NFL week 14 open thread

Jazz: Last time out it was a week of sweeps. First, for Thanksgiving day, I swept Ed 3-0. Then on Sunday I charged back out onto the field to finish him off once and for all, and swept again. Unfortunately, I swept myself under the rug getting all seven games wrong for the first time this season. This sinks me back to 41-49 on the season. In our fantasy league, Ed stubbornly holds on to a one game league over me in the final stretch. In a completely unrelated news, Ed will be interviewing people in February as part time Autumn Sunday volunteer bloggers. You’ll only have to do one post per week and you have to really like football. And preferably know something about it.

Ed: Actually, I think the set-up is working out well – but that may be because I went 4-3 last week to run my record to 61-29. My fantasy football team made it into the playoffs too, so I’m feeling pretty sanguine about the situation in 2014. Still, I’ll be glad to start interviewing in the spring. Be sure to write your qualifications on the backs of wallet-sized pieces of paper. Letters of recommendation from Ben Franklin will certainly get my attention.

Jazz: We get to knock two of our three standard picks out of the way at once this week because the Vikings are welcoming the Jets to Minnesota. (1:00 CBS) Sure, the Vikings are a five and a half point favorite and the Jets have yet to win on the road. (Or, for that matter, at home except against the Raiders and … some other team..) But the Vikings don’t know about New York’s secret strategy this week… we’re not going to let Geno Smith throw the ball. So the Jets cruise to an easy win, 24-9. Meanwhile, the Steelers visit the Bengals. (Also 1:00 on CBS.) The Bungles looked terrible against the Browns, but that was likely an aberration. Before the Cleveland game they hadn’t lost at home in more than a dozen games and they should have better luck at shutting down Pittsburgh’s running game. Cincinnati wins this one 19-14.

Ed: The Vikings are looking tougher and tougher at home, whereas the Jets look like … well, the Jets. I find it odd to be picking Minnesota two weeks in a row, but Teddy Bridgewater’s finding his footing in the league and their rushing offense will be just good enough. Vikes in a low-scoring contest, 16-10. As for the Steelers, well, let’s hope they catch the Bengals napping. Pittsburgh 31-23 over Cincinnati.

Jazz: Here’s five additional games to round out the week:

  • Rams at Redskins (1:00, Fox) – The Rams come into this one a three point favorite, which sounds about right. The Redskins have a lot of trouble against a strong pass rush and they haven’t figured out the QB situation much better than the Jets have. The Rams haven’t looked great lately, but should take this one 23-20
  • Ravens at Dolphins (1:00, CBS) – The Dolphins have been allowing way too many yards rushing in the last few weeks, and the Ravens have an above average ground game. Joe Flacco’s passer rating has been on a downward slide lately, but I think the ground game makes up for it this week. I’ll take the Ravens in a minor upset 20-17.
  • Texans at Jaguars (1:00, CBS) – This is another game which should come down to the ground game. The Jaguars have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league while the Texans are 4th in that category. I’ll take Houston for a road win 21-14.
  • Chiefs at Cardinals (4:05 CBS) – The Chiefs have been strong on the road this year, and for the Cardinals, Drew Stanton hasn’t been able to really fill the shoes of Carson Palmer. The Chiefs should shine on the road again and take this one 24-10.
  • Seahawks at Eagles (4:25 Fox) – This is probably the game of the week. The Eagles are undefeated at home, but as ESPN noted earlier, all those wins were against teams with losing records. The Seahawks have a tough defense and I just have a hunch that Philadelphia has a butt-fumble somewhere in their future. The Eagles are the favorite, but in another minor upset I’m going to take the Seahawks 27-24.

Ed:

  • Rams at Redskins (1:00, Fox) – The Rams aren’t a good road team, but the Redskins are in full meltdown mode with the QB controversy. St. Louis 27, Washington 17.
  • Ravens at Dolphins (1:00, CBS) – The Ravens got stat-fat in games against lesser opponents. They don’t do as well with winning teams, especially on the road. Dolphins in a close win, 23-20.
  • Texans at Jaguars (1:00, CBS) – The Jags won last week against a fading Giants team that will be in big trouble over the off-season. The Texans are on the opposite arc. I agree with Jazz on this one — pick Houston for a road win, 24-17.
  • Chiefs at Cardinals (4:05 CBS) – This should be a really good game, and would have been a fairly easy pick while Carson Palmer was still behind center. The Cards dropped two in a row on the road, but KC has lost two in a row too, one at home. Even though Arizona doesn’t look as tough on paper, I think the home-field advantage will make the difference. Cards 27-24, maybe in OT.
  • Seahawks at Eagles (4:25 Fox) – Another great game to watch, all the more because of the Mark Sanchez story. His offense has scored 76 points in the last two games, and the defense has only given up 34 points in the same period. I’ll stick with the favored Eagles, 33-24.