Week 14 Matchup Predictions
Steelers win 24-13.
Eagles (3-9) @ Buccaneers (6-6): Both of these teams have been surprises this season - the Eagles were picked by some to win the Super Bowl, and the Bucs were 4-12 last season and started this year 1-3. Since their poor start, the Bucs have proven that they can put points on the board (4th in the league) and shut down the run (1st in the league). So what do the Eagles have to do to counter that? Most likely, put up some points of their own by throwing the football. Unfortunately, they're ranked 29th in points, and 17th in passing (26th in yards per pass attempt).
Buccaneers win 31-21.
Ravens (9-3) @ Redskins (6-6): The Ravens were seemingly invincible at home (5-0 before last week), but somehow lost to Charlie Batch and the Steelers on their home turf this past Sunday. How do you explain that? Maybe by noting that Ray Rice got zero - ZERO - touches in the fourth quarter of a tight game. Anyway, I don't expect the Ravens, who have been very mediocre on the road (4-2, 16.5 points per game), to bounce back against RG3's red hot Redskins in Washington. That 4-2 road record of the Ravens looks solid, but keep in mind they beat Byron Leftwich when he had broken ribs, and got an extremely improbable win against the Chargers. I like RG3 to light up the Ravens 23rd ranked pass defense and for Flacco and company to not keep up.
Redskins win 30-20.
Falcons (11-1) @ Panthers (3-9): The Falcons absolutely shut down Drew Brees and the Saints' offense last Thursday, while the Panthers lost to the 2-10 Chiefs, who put up a season high in points. The Panthers have continually lost tight games this season (0-7 in games decided by seven points or less), while the Falcons have continually won tight games (7-1 in games decided by seven points or less). Given these teams' recent performances, I expect that trend to continue.
Falcons win 28-24.
Jets (5-7) @ Jaguars (2-10): We were so close. It almost happened. Mark Sanchez seemed inches away from getting benched, but it didn't happen. Sanchez will start again, and maybe in part because head coach Rex Ryan doesn't want to throw Tim Tebow or Greg McElroy in against the lowly Jaguars and their 31st ranked defense, allowing them to light it up and make him look like an idiot for not benching Sanchez sooner. Sanchez does have some good games to his credit this season, and I think he can have another one this week. The Jets defense has dropped off severely from the past few years, but they're good enough to keep the Jaguars in check.
Jets win 24-16.