Poupart's Picks: Week 14

Here are the fearless predictions for Week 14 of the 2006 NFL season, courtesy of Dolphin Digest Associate Editor Alain Poupart.

Thursday, Dec. 7

Cleveland (4-8) at Pittsburgh (5-7) — OK, so we can't do this one because it's already been played. Shame because that would have been an easy one to pick.

Sunday, Dec. 10

New England (9-3) at Miami (5-7) — The Dolphins' very slim playoff hopes pretty much disappeared last Sunday against Jacksonville, but it still wouldn't surprise anyone to see them finish on a roll. The Patriots haven't been great lately, but they always find a way to win. Same thing happens here. Prediction: New England, 20-17.

Minnesota (5-7) at Detroit (2-10) — The Vikings have a messy situation at quarterback, and we don't know whether it will be Brad Johnson or Tarvaris Jackson against the Lions. The Lions, meanwhile, have played some decent games recently but just can't find a way to win. But Jon Kitna and Roy Williams will get it done this time. Prediction: Detroit, 24-17.

Tennessee (5-7) at Houston (4-8) — Vince Young has the Titans playing inspired football lately and they should keep their run going against a Houston team that is always up and down. Prediction: Tennessee, 23-16.

Oakland (2-10) at Cincinnati (7-5) — As bad as their record is, the Raiders have been playing very good defense, especially against the pass. But the Bengals are on a roll and starting to look like a dangerous playoff opponent for anybody. Prediction: Cincinnati, 27-13.

Philadelphia (6-6) at Washington (4-8) — The Eagles are coming off a huge Monday night victory over Carolina that's gotten them back in the playoff race. Jeff Garcia had a big game against the Panthers, and the Redskins isn't nearly as good. Prediction: Philadelphia, 22-14.

Baltimore (9-3) at Kansas City (7-5) — Chiefs at home. That's the recipe here for a Kansas City team that will bounce back after a really bad loss at Cleveland last week. The Ravens, meanwhile, just aren't as good as their record might indicate. Prediction: Kansas City, 20-10.

Atlanta (6-6) at Tampa Bay (3-9) — The Bucs traditionally have given Michael Vick a lot of problems, but their defense isn't as good as it used to be. And that offense is just brutal. Prediction: Atlanta, 21-16.

N.Y. Giants (6-6) at Carolina (6-6) — Two of the most disappointing teams in the league face off in a battle to see which one can stop the bleeding. It won't help Carolina that Chris Weinke will have to start at quarterback. But their defense will make the difference anyway. Carolina, 19-16.

Indianapolis (10-2) at Jacksonville (7-5) — The Colts don't look nearly as invincible as they did a couple of weeks ago, and this is a bad matchup for them. Jacksonville has the defense to keep Peyton Manning in check, and the Fred Taylor/Maurice Jones-Drew combination should have a big day. Prediction: Jacksonville, 20-17.

Green Bay (4-8) at San Francisco (5-7) — The 49ers still have playoff aspirations and they absolutely must beat a bad Packers team coming off a putrid performance at home against the Jets. Prediction: San Francisco, 24-20.

Seattle (8-4) at Arizona (3-9) — Matt Leinart ha played pretty well in recent weeks and he might have a decent game here, but it's tough to see the Cardinals slowing down Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck. Prediction: Seattle, 33-20.

Buffalo (5-7) at N.Y. Jets (7-5) — The Jets very quietly have put themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff race and should be able to get by a Bills team that can't close. Prediction: N.Y. Jets, 21-16.

Denver (7-5) at San Diego (10-2) — The Broncos have gone for chasing a division title to being in a desperate battle just to make the playoffs, and there still probably will be growing pain with Jay Cutler. The Chargers won at Denver a few weeks ago, so it's difficult to pick against them. Prediction: San Diego, 24-16.

New Orleans (8-4) at Dallas (8-4) — The way Rex Grossman is stinking up the joint in Chicago, this just might be a preview of the NFC Championship Game. Drew Brees has had a great season, but he'll probably be without both Marques Colston and Joe Horn in this one. Dallas has much better balance. Prediction: Dallas, 26-14.

Monday, Dec. 11

Chicago (10-2) at St. Louis (5-7) — Scott Linehan's first year with the Rams has turned hellish after a great start and getting the Bears in prime time isn't exactly a great cure. The one hope the Rams have is that Grossman gives them the game. Still, too much Bears defense. Prediction: Chicago, 17-13.

Last week's record: 8-8

Season record: 117-75


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