In Week 13, the Carolina Panthers narrowly continued their undefeated run and sealed the divisional championship, they look unstoppable but do you think they can go the season undefeated? As always the teams picked to come out of week 14 victorious are in bold. Please comment with your own predictions at the bottom.
Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals
Vastly different weeks for both these teams last time out, the Vikings were all at sea in week 13 suffering a crushing and surprising defeat at home to the Seahawks. They failed on all fronts whether it be the passing or rushing game on offense or the lack of coverage on defense they just couldn't get it going. Whilst the Vikings struggled in their game the Cardinals showed discipline, creativity and resilience to defeat the Rams in St. Louis.
It has been a bad few weeks for the Vikings and it isn't going to get better against this Cardinals side that could wrap up a playoff position this week. With the fantastic array of offensive options, the Cardinals have this will be a case of how many they can score not if they can score especially against a Vikings defense low on confidence that is allowing at least 10 points to be scored against them per game.
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Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles
This is a tough one to call. The Eagles will now be full of confidence after their sensational victory over the Patriots last week, but their form up until this win has been indifferent as has the Bills, neither team has really shown what they have to offer on a consistent basis. With this in mind, the Eagles will most likely have back to back wins, they have the better team on paper and home field advantage after a fantastic win away will give them the edge.
Detroit Lions @ St. Louis Rams
I thought long and hard about this one with both teams being so evenly matched on the offense and both team struggling defensively this year it's been hard to pick a winner. The Rams started well but have tailed off as the season has worn on whilst the Lions have started to find some form after some shocking performances in the early weeks of the season, usually in a game like this I would go for the home team but I think the Lions passing game could make the Rams pay.
Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets
The Titans win at the weekend was nothing more than a small victory in a season full of disappointments for the Titans fans who began the season full of hope. Sadly for their fans, they been outplayed and out-muscled in almost every game this season with very little signs of improvement, they need to use the off-season to rethink their strategy and rebuild their team.
The Jets are looking good, they are right in the mix for a play-off place thanks to the outstanding work-rate from their QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has carried this Jets team all season long no matter what has been needed he has been there to give it his best shot, keeping him fit will be key for the Jets playoff run in.
Seattle Seahawks @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have struggled all season long failing to put any kind of run together which has put pay to any playoff hopes they had at the start of the season, they will now need to regroup and play their best to finish the season strong.
Whilst the Ravens have fallen by the wayside the Seahawks bounced back from their loss to the Cardinals in Week 10 by winning three games on the bounce which has propelled them into playoff contention, they were untouchable against the Vikings who they out-thought and outfought on every single play. If they play with the same desire and application this week they will blow the Ravens away.
San Francisco 49ers @ Cleveland Browns
The Browns have nothing left to play for this season and if you had watched them from the start you could argue they played that way all the way through so far, with the off-field issues their QB Johnny Manziel has been causing it no wonder the team looks disjointed and unhappy.
They need to work extremely hard through the off-season as a whole, but most of all Manziel needs to get his attitude in check so he can lead this side. The 49ers still have an outside shot at the playoffs and a win here would go a long way, they may need to show that never give up attitude a bit more after their late rally saw them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against the Bears.
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags should have won at the weekend but a lack of concentration cost them against the Titans, I don't expect a repeat of that this weekend in front of their home crowd. Since returning from their trip to Wembley, the Jags have looked like a much side in all areas of the field if their offense plays to their best this weekend they will have enough to beat the Colts who aren't great on the road. For the Colts to get the win they need bring home defensive record on the road with them so they can shut down the Jags passing game.
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
When the Chiefs visited the Chargers a few weeks ago the Chargers were made to look naive, they failed to force the Chiefs offense back beyond field goal range consistently. When playing against Cairo Santos all teams in the NFL know that to win the game they need to limit him to as few field goal opportunities as possible which are difficult when he can score from almost anywhere but it can do.
Since then the Chiefs have improved in my opinion offensively so that they don't rely on Santos kicking quite as much which in turn poses its own problem for the Chargers who would have been expecting a lot of field goal attempts.
