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Week 14 NFL Picks

Last week went according to plan for Broncos fans. Not only did New England lose, but the Broncos thoroughly dominated KC.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Sunshine and rainbows people, the Broncos have found a new identity. Goodbye "as Peyton goes, so too go the Broncos", and hello "The Broncos are now a complete team and can dominate in multiple ways." Yes folks, this new look Broncos offense is no longer dependent on Peyton Manning playing lights out in order to win. What a relief that must be for not only Peyton himself, but for everyone on the Broncos team as well as the fans and front office.

But wait, there's more: What could be better than the offense finding a new and more dominant identity? It's that the TEAM is rounding into form. Yes, the team (i.e. all 4 phases) are gearing up to be the unstoppable juggernaut that is capable of traveling to New England in January and once again earning a trip to the Super Bowl. Why did I break tradition and say four phases? Easy: Offense, Defense, Special Teams, and Coaching Staff. That's right, I'm adding a fourth phase and it's called coaching staff.

The coaches, especially Jack Del Rio really impressed me last week. I don't know if they had a strong talking to from John Elway or if they just wanted to save their best stuff for the playoff push, but JDR is once again looking like an amazing defensive coordinator. Ditto John Fox with some clutch calls. Ditto times two to Adam Gase for remembering that this team is most dangerous when balanced. If the staff keeps this up, we'll all run out of criticism for this team. Go Broncos!

Last Week: 7-9
Overall:   120-71-1

Dallas Cowboys (8-4) at Chicago Bears (5-7) TNF
On the surface, this game looks easy to pick. Yes, Dallas is the more talented team, and yes, Chicago loves to shoot themselves in the foot. However, I'm not sure any team loves to shoot themselves in the foot more than the Cowboys do in the month of December. Oh, look, it's December! Prediction: Cowboys 23, Bears 16

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at (Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1)
Divisional games are always hard to predict. I don't care if it's the Raiders vs Broncos or Miami vs Jets, divisional games are volatile. I said that to say this: I don't know who wins, so I'm going with the home team. Prediction: Steelers 27, Bengals 30

St. Louis Rams (5-7) at Washington Redskins (3-9)
Are the Rams the best team that probably wont make the playoffs? Are they this year's 2013 Cardinals? I'm starting to believe so. Throw a horrible Redskins team into the mix and I'm not willing to say 52-0, but I am willing to say... Prediction: Rams 27, Redskins 6

New York Giants (3-9) at Tennessee Titans (2-10)
Tom Coughlin is done. Like, seriously done in New York. What's more terrifying than that is that Eli Manning might also be done. Right, wrong, or indifferent, I think Eli is a good quarterback and he might actually thrive in a different location (Denver anyone?). How a team can look so inept is beyond me which is why I'm going against my head and sticking to my gut. Prediction: Giants 24, Titans 26

Carolina Panthers (3-8-1) at New Orleans Saints (5-7)
The Saints simply baffle me. They lose three straight at home where they're suppose to be unbeatable, and then they go on the road to Pittsburgh no less and beat the Steelers. If anyone out there can explain this phenomenon to me, I'd be greatly appreciative. If Cam Newton can't play any better than he has been, then this will be a rough game for the Panthers and like it or not, the Saints will once again be in sole possession of their division with a losing record. But hey, at least it's creeping back up towards the .500 mark. Prediction: Panthers 24, Saints 31

New York Jets (2-10) at Minnesota Vikings (5-7)
The Jets love Rex Ryan, but with Ryan as good as gone, I can't see them "winning one for the Gipper" anymore. The Vikings are at least trending upwards with Teddy Bridgewater. The real question is this: Will Rex Ryan take a defensive coordinator job with a team like Denver, or will he demand to be a head coach somewhere? Either way I'd love him in Denver, but if Foxy Bear keeps coaching the way he has these last two weeks, I may reconsider. Prediction: Jets 16, Vikings 17

