The following are my picks for the NFL’s Week Fourteen:
Thursday, Dec. 7
Cleveland 4-8 at Pittsburgh 5-7 – 8:00 p.m.
Both teams won last week. The Steelers are 4-2 at home; the Browns are 2-3 on the road. For the season, the Steelers have scored 58 more points than the Browns and have given up nine fewer.
RJ’s Pick – Pittsburgh by 6
Sunday, Dec. 10
Atlanta 6-6 at Tampa Bay 3-9 – 1:00 p.m.
The Falcons finally snapped their losing streak last week by beating the Redskins in Washington. They are the perfect .500 team: 6-6 overall, 3-3 on the road, 4-4 against the NFC, and 2-2 against their own division. Tampa Bay is 3-3 at home, but is 0-5 against divisional opponents, so this week is their last chance to score a win against an NFC South rival.
RJ’s Pick – Tampa Bay by 2
Baltimore 9-3 at Kansas City 7-5 – 1:00 p.m.
Both teams lost last week. The Chiefs are 5-1 at home this season, but are 0-4 against AFC teams not in their division. The Ravens are 4-2 on the road and have given up the fewest points in the AFC.
RJ’s Pick – Baltimore by 3
Indianapolis 10-2 at Jacksonville 7-5 – 1:00 p.m.
The Colts beat the Jaguars 21-14 back in Week 3. Jacksonville has the third best defense (based upon points allowed) in the AFC, and they are 5-1 at home. The Colts have the second highest-scoring offense in the AFC, and are 4-2 on the road. This should be a great matchup.
RJ’s Pick – Jacksonville by 1
Minnesota 5-7 at Detroit 2-10 – 1:00 p.m.
Although essentially eliminated from any chance of making the playoffs, the Lions are still in the hunt for the coveted #2 slot in the NFC North.
RJ’s Pick – Detroit by 19
New England 9-3 at Miami 5-7 – 1:00 p.m.
The Dolphins had their winning streak snapped last week, and they are now officially out of playoff contention. The Patriots have won three in a row and are 5-0 on the road.
RJ’s Pick – New England by 8
N.Y. Giants 6-6 at Carolina 6-6 – 1:00 p.m.
The Giants have now lost four in a row, and have fallen two games out of first place in the NFC East. Carolina has lost two straight, and is also two games out of first in their division, the NFC South. This is a huge game for both teams. I think you have to give the advantage to the home team in a situation like this.
RJ’s Pick – Carolina by 4
Oakland 2-10 at Cincinnati 7-5 – 1:00 p.m.
The Raiders have lost five in a row, the longest current losing streak in the NFL. They have scored the fewest points of any AFC team, and are 0-6 on the road. The Bengals have won three in a row.
RJ’s Pick – Cincinnati by 10
Philadelphia 6-6 at Washington 4-8 – 1:00 p.m.
The Eagles managed a come-from-behind win last week against Carolina. That means they are still in the playoff hunt, but three of their last four games are on the road, where they are only 2-3 so far this season. Washington is 3-3 at home. They have lost three of their last four, including a 27-3 drubbing at the hands of the Eagles back in Week 10.
RJ’s Pick – Philadelphia by 3
Tennessee 5-7 at Houston 4-8 – 1:00 p.m.
Tennessee has won three in a row, but they are only 2-4 on the road. Houston pulled out a rare road win last week against the hapless Raiders. The Texans are 2-3 at home, where they will play three of their final four games this season. Can Vince Young win his fourth game in a row, playing in his old home town?
RJ’s Pick – Tennessee by 2
Green Bay 4-8 at San Francisco 5-7 – 4:05 p.m.
San Francisco has lost two in a row after having climbed their way up to .500 and semi-respectability. For the season, they have given up 110 more points than they’ve scored. The Packers have lost three straight and have given up more points than any other team in the NFL. I expect a ton of scoring in this one.
RJ’s Pick – San Francisco by 5
Seattle 8-4 at Arizona 3-9 – 4:05 p.m.
The Seahawks are winners of two straight and four of five, and hold a three-game lead in the NFC West with only four games left to be played. Arizona is pretty awful, but I have a feeling Matt Leinart will pull out a win somehow.
RJ’s Pick – Arizona by 1
Buffalo 5-7 at N.Y. Jets 7-5 – 4:15 p.m.
The Jets have won two in a row, and the Bills are only 2-4 on the road this season.
RJ’s Pick – Jets by 6
Denver 7-5 at San Diego 10-2 – 4:15 p.m.
The Chargers have won six straight, the longest current winning streak in the NFL. They also have the highest-scoring offense in the NFL. They are undefeated at home, where they play three of their final four games of the regular season. Denver has lost three in a row, but they are 4-2 on the road this season. Call me crazy, but I’m predicting an upset.
RJ’s Pick – Denver by 4
New Orleans 8-4 at Dallas 8-4 – 8:15 p.m.
This is my pick for “Game of the Week.” Dallas has won four in a row, and has the highest-scoring offense in the NFC. They also get to play three of their last four regular season games at home, where they are 4-1 so far. The Saints are winners of two straight, and is 7-1 against NFC opponents this year. They are also a respectable 4-2 on the road, but I gotta go with the home team here.
RJ’s Pick – Dallas by 5
Monday, Dec. 11
Chicago 10-2 at St. Louis 5-7 – 8:30 p.m.
This looks to be another Monday Night Football blowout.
RJ’s Pick – Chicago by 16