Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Week 14 Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on December 11, 2009

Before we get to this week’s picks, a quick word on last night’s stunner (picked incorrectly by me and I’m sure most people).  I was sure that Pittsburgh would be in must win mode after four straight losses, knowing that they very likely needed to win out in order to even have a shot at a wild card spot in the AFC.  I was sure that the Browns would be perfect for them, especially with a short week and less opportunity to dwell on the loss to the Raiders.  Cleveland hadn’t shown any indicator that would have what it took to win a game against a desperate team. particularly with last night’s mixture of empty bright orange seats and terrible towels dominating the landscape in Cleveland.  Little did I know that the Steelers would come out and lay their biggest egg of the season, even worse than the losses to Kansas City and Oakland.  Rashard Mendenhall was completely shut down, Ben Roethlisberger got sacked on seemingly every other play, Pittsburgh couldn’t convert a third down to save their lives, and they couldn’t stop Josh Cribbs from making big plays on special teams.  Give the Browns a ton of credit, for their defense played lights out and dominated an offense that has shredded them for years.  It just goes to show that anything can happen in the NFL, and that’s what makes the league so great.  I just never thought the Steelers would lose five straight games, especially after they actually looked like the defending champs in their most recent win, a 28-10 thrashing of my Broncos on a Monday night in early November.  In all seriousness, I just wish we could have played Pittsburgh this week and not lost month when they were playing well.  Alas, on to this week’s picks, with last night’s incorrect selection factored in.

Last week: 10-6 Season: 128-63

– Bills over Chiefs: I never thought I would see the day.  The Chiefs were dangerously close to being blacked out in Kansas City for the first time in almost two decades for their game against the Bills, but avoided it thanks to a last second extension.  I remember attending games at Arrowhead in the late 90s and early 2000s when I was in college and being stopped on the Interstate waiting to turn in to the stadium.  Now, a combination of frustration with the team’s continued futility and expensive prices in this economy is keeping people away from the stadium, not to mention the cold weather this time of year.  Kansas City looks like they have no identity right now.  Matt Cassel was so awful last week against the Broncos that he got yanked, and they have no running game either.  This game will be ugly, and I actually feel sorry for fans in Kansas and western Missouri who are now stuck with this instead of Broncos-Colts or Bengals-Vikings.  The Bills aren’t in much better shape, but they have actually shown a little more consistency as of late than the Chiefs.  I like the Bills, and I sense a huge stat game for Terrell Owens.

– Jaguars over Dolphins: Unlike the Chiefs, Jacksonville was not able to sell their game out, so most of Florida will not be able to see this game.  It seems appalling that a Jaguars team that looks very probable for a playoff spot has not had a single sellout this season.  The Jaguars have to be considered one of the season’s biggest surprises, and one of the reasons has actually been a quietly productive season for David Garrard.  The Jags have had success controlling things with Maurice Jones-Drew, and Garrard doesn’t turn it over in key situations.  Miami has played well at times this year, getting their biggest win last week against New England.  I believe they might have a future star in Chad Henne, but I sense a letdown for them this week after their win against the Patriots.  This could go either way, but my gut says Jacksonville, so I’ll take the Jags.

– Patriots over Panthers: New England has been in a funk of late, particularly late in games.  It is a puzzling attribute for a Bill Belichick team, but the Patriots are still in control of the AFC East at 7-5, and they do benefit from a friendly schedule down the stretch.  The interesting subplot to this game is that Tom Brady is listed as questionable on the injury report, but of course he will play.  Brady has had an up and down season (I know because he killed my fantasy team and is a large reason why I missed the playoffs), but he is still Tom Brady, and thus I expect he will play well when the pressure is on should the Pats win the division as expected.  The other subplot is that three Patriots players, including Randy Moss, were sent home from practice earlier this week due to a late arrival.  I don’t expect that to be an issue on game day, but it does show that things are tense right now at Patriots headquarters.  The Patriots shouldn’t have any trouble with this game at home. being that Carolina is a shell of the team that went 12-4 last year.

– Jets over Buccaneers: This is another one of the, ahem, not so exciting games on the Sunday slate.  Mark Sanchez has been declared out (and he is apparently not happy about it), so Kellen Clemens will be under center for New York.  That means expect a lot of Thomas Jones for the Jets.  The Buccaneers meanwhile are hoping that Josh Freeman doesn’t have another five pick game like he had against the Panthers.  It wouldn’t entirely surprise me if Tampa found a way to win this one at home but the Jets are very much alive in the AFC, not only for the wild card but also the division.  I think that motivation will carry the day for the Jets, and they will win a snoozer.

– Vikings over Bengals: One of the best games of the week for sure.  This will be a chance for Cincinnati to make a big time statement that they are indeed for real in the AFC, while Minnesota is eager to put last week’s ugly loss to Arizona out of their mind.  If this game was in Cincy, I would go with the Bengals, but I don’t like their odds of winning in the Metrodome.  I think Adrian Peterson will bounce back with a bigger game than last week, while Brett Favre is likely to respond with a big effort as well.  I do think the Bengals will be able to put some points on the board themselves, but in the end I don’t think they’ll be able to keep up with the Vikings on the carpet of the dome.  Minnesota wins a thriller.

– Ravens over Lions: Baltimore needs to win out to have any chance at the postseason.  They’ll win this one very easily, especially being that Daunte Culpepper is likely to start for the Lions in place of the injured Matthew Stafford.  The Ravens defense may not be what it once was, but do you really think they won’t shut down the Lions at home in December?  Baltimore in a rout.