Washington Redskins @ Chicago Bears
Very very tough game to call, the Bears have the better side on paper but the Redskins are the form team. Usually, I would go with the Bears at home in a game like this but the togetherness and team spirit I see in the Redskins team coupled with their recent form had me doubting myself.
I have decided to stick with my gut and Pick the bears because they need to find some consistency somewhere to get a playoff shot and being in front of their home crowd against a team that struggles on the road should give them the upper-hand and keep the division honest if results elsewhere go their way.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Steelers may have got back to winning ways at the weekend but to stand any chance against the Bengals they will need to be flawless in every position.
The Bengals have not conceded many points this season so if the Steelers are going to win they will need to be impenetrable themselves which is not something that usually comes to mind when you think of the Steelers who usually follow-up one good defensive performance with a shocker in the following game. This is the Bengals to lose but as long as they play the way they have been this should be a stroll for them.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
Where to start with Carolina, for the first quarter on Sunday they looked average at best but from the second quarter on Cam Newton lead the Panthers up the field one play at a time eventually earning themselves the win and a 12-0 start.
This performance from the Panthers showed their maturity, discipline and desire despite knowing they were already league champions they went out there and showed why. I really can't see the Falcons causing the Panthers to many troubles here but if they can get a good mix between pass and rush offense, they may cause the Panthers defense to question their own positions each play.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints were nothing more than unfortunate that they came up against Cam Newton and his Panthers on Sunday as a performance like they produced in the first quarter against almost any other NFL side would have yielded far more points and they could have left with a win, instead, they suffered another defeat which almost ends their playoff hopes.
The Buccaneers have a great side but for some reason they don't seem to show up to the games they should be winning, this has left them 6-6 for the season which is not where I expected them to be. If they fulfill their potential between now and the end of the regular season they should find themselves in the playoff's, a good win here will certainly help their cause.
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos
Since secondary QB Brock Osweiler has been in to replace the injured Peyton Manning the Broncos look like a playoff team, they have been playing fast, concise and penetrative offensive plays to dismantle any defense they have come up against.
They just need to repeat their defensive performance from last week for the rest of the season and they will be a tough side to face in the playoffs. On the flip side of this, you have the Raiders who seem to be falling further and further away from a playoff shot as the season goes on, they need to stop the rot this weekend against the Broncos to still have a realistic shot at this.
Unfortunately, for them their defense has been their biggest downfall this season so going up against one of the best defense's in the league is not their ideal scenario.
Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers
The Cowboys have a solid defense so Rodgers will need to be in-tune with his receivers to get some good scoring opportunities here but With Romo out any hopes the Cowboys had of making the playoffs are surely over and I expect them to suffer yet another loss this week when they visit Lambeau field.
Whilst the Cowboys continue to struggle the Packers got back to winning ways thanks to a fantastic Hail Mary pass from Aaron Rodgers to give the Packers a walk-off win. This victory should have really galvanized the team in preparation for this game in front of their own fans which won't be easy.
New England Patriots @ Houston Texans
Tom Brady and the Patriots are at risk of losing their first round playoff bye after they suffered a surprise defeat to the Eagles, but their problems don't stop there. Without receivers Edelman and Gronkowski the Patriots offense looked disjointed and out of ideas which resulted in Brady throwing two interceptions and lead to him taking a catch himself for only the second time is his professional career.
The result of this game will hinge on whether Edelman and Gronkowski are fit, they are the Patriots should get a comfortable win but if not the Texans will have enough. The Texans have been somewhat of a surprise package this season after they started off slow they have made a late push for the playoffs and they are playing some superb football, they do not give any clues away to the opposition defense as to what the play will be which has propelled them up the league.
New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins
This one could go either way quite easily, the Giants are the match better side on paper, but they continue to throw away good leads week after week despite the experience and talent throughout their side they consistently make the wrong calls. If the Giants are even slightly off their game this week they will be punished by this Dolphins team, the Dolphins have shown great resilience so far this season if they can bring that into this game Manning and the Giants will struggle to make any headway.
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