PFT’s Week 14 picks

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The 10-game gap has been cut to seven, thanks to a 15-1 performance last week from yours truly, which included a 4-1 record in games on which MDS and I disagreed.

This week, I’m going all in. We disagree on eight games. Which means that a clean sweep would give me the lead with three weeks left.

So let’s go Falcons, Bucs, Browns, Broncos, Eagles, Seahawks, Ravens, and Dolphins.

Now, let’s go scrolling to see all of the picks.

Saints at Falcons

MDS’s take: This game is so good, it’s surprising it’s on Thursday night. (Order will be restored next week when the Thursday night game is Broncos-Colts.) I think the Falcons’ defense will have a tough time containing the 1-2 punch of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Falcons 28.

Florio’s take: The Falcons know they can’t afford to lose many more games if they hope to get back to the playoffs, and they should be able on a short week to show up against a rival they’ll be playing again in little more than two weeks.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Saints 23.


Colts at Bills

MDS’s take: It hasn’t exactly been a successful season in Buffalo, and yet here they are likely to win this week, improve to 7-6 and find themselves right in the thick of the wild card race down the stretch. The Bills are still playoff contenders and have a good chance of finishing 9-7.

MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Colts 20.

Florio’s take: The playoffs remain elusive, but the Bills are good enough to beat a team that has been in a full-season free fall.

Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Colts 14.


Cowboys at Giants

MDS’s take: Eli Manning is back at quarterback, which probably gives the Giants a better chance to win but doesn’t allow them to evaluate rookie Davis Webb, which is something they probably ought to do before the season is over. I’m tempted to pick the Giants to rally after the firing of Ben McAdoo, but the Cowboys are fighting for a wild card berth and so I see them putting together a strong game.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 23, Giants 20.

Florio’s take: The end of the Eli Manning era has ended. It won’t be enough to overcome two weeks of dysfunction against a Dallas team that remains alive for a playoff berth.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 17.


Lions at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: Two of this season’s more disappointing teams will battle in Tampa, and I like the Lions, who still have slim playoff hopes, to beat the Buccaneers, who have no playoff hopes.

MDS’s pick: Lions 20, Buccaneers 17.

Florio’s take: The Lions are falling apart, and Jim Caldwell could end up facing the same fate as Dirk Koetter. The good news is that Jameis finally gets to eat a long-awaited W.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 23, Lions 17.


Raiders at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The AFC West has suddenly become the league’s most interesting division. The Chiefs are imploding, but I think they’ll bounce back with a good offensive performance against a bad Raiders pass defense.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Raiders 24.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs are in full-blown desperation mode. Fortunately for them, the Raiders aren’t nearly as good as they were expected to be.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Raiders 20.


49ers at Texans

MDS’s take: Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback makes the 49ers a better team, but he can’t do anything about their lousy defense. DeAndre Hopkins should have a big game.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, 49ers 20.

Florio’s take: This could be a preview of Super Bowl LV. For now, it’s a game that only family members and friends would want to witness.

Florio’s pick: Texans 20, 49ers 13.


Packers at Browns

MDS’s take: This is actually a winnable game for the Browns, which we don’t say very often, because Brett Hundley is playing so poorly. And yet . . . they’re the Browns. I can’t pick them to win.

MDS’s pick: Packers 14, Browns 13.

Florio’s take: It’s time, Cleveland. It has to be.

Florio’s pick: Browns 18, Packers 12.


Bears at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Bengals’ playoff hopes came to an end with Monday night’s meltdown. Now they’re just playing out the string — but they should still beat a lousy Bears team at home.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 17, Bears 10.

Florio’s take: Another game involving a pair of potential short-time head coaches. Marvin Lewis has the better chance to save himself.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 27, Bears 13.


Vikings at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Vikings are fighting for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, while the Panthers are fighting for a playoff berth. Case Keenum will have a big game and strengthen his MVP candidacy.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Panthers 21.

Florio’s take: Mike Zimmer has handled Cam Newton with a lesser defense than the one Zimmer currently has.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Panthers 24.


