Friday Picks: Week 14 (2013-14)

Two division matchups headlines Week 14’s slate as the Seahawks take on the Niners and the Saints host the Panthers. If you were planning on watching any two games, watch these. If you have more time than that, watch as many as you can because the Eagles and Lions could put on a show and Andrew Luck will try to take down Cincy on the road.

Last Week: 12-4 Overall: 102-76

Cold Hard Lock: 9-3 Upset Pick: 2-10

(Home teams are in CAPS)

Texans over JAGUARS (TNF)

BENGALS over Colts

PACKERS over Falcons

PATRIOTS over Browns

Raiders over JETS

EAGLES over Lions

Dolphins over STEELERS

BUCS over Bills

Chiefs over REDSKINS

RAVENS over Vikings

BRONCOS over Titans

Giants over CHARGERS

CARDINALS over Rams

Seahawks over NINERS

SAINTS over Panthers (SNF)

Cowboys over Bears (MNF)

Cold Hard Lock: BRONCOS over Titans; Denver has met their match recently. Their last four games, one of them a loss, have been decided by 10 points or less. After facing the Chiefs (twice) and Patriots, the Broncos will be able to breath a little easier at home against the 5-7 Titans. Watch Denver return back to form.

Upset Pick: Dolphins over STEELERS; Pittsburgh has been on a roll lately, winning three of their past four. At home, they are understandably the favorites, but I like Miami to surprise a hot Steelers team. At 6-6, the Dolphins still have a real shot at stealing the 6th AFC playoff spot. A road upset against Pitt, who’s also competing for that spot at 5-7, will go a long way in making that hope a reality.

Game of the week: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints; When looking at the late division matchups of the NFL schedule, Carolina-New Orleans probably wouldn’t have warranted a second look before the season started. Many, including myself, figured New Orleans would be competing with Atlanta for the division lead. Well, half of that is right but the other half could not be further off. Instead of Atlanta, it’s Carolina at 9-3 looking to go into the Superdome and steal the NFC South lead right before the Saints fans’ eyes. In one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, expect fireworks to go off with these two high-scoring offenses.

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Friday Picks: Week 12 (2013-14)

Brady vs. Manning has already stolen most of the spotlight going into this week but when it is all said and done, we could be talking about a couple other games. Carolina looks to extend their win streak to seven, the Bucs hope to upset the Lions after two-straight, and the Giants and Cowboys will try to gain ground in the NFC East while Philly is on a bye.

Last Week: 7-8 Overall: 90-72

Cold Hard Lock: 8-3 Upset Pick: 2-9

(Home teams are in CAPS)

Saints over FALCONS (TNF)

Steelers over BROWNS

LIONS over Bucs

PACKERS over Vikings

CHIEFS over Chargers

RAMS over Bears

Panthers over DOLPHINS

RAVENS over Jets

TEXANS over Jaguars

RAIDERS over Titans

Colts over CARDINALS

GIANTS over Cowboys

Broncos over PATRIOTS (SNF)

Niners over REDSKINS (MNF)

Cold Hard Lock: CHIEFS over Chargers; I would have loved to pick the Saints over Falcons as my lock this week but the Thursday game forces me to make a tough decision. I don’t feel good about it, but Kansas City is the team I have the most faith in of any other to pull out a win in Week 12. San Diego is in a major slump and the Chiefs would love nothing more than to pounce on the opportunity to rebound after a loss.

Upset Pick: Colts over CARDINALS; The red-hot Cardinals host the Colts as favorites on Sunday in what I think will be one of the best games of the week. It may not be getting much attention with the Brady-Manning matchup on Sunday night, but Arizona (6-4) is still looking for the respect they deserve and a big win over Andrew Luck’s Colts would give them just that. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Indy, despite suffering an embarrassing 30-point loss to the Rams in Week 10, is still one of the best teams in the NFL. Arizona’s last three wins have come against teams with two wins or less so the game against seven-win Indy will snap them back to reality. I still expect a great game, but watch Indy pull away in the 4th.

manning-brady

Brady and Manning will bring their best in primetime.

