Surviving Week 14
Last week, we had the 49ers who won easily, but the Bears and Cowboys probably knocked a few people out of your pools. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
|Team ||Opponent ||% Picked* ||Vegas ML** ||Vegas Odds
|RAVENS ||Colts ||28.00% ||1200 ||92%
|JETS ||Chiefs ||17.30% ||450 ||82%
|STEELERS ||Browns ||16.30% ||925 ||90%
|SEAHAWKS ||Rams ||16.20% ||275 ||73%
|LIONS ||Vikings ||10.20% ||350 ||78%
|PACKERS ||Raiders ||3.20% ||580 ||85%
|CHARGERS ||Bills ||2.70% ||285 ||74%
|BRONCOS ||Bears ||2.00% ||185 ||65%
|Patriots ||REDSKINS ||1.30% ||385 ||79%
|49ers ||CARDINALS ||0.70% ||185 ||65%
Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com
** average of the two moneylines
Keep in mind at this point, you've probably used most of the league's better teams, and the number of people on each one is less important than who's left for the remaining competitors in your particular pools.
1. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are an easy pick given the opponent and venue. Dan Orlovsky
gives the Colts some hope on offense, but unlike the generous New England defense he faced last week, the Ravens are likely to clamp down on Pierre Garcon
. I give Baltimore a 90 percent chance to win this game.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
I don't love division games, especially low-scoring ones, but the Steelers defense is going to be a major problem for an inept Browns attack, and Big Ben should make enough plays to put the game away. I give Pittsburgh an 86 percent chance to win this game.
3. New York Jets
The Chiefs were lucky to beat the Bears last week, and Chicago was missing its two best offensive players (by far). But the Chiefs played well against the Steelers the previous week and even took it to the Pats for a quarter in New England, before Tom Brady
solved them. Still, this game is at the Meadowlands, and the Jets defense is going to be a major problem for Tyler Palko
. I give the Jets an 83 percent chance to win this game.
4. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are without question the best team in the NFL, but being the undefeated Super Bowl champs means they're going to get their opponents' best effort more often than not. The Raiders played terribly in Miami, but they're in a fight for a playoff spot and will almost certainly show up this week. I give the Packers a 80 percent chance to win this game.
5. Seattle Seahawks (my pick)
The Seahawks are an average team at best, but they're tough at home, and they're facing arguably the league's worst team that could be down to its third-string QB. Moreover, the Rams have to travel across country, long after their season's been shot. I give the Seahawks a 77 percent chance to win this game.
6. San Diego Chargers
I'm loathe to back the Chargers against anyone, but they're finally getting healthy on offense, the backup linemen are starting to jell and the Bills are a banged up team traveling cross-country with nothing to play for. I give the Chargers a 76 percent chance to win this game.
7. Detroit Lions
The Lions should be motivated off an embarrassing loss to the Saints (embarrassing for different reasons than pure performance), especially with a playoff spot on the line. I'm a little nervous about the Vikings, however, as Christian Ponder
is getting better with every game, Percy Harvin
is getting a chance to make plays and Adrian Peterson
could be back. I give Detroit a 75 percent chance to win this game.
8. New England Patriots
The Patriots are one of the few teams in the league you can count on to show up nearly every week, but this is a tough spot for a few reasons: (1) It's a road game, (2) the Redskins defense is decent, (3) the Patriots pass defense isn't stopping anyone; and (4) Mike Shanahan has historically (5-2) fared well against Bill Belichick. That said, we're talking about Tom Brady
against Rex Grossman
. I give the Patriots a 75 percent chance to win this game.
San Francisco 49ers
- Patrick Willis
is out, and the Cardinals have been playing much better of late, beating Dallas and Philly and nearly winning in Baltimore.
- I'm enjoying Tim Tebow
's run as much as anyone, but the margins of victory are small, and the Bears defense has done a good job against running QBs like Michael Vick
and Aaron Rodgers
the last couple years.
New Orleans Saints
- The Saints are just 3-3 on the road, Drew Brees
plays far worse outside the Superdome and New Orleans can't stop the run.