Week 14 of the 2011 NFL season is at hand and both the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers face big games. The Raiders travel to Green Bay to face the undefeated Packers. Oakland is tied with Denver for first in the AFC West in what is quickly becoming a dog fight heading into the final quarter of the season. The Raiders are battling through an assortment of injuries and are just looking to hang around and keep their hopes alive.
The 49ers head down to Glendale to face the Arizona Cardinals in a game they need to have to maintain their lead in the race for the number two seed and accompanying bye in the NFC. The Cardinals are on a bit of a roll, having won four of their last five games. Their only loss was to the 49ers, but they were also playing without starting QB Kevin Kolb. He returns this weekend and it should make for an intriguing game.
As always, the Thursday pick was made in advance of the game.
David - PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-14) over Cleveland Browns: Although this is a rivalry game, leaving the door open for a close one, I just don't see it. The Browns are way too inconsistent and the Steelers aren't going to be messing around with this one.
James - PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-14) over Cleveland Browns: Remember early in the season when everyone was swearing up and down that the Steelers were old and no longer relevant? Yeah, not so much anymore. This is a strong team with a good offense and a good defense. Browns do not stand a chance.
David - GREEN BAY PACKERS (-12.5) over Oakland Raiders: I'd be tempted if the Raiders were 100% healthy. Without McFadden, Ford, Moore and Jones? It would take a small miracle.
James - Oakland Raiders (+12.5) over GREEN BAY PACKERS: I cannot and will not pick against the Raiders.
David - CINCINNATI BENGALS (-1.5) over Houston Texans: The Bengals are scuffling a bit, but I think their defense can contain Arian Foster just enough to force T.J. Yates into a position where he has to try and win this thing. And I don't think he can do that. The Bengals are sneaky solid.
James - Houston Texans (+1.5) over CINCINNATI BENGALS: Really tough game to call. While the Texans are on their third string quarterback, it does not look to have slowed them down a whole lot. They still have a very good defense and one of the best running games. Meanwhile, the Bengals are struggling right now and I cannot see them putting up many points against this Houston defense.
David - DETROIT LIONS (Even) over Minnesota Vikings: Joe Webb is not the answer.
James - DETROIT LIONS (Even) over Minnesota Vikings: This is just a matter of two mismatched teams. I know the Lions are struggling right now, but the Vikings are just not a good team. I do not see them going to Detroit and doing anything but floundering.
David - TENNESSEE TITANS (+3.5) over New Orleans Saints: The Saints are playing some great football right now, but when they go on the road, things are a little more up in the air. The Saints could roll in and handle their business, but I've just got a gut feeling about this one.
James - New Orleans Saints (-3.5) over TENNESSEE TITANS: The Saints could have the most potent offense in the NFL right now. That is no knock on the Packers offense, but the Saints are just something else and are playing very well right now. I don't understand why this line is so close, I'd put the Saints as two score favorites.
David - MIAMI DOLPHINS (-2.5) over Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are on the way down, the Dolphins are kind of on the way up in a weird sort of way. Philly is so wildly inconsistent that I really don't know what to expect out of them week to week.
James - MIAMI DOLPHINS (-2.5) over Philadelphia Eagles: The battle of two 4-8 teams. One, the Eagles, is massively underperforming despite a blockbuster roster. The other, is massively overperforming despite an underwhelming quarterback and running back combo. The fact of the matter is, Miami is playing like a solidified unit while the Eagles are playing like they are a pick up team.
David - Kansas City Chiefs (+10.5) over NEW YORK JETS: I made a change here. Was originally going to go with the Chiefs, but something about that line intrigues me with the Chiefs. I'm sure they'll now get blown out (sorry, KC fans), but it's just a gut feeling.
James - NEW YORK JETS (-10.5) over Kansas City Chiefs: Another example of one team just simply being much better than the other. Though the Jets have not had a stellar season, they are playing much better as of late. And with a playoff spot on the line, I expect them to turn it up late in the season and win games like this one big.
