Jacked Up Picks: Week 14

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Posted by Jack Tumen

The playoff race gets tighter each week as I try to improve my overall record. After picking Dallas on Thursday, I’m 108-67-1 on the year.

Ravens (7-5) @ Dolphins (7-5): This is one of the biggest games of the week as far as the AFC Wild Card is concerned. Miami looked dreadful on Monday but was able to overcome nearly 300 yards rushing from the Jets to stay in it. Baltimore on the other hand couldn’t hold off the Chargers in a heartbreaking loss at home. Going into Miami will be a good litmus test for this Ravens’ squad to see if they’re ready for meaningful December football. I think they can play with a short memory and get the job done even without Haloti Ngata. BAL 26, MIA 24

Colts (8-4) @ Browns (7-5): The Browns are on shaky ground right now with their quarterback situation suddenly in question at the worst possible time. This would be a very different team with Johnny Manziel inserted at quarterback and I think it’s dangerously late in the season to change the winning formula with four weeks to go. They’ll have to face the music this week when the surging Colts come marching in. We might see the Browns’ true colors this week. IND 30, CLE 20

Panthers (3-8-1) @ Saints (5-7): The Saints finally came through on the road last week and get to come back home to face the reeling Panthers. At this point in the season, it’s hard to think Carolina brings anything to the table, even in a divisional game. New Orleans took care of them earlier this season and I don’t see the Panthers returning the favor. NO 31, CAR 16

Steelers (7-5) @ Bengals (8-3-1): Pittsburgh blew a major opportunity at home last week against an inferior NFC South opponent and can’t be feeling good about themselves right now. It’s not out of the question to think Mike Tomlin could get canned after the season but right now he has to focus on going into the jungle to face the division-leading Bengals – who also struggled with their NFC South opponent last week. This is always a hard-nose game; but I think Pittsburgh’s defensive lapses at home last week were far too glaring for a three-loss Bengal team to not take advantage at home. CIN 25, PIT 23

Buccaneers (2-10) @ Lions (8-4): Tampa Bay played a nice game last week; nearly pulling off the upset over Cinci. Unfortunately, Detroit is a different animal, particularly at home. DET 29, TB 17

Texans (6-6) @ Jaguars (2-10): After tossing six TD passes last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick may have Bill O’Brien wishing he hadn’t sacrificed a couple games to a first-time starter in Ryan Mallett. The rout was on against the inferior Titans and Jacksonville is in that bottom tier of the AFC with Tennessee. The Jaguars were able to beat the Giants last week but I think a “winning streak” might be out of the question for these cats. HOU 24, JAX 10

Jets (2-10) @ Vikings (5-7): Minnesota’s quietly getting it done this year with a young team a rookie head coach. Although 5-7 isn’t a playoff record, it’s a sign of progress for a rebuilding franchise. The Jets essentially played without a quarterback last week, rushing as they pleased but failing to do anything through the air. Minnesota’s been a tough outing at home this year and they’ll do what’s necessary to win as defensive minds Mike Zimmer and Rex Ryan face off. MIN 23, NYJ 19

Giants (3-9) @ Titans (2-10): This game comes from the NFL’s basement this week. Just a combined five wins this season, these two teams have been dreadful all year. Losing to Jacksonville last week was a new low for the Giants, who are in danger of dropping back-to-back games to the AFC’s worst. This game’s a true toss-up but injuries to the Titans’ receiving corps drop Zach Mettenberger’s stock a bit. JPP could be the difference-maker. NYG 17, TEN 10

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Rams (5-7) @ Redskins (3-9): St. Louis will come into Washington laughing in the face of the team that gave up their franchise for RGIII while the Rams continue using those picks to build a superb roster. This one will be ugly. STL 30, WAS 15

Bills (7-5) @ Broncos (9-3): Here we are in December and the Buffalo Bills are as close to the playoffs at this point in the season as they’ve been in recent memory. Unfortunately, Denver is not the team you want to face right now but Buffalo will play this one closer than people think. In fact, I think the Bills match up well with Denver, particularly on defense. Scoring more points than Peyton, however, is a different story. DEN 27, BUF 24

Chiefs (7-5) @ Cardinals (9-3): Arizona’s at a crossroads right now with Drew Stanton playing inept football and the Seahawks looking to rip back the division from the Card’s grip. Bruce Arians will have to really dumb it down this week as the capable Chiefs come to town. I think the friendly confines of home will be largely beneficial for Arizona and I think they get back on track and squeak one out over the Chiefs this week. John Brown needs another bomb-touchdown. AZ 23, KC 17

49ers (7-5) @ Raiders (1-11): This is a great rivalry in the Bay-Area. These teams unfortunately had to can their yearly preseason face-offs because of violence between the fan bases, which speaks volumes about how much these teams hate each other. I think this is sneakily a tough game for San Fran but they should find a way to win in the end. SF 27, OAK 23

Seahawks (8-4) @ Eagles (9-3): This is the game of the week by any standard. Seattle has retuned to championship form and are pushing to take back their division. The Eagles on the other hand dismantled the Cowboys on Thanksgiving but face a much tougher defense at home this week. This will be a great game but I think Philly needs another big defensive or special teams play to take this game. Seattle’s playing clean football right now. SEA 26, PHI 21

Patriots (9-3) @ Chargers (8-4): San Diego’s hot start has kept them at the front of the Wild Card hunt during their cold October. They’re still only a game behind Denver in the AFC West but it feels like a lot more than that. The Patriots are human after all as they couldn’t figure out Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau. Philip Rivers will need a big game to keep the Chargers in this one but I think New England will be too much to handle on defense. NE 28, SD 24

Falcons (5-7) @ Packers (9-3): Atlanta was able to take advantage of the stumbling Cardinals at home last week, which really isn’t as great of a win as it looks on paper. This will be a game to put the Falcons in their place. GB 45, ATL 23

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