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PFT’s Week 14 picks

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I had MDS right where I wanted him.

Down five games for the season, we differed on five games for Week 13.  And Week 13 was as unlucky for me as it could have been.

MDS pulled the rare five-game sweep via several close games that could have gone either way (I thought adding that would make me feel better, but it doesn’t).  And now he’s up by 10 with 64 regular-season games to go.

For the week, he was 13-3 and I was 8-8.  For the year, he’s 126-66.  I’m 116-76.

This week, we disagree on four games.  Which means I’ll be down 14 by next week.

Texans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: A truly terrible Thursday night game that will be interesting only to Jadeveon Clowney and Teddy Bridgewater to help them figure out where they’ll be playing next season. (And Bridgewater can’t watch because he has a game of his own on Thursday night.) The Jaguars have actually been playing pretty decent football over the last few weeks, but I see Case Keenum putting up a good game against the Jaguars’ defense.

MDS’s pick: Texans 27, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take:  There’s a juggernaut in Jacksonville, with the home team winning three of four games since the bye week.  After beating the Texans in their own building, the Jags should win more easily in a rematch occurring on a national stage, even if the theater is largely empty.

Florio’s pick:  Jaguars 20, Texans 10.

Vikings at Ravens

MDS’s take: Don’t look now, but after playing lousy football for most of the year, the defending Super Bowl champs are very much alive in the AFC playoff race. Baltimore should take it to Minnesota and improve to 7-6.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 31, Vikings 17.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens are making a push for the playoffs.  The Vikings aren’t.  Advantage Ravens.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 23, Vikings 14.

Colts at Bengals

MDS’s take: This game may determine which team gets the AFC No. 3 seed and which gets the No. 4 seed — which is big, because hosting the AFC No. 6 seed will be a much better first-round playoff draw than hosting the likely No. 5 seed, Kansas City. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, the Colts just have too many injuries and I can’t see them beating a good team on the road.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Colts 14.

Florio’s take:  Cincy hasn’t lost at home all year.  The Colts haven’t looked good since they beat the Broncos and Peyton Manning at home in October.  And yet they’re both 8-4.  That’ll change on Sunday, possibly in a big way.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 31, Colts 17.

Browns at Patriots

MDS’s take: Remember 2010, when a Browns team that was going nowhere blew out a Patriots team that was on its way to a 14-2 season? Yeah, that’s not happening this time around.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Browns 14.

Florio’s take:  If the Browns can’t beat the Jaguars at home, the question is whether they can stay within 30 points of the Patriots in their own building.  I have faith.  Barely.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 42, Browns 14.

Raiders at Jets

MDS’s take: The Jets are in such a free fall that I’m not sure it’s wise to pick them against anyone. So I’ll pick the Raiders to win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 10, Jets 7.

Florio’s take:  The Jets have broken their win-one-lose-one trend with three straight losses.  If that number stretches to four via a home loss to the Raiders, coach Rex Ryan should just go ahead and pack up his stuff.  While he eventually may be packing up his stuff anyway, it probably won’t happen immediately after Sunday’s game.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 20, Raiders 12.

Lions at Eagles

MDS’s take: This is a huge game in the NFC playoff race, with the Lions leading the NFC North by one game and the Eagles neck-and-neck with the Cowboys in the NFC East. With Nick Foles playing lights out and the Lions sporting one of the weakest groups of cornerbacks in the NFL, I just can’t see Detroit keeping Philadelphia’s passing game in check.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Lions 17.

Florio’s take:  Philly continues to make a push toward an unlikely playoff berth, with an unlikely franchise quarterback.  Detroit didn’t get it done last month in Pittsburgh; the Eagles are even better than the Steelers.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 30, Lions 24.

