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Row12.com - A Community of Sports Writers and Fans!                                               ***Attention Writers***
 
Week 14 NFL Preview
By Mike Tanchevski

The NFL season enters the fourth quarter and the schedule heats up. One division race has been decided, a few more can be all but clinched this weekend.

Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals

Teams have figured out how to stop the Vikings offense, contain Peterson and force Bridgewater to beat you. That strategy has been effective the last two weeks. Arizona poses the biggest threat to Carolina in the NFC and they won’t let Minnesota stand in the way. The Vikings travel west on short rest, not a good combination. Arizona could clinch the NFC West title with the win.

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

The Falcons are plummeting out of playoff contention; they’ve lost their five consecutive games after starting the season 5-0. The prospects don’t look good this week or down the road. Atlanta faces Carolina this week and in week 16. Carolina continues to find ways to stay unbeaten and Cam Newton has overtaken Tom Brady in the MVP race. Carolina stays undefeated after they hand the Falcons their sixth loss.

Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears

The Redskins blew their chance to take the outright lead in the NFC east with their home loss to Dallas. Their road becomes more difficult as they hit the road against Chicago. Washington has not won a road game this season. Chicago’s playoff chances took a hit with an overtime loss to San Francisco at home. The Bears still have too much for Washington to handle. Chicago wins.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

No one wants to face Pittsburgh at this point in the season. The Steelers seem to be hitting on all cylinders offensively with Roethlisberger healthy. Pittsburgh has the inside track to an AFC wildcard slot and a distant chance at the AFC North title; a win this weekend is critical. Cincinnati has shaken off the back-to-back losses and assumed the role as the number one seed in the AFC. The Bengals may be the most complete team in the league. Cincinnati clinches the North with a victory over the Steelers.

San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns

Blain Gabbert is completing 63% of his passes and San Francisco is playing very well. The 49ers are hoping to win two consecutive games for the first time this season. Cleveland continues to spiral downward. Reports are that Johnny Manziel will start, although, Mike Pettine has yet to confirm Manziel’s activation. It won’t make a difference; the Browns are beyond redemption. San Francisco wins their second straight road game.

New England Patriots at Houston Texans

Both teams are coming off a loss, New England dropped its second consecutive game, their first at home in five years. Houston was throttled by Buffalo. The Patriots get Gronkowski back, which should make a big difference for Brady. The Texans will pressure Brady with their defensive front and give their anemic offense a chance to stay in the game. Houston is tied for the AFC South lead, while New England is hoping to regain a first round bye. Houston upsets New England, handing the Patriots a third consecutive defeat.

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

A division contest that looked like no contest at the beginning of the season has become very significant now. The Colts are tied with the Texans in the AFC South. Indianapolis pulled out a 16-13 overtime victory over the Jaguars in Indianapolis. Jacksonville lost any chance at the playoffs following their loss to Tennessee. The Jaguars will spoil the Colts playoff hopes with a win at home.

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City has won six in a row and is making a push for the wildcard in the AFC. The Chargers continue to deal with injuries and an ineffective running game. The Chiefs beat San Diego 33-3 on the road, this contest will be much of the same. Kansas City could win out based on their strength of schedule.

Tennessee Titans at New York Jets

Tennessee has nothing to play for but pride. The Titans beat the Jaguars last week but won’t have the same luck versus the Jets. New York finds itself in the middle of a playoff race after an overtime win against the Giants. The Jets have too much offense and defense for Tennessee.

Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles

Both teams are coming off impressive wins last weekend and have a lot to play for. Buffalo is fighting for a wildcard and the Eagles are tied for the NFC East lead. Both teams are also very unpredictable. Buffalo has shown the most consistency during the season and Rex Ryan can concoct a defense to contain Darren Sproles. Bills win on the road.

Detroit Lions at St. Louis Rams

Detroit is two bad calls from a 6-6 record, while the Rams have underachieved all season. This game means nothing in the standings but everything to Jim Caldwell and Jeff Fisher. Both head coaches are under fire and need wins to keep their jobs. Caldwell and the Lions prevail in this one, pushing Fisher closer to the door.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Orleans is done while Tampa Bay still has a shot at the playoffs. The young Buccaneers are 6-6 and have managed to play very well under Jameis Winston’s leadership. The rookie QB has 17 TD’s and 11 interceptions. Tampa Bay defeated New Orleans 26-19 on the road, they’ll have an easier time at home. Buccaneers move over .500 with the victory.

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos

Brock Osweiler is 3-0 as the Denver starter, although he struggled last weekend in the Bronco’s 17-3 win over San Diego. The improved running game and stellar defensive play has also benefited Denver in their three game winning streak. Oakland is two game below .500 and in position for a mid-round draft pick. The Raiders are significantly improved with Carr and Cooper on offense. Denver continues to hold on to home field advantage in the playoffs with the win.

Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers

Neither team looks like they did when they met in last season’s playoffs. Dallas is without Romo and they are banged up on offense. Matt Cassel is very inconsistent and leadership has suffered in Dallas. Green Bay has been hit by the injury bug as well and they continue to pay the price with poor play in crucial games. The Packers did get a boost against the Lions with a “Hail Mary” for the ages. Green Bay is the better team at home.

Seattle Seahawks at Baltimore Ravens

Seattle is coming off their third consecutive victory, an east coast road trip won’t make a difference when the opponent is the hapless Ravens. The Seahawks are clicking on offense with Wilson spreading the ball around and Thomas Rawls running like a beast. The Ravens look good against the dregs of the NFL but fall flat against the leagues more talented foes. Seattle wins their fourth straight game.

New York Giants at Miami Dolphins

New York could be 10-2 if all games ended with two minutes to play. The Giants have contributed to their own woes with clock mismanagement and poor play down the stretch. They still possess a great deal of talent, and if things even out, they have a shot at finishing the season 9-7. Miami is fighting for draft position and looking for a new coaching staff. The Dolphins defeated the Ravens last week but won’t have the same success against the Giants. New York takes the first step to the NFC East title with a win in Miami.

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