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Brian Eller

My picks for Week 14 in the NFL


Cleveland at Buffalo -- If you looked at this game back in August, you'd have pegged it as one of the season's worst. But in the past month, both the Bills and Browns have been playing at a competitive level, which is saying something for these two franchises. I really like what Peyton Hillis is doing this season. He should certainly be on the Pro Bowl roster in a few months and should keep rolling on the road this weekend.

Green Bay at Detroit -- This week doesn't look promising for the Bears, which means Green Bay needs to take advantage and put away a pesky Lions team on the road. Aaron Rodgers continues to put up impressive numbers and Clay Matthews Jr. is in the race for defensive MVP. That's a tantalizing combination in the Motor City.

New York Giants at Minnesota -- Will Brett Favre run his streak to 298 consecutive regular season games? Does it even matter anymore? He's so banged up under center, it's a wonder the Vikings are able to win at all. Still, they're coming off an impressive pounding against Buffalo and catch the Giants at a time when turnovers seem to be there for the taking. Eli Manning played well last week despite no touchdowns, leading me to believe he'll find a way again this weekend.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh -- My family loves the Ravens dearly, so it's understandable that the words "Troy Polamalu" aren't too welcome in my home. Yet, watching him play is nothing short of amazing. Even after all of the big plays, opposing offenses still lose track of where he is on the field. That spells bad news for the Bengals, who should continue their tailspin Sunday.

Tampa Bay
at Washington -- Imagine the relief it will be when the Redskins finally cut ties with troubled defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth. I know I'll be happy to stop hearing about his latest pickle each week. As for the rest of the team, Washington has been so streaky this season, it's hard to get a read on them. I like Josh Freeman and Co. on the road in our nation's capital.

Atlanta at Carolina -- It might be a matchup between the NFL's best record and worst record, but this game will show me a lot about the Falcons. With dates against Carolina in two of the final four weeks, now is the time for Atlanta to seize control of the NFC and clinch home field advantage. The Panthers are playing for nothing but pride in this one, but that's still enough to give any team a scare.

Oakland at Jacksonville -- You can call this my "mini-upset" of the weekend, as I think the Raiders will surprise some people. For a franchise that's been known for draft-day blunders, the Raiders got one right in running back Darren McFadden. Taken fifth overall in 2008, McFadden is starting to blossom in this offense, meaning an epic showdown of two of the game's top running backs will be fun to watch. I'll lean with McFadden and the Raiders in a bit of a shock.

St. Louis at New Orleans -- **Upset Special** Speaking of shocking, the real surprise will come in the Big Easy, where the Saints will be hard-pressed to put away a growing Rams team. This could be a big step in rookie quarterback Sam Bradford's career and with a signature win, Rams fans should feel even better about the team's stock moving forward.

Seattle at San Francisco -- Week 14 certainly has its share of good games, but this one isn't one of them. I could go either way with both of these teams, but I'm not sold on San Fran's turnaround, which means coach Mike Singletary could be done after the season. On the other side, Pete Carroll's second stint in the league is going considerably better and the Seahawks will reward him with a win on the road.

New England at Chicago -- I woke up to snow this morning, but not as much as what's expected at Soldier Field Sunday. Snow games are easily the best to watch, and two division leaders makes it even better. I might be cynical, but I'll never be sold on the Bears, no matter what their record is. I'll take the offense that put up 45 on the Jets last Monday.

Miami at New York Jets -- Tom Brady decided to take a breather so the Jets could return home to face the Dolphins, where a much gentler offense awaits. Having watched Jets linebacker Bart Scott during his time on Baltimore, I have a feeling what happened against New England on Monday Night Football won't ever happen again. Too bad the Dolphins will take the brunt of the punishment.

Denver at Arizona -- Three cheers for the worst game of the entire NFL season. Denver is without a head coach, while the Cardinals can't win even with a coach. This game is going to be ugly. I'd put the over-under for total turnovers at 6 1/2. I'm inclined to take the over. I'm also inclined to take the Broncos.

Kansas City at San Diego -- Matt Cassell's status is still up the air, but if he's able to go, I really like the Chiefs' chances. Still, the thought of him missing this key divisional game doesn't bode well for the Chiefs, meaning I'll have to side with the Chargers in this one.

Philadelphia at Dallas -- We've seen a spark in the Cowboys since Wade Phillips was fired. Dallas has won three of its last four and now gets a home date with hated rival Philadelphia. The buzz around Michael Vick has simmered in recent weeks, but he's still a tremendous threat and enough to give the edge to the Eagles.

Baltimore at Houston -- The Ravens are coming off a stinging loss at home against Pittsburgh, but there's little time to feel down in the dumps. Houston's record has certainly been disappointing, but Matt Schaub and Arian Foster are still a dangerous combination in that offense. Still, I like the Ravens to get back to their winning ways on Monday.

Last week: 9-6
Season: 72-42




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