James - New England Patriots (-9.5) over WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Is much discussion really needed on this one?If the line was bigger then maybe I'd have to think about it for a bit. But come on, this will not be anywhere near a close game.
David - CAROLINA PANTHERS (+2.5) over Atlanta Falcons: I'm a Cam Newton believer. I think most folks are, but I think they are going to start pairing some wins together before Cam goes postal with all the losing. If this was in Atlanta I'd be questioning it, but I think they can swing the upset at home.
James - CAROLINA PANTHERS (+2.5) over Atlanta Falcons: The Panthers are starting to play better. They have back to back wins for the first time this year. Oh, and Cam Newton is an absolute BEAST. Meanwhile, the Falcons could not pull off a win over the Texans and TJ Yates.
David - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Even) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: I was a little bit tempted by the Jaguars, but then I remembered they just aren't any good. Blaine Gabbert showed some things at times against the Chargers, but struggled enough to leave me questioning them this season.
James - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Even) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: The Jags are just a bad team. The Bucs are a massively underperforming team. While their records are very similar, the quality of the teams is not. The Bucs will look like the team most people thought they were this season and get a win on the road in an empty Jaguars stadium.
James - Indianapolis Colts (+17.5) over BALTIMORE RAVENS: Do not worry, this is not a typo, nor have I completely lost my mind. The Colts have played a lot of close games this season, and have only been blown out by 17 or more points four times. Meanwhile, the Ravens have a nasty habit of playing down to their competition (see: Seattle). Ravens will win, and win easily, but it will be closer to 10-14 points.
David - Chicago Bears (+3.5) over DENVER BRONCOS: I'm breaking the most important rule: Do not bet against Tim Tebow. Well, my gut has me thinking something crazy happens and the Broncos actually lose. I'm not sure why I think this, but I just have a hunch.
James - DENVER BRONCOS (-3.5) over Chicago Bears: No Jay Cutler. No Matt Forte. Good god, is Tebow going to do it again? I think he is and let me tell you, I am pretty bitter about it.
David - San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) over ARIZONA CARDINALS: The 49ers clinched the NFC West last week and face the Pittsburgh Steelers next week on Monday Night Football. This is a chance for a let-down as the Arizona Cardinals roll out Kevin Kolb in his second start since coming back from a foot injury. Crazy things sometimes happen when these two teams meet in Glendale, but I think the 49ers can handle their business.
James - San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) over ARIZONA CARDINALS: Jim Harbaugh is far too good of a coach to allow the Niners to have the same kind of let down against the Cards as the Cowboys did last week. Arizona does not stand a chance in this game. The Niners will have their sights on a number two seed in the NFC and will not allow a team like the Cards to derail them from that goal.
David - SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-7.5) over Buffalo Bills: Don't bet against the Chargers in December.
James - SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-7.5) over Buffalo Bills: The Chargers are looking like they have finally hit their stride late in the season. Probably not enough for a playoff berth, but enough to put down the struggling and injured Bills at home.
David - DALLAS COWBOYS (-3) over New York Giants: NFC East rivalry games can be incredibly crazy, but I think the Cowboys pull out this home game. They are getting Miles Austin back and while they were stunned by Arizona, I think they bounce back strong.
James - New York Giants (+3) over DALLAS COWBOYS: My pick here comes down to the intangibles. I believe that the Giants want the win more than the Cowboys do. I also have more faith in the Giants in late game situations than I do in the Cowboys. Both are coming off of tough losses, but one was a close loss to the league's best team while the other was a close loss to a very bad team.
David - SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (even) over St. Louis Rams: I think the NFC picked this game just to show off how popular the NFL really is. That can be the only reason for it. The Rams are falling apart and the Seahawks are starting to play some decent football. I'll go with the Seahawks.
James - SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (even) over St. Louis Rams: Wait a second. I must have read wrong. This is not the Monday Night Football game, right? There is no way the NFL would schedule a game like this so late in the season, on the biggest prime time game of the week. Sorry, Im not even going to explain my pick, Im just going to complain about this being the MNF game. TERRIBLE!
Last Week: 9-7-0
Last Week: 9-7-0