Dolphins at Steelers

MDS’s take: Although you wouldn’t know it from the 6-6 and 5-7 records, this is a big game in the AFC wild card race. Both of these teams are thoroughly mediocre, but I’ll take the home team to win and take a significant step toward a potential 9-7 record, which might just be good enough to make the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Dolphins 13.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers saw their playoff hopes largely evaporate when they failed to win on Thanksgiving night in Baltimore.  Even worse, the offensive line once again has been banged up, which will make it hard for the Steelers to do much of anything against a Dolphins defense that remains underrated and overlooked.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 24, Steelers 20.

Bills at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: These are the December doldrums games, two teams that are out of the playoff hunt just playing out the string. I think the Bucs have shown a little more fight recently, so I’ll go with Tampa Bay.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Bills 21.

Florio’s take:  If you want to complain about a December NFL game with no playoff implications, think of how you’ll feel two months from now, when there are no NFL games at all.  For this specific meaningless game, I’ll go with the team that has shown a bit more fight in recent weeks.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 24, Bills 21.

Chiefs at Redskins

MDS’s take: Kansas City probably can’t catch Denver in the AFC West, but the Chiefs will almost certainly be the No. 5 seed in the AFC. Beating bad teams has been the Chiefs’ specialty, and they’ll take another step toward the playoffs with another win over a bad team.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Redskins 17.

Florio’s take:  The Chiefs have lost three straight games.  A loss on Sunday means that Washington will have lost three straight at home.  The Chiefs need to get back to winning, and they have the offense to outscore Washington.  Andy Reid completes the sweep of the NFC East.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 31, Redskins 21.

Titans at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos clinch a playoff berth with a win, and they’ll get it easily against a Titans team that has played well at times but tends to find ways to lose against better opponents.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 35, Titans 20.

Florio’s take:  The Titans are praying for snow.  They should be praying for so much snow that they can’t get to Denver.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 48, Titans 20.

Rams at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Arizona isn’t out of the playoff race yet, and the Cardinals’ defense should make quick work of a Kellen Clemens-led Rams offense.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 20, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:   The Rams came from behind to beat the Cardinals way back in Week One.  Both teams are better (even though the Rams don’t have Sam Bradford), but the Cards have improved even more.  Home team gets the edge, as Arizona continues an unlikely playoff push.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 23, Rams 20.

Giants at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Eli Manning vs. Philip Rivers storyline has been largely overlooked this week because their teams are going nowhere and this week’s slate of NFL action has so many other good games. But it is an interesting quarterback matchup, even if it’s also a matchup of two bad teams, and I think Rivers will have a big day in a Chargers victory.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 30, Giants 17.

Florio’s take:  Eli Manning can’t remember why he didn’t want to play in San Diego.  He gets to go there, during a season he can’t wait to forget.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 27, Giants 20.

Seahawks at 49ers

MDS’s take: Now this is a great football game. The Seahawks are the best team in football right now, but they’re going on the road against a tough opponent that’s going to be motivated to come with some knuckles against them. I think the Seahawks will eke out a close win in an exciting and physical game.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 27, 49ers 24.

Florio’s take:  Seattle visits Candlestick Park one last time.  San Fran needs it more, and the Seahawks need to hold back a little something in the event there’s a rubber match.  For Seattle, the best move could be to ensure there won’t be one.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 16, 49ers 12.

Falcons at Packers

MDS’s take: As of the time I’m making this pick, I don’t know if Aaron Rodgers or Matt Flynn will start, but either way I’ll go with Green Bay, as the Packers still have playoff hopes while the Falcons are out of it.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Falcons 24.

Florio’s take:  With or without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have the better team and the far bigger incentive.  The Lions can be counted on to stumble down the stretch, which means the Packers still have a chance at getting to the playoffs.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, Falcons 21.

Panthers at Saints

MDS’s take: The Saints have a short week to bounce back from their loss in Seattle, and if they lose to the Panthers they’re in big trouble in the NFC South. But I expect the crowd in New Orleans to be just as boisterous as that Monday night crowd in Seattle, and home-field advantage will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Saints 23, Panthers 20.