Game of the week: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots; There’s not much to say here that you don’t already know. It’s Brady vs. Manning in their 14th meeting and while the stakes could be higher, a win in the NFL is something neither QB will give up easily. Don’t miss the chance to see two of the all time great QBs on the same field on Sunday night.

Friday Picks: Week 11 (2013-14)

Week 11 may very well be the best week we’ve had in a while. So many great matchups on the slate, headlined by Sunday Night Football where Denver hosts Kansas City. This will be the game that gets all the attention but keep an eye on the Saints and Niners as well as the Pats and Panthers. All of these teams have shown us the ability to play at an elite level and now they face elite competition. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Last Week: 7-6 Overall: 82-63

Cold Hard Lock: 7-3 Upset Pick: 2-8

(Home teams are in CAPS)

Colts over TITANS (TNF)

Jets over BILLS

Ravens over BEARS

Browns over BENGALS

EAGLES over Redskins

Lions over STEELERS

Falcons over BUCS

Cardinals over JAGUARS

TEXANS over Raiders

Chargers over DOLPHINS

GIANTS over Packers

SAINTS over Niners

SEAHAWKS over Vikings

BRONCOS over Chiefs (SNF)

Patriots over PANTHERS (MNF)

Cold Hard Lock: SEAHAWKS over Vikings; Seattle looked a little shaky there for a couple weeks but now seem to be back in form after a crushing win against Atlanta. Their last home game didn’t go as planned when they had to overcome a 21-point deficit against winless Tampa Bay. Don’t expect Seattle to be so lazy this time. At home, Seattle is still one of the hardest teams for anyone to beat, nevermind a struggling Vikings team.

Upset Pick: Browns over BENGALS; You never know what you’re gonna get from Cincy this season. It could be the team who beat New England or crushed the Jets. Or it could be the team that just dropped two straight in OT, both games they should have won. They now appear poised for a rebound game against Cleveland but the Browns won’t roll over. In fact, I’m taking Cleveland to win against Cincy on the road. They like what they have in Jason Campbell right now and have had the bye week to prepare for what Cincy will throw at them. Shutting down AJ Green will be the key and I think Cleveland has enough defensive power to slow him down. The Bengals will drop their first home game and third win in a row at the hands of Cleveland.

Kansas City's defense is dangerously good, but they haven't faced anyone quite like Peyton Manning.

Kansas City’s defense is dangerously good, but they haven’t faced anyone quite like Peyton Manning.

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos; Does this one come as a surprise? NFL fans have been waiting for this matchup for weeks as we’ve watched Denver and Kansas City pick up win after win. Now we finally get to see them face off. Some have pointed to KC’s light schedule as the reason for their sudden success but now we get to see how they perform against one of the best teams in football. Denver boasts the best passing offense in the league, which shouldn’t come as a surprise when you have Peyton Manning throwing to weapons like Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas. The Chiefs’ defense, however, is quite possibly the most physical in the NFL. They love to give the ball back to their offense (lead NFL in takeaways) and are extremely stingy when it comes to allowing points (most allowed is 17; average allowed is 12.3). Two of the best teams in the NFL go at it. The only way this could get any better is if it was a playoff game, which we could very well see by the time the January rolls around. On Sunday night, you better be available to watch this one.

Friday Picks: Week 10 (2013-14)

The picks did not go well at all last week but that just means this season is as unpredictable as any other (for me at least). This week, the Giants have a chance to make it three wins in a row and the Packers will field the first African-American QB in franchise history (Seneca Wallace). I also like what I see in the Lions-Bears game. Two 5-3 teams going for the division lead will almost always yield a good game. But surprisingly, this is not my Game of the Week. Be sure to check that out along with my lock, upset, and all the other picks. Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, and New York have byes.

