NFL Week 14 Picks
One of the potentially best Thursday night Prime Video games will get Week 14 started with a bang. The Los Angeles Rams will host the Las Vegas Raiders in a game that will certainly have playoff implications.
Last year the Raiders rallied for the final wild card position in the AFC. A season of tumult in Las Vegas included the forced resignation of iconic head coach Jon Gruden, a DUI traffic fatality caused by Henry Ruggs, and the eventual decision to move on from interim coach Rich Bisaccia. Bisaccia was the man that shepherded the Silver and Black to the postseason, but the Raiders made too many mistakes in their wild card loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. Thus, their decision to go with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as the new head coach.
There is speculation that the Raiders will move on from quarterback Derek Carr every year. But Carr keeps confounding the critics with strong production. He is a 3-time Pro Bowler coming off a career-best 4804 yards passing with 23 touchdown passes. Meanwhile, Week 14 will give fans and gamblers a good indication of whether the Rams are suffering from a Super Bowl championship hangover.
BYE WEEK: Falcons, Bears, Packers, Colts, Saints, Commanders
NBC Sunday Night Football will feature a classic AFC West division rivalry matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos. The AFC West division race may be on the line. Playoff implications will definitely be on the line. The Chiefs and Broncos have been going at it in the same division since 1960 as charter members of the American Football League.
Denver is betting everything it has on quarterback Russell Wilson, who they acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason. Wilson peaked in 2018 with a 110.9 QB rating and a 34/11 TD/INT ratio. Last year he rushed for a career-low 183 yards, down from 513 in 2020. Thus, there is speculation that the Seahawks believe Wilson is a player that is beginning to decline, although they could never admit such a thing publicly. Certainly, Wilson is a massive upgrade from Drew Lock, who the Broncos traded to Seattle.
To be fair to Wilson, the Seahawks became far too dependent upon him. Head coach Pete Carroll allowed his club to become a one-man team, much to its decline. Wilson, age 33, was forced to carry all of the burden. Additionally, the Seattle defense has been utterly atrocious for several years. That will not be a problem in Denver, where the Broncos have a stout unit.
Kansas City has owned its series with Denver in the Patrick Mahomes era, but this could be their toughest test yet against the Broncos.
ESPN Monday Night Football features an interesting interconference matchup with playoff implications. The New England Patriots are at the Arizona Cardinals.
Head coach Bill Belichick ate a heaping helping of humble pie in 2020 when Tom Brady defected to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and led them to the Super Bowl championship. However, the Hoodie is starting to mount his comeback with second-year quarterback Mac Jones. Last year Jones led the Patriots to the AFC wild card round as a rookie. Belichick and the Patriots gave Jones plenty of strong coaching and development. And Jones proved to be an eager and dedicated learner. New England is not yet ready to contend for a Super Bowl, but their leap back into the postseason is a good sign.
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