Florio’s take:  The Seahawks don’t lose in Seattle.  And the Saints don’t lose in New Orleans.  Short week or not, Sean Payton and company rise to the occasion, taking a big step toward the division title and the No. 2 seed.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 31, Panthers 28.

Cowboys at Bears

MDS’s take: The Bears are running out of time to catch the Lions in the NFC North. Chicago’s offense should have a big day against the Dallas D, and the Bears will snap their two-game losing streak.

MDS’s pick: Bears 34, Cowboys 31.

Florio’s take:  Like each of the past two years, the Cowboys get to eight wins.  The real question is whether they can get a ninth.  At least the Bears won’t miss the playoffs this year with 10 wins.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 27, Bears 17.

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32 Responses to “PFT’s Week 14 picks”
  1. weekendatberniemadoffs says: Dec 5, 2013 7:59 AM

    The Panthers could lose Sunday night. But the Saints aren’t unbeatable at home. Or maybe they are and I dreamed that Carolina swept them last year.

  2. dove1120 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:26 AM

    How do you put Panthers #2 in the power rankings but say they can’t beat the defeated saints on an extremely short week?

  3. Gdelarocks says: Dec 5, 2013 8:26 AM

    weekendatberniemadoffs says:
    Dec 5, 2013 7:59 AM
    The Panthers could lose Sunday night. But the Saints aren’t unbeatable at home. Or maybe they are and I dreamed that Carolina swept them last year.

    ……………………….
    The saints also lost to the Chiefs at home last year, had the worst defense in the league, and were a completely different team without Payton at the helm.

    Moot point. Different year.

  4. trollhammer20 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:36 AM

    New Orleans may indeed win. That said, the idea of anyone putting up 31 points on that Panther defense…well, I’ll believe it if I see it.

  5. jgedgar70 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:42 AM

    I’m not mad at the SNF picks; I understand the logic. Fortunately for us, they still have to take the field. And I really believe in our defense. Panthers 24, Saints 21.

  6. Andre's Johnson says: Dec 5, 2013 8:47 AM

    As a Texans fan, I’d like to apologize to the rest of the nation. Tonight’s game is a hideous abomination.

    However, a new episode of Pawn Stars airs tonight. There is that.

  7. calicokiller49 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:52 AM

    Niners all day!

  8. pantherlouie says: Dec 5, 2013 9:19 AM

    What pieces did the Saints add since last year? The Panthers will do what they did last year and beat them in their dome. The Saints don’t respond well to a physical defense. The Panthers will win Sunday night.

  9. indywilson40 says: Dec 5, 2013 9:48 AM

    Colts will not lose to Cincy because Trent Richardson is a beast.

  10. jaxbill says: Dec 5, 2013 9:52 AM

    Florio can’t even pick the Jags without recycling a lame and inaccurate insult.

  11. shatho1 says: Dec 5, 2013 9:56 AM

    Cowboys 31 Bears 24

  12. steelersaresatansteam says: Dec 5, 2013 10:06 AM

    Mike Tomlin was voted special teams player of the week last week.

  13. 49erfan44 says: Dec 5, 2013 10:52 AM

    No Staley, No Iupati, gonna be tough for S.F. Go Niners.

  14. richardmswartz says: Dec 5, 2013 12:43 PM

    The Eagles and Cowboys will both go to 8-5 this week, proving that while maybe below average, the NFC East is definitely not the worst division in the NFL.

  15. steelcurtainn says: Dec 5, 2013 12:53 PM

    Steelers 23 Dolphins 13

  16. AngryHumanoid says: Dec 5, 2013 12:56 PM

    I hate it when they pick the Patriots in an easy win. What the Patriots seem to do best is lose or barely win “easy” games….

  17. eaglesnd18 says: Dec 5, 2013 1:05 PM

    They are talking about how the Lions can’t stop the Eagle’s passing game, which I think is true, but they never said anything about how the Eagle’s passing defense will stop Calvin Johnson which I’m scarred out of pants for! Hopefully the Eagles can pull this out!

