Fearless Rick's NFL Football Picks - Week 14 early games

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WEEK 14 NFL Picks

All times Eastern

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Week 13 Results: Coin: 8-7; Rick: 5-10
Cumulative: Coin: 77-95-6; Rick: 85-87-6

Thursday, December 8

Oakland at Kansas City (-3, 47), 8:25 pm (NBC-NFLN-Twitter) - Biggest game of the season for both teams, as the Chiefs kept hope of winning the AFC west alive with a late-game win at Atlanta last week, returning a two-point conversion attempt into two points for themselves and the victory.

The Raiders fell behind Buffalo by 15 points early in the second half of their game last week, only to reel off 29 consecutive points for a 38-24 trouncing and a 10-2 mark. Probably the best Thursday night game of the season is a tough one to call. KC has the defense and home field, Oakland the offense and possible league MVP Derek Carr. Close call either way.

This is the second meeting of these division rivals, with Kansas City taking the first game, 26-10, at Oakland. The way KC is playing, they may just complete the sweep, especially since they have home field advantage and a hungry defense.

Coin Flip: Kansas City

Rick's Pick: Chiefs 27 Raiders 21

Sunday, December 11

Pittsburgh (-2, 47 1/2) at Buffalo, 1:00 pm (CBS) - Buffalo completely fell apart halfway through the third quarter of their 38-24 loss at Oakland last week, blowing a 15-point lead en route to evening their record at 6-6. Pittsburgh can dispel most hope the Bills and their fans may have of ending a 16-year playoff drought with a win, while also securing a solid position in their chase for the AFC North division.

The Steelers have one of the more explosive offenses in the league, and the Bills, whether the cause be injuries or poor scheming, have shown themselves susceptible to efficient passing attacks. Pittsburgh may not have the best defense, but they do have experience winning in December, an advantage one would ignore at their own peril.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Rick's Pick: Steelers 27 Bills 23

San Diego at Carolina (-1, 48), 1:00 pm (FOX) - Being thoroughly hammered in Seattle, 40-7, Sunday night, the Panthers, now completely eliminated from contending for the post-season, return home to lick their wounds and face the predictably dangerous offense of Phillip Rivers and the Chargers, themselves having the flame of the playoff hope almost fully extinguished with their 28-21 home loss to the Buccaneers last week.

Like it or not, this is just a game between a 5-7 team (Chargers) and a 4-8 team (Panthers). We actually don't like either, but figure the Chargers still have some fire in the bellies.

Coin Flip: San Diego

Rick's Pick: Chargers 24 Panthers 20

Cincinnati (-4 1/2, 43) at Cleveland, 1:00 pm (CBS) - Poor Browns. Poor Cleveland fans. Well, at least the people of Cleveland have the Indians and Cavaliers, teams of a much higher quality than the fumbling Brownies. 0-16 becoming ever more a distinct probability, there's no compelling reason to pick the Browns for anything other than the first pick in the Spring draftŠ which they'll waste, as usual, on another fumbler. Oh, wait, Robert Griffin III is back? Word has it that he "might" start and "may" play. Rust. Turnovers. Cincinnati in a snooze.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Rick's Pick: Bengals 30 Browns 13

Chicago at Detroit (-7 1/2, 43 1/2), 1:00 pm (FOX) - Running their winning streak to four games with a win at New Orleans last week, 28-13, the Lions can further expectations of winning the NFC North with a romp over their division brethren from the Windy City.

Stunning almost nobody, the Bears triumphed over the hapless 49ers last week, sending San Francisco to their 11th straight loss, 26-6. The Lions are a far different animal, as the Bears defense will find out whenever Detroit and QB Matt Stafford has the ball. Blowout city. Just to keep people interested, the Bears won the first meeting this season, 17-14, in Chicago.

