BUEHLER’S WEEK 14 NFL PICKS
Went 9-6 last week, picked the Colts and Seahawks to win, but over stepped on the Saints, Bucs and Giants (to name a few). Abstained from picking the Chiefs-Panthers game that I thought was played erroneously. But I’m picking all 16 games this week. Plenty of playoff hopes hinge on this weekend. So let’s get it done…
Thursday Night Football
Broncos at Raiders
It’s gotten ugly in Oakland. But this is prime-time TV, head coach Dennis Allen lost his father earlier in the week, the Raiders don’t want to be embarrassed at home on Thursday night. Plus McFadden is finally back, he’s rushed for 100+ yards 3 of the 4 past times these teams have played and the Raiders are 9-2 when RunDMC goes off for 100+. So there’s that. But the Broncos have a 7-game winning streak, and Von Miller. Oh, and Peyton Manning. So while I’m hoping for a competitive game, gotta go with the Broncos, 27-14.
Rams at Bills
The Rams are coming off an emotional division win over the Niners. They also happen to be the only team in the NFL unbeaten in division play that does not own the division lead. They are 4-0-1 vs the NFC West and an inglorious 1-6 versus the rest of the league. The Bills are tied with the Saints and Lions as the most talented team with a losing record. Bills win. 21-18.
Falcons at Panthers
The Panthers lost in Kansas City and the Falcons handled the Saints rather easily, but this is NOT an easy game for the Falcons… just kidding. I know the last time these teams met in Atlanta, the Falcons escaped with a 2 point win, but the Panthers are so inconsistent and hosting the Falcons who are catching their stride. Falcons win. 30-21.
Cowboys at Bengals
Love this Bengals team. Last year they snagged a playoff spot by virtue of a weak schedule, this year, behind a beefy defensive line they lead the NFL in sacks and Andy Dalton is making the franchise look good with more touchdowns (23) and fewer interceptions (13) than Romo (19/15). The Cowboys found their running game last week, but against a sad Eagles’ defense. Bengals d-line vs Cowboys o-line is the battle to watch and Bengals get the win. 28-17.
Chiefs at Browns
I’ll say this again. Browns D is decent and the AFC North is far more competitive than the AFC West. So while both teams are division cellar dwellers, the Browns D get the nod at home. If you can, I’ll pick this game. Browns win 16-14. (Incidentally, I picked this score BEFORE I knew these two teams battled to the same score at Arrowhead, but the Chiefs came out on top in 2010. Similar type game, but Browns win.)
Titans at Colts
Colts pulled off the stunning upset of the Lions, proving Luck is needed to win a shootout (sorry, no more puns) and the defense got a necessary stop in the 4th as well. Last time these teams met in Tennessee, we saw a brilliant comeback in overtime with Vick Ballard pulling off an acrobatic goal-line drive to seal the win. Last time these teams met in Indy, the Colts earned the first victory of last season, breaking the goose egg in the win column after 14 long weeks. Hope this game is that much fun. But I think the Colts win wire-to-wire. 28-21.
Jets at Jaguars
Gosh, to think the Chiefs- Browns game looked like a stinker. Feel like I should wash my hands after typing this. In a game of two franchises in desperate need of reorganization, I give this to the Jags. The Jets don’t have the defense to keep up with Cecil Shorts III. Read that again. Jags win. 19-17
Bears at Vikings
Adrian Peterson is averaging a gaudy 6.2 yards a carry. And Brian Urlacher won’t be playing and the Vikings are 5-1 at home including quality wins over the Niners, and Detroit. They don’t scare you on paper, especially after Percy Harvin landed on IR, but this team is home for the first time in a month after having a bye week and 2 road games. I’ll take the less-banged up team and AD. Vikings win 24-17.
Chargers at Steelers
Need your team to play better? Great idea, let it leak that your head coach is fired after the season. Lump in the GM and see how the team responds. Look, the Chargers are winless-WINLESS- in the Steel City. Big Ben is back and even if he’s still ailing from his “odd injury” and losing a rib, and even without Ike Taylor in the Steelers secondary, the Chargers are not a team that will gut out a win. They usually try ferociously to miraculously underachieve. Steelers win 28-10.
Eagles at Bucs
The Bucs are a far cry from the 1-3 team that started the season. Now the 4th most prolific offense in the NFL, they’ll exploit the Eagles defense that leaves gaping holes for receivers to cruise into. The question is what will Nick Foles do? The Bucs passing defense is a liability and allowed Manning to explode in the 3rd quarter. Foles is no Manning, but if he can limit over throwing his receivers, and the Eagles balance their attack with Brown, this could be a shootout. Problem is turnovers. Eagles are -18 on the season in TO margin. Bucs are +11. Bucs win 34-21.
Ravens at Redskins.
Fun one. Love this game. Ravens lost to a Steelers team that had no business winning. Redskins beat a Giants team that had every opportunity to win. Griffin has earned the trust of his coaches to make big plays to seal games while the Ravens don’t even trust Ray Rice. Redskins win. 24-21.
Dolphins at 49ers
I don’t think the Niners are a team that any team wants to face after a loss. Niners offensive line got outplayed by the Rams defensive line and they’ll make sure they maul the Dolphins into submission. (spoken like a true fan huh…) Kaepernick gets the start again and we’ll see if the Niners can open some passing lanes for him. I think they can. Niners win. 27-14.
Saints at Giants
Two teams coming off loses. The Saints suffering from the Super Bowl Curse, the Giants defensive line still rocking themselves in the fetal position lamenting RG3 in their division. Giants rebound with that pass rush and Drew Brees starts a new touchdown streak at 1. Giants win 30-28.
Cardinals at Seahawks.
Josh Skelton or Ryan Lindley. Or drive bamboo shoots up your toenails. Feels the same for Cardinal fans. Seahawks have their franchise QB. All five feet ten inches of him. Seahawks win. 18-9.
Sunday Night Football
Lions at Packers
The Lions sure have a lot of talent. If they could manage to use it, they might not blow leads late or fall behind so quickly early. But they do. I trust Rodgers. I know the Packers offensive line isn’t good and I know the Lions’ defense is supposed to be imposing but Andrew Luck carved them up. Rodgers will too. Packers win 35-27
Monday Night Football
Texans at Patriots
Can Monday come soon enough??????? Can’t wait for this one. Since the Giants cracked the Pats code in 2007, the best way to beat the Pats is with a formidable pass rush. The Texans have that. They also have a physical secondary. They can get gashed with big plays and the Pats love to do that. But the Pats haven’t been challenged by a pass rush since their week 6 loss in Seattle. The Texans are 6-0 on the road and have a pretty explosive offense as well. While I give the coaching nod to the Pats, I have to give the talent nod to the Texans, and the win. 21-17.
Another exciting week in front of us! Hard to believe we’re looking at week 14. Even harder to believe how badly my fantasy team has done this year. But that’s why the real games are even that much more important (if I were winning, they wouldn’t be. But I’m not. So they are.)