O'Halloran: Week 14 NFL picks

O'Halloran: Week 14 NFL picks
December 10, 2011, 4:37 pm
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The NFL reaches the final quarter pole and five teams have fewer wins than the Redskins. But one more victory and a few other teams mailing it in could push them out of the top 10 of the draft.

On to the Week 14 picks:

Patriots (minus 8) at Redskins: In Washingtons last match-up against New England, it was a 15-point road underdog and lost 52-7. So things cant really get any worse for the Redskins, right? Probably not. But expect the minus-15 turnover ratio to get worse the Patriots will take a lead, forcing the Redskins to resort to the passing game. Patriots 38-21.Colts (plus 16.5) at Ravens: Indy was a three-touchdown dog last week at New England, but covered with a Garbage Time Fourth Quarter To Remember. The Ravens dont have Ray Lewis to keep pushing the buttons when they get a big lead so Colts QB Dan Orlovsky continues his drive to be a well-paid back-up somewhere next year. Ravens 30-20.Texans (plus 3) at Bengals: Houston may play in Texas and have the option of opening and closing its roof, but it has a perfect cold weatherplayoff formula third in rushing, second in fewest yards allowed and third in turnover ratio. Texans 23-20.

Raiders (plus 11.5) at Packers: Tough assignment for Oakland cross-country to Miami (blown out), back to the Bay Area and another long trip to cold weather (although Sundays high is 37 degrees). The Packers lead the NFL with 23 interceptions and their 31st-ranked pass defense is somewhat misleading theyre always playing with a lead so teams have to go that route. Packers 37-19.Chiefs (plus 10.5) at Jets: Except for maybe three throws, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was completely underwhelming last week against the Redskins. Heck, the Wildcat became a regular part of their offense. Kansas City isnt much better but after beating Chicago on the road, this number is too big. Jets 17-13.Vikings (plus 10) at Lions: Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier should be fired at seasons end based entirely on him insisting the Vikings trade for Donovan McNabb. Lions 34-27.Saints (minus 3.5) at Titans: Even with Chris Johnson in All-Pro form 340 rushing yards the last two games its passing, not running that keeps up with New Orleans, which is on the way to a first-round bye. Saints 34-17.Eagles (plus 3) at Dolphins: Is this the last month of Andy Reids tenure with Philadelphia? It will be if the last few results continue. The Eagles have 29 turnovers and stink in the red zone, two variables they share with other bad teams. Miami has averaged 29.7 points in its last three home games. Dolphins 23-17.Falcons (minus 3) at Panthers: Atlanta is currently one of the NFCs two wild card teams, but who thinks it can do anything in the postseason? The Falcons offense impresses nobody and expect Cam Newton to avenge one of his poorer games. Panthers 33-24.Buccaneers (minus 2.5) at Jaguars: Two awful teams one expected (Jax) and one surprising (Tampa Bay). The Redskins had a chance to take Blaine Gabbert at No. 10, but Mike Shanahan passed. Looks like the right move. Buccaneers 7-3.49ers (minus 4) at Cardinals: The Sons of Jim Harbaugh have already clinched the NFC West and are in line for a first-round bye. It will be fascinating to see what the 49ers do if they fall behind in a game. Next weeks game against Pittsburgh could provide that example. 49ers 20-10.Bears (plus 3.5) at Broncos: A break from Tim Tebow Mania for a moment. During his starts, Denvers defense has 21 sacks. Helping Timmy this week is a Bears offense without running back Matt Forte and has quarterback Caleb Hanie still starting. Broncos 23-14.Bills (plus 7) at Chargers: Before the pick, a nod to Buffalo News writer Allen Wilson, 49, who lost his battle with leukemia last week. He was always helpful at things like the Scouting Combine and Super Bowl. Chargers 24-23.Giants (plus 3.5) at Cowboys: A scheduling quirk has Big Blue and The Star playing two times in the final four weeks. Lead in the dreadful NFC East is up for grabs. The Giants havent lost five straight in eight years and Dallas is coming off a malfunction-at-the-junction ending against Arizona. Cowboys. 29-24.Rams (plus 9.5) at Seahawks: The teams last match-up in Seattle merited a prime-time spot because the NFC West title was on the line. This, well, doesnt. Seahawks 9-0.
RecordsStraight: 12-3 last week, 122-68 season.
Spread: 7-8 last week, 83-97-3 season.

Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com