Washington at Chargers

MDS’s take: Los Angeles has found itself surprisingly back in the AFC West race, while Washington has found itself surprisingly out of the NFC East race. The Chargers will take another step toward the playoffs on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 28, Washington 23.

Florio’s take: From 0-4 to AFC West title to a real chance to disrupt a Steelers-Patriots AFC title game.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 31, Washington 20.


Jets at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Jets are still playing hard late in a season that many thought they were tanking. The Broncos are terrible late in a season that many thought would see them in the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Jets 30, Broncos 20.

Florio’s take: The Jets are the better team, but if the Broncos are going to win another game this year, this is the one to win.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 20, Jets 17.


Titans at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Marcus Mariota is not playing well, but the Titans are finding ways to win. They should do so again in Arizona.

MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Cardinals 17.

Florio’s take: The Titans win the games they’re supposed to win. They’re supposed to win this one. It’s that simple.

Florio’s pick: Titans 24, Cardinals 20.


Eagles at Rams

MDS’s take: This is a great game in the NFC playoff race, and I see it as the second consecutive West Coast loss for an Eagles team that previously looked like it was ready to run away with home-field advantage.

MDS’s pick: Rams 21, Eagles 20.

Florio’s take: One is an accident, twice is a trend. Or something. Either way, the Eagles won’t be letting their losing streak run to two.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Rams 21.


Seahawks at Jaguars

MDS’s take: It sounds odd to say a December game in Jacksonville is a big one, and even odder to say the Jaguars are going to win. But they will, thanks to their first-rate pass defense holding MVP candidate Russell Wilson in check.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 17, Seahawks 13.

Florio’s take: It’s potentially a sneaky great game, but December is a bad month to see the Seahawks on the schedule.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, Jaguars 17.


Ravens at Steelers

MDS’s take: I have a feeling this is going to be a matchup we see three times this year, with the wild card Ravens also visiting Pittsburgh in the playoffs. And I have a feeling the Steelers are going to go 3-0 against the Ravens.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take: The Steelers have been living too close to the edge in recent weeks. The Ravens knock them off the cliff, with possibly the first of two straight home losses.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 19, Steelers 16.


Patriots at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The absence of Rob Gronkowski might be enough to make the difference if it were coming against the Steelers next week, but against the Dolphins this week, the Patriots should win anyway.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 21.

Florio’s take: For the Dolphins, this is the closest thing to a Super Bowl. For the Patriots, it’s a prime opportunity to be caught napping — as they sometimes are in late-season divisional games.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Patriots 23.

59 responses to “PFT’s Week 14 picks

  1. Patriots 31 Dolphins 20 run game and Jay Cutler turnovers push the Pats to another win. Lock of the week 24 to 3 Bills over Colts since the Colts have no offensive line to speak of. Upset of the week has to be Browns over Packers 17 to 10 because why not have a miracle?

  2. I can see it going Florio’s way with the Pats/Phins game.

    It seems they always play the Pats really hard late in the season in their own stadium. Whether it’s actually true or just memory bias of some kind, I feel the Pats lose with surprising regularity down in Miami if it’s near the end of the season.

    I still think the Pats win, but I definitely don’t see it being an easy one. Nor would I be overly surprised if the Dolphins manage to snag the win.

  3. The Ravens essentially haven’t had Jeremy Maclin all year. They just lost Jimmy Smith. The Steelers won’t have JuJu Smith-Schuster or Ryan Shazier.

    My head says Steelers. My heart says Ravens.

    *tosses coun in the air*

    Ravens 19
    Steelers 17

  4. It’s a sad day when you’re not super excited about NFL football, but my Lions have all but gutted me this year. There’s not much left to give them.

  5. .
    In order to like the Dolphins over the Patriots, you have to like Cutler over Brady. I can’t go there.
    .

  6. MDS’s take: The AFC West has suddenly become the league’s most interesting division. The Chiefs are imploding, but I think they’ll bounce back with a good offensive performance against a bad Raiders pass defense.

    MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Raiders 24.

    Florio’s take: The Chiefs are in full-blown desperation mode. Fortunately for them, the Raiders aren’t nearly as good as they were expected to be.

    Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Raiders 20.

    Isn’t this the same thing you two said, the last time they played?

  7. I would usually agree on the Patriots getting caught napping in a late season game in Miami. However, not this time. The way they played offensively against Buffalo has left them hungry, the media and NFL team response to the Gronk hit and to Brady’s outburst on the sideline has left them angry, and it’s a hat and t-shirt game where they can seal the division.

    To me this will be a statement game.

  8. Really doesn’t matter if either the Steelers or Pats lose this week, although the Steelers look like they’re begging to be beat. The #1 seed is all about next week.

  9. Florio’s take: The Jets are the better team, but if the Broncos are going to win another game this year, this is the one to win

    ——————————————

    Who even thinks we are trying to win a game at this point? Go Jets!

  10. The next time the Patriots will be “caught napping” when they can work towards claiming home field advantage in the playoffs will be the first time it’s ever happened.

  11. The Saints have proven they have found a formula for winning…. The Falcons are still working on their own… rival games are hard to predict… The Saints rely on the run and the Falcons have a strong front line… Falcons win

    Lions started out strong but have fizzled out as the season went… The Bucs are already in off-season mode… Lions win

    Vikings are a good balanced team… The Panthers Have not really dominated anyone… Vikings win

  12. The only reason the Ravens have been on a winning streak is because they’ve played Detroit, Green Bay and Houston, all mediocre to awful teams. After Jimmy Smith went down last week, Stafford completed TWENTY straight passes. The Steelers have too many weapons.

    Steelers 27
    Ravens 20

  13. Florio – you are crazy mad with some of your picks! But I like them, and I can’t argue with a lot of the logic from both sides of the guess. Going backwards:

    1) I don’t think the Pats with their 25th ranked defense is as competitive against winning teams as the brain trust thinks. But the Dolphins aren’t winning teams. Still, the way Brady and Co melt down when they start getting hit and the calls don’t go their way could make this at least a competitive win. Still saying Pats over MIA.

    2) Steelers play to the competition. Concerned JuJu and Shazeer are out, but still think last week’s Ravens play was an aberration not a sign of things to come.

    3) Not sure the Titans are “supposed to win” against the Card. Cards play tough, even if they aren’t very good, but MDS has it right….Mariota is playing horrible.

    4) Broncos lose

    5) Nice pick on the Browns and I agree that could pull this one out because of Brett Hundley’s play. Plus with the firing of Sashi Brown today I think the football people are going to find some inspiration, including the players.

    6) Going with the Saints. Still believe the Falcons and Sarkisian are pretenders in 2017.

    Can’t wait to see how this plays out this week.

  14. I hope the Vikings can pull out another road win this week. This will be their 5th road game out of their last six games. That’s a tough stretch for any team.
    Keenum (making pocket change) is playing as good as any qb in the league.

  15. Did you say Case Keenum, and MVP in the same sentence? There goes what little credibility you once had.

  16. bostonsteve12 says:
    December 7, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Napping? When was the last time the Pats were napping in a December game that was meaningful?
    ====================================================================
    In 2015, when they lost to the Dolphins in the final game of the season, and lost home field advantage in the process. They ended up traveling to Denver for the AFC championship game, where they lost.

  17. At 6-6 not sure how you figure the Lions are one of this years most disappointing teams but whatever. It’s not as if expectations were super high and you picked them to go 11-5 at the beginning of the year. I’d say they’re just about where they were expected to be at this point

  18. The Pats Dolphins game will be just like last years game in Miami, a blow out. Bill had them practicing in the bubble with the heat cranked the past few days. They won’t be napping for this one. Anyone saying they will, is napping themselves.

  19. The Patriots will want to keep Cutler ON the field as long as possible to ensure an INT on every drive. Most of the INTs will be thrown after lobg drives in New England territory, leaving Brady with a long field and opportunities to kill clock.

