Pudge’s Picks – Week 14 2014

AP from Yahoo! Sports

Can the Falcons slow down Aaron Rodgers

Given that I correctly surmised Thursday’s pick usually is a bad omen for Sunday. We’ll see if that changes this week.

* All lines come from ESPN.

Atlanta Falcons (5-7) at Green Bay Packers (9-3)
Monday, December 8 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

*Line: Packers (-11.5)

I certainly think the Falcons can cover that large line, but I also don’t think the Falcons are going to win the game. That usually means that picking them to cover is not a smart idea. Despite a strong performance against Arizona last week, their best since Week 3, the Falcons just aren’t a team that I have learned to trust this year. Particularly their defense going up against one of the league’s best offenses.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Bengals (-3.5)

Since Andy Dalton took over as the Bengals starter, the team is 2-4 against the Steelers. Although it shoudl be noted that those Steelers defenses were stronger than the one that Dalton will face this week at home.  The Steelers have been slow-starters on the road this year, which doesn’t bode well for them. But despite signs indicating that the Steelers aren’t set to have their greatest game, the Bengals have been anything but impressive in recent weeks to suggest that they have what it takes to run away with the game.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

Indianapolis Colts (8-4) at Cleveland Browns (7-5)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Browns (+3.5)

The Browns are poised to give quarterback Brian Hoyer at least one more start this week, although his performances as of late have been pretty dismal. Even against a lackluster Colts defense that will be missing cornerback Vontae Davis, I don’t have the confidence that Hoyer will find a way to take advantage.

Spread Pick: Colts
Straight Pick: Colts

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10) at Detroit Lions (8-4)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Lions (-9.5)

While I think it’s certainly possible that the Bucs could cover, the Lions are 5-1 at home and their offensive line should be the healthiest it’s been in over a month. They should be able to take care of business.

Spread Pick: Lions
Straight Pick: Lions

Houston Texans (6-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Jaguars (+4.5)

The Jaguars have an opportunity to pad some wins late in the year, with home games against divisional opponents: Houston and Tennessee over the next three weeks. They have generally fared well against the Texans over the years, not always winning but usually playing them very close for at least one game each year. This week is likely to be that week, if they can find a way to slow down J.J. Watt and Arian Foster. Both Jaguars wins this year have been largely due to turnovers, and given that Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting for the Texans this week, there’s a distinct possibility they can get a similar boost again this week.

Spread Pick: Jaguars
Straight Pick: Texans

Baltimore Ravens (7-5) at Miami Dolphins (7-5)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Dolphins (-2.5)

The Ravens likely will rebound from a disappointing loss to the Chargers last week, but the Dolphins will present a lot greater challenges, namely a top defensive line and defense. The Dolphins have struggled to win games in which their ground attack wasn’t heavily involved on offense, and they will be facing one of the league’s most formidable run defenses this week against the Ravens. Although one wonders if the suspension of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has a negative effect on that Ravens front.

Spread Pick: Dolphins
Straight Pick: Dolphins

New York Jets (2-10) at Minnesota Vikings (5-7)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Vikings (-5.5)

It seems that the minute I completely write off the Jets, they find a way to do some damage. That team is literally has been the bane of my picks this season. But I’m sticking to my policy of not picking the Jets. And given that Muhammad Wilkerson is out this week, I feel even more confident about said policy.

Spread Pick: Vikings
Straight Pick: Vikings

Carolina Panthers (3-8-1) at New Orleans Saints (5-7)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Saints (-9.5)

The Panthers usually put up one decent showing against the Saints per year, and their 28-10 loss against the Saints in Week 9 was not it. Given the large line, I feel a bit more comfortable picking the Panthers to cover, but certainly not to win. Divisional games tend to be close.

Spread Pick: Panthers
Straight Pick: Saints

New York Giants (3-9) at Tennessee Titans (2-10)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Titans (+0.5)

The Titans have a good chance to snap their six-game losing streak this week against the Giants, who choked against the Jaguars last week. The key for them will be protecting the football for once, as they are minus-8 when it comes to turnover margin over the past six games. Now lucky for them, the Giants are on a seven-game losing streak and are minus-7 in turnovers during that span. So the winner of these game will be the team that likely wins the turnover battle.

Spread Pick: Giants
Straight Pick: Giants

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Colt McCoy

St. Louis Rams (5-7) at Washington Redskins (3-9)
Sunday, December 7 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Redskins (+2.5)

Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn have been lights out over the past six weeks, combining for 12 sacks in that span. I don’t suspect the Redskins offensive line will fare particularly well at slowing either down. The key for the Redskins will be getting Alfred Morris going and getting some turnovers and stops on defense. This game could go a long way in determining if Colt McCoy is real or not. But given the amount of pressure I suspect he’ll see, I don’t have much confidence in him.

Spread Pick: Rams
Straight Pick: Rams

Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) at Arizona Cardinals (9-3)
Sunday, December 7 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Cardinals (-0.5)

The Cardinals are reeling, but going back home should help them out quite a bit this week. They won’t be facing a receiver on par with Julio Jones, which should help matters, and their run defense should also rebound, even against a running back like Jamaal Charles. These are the types of games that usually determine how well-coached a team is, and given that I think that is the case with the Cardinals, they should be back.

Spread Pick: Cardinals
Straight Pick: Cardinals

Buffalo Bills (7-5) at Denver Broncos (9-3)
Sunday, December 7 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Broncos (-9.5)

While I think Buffalo’s defensive line could give a lot of problems to Denver’s offensive line, I’m not sure it will be to the degree where they are able to hand Denver their first loss of the year at home.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

San Francisco 49ers (7-5) at Oakland Raiders (1-11)
Sunday, December 7 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Raiders (+7.5)

The return of Latavius Murray will likely spark some confidence for the Raiders this week at home. I suspect that the 49ers will come into a very hostile environment, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.

Spread Pick: Raiders
Straight Pick: 49ers

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)
Sunday, December 7 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Eagles (-1.5)

The Seahawks haven’t been overly impressive in their two East Coast trips this year, doing just enough to beat the Redskins and Panthers. The Eagles are 6-0 at home this year, and it’s likely that this week’s game or next week’s against the Cowboys will be the one they drop before the year is up. I’m going to bet on this week.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

New England Patriots (9-3) at San Diego Chargers (8-4)
Sunday, December 7 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

*Line: Chargers (+3.5)

The Chargers have generally been a good bet at home this year and the Patriots have been known to lay an egg from time to time on the road. But given how well the Patriots have played as of late, and how middling the Chargers have been, I wouldn’t feel right picking against New England.

Spread Pick: Patriots
Straight Pick: Patriots

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com