NFL Picks Week 14: DLT's Deadlocks

VaderClaus

SB Nation Tampa Bay's JC De La Torre offers his unique perspective with his Week 14 pigskin prognostication.

'Tis the season for silliness. Where contenders desperate for victories to qualify for post-season play inexplicably lose to teams with no chance and nothing to play for. Teams like Oakland, battling for an AFC West crown and trying to hold on against the tsunami known as Tebow-mania somehow gets blown out by the Dolphins.

Dallas, who has feasted on NFC West opponents all season to post a "not as good as your record indicates" facade, somehow managed to let the putrid Arizona Cardinals hang around and got themselves "Goliath'ed".

This is the part of the season that drives pigskin prognosticators positively polar (as in bi-polar).

Throw in the teams who are trying to win to save their coaches (see Bucs, Tampa Bay) while contenders who have it all wrapped up begin to rest their starters (see 49ers, San Francisco) and you can see the challenge we face.

Rather than continue this insufferable whinefest - let me take my best shot at improving on last week's 11-5.

Last Week: 11-5 68% Overall: 127-65 66% Upset Special: 9-12 43% Bucs Picks: 8-4 67%

Thursday Night

Pittsburgh 23, Cleveland 13 - Old rivalry games are always an upset alert at this time of year but Cleveland has been playing so poorly its hard to imagine them pulling off the upset here. Then again, stranger things have happened.

Sunday

NY Jets 20, Kansas City 13 - Two teams desperate to keep pace in their respective divisions battle it out in New Jersey. The Jets currently have a better shot at the post season and are playing inspired football, plus they're at home where they're 5-1 this season.

Tampa Bay 16, Jacksonville 13 - If the Bucs can't beat Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars- they're not going to win another game the rest of the season. Regardless, I hope you have MJD on your fantasy team.

New England 28, Washington 20 - The Patriots haven't exactly been lighting up the scoreboard but they've done enough to keep their four game win streak intact. The Redskins have sunk back to the bottom of the NFC East - yet again.

Upset Special: Carolina 24, Atlanta 20 - Okay, rolling the dice here. I really like the way the Panthers are coming together down the stretch. They completely destroyed Tampa Bay on the road and host another division rival, Atlanta at home. With Cam playing lights out, this team will be a handful for the contenders down the stretch.

Baltimore 23, Indianapolis 13 - Another dangerous game for the Ravens, who like to play down to their competition. The Colts would love nothing better than to end their winless run in the city they used to call home, sticking that knife in a little deeper.

Upset Special #2: Miami 28, Philadelphia 17 - There was once upon a time that the Eagles were called the Dream team. Now they're the dream opponent for anyone looking for a win.

Detroit 20, Minnesota 13 - The Lions are struggling and desperately need to pull off a win. The Vikings are in job saving mode. I think the Lions have enough in the tank to pull this one out but this is definitely an upset alert.

Upset Special #3: Tennessee 24, New Orleans 16 - The Saints are so good at home but they're an average team away from the Superdome. The Titans are playing like a team that believes they're in the playoff hunt and with Chris Johnson finding his game the past couple weeks they could be a handful.

Houston 23, Cincinnati 20 - Houston put together a surprising performance against Atlanta despite being down to their third string quarterback. It's their defense and running game that will make the difference against the Bengals - who haven't proven they can beat a contender.

Denver 20, Chicago 13 - Tebow proved that he can win a game when the defense doesn't play well. The power of Timmy compels me to pick them against the Bears.

San Francisco 23, Arizona 16 - The 49ers have wrapped up the NFC West, now they are looking to sew up a first round bye. The Cards stunned Dallas last week - but I wouldn't expect lightning to strike twice here.

San Diego 27, Buffalo 20 - The Bills are the Bucs of the AFC, after a good start they are free fallin' more than a Tom Petty record. The Chargers aren't much better but I think they can pull this one out.

Green Bay 37, Oakland 27 - Aaron Rodgers is willing the Packers to an undefeated regular season. The first team that shuts Rodgers down will be the one to beat the Pack. Will it be Oakland? I don't think so...but strange things happen in the black hole.

Sunday Night

NY Giants 26, Dallas 16 - Dallas' upset loss to the Cards kept them in striking distance for the G-men. A win by New York puts them in a first place tie and in control of their own destiny. It's funny, every time I hear that cliche' I think of Darth Vader..."Luke...it's your DES....TINY..."

Monday Night

Seattle 23, St. Louis 20 - A game that cries for Monday Night Football to enjoy flex privileges, too. Who in America other than the fans in their respective cities (if they're even still watching) would want to see this game? Who are we excited to see - Marshawn Lynch? Really NFL schedule makers? Really? This game in December was the best you could come up with? Not Jets-KC? Not Giants-Cowboys? Seattle and St. Louis. Gawd almighty.

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