    Patriots 24, Dolphins 10

    Keeping it a 2 score game should get close enough to make Landry feel better about his prediction.

  20. Steelers are due for a loss.
    But unfortunately, it wont be my Ravens that give it to them.
    Our offense is too one dimensional. We have no passing game. Shut down Wallace and we’re toast.
    And even though our secondary is better than last year (even with smith out), the Steelers rolled us with Leveon last time. We haven’t been able to stop the run all year.

  21. iamapatsfan says:
    December 7, 2017 at 10:39 am
    I can see it going Florio’s way with the Pats/Phins game.
    It seems they always play the Pats really hard late in the season in their own stadium. Whether it’s actually true or just memory bias of some kind, I feel the Pats lose with surprising regularity down in Miami if it’s near the end of the season.
    I still think the Pats win, but I definitely don’t see it being an easy one. Nor would I be overly surprised if the Dolphins manage to snag the win.

    —————

    You are right… Miami has 5 wins in the Brady era at home in Dec/Jan against the Patriots.

    One of them was pretty meaningless mind you.

    This time I think it will be different though based on the way the Patriots have played on the road, the way the offense played in the first half in Buffalo, the anger they probably have for the Gronk reaction and the Brady outburst reaction and the fact they have a chance to seal the division and be within a game of virtually sealing the first seed.

    Too much at stake this time, and I think the Patriots are in their best place in terms of feeling like it’s them against the world.

  22. bostonsteve12 says:
    December 7, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Napping? When was the last time the Pats were napping in a December game that was meaningful?
    ——————

    A couple of seasons ago.

  23. iamapatsfan says:
    December 7, 2017 at 10:39 am
    I can see it going Florio’s way with the Pats/Phins game.

    It seems they always play the Pats really hard late in the season in their own stadium. Whether it’s actually true or just memory bias of some kind, I feel the Pats lose with surprising regularity down in Miami if it’s near the end of the season.

    I still think the Pats win, but I definitely don’t see it being an easy one. Nor would I be overly surprised if the Dolphins manage to snag the win.

    15 9 Rate This

    ————–

    Wow.

    BB is going to have a lot of bulletin board material to work with this week, as the Pats hunker down for another efficient road win on their way to the postseason.

    If Hogan returns and they pick Cutler at least twice, they’ll win pretty easily.

  24. rexdarteskimospy says:
    December 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

    The next time the Patriots will be “caught napping” when they can work towards claiming home field advantage in the playoffs will be the first time it’s ever happened.
    —————–

    It happened 2 season ago when they had that strange game where they only threw the ball about 20 times. Denver claimed home field throughout.

  25. rexdarteskimospy says:
    December 7, 2017 at 11:23 am
    The next time the Patriots will be “caught napping” when they can work towards claiming home field advantage in the playoffs will be the first time it’s ever happened.

    10 4 Rate This

    ——————–

    Exactly. BB has been all over them this week, and they;ll use the Gronk suspension to their advantage.

    They know Bobby McCain got away with one his headshot on Amendola last week, so expect them to attack that little turd.

    Comical to me how much people don’t know.

    The other element to this is NE left a lot of points on the board in their 35-17 win, where Brady will be super hungry to get that taste out of his mouth. The last 2 weeks, actually.

    Lastly, BB likely held some stuff back in the first meeting, where it’s highly unlikely Gase is smart enough to do that.

    Expect brand new plays to be unveiled on Mon night, for this very reason.

  26. grogansheroes says:
    December 7, 2017 at 11:39 am
    Did you say Case Keenum, and MVP in the same sentence? There goes what little credibility you once had.
    __________

    You obviously are a troll or dont pay attention to football. If you look at the stats and if you actually watched the Vikings….Case has played really really well and has been in the top 5 QB Rating the last 5 weeks in the whole league..in the Atlanta game last week he did not throw a incompletion in the second half…will he win the MVP….probably not….but he at least deserves a seat at the table of the conversation.

