Predictions for every Week 14 game, including the Green Bay Packers’ meeting with the Atlanta Falcons.
Before the season this was a week to circle on the calendar. The Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons have been among the NFC’s top teams in recent years, including their last meeting two years ago with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
This season has been a different story. Both the Packers and Falcons have underachieved in 2018 and enter Sunday’s game a combined 8-15-1.
A win won’t do much for either team. Can the Packers get a victory in Joe Philbin’s first game as interim head coach?
Atlanta (4-8) at Green Bay (4-7-1)
Last week’s loss to Arizona was one of the worst Packers performances in some time. They looked like a team that had given up on the season and wasn’t playing for its head coach. With Mike McCarthy gone, it’s possible the Packers play with a little more energy, which can happen when there is a coaching change in the NFL.
That said, I don’t think for one second the Packers are suddenly going to flick a switch and everything will be well on offense. Or defense. And especially not special teams.
The Falcons have struggled this season, particularly on defense, a result of a run of bad luck with injuries. But their offense has still been strong (well, their passing offense) and could be an issue for the Packers defense without Kevin King.
I expect the Packers to play better than last week — it would be almost impossible not to — but the Falcons get the win.
Jacksonville (4-8) at Tennessee (6-6)
Jacksonville shut out the Colts last week, but that won’t happen again on a short week at Tennessee. Titans keep their playoff hopes alive.
NY Jets (3-9) at Buffalo (4-8)
Like the last time these two teams met, Buffalo’s defense will dominate the day.
NY Giants (4-8) at Washington (6-6)
A Giants win and Cowboys loss would pull New York within two games of the division lead. It’s not over yet for the Giants who get the win at Washington.
Pick: NY Giants
New Orleans (10-2) at Tampa Bay (5-7)
This year’s Saints remind me a lot of the 2014 Packers. New Orleans’ loss to Dallas last week was like Green Bay’s defeat to Buffalo that season. Coincidentally, the Packers’ next game was a win at Tampa Bay.
Pick: New Orleans
New England (9-3) at Miami (6-6)
New England is 1-4 in its past five trips to Miami, but there will be no upset this week. The Patriots get win number 10.
Pick: New England
Baltimore (7-5) at Kansas City (10-2)
The Chiefs move one step closer to the AFC’s first seed with a victory against the Ravens this week.
Pick: Kansas City
Indianapolis (6-6) at Houston (9-3)
The Colts were given a reality check last week, and they lose another key divisional showdown against the red-hot Texans. It’s 10 wins in a row.
Carolina (6-6) at Cleveland (4-7-1)
All of a sudden the Panthers have lost four in a row. They need to win this one, but I’m picking the Browns at home.
Denver (6-6) at San Francisco (2-10)
Denver is on a roll and increases its playoff chances with an important victory on the road.
Cincinnati (5-7) at LA Chargers (9-3)
The Chargers have quietly been putting together another strong season, but last week’s win in primetime showed the world why they belong in the Super Bowl conversation.
Pick: LA Chargers
Detroit (4-8) at Arizona (3-9)
Will the Cardinals make it two wins in a row against NFC North opponents? Probably not.
Pittsburgh (7-4-1) at Oakland (2-10)
Last week’s loss to LA all but ended Pittsburgh’s hopes of securing a first-round bye in the playoffs, but the Steelers get back on track to remain in first place of the AFC North.
Philadelphia (6-6) at Dallas (7-5)
Led by their strong defense the Cowboys have won four in a row. This week they take a giant leap towards winning the NFC East and could end Philadelphia’s season at the same time.
LA Rams (11-1) at Chicago (8-4)
Chicago’s defense is talented enough to slow down the Rams’ powerful offense, especially at home. If Mitch Trubisky is back the Bears will have a chance to win, but I’m still giving the slight edge to the Rams in what should be an interesting game.
Pick: LA Rams
Minnesota (6-5-1) at Seattle (7-5)
Seattle has been strong at home, and it gets a huge win over a playoff rival in the NFC. A big loss for the Vikings, who would likely need to win out to get a wild-card berth.
Last week: 10-6