We are now three-quarters through the 2015 NFL regular season and if you are still alive in your Survivor Pool, I'm sure the pickings are slim on teams going forward. Last week was a great example. Clearly the top choice on the board should have been Cincinnati over Cleveland, but I had used the Bengals previously and am sure you had too. Thankfully, I also had used New England as well in my competitions because the Patriots suffered a stunning home loss -- they had won 56 straight after a defeat -- to Philadelphia.
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Two teams I liked last week were Washington and the New York Giants despite both being under .500. Naturally, they both lost at home -- Skins to the Cowboys and Giants to the Jets -- on field goals on the final play of the game (or nearly so). I think the Redskins win their game if DeSean Jackson doesn't make one of the boneheaded plays of the year and fumble a late punt return inside his own 15. Yes, Washington would then tie the game after a Cowboys touchdown, but the Redskins left too much time on the clock for Matt Cassel, and he led the game-winning field-goal drive. The Giants should have won but for yet another questionable fourth-quarter decision by Coach Tom Coughlin, which likely costs him his job after this season. The NFC East is a joke with the Redskins, Giants and Eagles tied for first at 5-7. We could be looking at a 6-10 champion.
My upset choice in Week 13 was New Orleans at home over Carolina, but that pitiful Saints defense allowed a Cam Newton TD pass in the final minute-plus for the comeback win.
Here are my Week 14 picks, with the first team listed as the choice. A handful of teams can clinch playoff spots -- only Carolina has thus far.
Top Choice Of Week
Kansas City vs. San Diego: I'd certainly feel comfortable with Denver or Green Bay in this spot as well. But the Chiefs are a different beast right now as the defense is dominating and Alex Smith is working on a near-record streak of not throwing interceptions. Kansas City went to San Diego in Week 11 and won 33-3. Why would this be any different with the Bolts playing at 10 a.m. Pacific time and already making tee times for early January?
Green Bay vs. Dallas: Aaron Rodgers vs. Matt Cassel. Need I say more? No way Packers lose a third straight home game, especially with Cowboys on a short week.
Denver vs. Oakland: Future QB rivalry to watch in the AFC West -- Brock Osweiler vs. Derek Carr. What do Broncos do if Peyton Manning is ready for Week 15? Denver clinches AFC West with win and Chiefs loss.
New York Jets vs. Tennessee: You probably haven't used the Jets yet, and I'm pretty comfortable about this game even though Marcus Mariota had a record-setting day for the Titans in last week's win over Jacksonville. Remember, the Jets were hoping Mariota would slide to them -- or trade up with the Titans -- in this year's draft.
Arizona vs. Minnesota (Thursday): Vikings have been blown out in two of their past three games, and Adrian Peterson is questioning his own head coach. That once very good defense also is going to be down a handful of starters due to injury. Cards are in playoffs with win and could clinch NFC West depending on what Seattle does.
Carolina vs. Atlanta: Falcons have been totally exposed. Doubt Panthers will be looking past this division game to a tough trip to the Giants in Week 15. Carolina clinches first-round playoff bye with win.
Seattle at Baltimore: Seahawks are on another of their usual late-season dominating runs. Tough early start in Baltimore, but Ravens have nothing to play for.
Could Go Either Way
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo: I've given up trying to figure out who the Eagles are. I will say this: Make sure LeSean McCoy is in your fantasy lineup this week as he was really ticked off at Chip Kelly (and called him a racist) for trading him this offseason.
Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans: I think last week's close loss to Carolina broke the Saints and that they mail it in the rest of the way. Bucs won in New Orleans earlier this season.
Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh: The Bengals win the AFC North with a victory, while the Steelers could make things interesting with an upset. Pittsburgh could potentially be the scariest No. 6 seed in NFL postseason history.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville: Still no Andrew Luck for Indy. The Colts have won six straight in the series. In Week 4, the Colts beat the visiting Jags 16-13 in overtime in Matt Hasselbeck's first start of 2015.
Chicago vs. Washington: Figures, the one time I am confident in the Bears they lay an egg at home to San Francisco. But the Redskins aren't good on the road -- Kirk Cousins definitely isn't -- and are on a short week.
Miami vs. NY Giants (Monday): I'd put this in the "Why Bother" category, but it's still relevant for the co-first-place Giants in the NFC East. What do I think these teams have in common? Both will be after Saints coach Sean Payton, a former Giants assistant, this offseason.
Upset Of Week
Houston vs. New England: Tom Brady is running out of guys to throw to; will Rob Gronkowski play this week? The Texans' defense has been playing excellent at home of late. You could argue the best two players in football will be meeting a few times in the backfield here in Brady and J.J. Watt. Houston needs this game more.
San Francisco at Cleveland: Blaine Gabbert vs. Johnny Manziel, who has been given his starting job back. Nothing to see here.
St. Louis vs. Detroit: Both will have new head coaches next season. The Rams have flat-lined under Jeff Fisher, not scoring more than 18 points in five-game skid. I'll say they end that only being at home.
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