2022-12-14 · 7 min read · NFL/Football
San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy and Carolina Panthers

Thearon Henderson/Getty Images | Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

Following the Week 14 games in the NFL, the Eagles have officially clinched a postseason berth, and we may have seen a new star emerge in San Francisco while the quest for the playoffs is heating up in both conferences.
In the AFC, only two victories currently separate the 13th-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers from the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots, who are tied for the final wildcard spot with identical 7-6 records.
The 12th-seeded Atlanta Falcons are just two games back of the New York Giants in the NFC, with numerous teams still in the mix.
Here is a look at all the matchups this week and my predictions.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
It seems as though nothing can slow down the Niners, who have won six in a row, with Brock Purdy looking just fine last Sunday tossing two touchdown passes.
At the same time, their top-ranked defense has allowed less than 20 points in six straight games, failing to concede any in the fourth quarter in three of their previous four contests.
Seattle’s beaten the odds for most of 2022, but their grip on the NFC West has slipped through their fingers.
Geno Smith has tossed a pick in four of his last five games, with the Seahawks currently outside the playoff picture.
  • Prediction- San Francisco 49ers 30-17 Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have given up three or more sacks in four consecutive games, and they’re facing the NFL sack leader in Nick Bosa along with the best all-around defensive unit in football, so I have a hard time believing they’ll be able to protect Smith on Thursday.
Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings
After a series of close outings, Jeff Saturday’s Colts were blown out by the Dallas Cowboys in their last outing, 54-19, as they have averaged under 5 yards per play in their previous three games.
The Vikings missed an opportunity to clinch the NFC North last weekend, falling 34-23 to the Detroit Lions despite putting up 425 passing yards, while they’ve allowed over 400 total yards defensively in their previous five contests.
  • Prediction- Indianapolis Colts 23-33 Minnesota Vikings
I don’t see Kevin O’Connell’s team missing a second opportunity to clinch their division, plus they’re facing the 23rd-ranked offensive unit in the Colts, who don’t have the weapons to stay with a high-scoring offense like Minnesota.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
It seemed as though the Ravens caught a break last Sunday in their 16-14 victory over the Steelers when Kenny Pickett was forced out due to concussion protocol.
Baltimore threw for under 100 yards through the air but managed three interceptions and ran for 215 total yards.
Deshaun Watson is still trying to get his feet wet in Cleveland as he tossed another pick in a 23-10 loss to the Bengals, with the Browns rushing for less than 100 yards in Week 14 for the first time since a 31-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills on November 20.
  • Prediction- Baltimore Ravens 14-20 Cleveland Browns
The Ravens are missing Lamar Jackson, and I expect Nick Chubb to go off on them this Saturday and keep Cleveland’s slim playoff hopes intact.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Aside from Tyreek Hill, the rest of Miami’s offense has been held in check recently as Tua Tagoviloa and the Dolphins have only managed 17 points in back-to-back losses.
While they’ve been hot and cold offensively in recent weeks, Buffalo’s run defense has been excellent on their current four-game winning streak, allowing less than 100 yards on the ground in each encounter over that stretch.
  • Prediction- Miami Dolphins 20-24 Buffalo Bills
The Bills’ defense has tightened up, and in those winter conditions in Erie County, I anticipate the field will not be kind to the speedy Dolphins, as it seems to be better suited to a quarterback with the power and size of Josh Allen.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Atlanta has lost their last two games by a single score posting less than 200 yards through the air in five straight contests, while they’ve scored less than 20 points in losses to the Washington Commanders (19-13) and Pittsburgh Steelers (19-16).
The Saints have also had trouble scoring, with less than 20 points in four of their last five games and have had a week to try and get over the shock of conceding the winning score to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with two seconds left, losing 17-16.
  • Prediction- Atlanta Falcons 19-21 New Orleans Saints
Andy Dalton has a few more weapons to work with than Marcus Mariota, and he should be able to put up some big numbers against the third-worst defensive unit in the NFL.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
After surviving a scare versus the Colts, the Eagles offense has caught fire.
With over 400 yards in their last three games, Philly is averaging 41 points over that stretch.
The Bears may be eliminated from playoff contention, but Justin Fields is not the reason why, as his team has lost by three points or fewer in three of his last four starts.
  • Prediction- Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 Chicago Bears
Philly is the most well-balanced team in the league, ranked in the top three in offense, defense and rushing, while they lead the NFL in turnover differential (+14) and not even the talented Fields can stay with a team as deep as the Eagles for four quarters.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers
Having to turn the ball back over to Mitch Trubisky is probably the last thing Mike Tomlin and Pittsburgh needed but with Kenny Pickett in concussion protocol, they struggled versus Baltimore, scoring just 14 points, while they tossed three picks.
Quietly Steve Wilks’ Panthers have climbed into the playoff picture, albeit in the dismal NFC South, with Sam Darnold leading them to consecutive triumphs.
Their remaining games are all against teams currently below .500, so in a way, their destiny is in their hands.
  • Prediction Pittsburgh Steelers 18-28 Carolina Panthers
If Pickett has recovered from his concussion, that should help Pittsburgh, but even so, I am backing the Panthers, who look sharper under Wilks, while they haven’t given up more than 15 points in three straight home games.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
