ATLANTA, December 5, 2013 — Each team has played 12 games, and that means Week 14 of the 2013 NFL season is upon us. Every year at this time brings holiday cheer for some, candle-lighting for others, and lumps of coal for the rest. Yet this time of year is about football, and the repeating of sage wisdom of NFL Hall of Famer John Randall, “This is when the big dogs come out.”
In September, all 32 teams are like little puppies. They all have a dream. This is December, however, and the puppies have been put to bed.
There is ice, snow, sleet, and swirling winds. This is football weather. Only the toughest can handle it. John Randall knows what this means.
The NFL never requires hyperbole, but in December, it requires even less than never. The stakes are higher now in the quest for the Lombardi Trophy.
It is high time to get down to football. Here is the NFL 2013 Week 14 Preview, with point spreads from “The Linemakers,” “CBS Sports” and “FootballLocks.com” and all times EST.
Thursday, December 5, 8:30 p.m.
Houston Texans (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars—A 2-10 versus 3-9 matchup is why Thursday Night Football should be abolished, except on Thanksgiving. How is a team who lost ten straight favored on the road against a team that has won three of their last four? Nobody cares. Upset special, Jaguars win outright.
Sunday, December 8, 1:00 p.m.
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens (-7)—Baltimore at 6-6 is still alive for a playoff spot, giving them extra motivation against a Minnesota team playing for pride. Ravens win, but fail to cover.
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5)—These teams are leading their divisions yet still underachieving. This is one where the home field should be the difference. Bengals win, but fail to cover.
Atlanta Falcons at Green Packers (-1.5)—Green Bay can still win their division, while Atlanta is in ruins. If Aaron Rodgers returns, this point spread will skyrocket and so will the margin of victory. Packers cover.
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (-12)—A very bad team going on the road and beating a very good team would be a shocker. So would a unicorn riding a unicycle playing quarterback. Patriots cover.
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets (-3)—The Jets are a mess, yet the Raiders lose these exact types of games. Jets cover.
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)—Both teams have very tenuous holds on their divisions, and the home edge gives the Eagles the slightest of advantages. Eagles cover.
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)—Both teams are still in the playoff picture, giving people who carp about parity another reason to hate parity. Steelers cover.
Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2.5)—Give Buffalo to Canada and Tampa to Cuba and be done with this. In the United States, interest in this game deserves to be low. Buccaneers cover.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Washington Redskins—The Chiefs have lost three straight and the Redskins are out of the playoff picture. A Chiefs loss here will lead to panic in their locker room. Chiefs cover.
Sunday, December 8, 4:00 p.m.
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (-12)—John Fox returns, and Peyton Manning is still a demon possessed. Finishing off Tennessee for the year is an afterthought. Broncos cover.
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)—Just when these teams seem to be on the verge of something special, they have an ugly setback. Arizona is at home in the desert. Cardinals win, but fail to cover.
New York Giants at San Diego Chargers (-3)—The loser is done, but the winner can brag about being all but done. Chargers cover.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-3)—Seattle is a wrecking ball, but the 49ers are fighting for their playoff lives. This is the type of game that could lead to a Seattle stumble. If Seattle wins, cancel the NFC Playoffs and hand them the George Halas trophy. 49ers cover.
Sunday, December 8, 8:30 p.m.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)—This is why we watch football. A pair of 9-3 teams collide with the division lead and a first round playoff bye on the line. Carolina has won eight straight, but are on the road against an angry Saints team coming off a road shellacking from Seattle. Saints cover.
Monday, December 9, 8:30 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears (Pick ‘em)—These teams can both win their division, and both have the talent to louse it up. Chicago at home may have enough to louse things up less. Bears win.
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog. Follow us on Twitter @wtcommunities
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