Welcome back to the only NFL picks on Associated Content that have returned from Thanksgiving vacation with three things: A St. Nicholas Day present, 2.5 extra pounds and a terrible head cold. This is the week 14 edition of Zac’s Backs.
Here’s what you may have missed while having a turkey sandwich for the third consecutive day.
Plaxico Burress shot himself. In the leg. Accidentally. I actually received a few comments from readers over the weekend asking for my commentary on this subject. The fact that I really can’t come up with anything says less about my lack of writing skill and more about the stupidity of one Harris Smith (look it up if you don’t get the joke). I first heard about this via text message while Christmas shopping. My reaction?
“That sounds about right.” In fact, that right there is my comment on Burress.
The Giants are still awesome even without Wyatt Earp dodging footballs over the middle.
The Browns are still a joke.
I’ll never go 14-2 in NFL picks again. Ever. With that said, here are my picks for week 14 of the NFL season.
Oakland at San Diego
The Raiders really disappointed me by not beating the lowly Chiefs in week 13. My hope was that both the Chargers and Raiders would be 4-8 heading into this game but it was just not meant to be. Even still, both teams are mathematically in the division race thanks to playing in the AFC West. The Chargers should take this game at home but it really doesn’t matter. Even the Broncos can’t blow this lead.
Winner: San Diego
Jacksonville at Chicago
Talk about disappointments. I expected far more from the Bears than that 20 point loss on Sunday night against the Vikes. Kyle Orton was far beyond terrible and Chicago simply gave up after not scoring on the fourth and goal opportunity. Luckily, they get to rebound against a Jags team that is obviously phoning it in for the rest of 2008. I actually almost fell asleep watching the Monday night game. It had nothing to do with the seven hour drive home.
Minnesota at Detroit
Go ahead. Pick the Lions. Actually, if you are truly picking the Lions, let me know via message at the bottom of this piece or through a direct message to my AC profile. I want to see if anybody out there believes that the Lions are going to win a game this season.
Houston at Green Bay
Thank you, Steve Slaton, for carrying one of my fantasy football teams to victory each week. Don’t be too impressed by Houston’s victory over Jacksonville on Monday night, though. The Texans still may finish the season with only one more win as they still have to face the Packers, Titans and Bears. Green Bay seems to have the ability to save their season at the last possible moment and this is that moment. They’re playing at home, they have to win in order to keep pace with the Vikes/Bears and they’re facing Houston in Green Bay in December. Pack by ten.
Winner: Green Bay
Cleveland at Tennessee
Ken Dorsey is starting for the Browns this week…and Browns fans are cheering this fact. I’m way too under the weather to write about the Cleveland Browns right now. They’re terrible. What else do you need to know?
Cincinnati at Indianapolis
Another easy one. I’ve been praising the Colts the past month and they rewarded me by giving the game to Cleveland in week 13. Fortunately for Indy, the Browns refused to take the gift and the Colts are now 8-4. Barring any serious injuries, the Colts are finishing this season with (at least) 11 wins.
Atlanta at New Orleans
I’ll admit it. I love the Falcons. They’re just fun to watch right now. Michael Vick isn’t even a thought at this point as Matt Ryan is more than the real deal.
And they’re going to lose this week.
The Saints are 5-1 at home and absolutely must win this game after blowing a great chance at Tampa Bay last week. I don’t think the Falcons can hold New Orleans to just 20 points for the second time this season but I do expect this game to be close. Remember that the bipolar Saints lost last week, which of course means that they should get the “W” in week 14.
Winner: New Orleans
Philadelphia at New York Giants
The Giants are great. I can’t honestly remember a time when I was nervous watching the football Giants. Can you believe that Big Blue is 6-0 at home this year? That’s how good this team is, folks.
Most people I’ve talked to don’t agree that a Philly-New York game can be a “trap.” How wrong they are. Most experts and fans believe that the Eagles are completely out of the playoff picture. The Giants have already beaten the Eagles once this season and they did so in Philadelphia.