While they took their foot off the gas before the half, the Chiefs’ offense propelled them to a 10th victory on Sunday as they have now posted over 400 total yards in six of their last seven games.
The Texans were oh so close to ending their seven-game losing streak against the Cowboys this past weekend but were stuffed in the red zone late in the fourth quarter before their defense allowed a game-winning touchdown, conceding 400+ yards to Dallas.
  • Prediction- Kansas City Chiefs 40-24 Houston Texans
Even when his technique and mechanics are all wrong, Mahomes makes it work, just like he did to Jerick McKinnon last weekend, and his receiving corps shouldn’t have any trouble scorching Houston’s secondary.
Dallas Cowboys at Jacksonville Jaguars
After blowing out the Colts, the last thing we would’ve expected from the Cowboys last weekend was to see them be pushed to the limit against the worst team in the league in the worst division in football, with Dak Prescott tossing two picks.
At the same time, they allowed the Texans to have over 33 minutes in time of possession.
Speaking of things that don’t make sense, the Jaguars won in Tennessee for the first time since 2013 despite being burned countless times by Derrick Henry and Jacksonville posting less than 100 rushing yards for a second straight contest.
  • Prediction- Dallas Cowboys 27-24 Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence has not thrown a pick in his last five games, but he will likely have to get rid of the ball a lot quicker against Micah Parsons and a dangerous Cowboys’ pass rush.
Detroit Lions at New York Jets
Dan Campbell’s Lions are knocking on the postseason door, winning five of their last six games, with Jared Goff throwing for multiple touchdowns in his last three.
The Jets have lost three of their last four games but have not allowed more than 300 yards of offense in their previous four contests.
  • Prediction- Detroit Lions 23-33 New York Jets
Goff could have a more challenging time finding open receivers against the ballhawks that the Jets possess while New York has won three of their last four games at MetLife stadium.
Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos
Kyler Murray was carted off in the Cardinals’ defeat to the Patriots on Monday Night Football, as they struggled offensively, averaging less than five yards per play.
I’m not sure if it was the Broncos’ offense finally clicking or the Chiefs taking their foot off the gas, which turned what was a blowout into an exciting game, but in either event, Denver scored more points on Sunday than in their previous two encounters combined (28).
  • Prediction- Arizona Cardinals 24-14 Denver Broncos
Not having Murray hurts, but Denver’s offense has not moved the ball effectively all season.
Even if it’s Colt McCoy behind centre Arizona’s offense should be able to outduel Denver.
New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders
The Pats got themselves back above the playoff line on Monday, and they have their defensive line to thank, as they posted six sacks.
Josh McDaniels takes on his former team, who he helped earn several Super appearances and victories, and he has work to do after his offense sputtered against the Rams, losing 17-16 last Thursday.
  • Prediction- New England Patriots 30-27 Las Vegas Raiders
Teacher beats the student in this one, and unfortunately for McDaniels, he has to depend on Derek Carr, who is rarely consistent from one game to another, so look for the Patriots’ D-line to get in his face throughout this contest on Sunday.
Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers
Derrick Henry did his job last week versus the Jags, running for 121 yards and a touchdown; however, they couldn’t get the passing game going once again, conceding over 400 yards to their opponents for a second successive contest.
Just when you think the Chargers are done, their defense steps up, holding the Dolphins to just over 200 total yards last weekend, while Justin Herbert had himself quite the evening, throwing for 367 yards.
  • Prediction- Tennessee Titans 23-26 Los Angeles Chargers
Tennessee has been banged up on the defensive line, and Henry has been forced to do a lot on his own, so I expect another big day throwing for Herbert and LA managing Henry given that the Titans’ passing attack has been non-existent.
Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Joe Burrow was not at his best last Sunday against the Browns, throwing his first pick in three games, but Cincy still won comfortably, allowing Cleveland to convert only four of its 15 third downs.
Whether it is father time catching up to him or a lack of support, Tom Brady and the Bucs do not look sharp and haven’t all year, scoring less than 20 points in four of their last five games.
  • Prediction- Cincinnati Bengals 34-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bengals might be missing a couple of receiving threats this weekend, but even so, Burrow has more than enough game intelligence to get the job done in this one.
New York Giants at Washington Commanders
The Giants’ playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, conceding over 100 yards rushing in five consecutive contests.
Washington is unbeaten in their last four games, allowing 20 points or less in their previous three, as Taylor Heinicke has thrown for multiple touchdowns in back-to-back games.
  • Prediction- New York Giants 18-20 Washington Commanders
The Giants are relying too heavily on Saquon Barkley to run the ball effectively, and lately, he’s failed to deliver, averaging less than four yards per carry in his last four games.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers
That game-winning drive for Baker Mayfield and the Rams on Thursday may have been the most exciting thing to happen to this team since they won the Super Bowl last February as the former #1 overall pick threw for 230 yards and a score in his debut with his new team.
Green Bay returned to what made them successful last week as they ran for 175 yards and defeated the helpless Bears 28-19.
  • Prediction- Los Angeles Rams 17- 30 Green Bay Packers
As much as I’d love to see Baker put on another show, I struggle to see lightning strike twice, given how poor his supporting cast has been all year.
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By: Joel Lefevre


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