Baltimore Ravens (7-5) at Miami Dolphins (7-5)
Remember what I said about divisional games up above? Well, that's exactly what I'm feeling with this game. The Ravens and Dolphins are the same team. How do you pick a winner of two teams that are basically playing themselves? I guess I go with the team that has the most impact on my fantasy roster. Predictions: Ravens 27, Dolphins 33

Indianapolis Colts (8-4) at Cleveland Browns (7-5)
The Browns made the correct decision with sticking to Brian Hoyer, they really did. I won't mention their backup because I don't want to contribute to the "ratings" that his name brings. My philosophy is that if you want the talking heads on all the major networks to stop talking about players, you first have to stop talking about them yourself. Anyways, having to look over your shoulder is never a fun thing to do as a starting quarterback with a first round pick behind you (right Jake Plummer?), so even though the Colts would have won this game anyways, they'll probably win it in even more spectacular fashion. Prediction: Colts 39, Browns 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10) at Detroit Lions (8-4)
Game management won't really matter in this game, which is a good and bad thing when talking about the Bucs. There is only one possible outcome in the dome in Detroit, and that outcome is the stuff that nightmares are made out of if you're a fan of Tampa Bay. Prediction: Bucs 9, Lions 30

Houston Texans (6-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
I'm going to sound like a parrot here, but do you see what I wrote about the Bucs and Lions? Good, now change those teams to the Texans and Jags. Whew, saved myself a ton of writing on that one. Prediction: Texans 27, Jags 6

Buffalo Bills (7-5) at Denver Broncos (9-3)
Kyle Orton is returning to Denver. Lets hope that he plays up to the same level that got him canned 3 seasons ago. Actually, Buffalo's style fits Orton pretty well, but he's still a statue back there and he still sacks himself and makes mistakes at the worst possible times. Add in a booing crowd, and I just can't see Orton leading his team to even a respectable loss. Predictions: Bills 17, Broncos 45

Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) at Arizona Cardinals (9-3)
Remember three weeks ago when the Cardinals were the best team in the NFL and the Chiefs were riding a 5 game winning streak? Those sunny days must seem like a lifetime ago for these two teams. I only wish Jim Mora were coaching the Cardinals because "playoffs? Playoffs? Are you kidding me?" needs to be a video that Bruce Ariens needs to watch, what with his "we can win the super bowl with Drew" talk. He needs to focus on winning a darn game first! Prediction: Chiefs 24, Cardinals 27

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)
Here we go ladies and gentlemen, it's wet dream versus wet dream time! It's the two best teams in the history of 2014 going at it. They both lost games this year already? Nah, it's just the scoreboard opperators fault that he tallied the points wrong. Make no mistake about it, the Eagles will run a play every 4.5295658 seconds while scoring 751 points. But hold the phone because the Seahawks are back baby! They'll hold the Eagles to 3 points because they are the LOB, and everybody is scared of those guys! Prediction: Seahawks 246, Eagles 751/0 cause it'll both be a shutout and an NFL record for the ages in points.

San Francisco 49ers (7-5) at Oakland Raiders (1-11)
It looks like Jim Harbaugh is driving across the bridge to check out his new digs. Welcome to Oakland Jim. If you want to stay in California, you might want to leave a day early to check out some real estate listings. Prediction: 49ers 30, Raiders 17

New England Patriots (9-3) at San Diego Chargers (8-4) SNF
I'm not sure there's much else to say but "Go Chargers!", right? The only issue I see here is that if the Chargers are good enough to beat the Pats, they're also good enough to beat the Broncos. But hey, we'll worry about that next week! Prediction: Patriots 38, Chargers 41

Atlanta Falcons (5-7) at Green Bay Packers (9-3) MNF
Umm, I'm taking Green Bay because I'm not a blithering idiot. Prediction: Falcons 20, Packers 38

And now for my Confidence Rankings:

16: Denver
15: Green Bay
14: San Francisco
13: St. Louis
12: Indianapolis
11: Detroit
10: Houston
9: Dallas
8: Miami
7: Cincinnati
6: Minnesota
5: Arizona
4: Philadelphia
3: San Diego
2: Tennessee
1: New Orleans