  27. Browns will go 0-16 this season. They are horrible on offense. Their defense plays every week, but their defense can’t win games when the offense keeps them on the field.

  28. Since 2001, in December games the Patriots are 58-10. But yes, lets work under the assumption that the Patriots are sometimes caught napping. That makes a lot of sense.

  29. On paper, the Vikings should beat the Panthers, but I’ve heard a lot of former players talk about how hard it is to play three games in a row on the road. This is the third game so it might get a little tricky. Panthers are a bit more desperate, too. I’m still picking the Vikings because they just keep winning, but it will be closer than the last two times these teams played each other (Vikings dominated).

  30. hwentworth says:
    December 7, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Since 2001, in December games the Patriots are 58-10. But yes, lets work under the assumption that the Patriots are sometimes caught napping. That makes a lot of sense.
    ———————-

    10 games out of 68 seems like sometimes to me.

    Good grief, can’t you even allow those guys a bad game once in a while?

  31. The Eagles have played 3 teams with winning records. Their record is 1-2 against them. They will go to 1-3. Classic example of a team that blows away crappy teams and loses to good teams. They aren’t what you thought they were. Also looking forward to that 10-6 Browns victory.

  32. iamapatsfan says:
    December 7, 2017 at 10:39 am
    I can see it going Florio’s way with the Pats/Phins game.

    It seems they always play the Pats really hard late in the season in their own stadium. Whether it’s actually true or just memory bias of some kind, I feel the Pats lose with surprising regularity down in Miami if it’s near the end of the season.

    I still think the Pats win, but I definitely don’t see it being an easy one. Nor would I be overly surprised if the Dolphins manage to snag the win.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I feel the same way about the game. IF it were played at 1pm then I might actually believe the Dolphins could win. This is however a prime time game and Miami has embarrassed themselves in such games in recent memory. I don’t think BB will sleep on a division rival in a prime time game. IF the Dolphins manage to win it will be because they finally put together a complete game and execute TOGETHER. They have some talented players but they shoot themselves in the foot on both sides of the ball. They have a lot of penalties and mental mistakes but the way the stats are recorded are misleading. The stats show something like 10 penalties for 90 yards but the impact is bigger. When the Dolphins are penalized during a play (not pre-snap) it almost always results in a big play (long gain, converted 3rd down, TD) being called back. That 5 or 10 yard penalty actually has cost them 25 yards or more on several occasions. On defense it usually goes something like 3rd and 7…incomplete pass…flag…automatic first down. Those things happen more frequently against the Patriots than any other opponent. I’d be happy with a win but nothing has gone the Dolphins way this year. Hope it is a good game.

  33. shackdelrio
    Dec 7, 2017, 11:22 AM CST
    Ravens/Steelers, aka The Both Got Blowed Out by the Jaguars Bowl

    A win in the regular season means nothing. Last season in the regular season the Dolphins dominated the Steelers and no one gave the Steelers a chance in the wildcard game. If you don’t remember how that worked out for the Dolphins, here is your spoiler alert, the Steelers dominated them. I pegged the Steelers at 12-4 as soon as the schedule was released, looking at the remaining games that should be the worst case scenario. The Ravens are overachieving his season. The offense is dreadful. They haven’t beat any team of note and have been blown out by playoff teams. The defense is formidable but are once again racking up injuiries.

    Steelers should win but it won’t be a route like it was when the team was healthy.

  34. hwentworth says:
    December 7, 2017 at 12:25 pm
    Since 2001, in December games the Patriots are 58-10. But yes, lets work under the assumption that the Patriots are sometimes caught napping. That makes a lot of sense.

    10 4 Rate This

    ———————–

    Exactly. And, the only times in the divisions where they would even qualify as “caught napping”, if that is a very inaccurate description, was in 2006 in Miami when Miami “cheated” with authorization by Roger Goodell, where they bought CBS audio from a CBS employee, admitted to it, and had Brady’s audibles for an odd 21-0 shutout out of the woodwork.