  18. tone360 says: Dec 5, 2013 1:06 PM

    Bears 34 DAL 27

  19. tictoccpthook says: Dec 5, 2013 1:26 PM

    My head says Florios right in picking the Dolphins over the Steelers. Our offensive line has too many injuries. But, Go Steelers, find a way to win (roethlisberger can pass it, don’t even try to run it).

  20. jax9113 says: Dec 5, 2013 1:29 PM

    Another week, another Florio prediction that the Jets will score 20 or more. The only way they achieve that is by several chance special teams plays, because the offense sure can’t.

  21. ncarolinarn7 says: Dec 5, 2013 1:45 PM

    Oh P.S. Panthers will be playing smash mouth football win or lose. Sean Peyton is very good coach but won’t be hitting anyone or catching any balls. Carolina will be serving an open can of whup ashe smash mouth I believe. Florio will serve banter and pontificate in a studio offering his misguided opinion.

  22. obsessedvikingfan says: Dec 5, 2013 1:55 PM

    Packer fans don’t understand anything let alone football.

  23. ringheadcrusher says: Dec 5, 2013 2:02 PM

    pantherlouie says:
    What pieces did the Saints add since last year?
    ______________

    Answer: Sean Payton.

    Apparently that’s enough.

  24. pnwl4a says: Dec 5, 2013 2:10 PM

    49ers all day?

    Ask Brees about that one… shoot hes probably still dizzy from all the hits he took.

    Good advise is to take Kap out and put McCoy in because the Hawks are gonna roll that O-line.

  25. mf1849 says: Dec 5, 2013 2:23 PM

    Looking forward to watching my Hawks at SanFran. Praying for Seattle to blow ‘em out, but expecting the game to be decided on the final drive of the 4th quarter (maybe even OT.) This one will be fun. Go HAWKS!

  26. usdcoyotesfan says: Dec 5, 2013 2:23 PM

    Packers 350 Falcons 0

  27. thetruthcampaign says: Dec 5, 2013 2:42 PM

    The Bears just lost to the Vikings, and now they’re going to beat Dallas? Doubt it.

  28. flexx91 says: Dec 5, 2013 6:13 PM

    weekendatberniemadoffs says: Dec 5, 2013 7:59 AM

    The Panthers could lose Sunday night. But the Saints aren’t unbeatable at home. Or maybe they are and I dreamed that Carolina swept them last year
    __________________________________

    And the Saints swept them the year before so your point is???

  29. flexx91 says: Dec 5, 2013 6:16 PM

    pantherlouie says: Dec 5, 2013 9:19 AM

    What pieces did the Saints add since last year? The Panthers will do what they did last year and beat them in their dome. The Saints don’t respond well to a physical defense. The Panthers will win Sunday night
    __________________________________

    Not with only one real receiver (Steve Smith) and a garbage secondary.

  30. thundastormz says: Dec 6, 2013 12:50 AM

    Panthers win…Brees’s tippy toes aren’t long enough for this game.

  31. ninersareyesterdaysnews says: Dec 6, 2013 8:49 AM

    Seahawks win a close defensive game.

    13-6

  32. kimbo71006 says: Dec 6, 2013 2:14 PM

    What pieces did the Saints add since last year? The Panthers will do what they did last year and beat them in their dome. The Saints don’t respond well to a physical defense. The Panthers will win Sunday night.

    ____________________________

    Love the optimism of the Panthers fans…you’re going to need it Sunday night.

    Let’s see, no HC last year and a defense that ranked #32 (last) in the league.

    This year – Payton’s back, new DC took defense to #5 in the league, now #8–still Top 10. Team set another NFL record, and JG is in league tie for most touchdowns (will break that on SNF and BE the leader).

    Saints are undefeated in the Dome this season and undefeated on SNF period.

    Think before you write and then your post might actually hold up.

    GEAUX SAINTS!!

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