– Texans over Seahawks: Houston is once again in the position of playing games in December that don’t matter, owing to the fact that they’ve blown several winnable games at the end.  I’m not sure if Gary Kubiak will be back as coach next season, but there don’t seem to be any indicators for change in Houston anytime soon.  There is still enough talent there for them to win a home game that they’re supposed to, and I suspect they’ll find a way to beat the Seahawks.  Seattle has shown a spark at times this season, but their inconsistency doesn’t really lend itself to winning on the road.  Houston wins.

– Colts over Broncos: I really want to pick my Broncos in a major upset, but the smart of my brain says that while I do expect this to be a competitive game, Peyton Manning will likely find a way to get the job done at home at the end of the game.  I do think this will not be like the past where Denver has gotten blown out every time they square off against Manning.  Denver an for 245 yards last week in their thrashing of the Chiefs, the Broncos should be able to have some success running the ball, and if they don’t turn it over they might even have a chance to control the clock.  The Colts have been involved in a number of close games this season, so it is even possible that the defense might be able to generate some pressure on Manning and contain the running game.  In the end however, Manning is Manning, and history says he will find a way to win it for Indy in the end.  My pick is Colts 27-21, but I will not shed any tears at all if I’m wrong.  Even with a loss, Denver’s playoff position looks good with home games against Oakland and Kansas City still remaining.

– Titans over Rams: Tennessee played hard last week in Indy, although they ended up coming up short.  The defining sequence in the game was when the Titans ailed to score on a 1st and goal from the one, ultimately turning it over on downs.  Had Tennessee punched it in the end zone there, the game might have ended up coming down to the wire.  As it is, the Titans do still have very slim playoff hopes, but they must win out to have any chance.  Their schedule might just allow them to do that, especially this game against the hapless Rams.  Tennessee should win this one pretty comfortably.

– Raiders over Redskins: These teams have both actually been playing much better as of late, with the Redskins nearly pulling off a big time upset last week against New Orleans, while the Raiders have bumped off the Bengals and Steelers in recent weeks.  The change to Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback has really benefited the Raiders, and their offense actually seems to have an identity now.  For Washington, their defense has actually played well at times, and they could win a game like this, but I like the Raiders to win in the Black Hole.

– Cowboys over Chargers: Minor upset alert.  San Diego has won seven straight, and they are playing terrific football, while Dallas seems to be about ready to start another December swoon, so this pick may seem like a big surprise, but I don’t think the Cowboys are done just yet.  The key for the Cowboys is Tony Romo, and I just don’t think he is going to allow another season to slip away willingly.  The Cowboys also know that another loss would seriously jeopardize their position in the NFC East, so they should be in desperation mode for this one at home.  San Diego is playing very well, but they did show a few vulnerabilities last week against Cleveland, most notably not showing a killer instinct and letting them back in the game.  This should be a very entertaining game, and I like Dallas in a close one.

– Packers over Bears: Green Bay did not really look like a playoff team in their win against Baltimore last week.  Sure they won, but they committed a boatload of penalties, and sustained several turnovers that nearly allowed the Ravens to get back in it.  Still, they are in a good position right now for one of the wild card spots in the NFC, and they are looking at a very winnable game Sunday at Soldier Field.  Chicago did finally get a win last week, but it was against the Rams, and looking at the numbers it doesn’t appear that Jay Cutler was spectacular.  Cutler threw four picks in the first meeting with the Packers back in week one, so he will be keen to avoid a repeat, but in the end Green Bay has more to play for they should win this one, although it could be close.  The big question in Chicago could be, is Lovie Smith in trouble?

– Saints over Falcons: Atlanta is still unlikely to have Matt Ryan, meaning they are stuck with Chris Redman.  They are also likely to not have Michael Turner, which means they won’t have a running game to speak of.  This is a very bad combination when you are about to face the undefeated Saints, who have an offense that can’t seem to be stopped.  The Falcons even showed last week that home field advantage isn’t much help, being that they lost 34-7 to the Eagles last week at the Georgia Dome.  New Orleans got lucky last week and they know it, so expect them to come out guns blazing in this one.  Drew Brees should have another monster day, and I don’t expect this game to be close for very long.

– Eagles over Giants: The Sunday night game should be a good one, as both teams are coming off big wins last week.  Philadelphia destroyed the Giants in the first meeting, so the New York crowd and the Giants players will be fired up for this one.  I still think the Giants have more flaws than they did in September, and I still think Eli Manning is not himself.  Philadelphia is coming off a perfect game in every phase, and they know the Giants very well.  Even on the road, I like the Eagles to get some big plays in the passing game, and it’s even possible that we may see more of Michael Vick now that he proved he can be productive.  This should be close and hard hitting, but I like Philly to win this game on the road and and keep the pressure on the Cowboys.

– Cardinals over 49ers: Seems like an odd choice for a Monday night game, but it could be entertaining.  Last week’s strong performance for Arizona seemed to really come out of nowhere, but they shut down the Vikings in absolutely every way, including holding Adrian Peterson to just 19 yards rushing.  If Arizona keeps playing like that, I guarantee you no one (including the Saints) wants to see them in January.  The Cardinals last week looked every bit like the NFC champion from a year ago, and it could be a sign of things to come.  Regardless, they’ve about sewn up the NFC West, and I don’t expect much of a challenge from San Francisco in this one, although the Niners do play much better at home than on the road.  Still, I like Arizona to win this one without too much difficulty.

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2 Responses to “Week 14 Picks”

  1. Doug Baker said

    GO BRONCOS! I agree it will be hard to pull an upset in Indy but I am hopeful.

    If the Patriots lose this week we are in serious trouble!

    I am picking the Cowboys to win this week too…especially since Tony Romo is my starting QB in my fantasy league and I can’t stand the Chargers.

  2. Thiquemuh said

    OMG enjoyed reading your blogpost. I submitted your feed to my google reader!!

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