    Or, in 2015 when they went down there and had to play their B Squad, because the injuries were so awful that year, BB was thinking it wouldn’t matter if they played the title game in Denver or Foxborough, he’d need as close to his A Squad as possible to pull it off, regardless.

    And, guess what, if Ghost hits the XP, who knows, maybe they win that game in OT in Denver?

    But, Florio has an educated premise here. No way they want a let down going into Pitt.

  35. What is with Marvin Lewis’ Grown-a$$-Man, multi Year experience as a HC, all-out PR smear campaign against John Ross? He’s young enough to be Lewis’s grandson and the entirety of his NFL “experience” could be fit into thimble….yet Lewis continues to bash him.

    Really Marvin? Did he do something to your Grand-daughter at the pool party you threw for the team over the summer or something?
    What a clown
    Lewis is emptying both holsters as he shoots his way out of town. Don’t let the door hit you in the rump on the way out

  36. If the Dolphins are smart…..hmmm…

    They’ll get the ball to Kenyan Drake in AS MANY WAYS AS POSSIBLE…

    I like Gase. The fact that he wouldn’t put up with an over-rated, run of the mill RB
    like Jay Ajayi and shipped him outta town shows he has some stones. Plus he’s not afraid to state that his team sucks.
    Maybe, just maybe, grown pro athletes will look in the mirror and see beyond their hurt wittle feelings, man-up and earn their pay. Lord knows they have incentive, as the beast from the North East is coming to their field, in prime-time on Monday nite.

    I expect all-out war with NE winning but not covering

  37. The next time the Patriots will be “caught napping” when they can work towards claiming home field advantage in the playoffs will be the first time it’s ever happened.
    ———————————–
    Except for a couple years ago when they got a little too cute against Philly & Miami & lost home field advantage & lost in Denver in the AFC Championship.

  38. bostonsteve12 says:
    December 7, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Napping? When was the last time the Pats were napping in a December game that was meaningful?

    ====================================

    Year before last, when they lost to the Dan Campbell coached Dolphins. Anymore questions?

  39. Some of Florio’s picks seem desperate. I understand he is 7 games back and he needs to disagree. But he arguably could have picked better games.
    For example:
    1. Colts over Bills instead of Browns over Packers
    Neither team has been particular good as of late. But the Colts are definitely better than the Browns. IMO Florio should have picked the Colts instead of the Browns.

  40. Flacco is getting healthy.

    He is not Elite, but he does have a knack for beating elite QB’s in big games.

    Game could go either way of course

    Interesting forgotten fact…… Brandon Williams didn’t play that last game.

  41. rexdarteskimospy says:
    December 7, 2017 at 11:23 am
    The next time the Patriots will be “caught napping” when they can work towards claiming home field advantage in the playoffs will be the first time it’s ever happened.

    34 22 Rate This
    ——————–

    The pats have lost 3 of the last 4 @ Miami.

    in 2013, the Patriots lost to the Fins their 3rd to last game losing Home field advantage to the Bronco, who beat them in Denver for the Conference Championship.

    In 2015, They lost to the Fins the last game of the season losing home field advantage(They both finished 12-4 but Denver won via tie break) And yes, they also lost to Denver in the Conference Championship game.

    Do some research before you post something idiotic like that.

    I understand the Fins haven’t been great, but they still play the Pats tough in Miami at the end of the season. Overlooking them would be a big mistake and Bill is too good of a coach to allow that, However I can see a possible upset if the same team that played the Broncos shows up this Monday.

  42. LOL @ Browns beating Packers. The Packers have played well the last couple of weeks and they’re getting hot. Packers 21 Browns 7

  43. Chiefs have lost 6 of the last 7. Not sure what you see in them at this point to make you think they will turn it around. You both pick them to win which is the kiss of death.
    Raiders win by 10.

  44. I don’t think Browns beat Packers because they’re not good enough to go 2-14, since they will beat Bears in 2 weeks. No way Dolphins upset Patriots. Cutlers record vs. New England is blowout loss every time. Look it up, with Denver twice with Bears.

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