Coin Flip: Detroit

Rick's Pick: Lions 45 Bears 17

Houston at Indianapolis (-6, 47), 1:00 pm (CBS) - After whipping the Jets without mercy Monday night, 41-10, the Colts are rightfully heavy favorites against the struggling Texans, who went from 6-3 to 6-6 in just three weeks, losing to Oakland, San Diego, and last week, Green Bay, 21-13.

Oddly enough, the Colts are also just 6-6, as are the Titans, in a three-way tie for the lead in the AFC South, but, the Colts are going in a different direction, winning three of their last four, the only defeat to Pittsburgh, 28-7, when Andrew Luck was replaced at QB by the ineffective Scott Tolzein. With momentum on their side and home field to boot, look for the Colts to even things up (Houston won the first meeting, 26-23, in OT) and take command in the division.

Coin Flip: Indianapolis

Rick's Pick: Colts 31 Texans 21

Minnesota (-3, 40) at Jacksonville, 1:00 pm (FOX) - Minnesota has fallen two games behind the Lions in the NFC North and are tied with the Packers at a mediocre 6-6, having lost at home to Dallas Thursday night, 17-15. Their backs firmly up against the make-or-break playoff wall, the Vikings must have a win here in order to stay in contention, if even for a wild card.

As far as the Jags are concerned, their offense can be throttled, as evidenced by their 20-10 defeat at the hands of the visiting Denver Broncos last week. The Nikes should come through OK, though they still may not reach playoff-land.

Coin Flip: Jacksonville

Rick's Pick: Vikings 21 Jaguars 14

Arizona at Miami (-1, 43 1/2), 1:00 pm (FOX) - Has Miami been faking it all season or are they a real playoff team? Judging by the way the Baltimore defense handled them last week in a 38-6 rout, it appears the Dolphins six game winning streak was something of a fluke, with just one of those victories coming against a team with a winning record (Pittsburgh).

At 5-6-1, the Cardinals are a team which Miami can supposedly beat, especially with Arizona's 1-4 road mark. The fish are 5-1 at home, which is good enough to make them the choice, albeit a slim one.

Coin Flip: Miami

Rick's Pick: Dolphins 23 Cardinals 20

Washington (-1, 46 1/2) at Philadelphia, 1:00 pm (FOX) - Philly, having lost last week to the Bengals, 32-14, has now lost seven of their last nine since opening the season 3-0, so it appears that the experiment with rookie QB Carson Wentz is officially a failure, for this season, at least.

Having played well enough to win most of their games, the Redskins were upended in Arizona last week, 31-23, but, at 6-5, still have a solid shot at a wild card, the Giants, Vikings, Packers and Buccaneers the nearest competition. It's too early to call it quits in DC. Washington won the first meeting between these division rivals on October 16, by a 27-20 score.

Coin Flip: Philadelphia

Rick's Pick: Redskins 26 Eagles 20

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-2 1/2, 51), 1:00 pm (FOX) - It's a strange situation for the Saints, lookingup in the standings at Tampa Bay, now tied with the Falcons at 7-5, atop the NFC South, while New Orleans slumped to 5-7 with their 28-13 loss to the Lions last week.

The Buccaneers have a serious hot hand at the right time of the season. Winners of four straight, the connection of Jameis Winston to Mike Evans is proving to be one of the best in the league. Besides, Tampa's defense is improving weekly, making key stops at critical points in games.

Coin Flip: New Orleans

Rick's Pick: Buccaneers 28 Saints 23

Denver at Tennessee (-1, 43 1/2), 1:00 pm (CBS) - Entering week 14 with an 8-4 mark, one would think the Denver Broncos are a shoo-in for the playoffs, but, taking a look at their remaining schedule, they had better be ready for this game because they play New England, Kansas City and Oakland to finish up the regular season.

The Titans are tied with Indianapolis and Houston in the AFC South, so this has all the elements of December and pre-playoff football. The Broncos have experience on defense, which should allow enough of an advantage to win on the road.

Coin Flip: Denver

Rick's Pick: Broncos 23 Titans 16

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