NFL Week 14 picks: Falcons stun Saints, Chiefs roll Raiders in AFC West showdown
Wondering which NFL teams are going to win in Week 14? You've come to the right place to find out
After sitting through four quarters of a Steelers-Bengals game in December that included roughly an hour-and-a-half of rain, I'm 80 percent sure I now have pneumonia, so if I start babbling or making up new words this week, that's why.
As for Steelers-Bengals, if you were watching the game and thinking, "I've seen less violence in a UFC match," I would have to agree.
The Monday game was so violent that there was about a 20-minute period where I thought about doing flag football picks this week, but then I remembered that I don't actually know the names of any flag football teams, or even what the rules are, so I ended up shooting that idea down pretty quickly. The truth is, the game wasn't even that violent, it was just good old fashioned "AFC North football," according to a guy I went to college with. (Note: I went to college with Ben Roethlisberger).
Just a word of advice to the Steelers, if you play good old-fashioned "AFC North football" against Tom Brady in the playoffs, you'll be flagged a minimum of 71 times for 1,313 yards. It's a fact. On a somewhat related note, I bet Tom Brady would be good at flag football.
Speaking of flag football, Ben McAdoo might want to think about coaching that next, because, at this point, that's probably the only level of football he's qualified to coach. By the way, I'm pretty sure the Giants just went through the most dysfunctional seven-day period of any team in recent NFL history, and that includes the Browns. Just think about how dysfunctional you have to be to be more dysfunctional than the Browns, and somehow, the Giants did it.
I mean, over the past seven days, the Giants benched Eli Manning, reportedly unbenched him, had their owner admit that it was his idea to bench Manning, but then he also said that he didn't like the way that the coach ended up handling the benching, which led to the coach and general manager getting fired.
If that sounds confusing, that's because I think that's how the Giants want it.
Let us not forget that we're less than four weekspromising that McAdoo wouldn't be fired this year, but then firing him anyway. The only way the Giants could be any more of a circus is if they were being run by P.T. Barnum, but I don't think that's possible because he died in 1891. But also, maybe he is running the team because that would actually explain a lot.
Alright, let's get to something else that might turn into a circus this week: my Week 14 picks.
Actually, before we get to those picks, here's your weekly reminder to click over and check out the picks from every CBSSports.com NFL writer. This week you should click over because fantasy writer Jamey Eisenberg nearly bankrupted Vegas last week by going 12-4 against the spread. I'm not sure if bankrupting Vegas is actually possible, but I think it is because I saw a movie about it once.
If we made a movie about Eisenberg's picks, it would be pretty easy to cast that film because we would just get his cousin, Jesse, to play him.
I'm thinking Wilmer Valderrama could play me.
Alright, I'm going to stop casting this imaginary movie that's never going to get made so we can get to the picks.
NFL Week 14 Picks
New Orleans (9-3) at Atlanta (7-5), 8:25 p.m. ET, Thursday (NBC, NFL Network, Amazon streaming): I don't want to sit here and say the Falcons' new stadium has been a disaster, but it's been a disaster. For one, the roof still doesn't work, which has to be mildly concerning, considering the stadium went roughly $400 million over budget. Secondly, the new stadium hasn't been a good home-field advantage for the Falcons. In six home games Atlanta is 3-3 and the embarrassing part is that two of those losses came to the Dolphins and Bills.
Despite all of that, I think things might actually turn around for the better this week and that's mainly because the Chick-Fil-A inside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is FINALLY GOING TO BE OPEN FOR A FALCONS GAME. When the Falcons first announced that they were building an entire stadium around a Chick-Fil-A location, i didn't think it made any sense because Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays, which is the opposite of what you want from a restaurant in an NFL stadium.
However, this game isn't on a Sunday, it's on a Thursday, which means Chick-Fil-A is finally going to be open for a Falcons game. If I'm the Falcons, I'm marking up ticket prices at least 45 percent because who wouldn't want to pay extra to be able to eat Chick-Fil-A while watching a football game.
