Posted: Thursday December 6, 2012 11:52AM ; Updated: Thursday December 6, 2012 12:46PM
Peter King
Peter King>WEEKEND PICKOFF

NFL Week 14
 
Last Week: 11-5 (.688); This Season: 121-70-1 (.633)
 
Thursday, Dec. 6
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN) Denver Broncos (9-3) at Oakland Raiders (3-9)
In a grueling week for Dennis Allen -- who Tuesday, in Texas, had to decide with his family to pull the plug on the machines keeping his terminally ill father alive, not getting one last chance to say goodbye to him -- any loss of a football game is about 38th on his list of priorities. That's why I hope tonight NFL Network pays significant tribute to Grady Allen and his son during the telecast.
 
Sunday, Dec. 9
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) St. Louis Rams (5-6-1) at Buffalo Bills (5-7)
Tough one to pick. But I'll go with the Rams, who, in 10 quarters this year, are 1-0-1 against the Niners and have outscored them 40-37 and outgained them by 71 yards. Folks, Jeff Fisher is remaking the Rams into a physically imposing team, and if Sam Bradford can be the quarterback they drafted him to be, this franchise is going to regularly win road games like this one for years.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Baltimore Ravens (9-3) at Washington Redskins (6-6)
You know what the saddest part of this game is? That Ray Lewis won't be playing in it. Think about it. Ray Lewis is going to go down as a top 20 player of all time. Robert Griffin III is one of the most exciting rookies to enter the NFL -- ever. And Lewis is one week away from a likely return after his torn arm muscle. I just wish we could have seen Lewis chase RGIII once in an NFL game. Not that it'd be a fair fight, but just so we could say: Hey, Ray Lewis played against Robert Griffin III.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Atlanta Falcons (11-1) at Carolina Panthers (3-9)
The Falcons have to be careful here. They've won the NFC South with four games to play, and they're traveling to a team that looks to be packing the cars (or private jets, in some cases) for the offseason. But I think offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and head coach Mike Smith will drive home the point clearly to this team: Homefield through the playoffs is important, and you can't take five weeks off (four plus the bye) and expect to play well when the postseason begins.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) New York Jets (5-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
The Jets can delude themselves into thinking they're still in the playoff chase, and I suppose they have to treat every games like it's a playoff game as long as they're still mathematically involved. But the most important thing down the stretch is for the Jets to see if: a) Greg McElroy should be around in training camp next summer to challenge for playing time in 2013; and b) Mark Sanchez has a shot to be the incumbent entering the offseason. For all who say the Jets can't cut or demote Sanchez because of the money he's owed, I say that's foolish talk. Would you rather enter 2013 with a chance to win and a bunch less cap money to work with because of the Sanchez salary-cap anchor, or with Sanchez as your quarterback even though he's shown nothing good in two years?
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Chicago Bears (8-4) at Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
Adrian Peterson continues to press his case for every award on the planet, and deservedly so. But right now, Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall, even with the leaky offensive line, is more unstoppable in a weatherless environment. Cutler's 5-0 with a 100.9 rating in his last five tilts versus the Vikes.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Philadelphia Eagles (3-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
Nick Foles good. Josh Freeman better.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Dallas Cowboys (6-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
I want to pick Dallas and thought long and hard about it, because I think Dez Bryant will run wild Sunday in Cincinnati. But I also think the Cincinnati front, led by Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlop, is going to make life miserable (and force two or three turnovers), and Cincinnati's offense is too efficient right now to blow it. So make it five straight for the playoff-threatening Bengals.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Tennessee Titans (4-8) at Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
All right. All those who had Indy fifth and Cincinnati sixth in your preseason AFC playoff seeding prediction raise your hands. Thought so.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) at Cleveland Browns (4-8)
Sorry, Cleveland. I'm rooting for one person in this game: Brady Quinn. The reigning AFC player of the week (and all-around quality adult in the wake of his more-mature-than-the-rest-of-us comments post-game last week) deserves to have a great December for all the crap he's been through in his career, and how big he came up last week. But there's something good happening in Cleveland, and a three-game winning streak would put Pat Shurmur in play to be Jimmy Haslam's coach in 2013. I didn't say it hands him the job, I said it gives him a chance.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) San Diego Chargers (4-8) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
Charlie Batch told me on my podcast this week he thinks Ben Roethlisberger plays, but I'd pick the Steelers regardless of the QB. Still, despite the continuing mediocrity of Philip Rivers, he's still got some Bledsoe in him. He can mad-bomb his way to a win any time he takes the field.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Miami Dolphins (5-7) at San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)
It's not your fault what happened last week in St. Louis, Ryan Tannehill, but the 49ers are going to take it out on you Sunday. Remember: Jim Harbaugh has been an NFL head coach for 30 regular season and playoff games, and he's never lost two in a row.
 
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) New Orleans Saints (5-7) at New York Giants (7-5)
Well, it's December. Four games to go. Time for the sleeping Giants to wake up. The alarm clock had better be loud. Drew Brees licks his chops when he sees the New York corners, and with 326 passing yards Sunday, he'll become the first quarterback in history to throw for 4,000 yards seven straight years. Great feat. But Eli Manning's not exactly going up against the '76 Steeler D on Sunday in the Meadowlands.
 
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) Arizona Cardinals (4-8) at Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
As my buddy Mitch Levy pointed out on Seattle radio station KJR this week, the 3-2 Seattle record over the last five would be 5-0 if the Seahawk D held onto leads Russell Wilson handed it in the fourth quarters of the two losses. By the way, good idea for Brandon Browner to drop his Adderall appeal now. He won't be needed Sunday. He would be needed in game one of the playoffs if the Seahawks are there -- and if Richard Sherman is not.
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) Detroit Lions (4-8) at Green Bay Packers (8-4)
Doesn't it just say it all about the 2012 Detroit season that they're marketing a 2013 calendar with Titus Young on the cover?
 
Monday, Dec. 10
 
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) Houston Texans (11-1) at New England Patriots (9-3)
Half of the Homestand From Hell (Niners travel to Foxboro next week). You wondered a couple of weeks ago why I had the Patriots winning the second seed in the AFC, behind Houston. This is why. Baltimore's offense continues to run at 35 mph while the Patriots have a Maserati, and playing at home is going to help them against the best the NFL has to offer the next two weeks. In this one, I say Aqib Talib on Houston's downfield weapons -- including Andre Johnson -- makes the risky trade for him seem very worthwhile.
 
Week 14 Fantasy Projections               Start 'em, Sit 'em
 

 
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