POORE'S PICKS: Week Fourteen

Jim Poore is back with his weekly picks column. After a crazy week of upsets, who can get all the picks right. As always, let him know what you think.

We are starting to get down to the real important games now, as the playoffs are upon us. There are 12 games this coming weekend that have some sort of importance for a post season berth. Some of the division races are very close, and every game really counts now.

I won't waste any more time. I will get to the all-important picks for week 14. I am still holding my own against the spread, but I need to do a little better to get to .500.

As always, home team in CAPS.

Pittsburgh 10 CLEVELAND
The Steelers need a win, and now. Their season is disintegrating before their eyes. The Brownies could be the perfect opponent, but Pittsburgh is really struggling right now. If they lose this game, their season could be over.
Steelers 27-13

It doesn't seem like anything is going to stop the Colts at this point. Likely not even the Broncos, who are very much alive for the postseason. The Colts have been tough at home, and it will be tough for the Broncos to win here.
Colts 30-20

MINNESOTA 6 1/2 Cincinnati
This should be a good game, but I think it is more important for the Bengals than it is for the Vikings. Minnesota though needs to win in hopes the Saints slip up somewhere. I am not sure the Vikings are a touchdown better than the Bengals, even at home. I'll pick Cincinnati to cover here.
Vikings 27-23

New York Jets 3 1/2 TAMPA BAY
Kellen Clemens gets the start for the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets in place of Mark Sanchez. It might be a blessing in disguise as Sanchez hadn't been playing well. The Bucs haven't been playing well either. The Jets should be able to win here to keep their slim playoff chances alive.
Jets 24-16

Green Bay 3 CHICAGO
The Packers are playing with a lot of confidence now, and the Bears need a lot of help for the postseason. This game isn't going to help any. Green Bay has a big edge for a wild card berth, and I don't think the Bears are going to slow them down. I like Green Bay here.
Packers 28-21

New Orleans 4 1/2 ATLANTA
The Saints didn't play well last week and survived a scare. The Falcons just flat out played poorly. Matt Ryan is likely out again for this game, which doesn't help. The Saints Express just continues to roll right along.
Saints 35-26

BALTIMORE 13 Detroit
The Ravens need to keep winning in hopes to get a post season berth. I am not sure they are two touchdowns better than anybody, even the Lions. Detroit has been playing better. The Ravens need this game more than the Lions do.
Ravens 27-10

The Jaguars are miraculously in the AFC playoff chase. It's too bad nobody is watching their games. The Dolphins pulled out a win last week, and even though they are mathematically still alive for the playoffs, realistically it isn't likely. Hard to go against Jacksonville here, though stranger things have happened.
Jaguars 20-14

NEW ENGLAND 13 1/2 Carolina
The Patriots might be in as much of a mess right now as they have ever been under the Bill Belichick regime. Now they have players getting kicked out of practice because of tardiness to team meetings. The Panthers have been a disappointment, and some would think the Patriots would win easily this week. Some said the same thing last week too.
Patriots 29-21

HOUSTON 6 Seattle
I have officially given up on the Texans. I thought they were headed for the post season this year. I guess I am wrong for once. May be next year. Or may be the next year. We can probably say the same thing about the Seahawks. I guess the Texans have to win again sometime.
Texans 27-17

TENNESSEE 13 St. Louis
Hard to imagine the Titans being a double digit favorite, though they were playing well until last week. The Rams haven't played well all season. The Titans do have an outside chance at the playoffs, but they will be outside for a long time.
Titans 28-14

Washington 1 OAKLAND
Daniel Synder must have been pulling his hair out after last week's loss. And, remarkably, the Raiders actually haven't been that bad. That's what happens when JaMarcus Russell gets benched. Not sure why the Redskins are favored, but I'll take the Raiders here.
Raiders 20-17

DALLAS 3 San Diego
The Cowboys got knocked down a notch last week, while the Chargers continue to roll after a slow start. I guess we will see which Tony Romo decides to show up. It might not matter. This is a huge game for both teams in terms of the playoffs, but it is tough to go against the Chargers right now.
Chargers 27-24

The Cardinals are proving that they could be a tough out in the playoffs. They looked very good last week. The 49ers have slowed down after some initial promise. Plus the Cardinals have been better on the road this year, and according to the capital letters, this is a road game for them. I like them here.
Cardinals 31-21

Game of the Week

NEW YORK GIANTS 1 Philadelphia
This is a huge game in the NFC East, and right now the Eagles have the edge. Brian Westbrook has been practicing but likely won't play. That could still be uplifting for Philadelphia. The Giants got a big win last week, and they actually need to win more than the Eagles. But I don't think they will.
Eagles 23-20

Stinker of the Week

Not too many choices for this game this week. The Bills have been more consistent though, so I'll take them here.
Bills 26-23

Record For Week 13: 7-9 ( 11-5 without the spread )
Record Through Week 13: 79-86 ( 112-53 without the spread )
Game of Week Record: 5-6
Stinker of Week Record: 5-6

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