I have no idea why chicken sandwiches are going to help the Falcons win this game, but they will, I promise. Well, that and the fact that I'm fully expecting Julio Jones to go off after only catching two passes for 24 yards against the Vikings on Sunday.
Last season, Julio was held under 30 yards receiving three times. Let's just say that never happens two weeks in a row. In 2016, Jones exploded for 111, 139 and 300 yards in the games after he was held under 30. Not to mention the Saints might be forced to ask Marshon Lattimore and his gimpy ankle to shadow Jones for most of the game and Jones definitely isn't a guy you want to shadow when you have a gimpy ankle.
The pick: Falcons 33-30 over Saints
Oakland (6-6) at Kansas City (6-6), 1 p.m. ET (CBS): Over the past few weeks, the AFC West race has slowly turned into the football equivalent of a Sharknado movie: It's a total disaster that I can't take my eyes off of.
Just for reference, here's how the AFC West standings looked after Week 5 and after Week 13:
If you would've asked me after Week 5 what was more likely, an actual Sharknado hitting the West Coast or a three-way tie at the top of the AFC West heading into Week 14, I definitely wouldn't have guessed the second one, and even if I had guessed the second one, I would've assumed the Broncos were part of the three-way tie, so I would've been wrong anyway and the Sharknado probably would've killed everyone on the West Coast by that point.
As for who's going to be in first place after Week 14, I'm going to say Kansas City. If there's anything that can fix the Chiefs' current rut, it's hosting the Raiders. Not only is Derek Carr winless in Kansas City (0-3), but in his three trips to Arrowhead Stadium, he has played three of the worst games he has played in his career. I'm also picking the Chiefs because I'm not sure how much more their fans can take this season.
Yup, they definitely need this pick.
The pick: Chiefs 30-17 over Raiders
Minnesota (10-2) at Carolina (8-4), 1 p.m. ET (CBS): I would like to start here by formally apologizing to Vikings fans. For the past four weeks, I've picked against your team and I've been wrong every week. It all started REDSKINS to beat the Vikings in a decision that I still haven't come to grips with. It's a topic I talk about daily with my life coach, "WHY DID I PICK THE REDSKINS?", when I picked the
To be fair, I think I'm just asleep at the wheel of life, because how else could I miss this badly on the Vikings over the past four weeks? Although I've been sold on the Vikings defense since Day 1, the one thing keeping me from jumping on Minnesota's bandwagon was Case Keenum. I keep expecting him to melt down and he keeps playing like Joe Montana in his prime.
Normally, the skeptic in me would say those numbers don't mean anything because how did anyone keep track of that when the paint wasn't even put on the field CORRECTLY during the game.
However, I have learned to muzzle the skeptic in me, so I'm going to ignore that point. I'm officially on the Vikings bandwagon and I'm taking Minnesota because the Panthers' offense only does one thing well -- run the ball -- and the Vikings are built to stop that.
The pick: Vikings 23-16 over Panthers
Philadelphia (10-2) at L.A. Rams (9-3), 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox): While I was eating some avocado toast over the weekend, I made a list of all the teams the Eagles have beaten this season that currently have a winning record.
Here's the list: Carolina.
That's it. That's the entire list.
(I also made a list of the five best places to get avocado toast, but you'll have to read my book, The Five Best Places to get Avocado Toast, if you want that kind of information. Also, that's not an actual book yet, but it might be soon)
Anyway, I can't stop thinking about the fact that the Eagles have only beaten one team with a winning record. Now, I'm not trying insult the Eagles, because 10 wins is 10 wins and it's not like they get to make their own schedule, but I am saying that I can't in good faith pick the Eagles to win a game against a good team, especially on the road and especially after what happened in Seattle on Sunday.
Also, Sean McVay was the offensive coordinator for a Redskins team that went 2-0 against the Eagles last season. Why does that matter, you ask? Because McVay is a millennial and millennial's like avocado toast and that probably means he'll buy my book. Also, it means McVay is familiar with how to exploit the Eagles' defense, which is what I expect to happen.
