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Week 14 NFL picks straight up: Eagles edge Cowboys; Packers rebound | NFL

You’d like more from a December slate of NFL games, but in Week 14, just three games pit teams with winning records against each other. Two are prime-time games, thankfully, and one of them is as good a matchup as anyone could wish for, on Sunday night, with the Rams in Chicago.

Yet one of those other games, without two winning teams, will be as gripping as any the league can serve up: the Eagles in Dallas, with first place on the line, playoff contention in the balance, and the claim of Lazarus Team of the Year at stake. Defending-champion Philadelphia has looked dead at times; so have the once-listless Cowboys. Now, they both have as much momentum as any team in the NFL.

As for those other scant few games between winning teams, keep an eye on an early game that will have repercussions beyond the two: Baltimore at Kansas City.

MORE NFL PREDICTIONS:
Week 14 NFL picks against the spread

Week 14 NFL picks, predictions

(All times ET)

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) at Tennessee Titans (6-6)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m., Fox/NFLN/Amazon Prime

Their meeting in Jacksonville in Week 3 was the Jaguars’ first loss of the year after a 2-0 start; it preceded the rout of the Patriots, and in hindsight, it didn’t set off the alarms it probably should have. But it was the game that Marcus Mariota came back in and led the Titans to win despite barely having feeling in his throwing hand. Last week, the Titans boosted their playoff hopes with a Mariota-led rally over the Jets. The Jaguars got a reprieve with a stunning shutout of the Colts. Don’t expect the Jaguars’ euphoria to last long.

Prediction: Titans, 17-13

Baltimore Ravens (7-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Chiefs sent up red flags galore in their win in Oakland, with the defense giving up 33 to the Raiders. Their new Kareem Hunt-less offense isn’t facing the Raiders defense this week, either. The Ravens smothered Matt Ryan and the Falcons in Atlanta last week and are capable of doing damage every week against anybody (even if they don’t always pull it off). Nevertheless, the Ravens’ secondary is on high alert. The Lamar Jackson-or-Joe Flacco quandary stretches into a fourth week.

Prediction: Chiefs, 30-24

Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at Houston Texans (9-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Division-wise, this is an elimination game for Indianapolis. The Colts team that clearly was kidnapped and held hostage somewhere in the Florida swamps during the Jaguars game is likely to reappear this week. Logic tells us the Texans defense can do the same thing to Andrew Luck and the rest that the Jaguars’ did, but don’t necessarily count on that offense playing that badly again. Deshaun Watson has quietly done almost nothing wrong during the nine-game winning streak.

Prediction: Texans, 27-25

Atlanta Falcons (4-8) at Green Bay Packers (4-7-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

Welcome back to the head-coaching ranks, Joe Philbin! (Pause to allow Dolphins fans to stop groaning.) The loser of this will take the lead in the race for the NFC’s biggest letdown this season. Prepare for a shootout … seriously, even with the obvious offense issues in Green Bay and the no-show by the Falcons against the Ravens last week. Neither defense can be counted on to slow the other team down. At least the Falcons have a crushing wave of injuries to blame.

Prediction: Packers, 27-17

MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture

New York Giants (4-8) at Washington Redskins (6-6)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

It’s Eli and the Sanchize for the crown as King of New York! Pardon … we erroneously looked at the schedule from 2009. What we’ve got is the 2018 versions of Eli Manning and (presumably) Mark Sanchez. Depending on this and the later Eagles-Cowboys game, a Giants team that started 1-7 could be two games out of first place in the NFC East with three games to play. Outside of its quarterback drama, front-office drama and trolling-police-blotter drama, Washington’s defense has imploded: 430 yards a game over their last five, more than 400 in four of them.

Prediction: Giants, 27-26

New York Jets (3-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-8)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The two top-10 draft picks, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, are expected to face each other, which they did not in last month’s game at the Meadowlands, now infamous as the Matt Barkley game (41-10 over Josh McCown’s Jets). It’s hard to remember that the Jets were once 3-3, as hard as it is to recall that the Bills blew out the Vikings in Minnesota. Buying in on the Bills might be premature, so don’t make too much of how this season series winds up.

Prediction: Bills, 20-16

New Orleans Saints (10-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

Looking back, the Bucs inflicting Fitzmagic on this Saints team on opening day in the Superdome is one of the most jarring results of this season. And it hasn’t been hung on the Saints as a reason the path to the Super Bowl might not run through New Orleans. There’s plenty of motivation for the Saints to want to burn the Bucs to ashes: vengeance, bounce-back from last week’s Cowboys loss, a need to keep pace with the Rams.