Last Week: 6-7 Overall: 75-57

Cold Hard Lock: 7-2 Upset Pick: 2-7

(Home teams are in CAPS)

Redskins over VIKINGS (TNF)

GIANTS over Raiders

Seahawks over FALCONS

Lions over BEARS

Eagles over PACKERS

TITANS over Jaguars

COLTS over Rams

STEELERS over Bills

Bengals over RAVENS

NINERS over Panthers

Texans over CARDINALS

Broncos over CHARGERS

SAINTS over Cowboys (SNF)

Dolphins over BUCS (MNF)

Cold Hard Lock: TITANS over Jaguars; I didn’t think I’d ever be picking Tennessee to be a lock this season but with all the competitive matchups this week, this is about the only game I’m confident in. Tennessee has played well overall this season, but ran into a three-game snag against some awfully good teams (KC, SEA, SF). I’m pretty sure that at home the Titans can get back to a high level of play against a historically bad Jacksonville team.

Upset Pick: Texans over CARDINALS; Arizona (4-4) has been the definition of a middle-of-the-road team this season. Solid wins against a few teams but no huge blockbuster victories, and losses against top teams like the Saints, Niners, and Seahawks. Based on their season, they should be able to handle underperforming 2-6 Houston, but not so fast. Houston has been playing much better as of late in close losses and Ben Tate can be a formidable replacement for an injured Arian Foster. It may not save their season, but Houston will grab their third win in Arizona.

San Diego is probably sick of hearing all about Denver's offense.

San Diego is probably sick of hearing all about Denver’s offense.

Game of the week: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers; The 7-1 Broncos against the 4-4 Chargers as a good game? It just might be. Denver has only played three road games all year and lost one of them and barely survived in another. They now face a division rival that is actually not that bad of a team. In fact, the one team that beat Denver this year? It was Indianapolis, who San Diego handled at home. I have a feeling Peyton Manning’s high scoring offense can get the job done, but the Bolts might just have a shock in store on Sunday.

Friday Picks: Week 9 (2013-14)

You might have to squint to find the competitive matchups this week because there is only one game that features two teams above .500 (Green Bay-Chicago). Still, every game is a battle and wins are hard to come by. We’ll see if the teams with losing records have some surprises in store for Sunday.

Last Week: 10-3 Overall: 69-50

Cold Hard Lock: 6-2 Upset Pick: 2-6

(Home teams are in CAPS)

Bengals over DOLPHINS (TNF)

Chiefs over BILLS

COWBOYS over Vikings

RAMS over Titans

Saints over JETS

Chargers over REDSKINS

Falcons over PANTHERS

Eagles over RAIDERS

SEAHAWKS over Bucs

Ravens over BROWNS

PATRIOTS over Steelers

Colts over TEXANS (SNF)

PACKERS over Bears (MNF)

Cold Hard Lock: SEAHAWKS over Bucs; I’ll take the Seahawks at home about any day of the week. Against a dysfunctional Tampa Bay team, Seattle will have little trouble walking out with a win. This one could get ugly.

Upset Pick: Falcons over PANTHERS; I’ve picked Atlanta to upset before and it came back to bite me, but I believe in second chances. Carolina has every reason to win this game on paper. They own the better record, they’re on a three-game winning streak, they’re playing at home, and they’re playing a 2-5 Atlanta team that is underperforming. They’ll call it an upset for a reason. Atlanta will play better than they have all season and shock the home fans.

iGame of the week: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans; This may seem like an odd choice with Houston in a major drought and Indy rolling, but this game has more in store than meets the eye. At 2-5 and three games out of the AFC South, Houston is on the brink of falling out of contention. Another loss could mean the end for Houston’s already-slim division hopes, not to mention the wildcard spot. However, a huge win over Indy in front of the home fans could be the spark Houston has been looking for all season. Indy is the favorite, but with their backs up against the wall, Houston might put up a fight that is worth watching on Sunday night.

Friday Picks: Week 8 (2013-14)

Home-field advantage is important in the NFL but take notice of how many road teams win this week. A lot of roadies are the favorites in Week 8 so we’ll have to see if they can take care of business on the road. A couple of matchups you may want to keep an eye on are Dallas at Detroit, New York at Philly, and New York at Cincy. Dallas-Detroit is the Game of the Week and the other two may just have some surprises in store. Chicago, Tennessee, Indy, San Diego, Baltimore, and Houston all have byes this week.