The pick: Rams 30-27 over Eagles
Seattle (8-4) at Jacksonville (8-4), 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox): I never thought I would live to see the day where the Jaguars are favored to beat the Seahawks, but here we are. The oddsmakers in Vegas have made the Jags a three-point favorite over Seattle, which sounds crazy to me because I'm not even sure the Jaguars are going to be able to score three points. As far as mismatches go, Blake Bortles against the Seahawks defense is basically the same as me going up against Celine Dion in a karaoke contest where we only sing songs from the "Titanic" soundtrack. I would have no chance and that's kind of how I feel about Bortles producing any points Sunday.
Of course, I'm not going to predict a shutout because it's almost a guarantee that the Jaguars defense will set Bortles up for at least one easy score.
The pick: Seahawks 25-12 over Jaguars
NFL Week 14 picks: All the rest
Packers 20-13 over Browns
Cowboys 27-17 over Giants
Lions 27-24 over Buccaneers
Bills 20-17 over Colts
Jets 24-17 over Broncos
Chargers 34-27 over Redskins
Steelers 30--20 over Ravens
Patriots 27-16 over Dolphins
Best pick: In Marcus Peters was going to suffer a total meltdown, throw a penalty flag 30 rows up into the stands and then leave the stadium? Of course I did., I predicted that the underdog Jets would upset the Chiefs and then the underdog Jets went out and upset the Chiefs. Now, did I know that
Based on how the Chiefs have played over the past seven weeks, it was only a matter of time before someone had a total meltdown and that someone just happened to be Peters.
We've all been there, Marcus. I mean, that's basically how I react anytime I go to McDonald's and the ice cream machine doesn't work (which is all the time, McDonald's. Get with it). By the way, the scary thing for the Chiefs is that if that flag throw is any indication, Peters arguably has a better arm than Alex Smith.
Also, as far as meltdowns go, I think we can safely say Peters just passed "Antonio Brown throwing a cooler" as the top NFL tantrum of 2017.
To top Peters, someone is going to have to throw their helmet through a window and bonus points if that meltdown happens during a game in Minnesota because that entire stadium is made of glass.
Worst pick: My worst pick in Week 13 wasn't an actual game, it was my decision to start Isaiah Crowell in Fantasy. As everyone knows, there are literally only three rules to Fantasy Football: Never draft a Browns player, never start a Browns player and stay as far away from Jay Cutler as possible.
If you follow those three rules, you instantly give yourself a 97 percent chance of winning your Fantasy league's title in any given year. The joke's on me though because I didn't follow those rules this year. Not only did I draft a Browns player (Crowell), but I started him in a must-win game and he only scored four points and I ended up tying my opponent and now I'm going to miss the playoffs and I hate Fantasy Football.
My Fantasy game basically epitomized everything that's wrong with the Browns. First of all, Crowell wasn't even that bad. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry on 10 carries, but the Browns decided to stop giving him the ball because giving him the ball would have been the smart thing to do and if the Browns are known for one thing, it's definitely not doing the smart thing. It's almost like Hue Jackson does the reverse of what any other NFL coach would do in any common game situation, which might actually explain why the Browns are 1-27 in their past 28 games.
Moving on, we can't have a "worst pick" section without a worst pick, so my actual worst pick of Week 13 was taking the Bears over 49ers. It's common knowledge that Jimmy Garoppolo is much too handsome to lose an NFL game, yet I picked against him anyway. The man is now 3-0 in three career starts and I just think I need to start accepting the fact that I'll never be that handsome and that some people can just handsome their way to NFL wins.
I can't compete with that. I'm a sportswriter who eats waffles for two meals a day. Although I picked San Francisco to lose to the Texans this week, I won't be surprised at all if Jimmy uses his handsomeness to will the 49ers to victory, which will then lead to us having this exact same conversation in this exact section next week.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good (or bad) at picking, here's a quick look.
Teams I'm 11-1 picking this year: Browns
Teams I'm 4-8 picking this year: Jaguars
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Note: Fortunately for all of us, I'm not 0-12, 1-11 or 2-10 or 3-9 picking any team this year
Straight up in Week 13: 10-6
SU overall: 119-73
Against the spread in Week 13: 9-7
ATS overall: 93-92-7
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