Prediction: Saints, 38-17

New England Patriots (9-3) at Miami Dolphins (6-6)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Patriots are just 7-4 in this series the Ryan Tannehill era, even though Tannehill did not play all of them; Jay Cutler was in charge when the Dolphins won last December in Miami. Three of those Dolphins wins have been in December or January; all four were in the now-Hard Rock Stadium. Does that make any sense? Not really, outside of the whole throw-the-records-out rivalry factor. Anyway, this game is in south Florida, the Patriots took until the middle of the third quarter to shake off the Vikings last week, the Dolphins survived the Bills’ final surge, and … hey, why not?

Prediction: Dolphins, 28-25

Carolina Panthers (6-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-7-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

The Browns haven’t been quite as chatty as they were in previous weeks since the Texans brought them back to earth. None of their former coaches/scapegoats are in Carolina, but the Panthers are nosediving. They have more to worry about from Cam Newton needing to be replaced on the final Hail Mary last week (because of obvious lingering shoulder problems) than even his four interceptions. More troubling than that should be a defense that has struggled to stop teams when they need to.

Prediction: Panthers, 26-21

Denver Broncos (6-6) at San Francisco 49ers (2-10)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., CBS

The Broncos not only are in no position to look past anybody, they can’t ever let up on the pedal with the weekly close games they play. Vance Joseph hasn’t turned into Vince Lombardi, but over the past month (three straight wins) he’s eased off the hot seat. The proverbial “winnable” games are awaiting them in their late playoff push: next week are the Browns at home, then they go to Oakland.

Prediction: Broncos, 30-17

Cincinnati Bengals (5-7) at Los Angeles Chargers (9-3)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., CBS

The Chargers likewise can’t look past the Bengals … eh, they probably can, actually. A.J. Green going onto injured reserve wipes the Bengals out. The Chargers are still in position to push for the AFC West title and a playoff bye. The comeback in Pittsburgh will be hard to duplicate, but they shouldn’t have to this week.

Prediction: Chargers, 31-10

MORE: Updated NFL power rankings

Philadelphia Eagles (6-6) at Dallas Cowboys (7-5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Once again: Are the Eagles for real? Reading the Monday night win over Washington is tough, but it can’t hurt to have gotten Golden Tate going for the first time since the trade. The Cowboys started their spurt by winning in Philadelphia on Sunday night three weeks ago. Ezekiel Elliott’s 187 combined yards were the catalyst. The Eagles allowing ancient Adrian Peterson to tear through them for 90 yards virtually untouched isn’t a good sign. A better sign for them was Carson Wentz getting better as the Monday night game went on.

Prediction: Eagles, 20-19

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1) at Oakland Raiders (2-10)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Fox

The Steelers could not have come up with two more aggravating ways to lose games than they have the last two weeks, against the Broncos and Chargers. Should they worry about beating the Raiders? Probably not, except that the Raiders piled up points on the Chiefs, and the Steelers’ defense is similarly vulnerable. They still have the edge in the AFC North on the Ravens, and the schedule is heavily in their favor this week. They’d better take advantage.

Prediction: Steelers, 35-26

Detroit Lions (4-8) at Arizona Cardinals (3-9)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Two teams that have reached the “evaluate for next season” stage. The Cardinals, oddly, are more intriguing to watch, at least when they have the ball and Josh Rosen, David Johnson and the ageless Larry Fitzgerald is on the field. They found a way in Green Bay last week. The Lions are what they are, and Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia are going to get all the time they want to put their vision into place.

Prediction: Cardinals, 27-14

Los Angeles Rams (11-1) at Chicago Bears (8-4)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Whether Mitchell Trubisky is back this week remained up in the air early in the week. That’s no small thing; even though the Bears managed fairly well all things considered without him last week against the Giants, Trubisky needs to be there for the Bears to be whole. The Rams are handling virtually every test they’ve been thrown, with the obvious exception of the Saints. Aaron Donald’s total domination of the Lions last week thrust him into the MVP conversation.

Prediction: Rams, 33-24

Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1) at Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

It’s that time of year to throw out more Coach of the Year candidates than anyone should reasonably consider … but consider Pete Carroll anyway, with how the Seahawks overhauled virtually everything yet are right in the mix and are getting better as the season wears on. That defense, gutted in the offseason and without Earl Thomas since September, should get Mychal Kendricks back from suspension. They already have Bobby Wagner, having another All-Pro season. The Vikings offense had better come back from wherever they seem to go every other week.

Prediction: Seahawks, 31-19

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