With just five weeks remaining in the regular season, of course, nothing is settled at this point on the seedings in each conference. This weekend has the chance to make the overall situation cloudier or clearer. Depending on who wins the games of the week listed below. Tom Brady last week got one game closer to winning the MVP at the age of 44, just crazy to think about. Bill Belichick is almost a shoo-in for coach of the year. What a brilliant game he called last weekend on the road in Buffalo. If you told me that the Patriots would throw a meager three pass attempts and win this game, I would have called you crazy. But in true Chessmaster fashion, Belichick checkmated the Bills again when it mattered most. Mac Jones stats read as 2/3 C/ATT, 19 YDS, 0 TDs. I mean, that is crazy, but the Patriots prevailed 14 – 10 and are now in the driver seat for the #1 seed in the AFC. As of now, they hold all the critical tiebreakers in case anyone catches them. There is now a 10% statistical chance that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the New England Patriots in the Superbowl. If that dream/nightmare were to become a reality, it would undoubtedly be the most-watched Super Bowl in history. Rarely does society ever get to see sports debates settled. There are five weeks of Football left and then a few rounds of playoffs, so anything could happen.
Regarding the MVP race, if Brady outduels Josh Allen this weekend, he will virtually be a lock for the MVP. As for coach of the year, if anyone wants to put a dent in Belichick’s chances, it will be down in Arizona. Kliff Kingsbury has to beat Los Angeles this weekend. If not, I would say it’s over.
Although it may not be clear how the seeding works at the top, it’s even more of a mess at the bottom of the playoff seedings. The Bills at 7-5 hold the 7th seed in the AFC, along with Cincinnati, who is also 7-5. Together they have zero margins for error. The Steelers at 6-5-1 refuse to go away, The Colts, who have put up valiant fights in many games, are 7-6, and the Raiders, Browns, and Broncos are all 6-6. In the NFC, the 49ers hold the 7th seed at again 7-5; they have a little more error margin than the AFC teams. The 49eres are trailed by the Eagles, who are 6-7, and a slew of teams who are 5-7. What that means is almost every single game this weekend is important, as more than half the field still has a chance to make it. It’s time to separate the contenders from the pretenders. Enjoy!
Game(S) of the week
Buffalo Bills (8-4)
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)
Buffalo lost a key game last week that helped shape the AFC standings. Buffalo, which is struggling to put back-to-back wins together this season, really needs to win its next three games. The first is on the road in Tampa Bay, against Brady and company. They then play New England again in two weeks in what will undoubtedly be a very frigid Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Bill Belichick and the Patriots are hoping that the Bucs deliver this weekend and win big. You see, the Bucs beat the Patriots earlier in the year, but if they lose to the Bills, it will significantly help Buffalo climb back into the fray of winning the division or the number one seed.
Los Angeles Rams (8-4)
@ Arizona Cardinals (10-2) – Monday Night Football
Two weeks ago, I mentioned just how bad the Rams were. Especially after they tried to put together a super team with the mid-season additions of Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. Since that time, the Rams have played like chumps. Except for last week when they beat up on the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. If the betting public, or any public, is to take the Rams seriously as a Super Bowl contender, they must go on the road and win this game against the Arizona Cardinals, who lead the entire NFL with ten wins. This is an actual playoff-caliber game, showcasing two of the better teams in the league. The NFL has lucked out again, having this as a nationally televised game on Monday night!
Players of the week (WEEK 13)
Tom Brady continues to roll towards that MVP award. With five weeks to go, he stands an excellent chance. He torched Atlanta again this past weekend. Damien Harris was outplayed by Jonathan Taylor, who is a threat to Tom Brady and the MVP award. That said, Taylor was playing against the terrible Texans this past weekend, whereas Harris was on the road in Buffalo against a tough run defense team in extremely windy conditions. Harris carried the Patriots offense on his back in this one. I rarely choose players who perform well in a game they lost; rarely does a Tightend make this list. George Kittle is a TE, and his team lost a game that they needed to win. But 181 YDS and 2 Touchdowns, he was a one-man wrecking ball last week. Better luck next time!
- Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
38/51 C/ATT, 368 YDS, 4 TD’s
- Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
10 CAR, 111 YDS, 1 TD
- George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
9 REC, 181 YDS, 2 TD’s
Adam’s NFL week 14 picks. Last Week ATS: (9 – 4) / Season Total ATS: (96 – 82 – 1)
A pretty solid week last week; I think it was my best of this season. I should have done better though, had no idea Jalen Hurts was not starting against the Jets. Hurts is a terrible QB; of course, the Eagles’ backup, Gardner Minshew, plays like a gunslinger with nothing to lose and torched a miserable excuse for a Jets team.
Oh well, moving on. Some tough divisional matches to be mindful of this weekend. Buffalo must also travel on the road to Tampa Bay. After that exhausting, heartbreaking loss to the Patriots, do they have anything left in the tank? How does one pick the winner of the Rams and Cardinals? This is a Superbowl caliber matchup where the Rams still have an outside shot at winning the division; THEY MUST WIN HERE! Which Dallas team will show against Washington? This should be a very entertaining week of football.
- Sunday – 1:00 pm
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers:
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns:
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Football Team: Dallas -4.0
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans: Tennessee -8.5
Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs: Las Vegas +9.5
New Orleans Saints @ New York Jets:
New York +5.0
Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans:
- Sunday – 4:05 PM
Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos:
New York Giants @ Los Angeles Chargers:
Los Angeles -10.5
- Sunday – 4:25 PM
Buffalo Bills @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Tampa Bay -3.0
San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals: Cincinnati +1.0
- Sunday – 8:20 PM
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers:
Green Bay -12.5
- Monday – 8:15 PM
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals:
Los Angeles +2.5