Donovan McNabb is good once a month and the Eagles scored 48 points against the Cards last week. In theory, the Giants could clinch the NFC East this week. Meanwhile, the media is giving more attention to Plaxico’s inability to use a gun safety than the 11-1 record of the Giants.
With all of that said, there’s no way that I can pick the Eagles over the Giants. Brandon Jacobs seems to be fine and we can officially proclaim that Eli Manning is a much better quarterback without Jeremy Shockey and Plaxico Burress. This will be one more step towards an Eagles team without Andy Reid and McNabb.
Winner: New York Giants
Kansas City at Denver
Congrats to the Chiefs for eliminating any chance of receiving the number one pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Kansas City won’t beat Oakland and Denver back to back and they especially won’t defeat the Broncos in Denver.
Miami at Buffalo
My apologies to all of the Bills fans out there as there is no question that I completely jinxed your team. Buffalo’s season came to an end last week after losing 10-3 at home to the 49ers. I actually had that game on local TV back home so I got to watch the Bills self-destruct. Yuck.
Don’t look now but the Dolphins are only one game back in the AFC East. They end the season at the Meadowlands against the J-E-T-S. Dun dun dun.
New York J-E-T-S at San Francisco
It took less than three hours on Sunday for everybody to stop talking about a New York-New York Super Bowl. The Jets were both overconfident and completely unprepared for the Broncos in week 13 and they deserved the butt-whooping they took. My opinion about the Jets being nothing more than the product of a weak schedule looks a whole lot better now, doesn’t it?
Beating the Bills doesn’t mean what it did six weeks ago so don’t begin believing that the 49ers are anything special. The Jets will take care of business and stay ahead of those feisty Dolphins in the AFC East.
Winner: New York Jets
New England at Seattle
The Pats were dominated by the Steelers in New England in week 13. That means absolutely nothing in this game. The Seahawks are a joke.
Winner: New England
St. Louis at Arizona
I can’t help but wonder if the Cards tanked the game in Philly last Thursday just so they could clinch the NFC West at home this week. They aren’t going anywhere once the playoffs begin but Arizona is still a pretty interesting story. Nothing like playing the Rams at home to get your swagger back. The Cards may put 40 points on the board this Sunday.
Dallas at Pittsburgh
I hate both of these teams but I’m going to love this game. I promised readers and my Steelers-loving uncle that I would praise Pittsburgh if they took care of the Pats in New England. They did more than that as the Steelers dominated New England in one of the ugliest third quarters I’ve ever witnessed.
Meanwhile, Dallas is “back” according to NFL Network and ESPN so it must be true. I commented in my reader mailbag that the Cowboys do make me nervous as a Giants fan. Even still, Pittsburgh almost always finds a way to win at home. Unless, of course, they’re playing against the Giants. Ha.
Washington at Baltimore
This isn’t a horrible flex game when you consider the fact that the Panthers and Bucs face off on Monday night. The Giants have the ability to make any NFL team look very ordinary in 2008 but even I was surprised by how lame Washington was last Sunday. A must-win game at home and the Redskins were in it for maybe one entire quarter.
Baltimore’s defense isn’t as good as New York’s but it’s pretty close. There’s no reason to believe that the Skins will score more than twice against the Ravens, especially if Clinton Portis sits out.
Tampa Bay at Carolina
Awesome Monday night game. Boy did the NFL luck out, here. This won’t be a Philly-Dallas 41-38 prime time game. Time of possession and defense will determine the winner this Monday. Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams had his four game streak of (at least) 100 rushing yards broken against the Packers in week 13. Guess he’ll have to settle for getting into the end zone on four occasions. The Bucs, meanwhile, picked Drew Brees off three times en route to a 23-20 victory.
The Bucs dominated Carolina in Tampa Bay back in October, making this the quintessential revenge game for the Panthers. Carolina is 6-0 at home this year and I do believe they are slightly better than Tampa Bay overall.
Thanks for reading my week 14 NFL picks. You’ve been great, as always. Luckily, I only get a head cold twice during the NFL season and this would be cold number two. This means that I shouldn’t phone in another Zac’s Backs piece again until next season. Until next time, enjoy the Christmas specials on TV. Only 23 more days left until Christmas. Woo.