Last Week: 8-6 Overall: 59-47

Cold Hard Lock: 5-2 Upset Pick: 2-5

(Home teams are in CAPS)

Panthers over BUCS (TNF)

Giants over EAGLES

Cowboys over LIONS

CHIEFS over Browns

PATRIOTS over Dolphins

SAINTS over Bills

Niners over JAGUARS

BENGALS over Jets

Steelers over RAIDERS

BRONCOS over Redskins

Falcons over CARDINALS

Packers over VIKINGS (SNF)

Seahawks over RAMS (MNF)

Cold Hard Lock: Niners over JAGUARS; Jacksonville just can’t seem to catch a break. In seven weeks, they’ve already faced four of the arguably top five teams in the NFL (Kansas City, Seattle, Indy, Denver). Now they turn to another high-caliber team in the Niners, rolling on a four-game winning streak. It won’t be pretty in London.

Upset Pick: Cowboys over LIONS; I’ll turn to Dallas once again as my upset pick after their small upset on the road in Philly. They’ve shown us three consistent performances in a row and I expect a fourth in Detroit where they are a 3-point underdog. Tony Romo will limit the mistakes to thwart the Lions’ turnover hopes. No, it’s not the boldest upset pick this week but I see the favorites winning most of their games in Week 8.

Can Dez Bryant upstage Calvin Johnson?

Can Dez Bryant upstage Calvin Johnson?

Game of the week: Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions; In 2011, these two teams staged a classic. Dallas jumped out to a 27-3 lead in the 3rd but the Lions roared back to win with under two minutes to go. The catalyst in Detroit’s rally? Tony Romo’s ill-timed interceptions in the 2nd half, allowing the Lions to climb back in the game. This was two years ago. Today, Detroit and Dallas are both 4-3 and desperately need to stay on the winning side if they want to win their respective divisions. Expect a physical, competitive 1:00 matchup.

Friday Picks: Week 7 (2013-14)

I just can’t seem to figure this season out. Luckily, there is a lot of football to play and the picks must go on. Week 7 features a heck of a Sunday night matchup as well as some division rivalries. I can’t wait to see how Week 7 will surprise me.

Last Week: 8-7 Overall: 51-41

Cold Hard Lock: 5-1 Upset Pick: 1-5

(Home teams are in CAPS)

Seahawks over CARDINALS (TNF)

FALCONS over Bucs

LIONS over Bengals

DOLPHINS over Bills

Patriots over JETS

Cowboys over EAGLES

REDSKINS over Bears

Rams over PANTHERS

Chargers over JAGUARS

Niners over TITANS

PACKERS over Browns

CHIEFS over Texans

Ravens over STEELERS

Broncos over COLTS (SNF)

GIANTS over Vikings (MNF)

Cold Hard Lock: Patriots over JETS; New England is only a four point favorite in this one, so I can’t say I am completely confident in this pick. The other games just seem to iffy to take as a lock. San Diego will most likely handle Jacksonville, but I cannot go with a team as inconsistent as the Chargers. Green Bay is a 10-point favorite over Cleveland, but the Browns have done enough to show me that they can surprise. So that leaves me with New England. After last week’s performance, it would come as a shock to me if the Pats fell to New York, even on the road. When in doubt, go with Tom Brady.

Upset Pick: Cowboys over EAGLES; No, this isn’t the biggest underdog of the week, but after suffering a couple key injuries to DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware, Dallas is now a three point underdog. I like how the Cowboys are playing and God knows they can be inconsistent, but I’m buying them to ride the streak for at least one more win. Tony Romo will be hard for Philly to stop.

Can Andrew Luck upstage the Indianapolis legend Peyton Manning?

Can Andrew Luck upstage the Indianapolis legend Peyton Manning?

Game of the week: Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts; This was an easy choice. After all the afternoon games have concluded, all eyes will be on the Broncos and Colts on Sunday Night Football. Both teams started off red hot but stumbled a bit last week. Denver got away with a win after struggling mightily against Dallas on the road. Indy wasn’t so lucky against San Diego last Monday night, who handed them their second loss of the season. More importantly, Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis to face his former team. Indianapolis will be rocking. Can Indy ride the advantage to a huge victory?