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NFL Picks Week 14: Panthers win again, Packers lead NFC North

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Week 13 is in the books with some shocks and damn right disgraceful performances (I'm a Giants fan so you can understand my frustration). Week 14 is here with some big match-ups as the playoff picture becomes clearer...except in one division, of course.

So let's get to it:

Big Games

Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals (TNF)

The Vikings had their running game shut down by the Seahawks last week, which made Teddy Bridgewater a sitting duck as his O-Line crumbled and gave AP a hissy fit.


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They are now joint-top of the NFC North with Green Bay but face a huge test in the Cardinals who are coming into form for the final quarter of the season. Minnesota has dropped two of their last three games and has suffered injuries to Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith, and at one point last week were in danger of having no safeties to field.

Arizona on the other hand, are looking formidable as they hammered the Rams and looked good in all phases of the game on offence, defence and particularly on special teams. I still believe this team would beat the Panthers. A good game to start Week 14.

Winner: Cardinals

Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles

Last week's win over the Pats is a one-off for the Eagles as they performed better without Sanchez at QB, surprise, surprise. Philly is now 5-7, tied with the Giants and Washington in the NFC East but the Bills are a different animal who are also chasing a playoff spot.

Kelly's Zeros had to produce a passing masterclass to beat the Pats and it's unlikely that they'll replicate it this week against Buffalo's defence. The Bills looked good against a rejuvenated Texans with big plays by Sammy Watkins.

This will be a close one, but can Philly put on another show? I doubt it - they'll be back to their terrible, Jekyll & Hyde 2015 selves.

Winner: Bills - but not by much 

New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins (MNF)

Well, the Giants did again - they blew a fourth quarter lead and now have another unwanted NFL record with the most games leading at the two-minute warning resulting in a loss. This team is so up and down, I am struggling to force myself into a pick.

OBJ made another one-handed catch, scored another TD and was again the only bright spark for Big Blue along with special teams (Nice tribute by OBJ to his mum with the hurdles celebration). The aggressive play wasn't needed; yes, I understand why Tom Coughlin went for it, but take the field goal and then get the ball back...but no.

A pick in the end zone further showcases the G-Men's frankly appalling ratio of visits to the end zone resulting in a touchdown. (And Reuben Randle isn't helping himself in a contract year either).

The threat to the Giants this year was 'win or else' by Steve Tisch, and he could make true on his word, and move on from Coughlin, despite reports of uncertainty about doing so. The Dolphins? Another hit and miss team who only just squeezed by the Ravens.

Winner: Giants - just, but don't be surprised if they put up a big score - as is the nature of this team

New Orleans Saint @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

The Saints put up 38 points against the Panthers as they lost last week, even taking a 14-0 lead.

A reason for this? The Saints were at home - giving them a boost in this shootout (see Giants game earlier in the season as evidence) even though they showed a marked improvement all over the field.

This week, they're on the road at the Bucs who are looking at a Wildcard position and won the previous match-up. Against the Falcons, Jameis Winston had one passing and one rushing touchdown which will cause problems for the Saints to contain both his mobility and explosive passing ability. The drive for the playoffs and home field should get the Bucs by.

Winner: Bucs, but a close game

The Rest

Seattle Seahawks @ Baltimore Ravens

An easy one to pick here after the 'Hawks demolished Minnesota's defence last week and shut down AP's running game, allowing them to pick apart Teddy Bridgewater who barely got above 100 passing yards.

As everyone knows, the Ravens are all over the place and with Matt Schaub at QB, another pick-six is on the cards again.

Winner: Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers @ Cleveland Browns

It's his comeback following punishment for drinking and lying about, but I think Johnny Manziel and the Browns will take this one over the 49ers, despite their win in Chicago last week...seriously, who saw that coming. No one would have thought this two to three years ago.

Both teams suck so no one really cares - the Browns are a dumpster fire with another HC, GM and QB arriving next year - probably, likely, definitely...again.

Winner: Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals

The Steelers are on a role, and this will be a close game between the division rivals as the Pittsburgh-based franchise looks to cement a play-off spot.

This will be a shootout by the QBs, but it will come down to the defences covering AJ Green and Antonio Brown. Enjoy!

Winner: A coin toss is needed for this tight game, but I reckon the Steelers take it

Detroit Lions @ St Louis Rams

The Rams are flat-out ugly, at home or on the road and the Lions will want the win after their agonising loss at home to Green Bay to break their three-game winning streak.

The tactic for Detroit's defence is pretty simple, cover Tavon Austin and the Rams have no passing attack at all and the run cannot carry St Louis - hence why they've fired their OC. Megatron should put up some numbers in this one.

Winner: Lions

Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets

The Jets won the battle of New York last week (damn it!) as their city rivals blew yet another lead.

Brandon Marshall is having yet another great season, and will be licking his lips this week against the Titans who should struggle on offence vs the Jets' D.

Winner: Jets

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags lost last week to the Titans as they search for a wildcard spot, but face a tough opponent in the Colts.

Hasselbeck lost his unbeaten record with Indy against the Steelers last week, but face an - let's be honest - easier opponent this week.

With the Texans facing the Pats this week, the Colts have the chance to take the lead in the AFC South.

Winner: Colts

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs won their last match-up when they were on the road. First, the Chiefs had five-game losing streak and are now on a six-game winning streak...long live the streak!

Kansas' defence is playing great football and should close-out Phil Rivers and the Chargers again.

Winner: Chiefs

Washington @ Chicago Bears

D.C. blew their chance to take the lead in the NFC East which is now the worst division in the NFL and could well produce a playoff team with a losing record.

Washington has to win now that they're in a three-way tie for the division but they're crap on the road and the Bears are a good team who have a win coming despite losing to the 49ers.

Winner: Bears

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers

Easy; Falcons suck and are on the slide and Panthers look unstoppable at the moment.

Just give Cam the MVP award, please.

Winner: Panthers

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos

The Broncos (or Brockos if you like) will win again with Osweiler who is ready-made for this offence.

He has forced Elway into an unwinnable situation when Manning is healthy; if he picks Peyton and they lose - Elway looks bad; keeps Osweiler and they start to lose/lose in the playoffs - he has an all-time benched. Plus Osweiler will become a free-agent next year.

Winner: Broncos (Brockos)

Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers

Dallas got the win at Washington last week and somehow have a hope of winning the division.

But those hopes will take a hit here.

Packers won an unbelievable game last week with their walk-off touchdown win in Detroit and have the chase to retake the lead in the NFC North.

Winner: Packers

New England Patriots @ Houston Texans

A shock loss to Chip Kelly and his Eagles, the Pats will be even more pissed now that they have a two-game losing streak.

Houston on the road could be a tough one for Tom and Bill but they should get by, barring any more injuries, with a high playoff seeding secured.

Winner: Patriots

Cleveland Browns
Los Angeles Rams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Indianapolis Colts
Kansas City Chiefs
New York Jets
Chicago Bears
Cincinnati Bengals
San Francisco 49ers
Washington Redskins
Miami Dolphins
Carolina Panthers
San Diego Chargers
New York Giants
Denver Broncos
Jacksonville Jaguars
Minnesota Vikings
Oakland Raiders
Green Bay Packers
Buffalo Bills
New Orleans Saints
Detroit Lions
Baltimore Ravens
Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans
Dallas Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons
Arizona Cardinals
Pittsburgh Steelers
Seattle Seahawks
Philadelphia Eagles
New England Patriots

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