Week 14 Picks: Building On Season's Best Week
A LOOK AROUND THE LEAGUE
By Joe Platania
OWINGS MILLS -- Ravens Report turned in its best prediction week of the season, picking winners in 13 of 16 games to boost the cumulative record to 114-78 (.593).
For this time of year, there are surprisingly few games on the Week 14 schedule that carry heavy playoff implications for both teams, but a sense of urgency will be there for at least one side in each contest.
BALTIMORE 23, HOUSTON 16 (Monday night): The Ravens should have little trouble with the Texans’ subpar defense, but Houston’s offense will again make Ravens fans sweat until the fourth quarter. This time, Baltimore won’t give it away.
INDIANAPOLIS 30, TENNESSEE 16 (Thursday night): As predicted, the Titans seem to be flat-lining no matter who plays quarterback. Granted, the Colts have proven to be no great shakes, either, but they win this matchup.
NEW ENGLAND 33, CHICAGO 17: If the Patriots could put together a complete effort against a contending team like the Jets, what are they going to do against an overachieving bunch like the Bears? Expose them, that’s what.
CLEVELAND 19, BUFFALO 12: The Bills had a good run going where they would play tough against good and bad teams, and they got some wins out of it. But Cleveland has been a notch above them in the NFL pecking order.
PITTSBURGH 27, CINCINNATI 17: The Bengals will stay in this game only because the Steelers are so riddled with injuries. But class and fundamentally-sound football will win out, and that means another Bengals’ loss.
JACKSONVILLE 31, OAKLAND 27: This could be one of the best games of the weekend between two teams nobody had on their radar when the season began. Jags have enough confidence to take it at home.
TAMPA BAY 23, WASHINGTON 10: The Buccaneers have evolved this year to the point where they simply can’t compete against contending teams. Washington simply can’t compete when things get tough.
GREEN BAY 40, DETROIT 10: A few observers predicted good things would happen for the Lions this year, but once again, the breaks haven’t gone their way. It’s time to play out the string.
MINNESOTA 26, N.Y. GIANTS 24: Another game with the potential to be a good one even though both teams don’t look playoff-ready. The Vikings have found Tarvaris Jackson can actually play a little.
ATLANTA 33, CAROLINA 6: The Panthers are just waiting for the season to end so they can get a new coaching staff. They gave Seattle a scare last week, but they’re taking on a team clearly the NFC’s best right now.
NEW ORLEANS 23, ST. LOUIS 21: The Saints are starting to play like they did last year, with a potent offense and leaky defense. The Rams have definitely improved this year, but it won’t be enough here.
SEATTLE 16, SAN FRANCISCO 13: NFC West games have been the bane of our existence this year, but it looks like Seattle’s game to lose with a more stable quarterback situation. The Troy Smith wave has run its course.
ARIZONA 30, DENVER 17: Teams like Dallas and Minnesota got a bounce after naming a new coach, but the Broncos simply don’t have enough talent to provide the same for Eric Studesville.
N.Y. JETS 27, MIAMI 20: When Rex Ryan faced tough times in Baltimore, he was surrounded by people who knew how to deal with adversity. He’ll draw on that as his Jets face a good road team this week.
SAN DIEGO 31, KANSAS CITY 27: The Chargers’ usual late-season playoff run was stunted by Oakland last week, but they are closer to being an elite team than the Chiefs. This should be an entertaining game.
DALLAS 24, PHILADELPHIA 16 (Sunday night): The Cowboys have finally discovered Tashard Choice can be a starting running back, one of the many jewels they have unearthed in their resuscitated season. Eagles simply can’t win in Dallas.
JOEY P’S TRIVIA TIME: After 12 games of the 2010 season, which Raven has more touchdowns: Todd Heap, Derrick Mason or Ray Rice?
The answer will be revealed in this afternoon’s Ravens Report entry.
Posted December 8, 2010