Joey P’s Week 14 NFL Picks

, ,

Each week I pick the winners of all the NFL games (or try to, anyway) without point spreads and without bias, either. Here are my picks for Week 14.

With just four regular-season weeks remaining, we can officially say that we’re now into the homestretch. Another solid 11-5 week brings my year-to-date record to 120-72 (.625). Is that good enough to get me a wild-card berth? I’m not sure, but I do know there are plenty of teams and fan bases sweating bullets. That’s for sure!

NOTE: All games are scheduled for Sunday afternoon unless otherwise noted.

New Orleans 31, Atlanta 26 (Thursday night): I thought the Falcons could ride some newfound momentum into a home win over Minnesota last week. But the Vikings were just too good. Now Atlanta gets to entertain the league’s hottest team–the Saints … whose win streak should continue.

Carolina 24, Minnesota 23: Hunch Play of the Week. The Vikings defense has been opportunistic and tough to beat. But if a red-hot team, like the Eagles, could see their streak end on the road, so can Minnesota. The Panthers are playing tough every week. That has to pay off sooner or later. I think it will this week — with a win over a top-tier team.

Buffalo 17, Indianapolis 13: Buffalo has a lot to play for. But because of Tyrod Taylor’s injury, the Bills are forced to turn (again) to Nathan Peterman at QB. Still, though, the Bills are home playing a Colts team that seems to have checked out on the season.

Green Bay 27, Cleveland 17: The Packers are getting more and more confident every week with Brett Hundley under center. And this week they face the winless Browns. Cleveland looks destined to repeat what the 2008 Detroit Lions did  — lose all 16 games.

Chicago 20, Cincinnati 16: This may not be one of the week’s best games, but it will definitely be one of the most interesting. Chicago is 2-0 over the AFC North, having beaten Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The Bengals have much more to play for, but an issue for this team is whether it can sustain newfound offensive momentum. They couldn’t do that Monday Night against Pittsburgh … and my guess is that they won’t do it this week, either.

Houston 24, San Francisco 13: The 49ers got a satisfying road win in Chicago last week. This week they hit the road again to face the Texans. New QB Jimmy Garappolo shows plenty of promise. But let’s face it: it’s asking too much of Jimmy to get two straight road wins.

Seattle 31, Jacksonville 27: A couple of expansion franchises from different eras clash at EverBank Stadium, where the Jags are coming off a 20-point blowout over Indianapolis. In Seattle, they’ll be facing a much better team–one that can boast about a win over the red-hot Eagles.

Oakland 23, Kansas City 20: This used to be one of the NFL’s fiercest archrivalries–and in some ways it still is. But put that issue aside for another reason: both teams are tied with Los Angeles for first place in the AFC West. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, their arrow is pointing rather low these days. KC has lost six of seven, including a few at home. My pick is Oakland.

Tampa Bay 26, Detroit 17: This is another hunch play. I got a sense last week that the Lions’ playoff hopes faded with each turnover at Baltimore. The Buccaneers have definitely underachieved, but they have nothing to lose at this point–especially with Doug Martin and Jameis Winston both healthy.

New York Jets 30, Denver 10: Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles will not be leading a playoff team this year, But he should get Coach of the Year votes for taking what could have been a pathetic squad and making it competitive. The Broncos, on the other hand, started making plans for 2018 a long time ago.

Tennessee 27, Arizona 26: I must admit that I don’t feel very good about this pick. The Titans are tied for first in the AFC South and that means they have a lot more to play for than the Cardinals. But Tennessee–even with Marcus Mariota at the helm–hasn’t looked sharp or consistent. Expect a tight contest.

Los Angeles Chargers 31, Washington 15: The Chargers have done exactly that–they’ve “charged” back into the mediocre AFC playoff race after a 0-4 start. Now they get to feast on one of the league’s worst defenses. It will be time to send LAC pass rushers after Kirk Cousins and his shoddy, patchwork O-line.

Los Angeles Rams 34, Philadelphia 30: This should be a great matchup here–the balanced, consistent Eagles vs. the Rams’ juggernaut offense. My pick (LAR) is not a knock on Philadelphia, but rather a tribute to the Rams and head coach Sean McVay. He should be applauded for injecting life into a franchise that needed it badly.

Dallas 37, New York Giants 10: This twice-yearly NFC East matchup used to be eagerly awaited by pro football fans everywhere. Heck, the Giants seemed to be the only team capable of beating the Cowboys consistently. But these days the Giants just beat themselves. Meanwhile, the Dallas’ running game looks energized with left tackle Tyron Smith back in the lineup (his absence hurt more than losing Ezekiel Elliott).

Baltimore 26, Pittsburgh 23 (Sunday night): This is yet another uncomfortable pick. Yes, I know the Ravens are inconsistent offensively and that the Steelers usually play well at home. Consider, too, that the Steelers have won two straight over the Ravens–reversing several years of Baltimore domination. But the Ravens broke out against Detroit. So…gulp…I’ll pick Baltimore.

New England 40, Miami 13 (Monday night): Don’t let Miami’s blowout win over Denver fool you. Neither of those teams is all that great. This week the Dolphins stay home to face the best team in the AFC East … make that the NFL’s best team since the turn of the century.


About Joe Platania

Veteran beat writer, Joe Platania, is entering his 39th year in Baltimore media. He covers sports with insight, humor, and prescient eye. A former longtime member in good standing of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the Pro Football Writers of America, Platania manned the CFL Stallions beat for The Avenue Newspaper Group of Essex (1994 and ’95) and the Ravens beat since the team’s inception — one of only three local writers to do so — for PressBox, The Avenue, and other local publications and radio stations. A sought-after contributor and host on talk radio and TV, he often appears on “Inside PressBox” (10:30 a.m. Sundays) and he can be heard at 10 a.m. Saturdays on the “Purple Pride Report,” WQLL-AM (1370). He has also appeared on WMAR-TV’s “Good Morning Maryland” (2009), Comcast SportsNet’s “Washington Post Live” (2004-06), and WJZ-TV’s “Football Talk” postgame show — with legend Marty Bass (2002-04). Platania is the only sports journalist in Maryland history to have been a finalist for both the annual Sportscaster of the Year award (1998, which he won) and Sportswriter of the Year (2010). He is also a four-time Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association award winner. Platania is a graduate of St. Joseph’s (Cockeysville), Calvert Hall College High School, and Towson University, where he earned a degree in Mass Communications. He lives in Cockeysville, MD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *