me Carolina has progressed lately. Looking at the results, though, wins over the Colts and Bucs the last two weeks aren’t necessarily a big deal. -Jared

Jared – Falcons win by 3 or more

Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)

As far as injuries go, I’m not sure any team is as devastated as the Texans are. Down to a 3rd string quarterback and missing Andre Johnson, the Bengals should capitalize here, right? I’m not so sure. -Jared

Jared – Bengals win by 3 or less, tie, or lose

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-7.5)

Detroit has lost 3 of its last 4 games, all 3 of which are completely understandable losses to powerhouse franchises. Simply put, the Vikings are not a powerhouse franchise. Not this year. Detroit may have only won by 3 in overtime in Week 3, but Minnesota is playing without Adrian Peterson. Barring some flash in the pan offensive explosion, Detroit should win this game going away. -Jared

Jared – Lions win by 8 or more

New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans (+3.5)

Both of these teams come into this game riding winning streaks and hot offensive play. New Orleans is winning its Division, while Tennessee is going to have to scrape and claw just to make the Playoffs. It’s important to note that all three New Orleans losses have been on the road. Hmm. Upset city? -Jared

Jared – Saints win by 3 or less, tie, or lose

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-16.5)

For the moment, Baltimore is winning its division and appears to be headed for another deep playoff run. Indianapolis is coming off an interesting series of events culminating in walking into the highest spread I’ve seen all year and playing the Patriots to within a touchdown with Dan Orlovsky at quarterback. By no means do I expect the Colts to win this game, but here’s to hoping they make it interesting. -Jared

Jared – Ravens win by 16 or less, tie, or lose

Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets (-8.5)

I’m sure there’s a thought process where a backup quarterback comes off the bench to lead his team to multiple victories and wait, this storyline doesn’t involve New England, so that’s not possible. The Jets are going to fly away with this one. Get it? Yeah… -Jared

Jared – Jets win by 9 or more

Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins (-3.5)

Michael Vick returns to quarterback the Dream Team against a resurgent and resilient Dolphins team that has won four of their last five games, their only loss by 1 to Dallas. It’s really hard to pick against a hot team and for an Eagles team that has really been underwhelming considering all the off-season acquisitions that were made. -Jared

Jared – Dolphins win by 3 or less, tie, or lose

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins (+7.5)

There really isn’t a scenario in which I see the Patriots not mopping the floor with the Redskins secondary. I guess Tom Brady could get hurt, right? Right. I could also win the lottery seeing as how I have yet to buy a ticket. -Jared

Jared – Patriots win by 8 or more

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars (+1.5)

I can’t figure out which one of these Florida teams is the worst. Josh Freeman is having a nightmare season and Blaine Gabbert isn’t doing any better. Here’s where I think this game goes. Maurice Jones-Drew is having a Pro Bowl caliber season and the Tampa Bay offense is struggling in all departments. Jacksonville has a decent defense and should come away here with a win. -Jared

Jared – Jacksonville lose by 1, ties, or wins

Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos (-3.5)

The bottom line is, as much of a Tebow fan as I am, he isn’t the reason for the resurgence of the Broncos within their Division. Defense is as important right now in Denver as it has become in Chicago in the wake of losing Jay Cutler with a thumb injury. Yes, I would rather have Tim Tebow than Caleb Hanie. I would also prefer not to be playing Chicago in December. Just saying. -Jared

Jared – Denver wins by 4 or more

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (+3.5)

The 49ers beat the Cardinals 23-7 three weeks ago and have actually improved since then, posting a shutout last week against St. Louis. I suppose there’s merit in picking the upset, but I have a really hard time seeing the 49ers coming off the vice grip they’ve got on their Division. Not to the Cardinals, who needed a 52-yard pass to LaRod Stephens-Howling to beat the Cowboys last week. -Jared

Jared – 49ers win by 4 or more

Buffalo Bills at San Diego Chargers (-6.5)

Buffalo is on a 5-game skid and is 1-4 on the road this year. The Chargers looked great last week behind beyond serviceable play from Philip Rivers. With a weak secondary like this, look for the Chargers to go downfield a lot and really put Buffalo in a hole early. -Jared

Jared – Chargers win by 7 or more

Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers (-11.5)

I can see this game getting out of hand as well. Oakland is simply too banged up to beat a Green Bay team that resembles some kind of juggernaut offensively. I can see Oakland’s grip on a Playoff spot slowly slipping away. -Jared

Jared – Packers win by 12 or more

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)

I don’t think either of these teams are actually going to make any noise in the Playoffs, but I could be wrong. I think one of these two teams is going to win their Division (not a stretch at all). Now, Dallas is 5-1 at home and was on a decent winning streak until last week’s overtime loss to Arizona. The Giants, on the other hand, have played a nasty 4-game stretch, all losses, with games against New Orleans, Green Bay and San Francisco in that series of games. I actually think the Giants remaining schedule is too big of a hurdle to actually make the Playoffs. -Jared

Jared – Cowboys win by 4 or more

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)

Seattle beat St. Louis 24-7 three weeks ago and last week, the Rams got shut out against San Francisco. Seattle has beaten Baltimore and Philadelphia in the last month. Do you think whatever dead body the Rams decide to throw in at quarterback has a chance to beat the Seahawks? Me either. -Jared

Jared – Seahawks win by 7 or more