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Week 14 2016 NFL Picks: Challenge Athlon Sports Experts!


The NFL season is into its final month, and the competition off the field among fans is nearly as heated as the competition on the field on game day.

The Athlon Sports Pro Football Experts Club presented by New Era gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick ‘em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.

Here are this week’s picks from Athlon Sports senior editor John Gworek:

Thursday's Game

Oakland at Kansas City

It’s a dangerous game the Chiefs play, letting teams go up and down the field (29th in total defense) but forcing enough mistakes (25 takeaways, first in NFL) to survive. It’s especially dangerous against Oakland, which is a top-five team in scoring and total offense. But we’re not betting against the Chiefs at home.

Gworek's Pick: Kansas City, 26–23

Sunday’s Games

Pittsburgh at Buffalo

The streaky Steelers have won three in a row after a four-game losing streak, but they have struggled against teams committed to running the ball such as Dallas and Miami. Fortunately for the Bills, running the ball is all they do well on offense.

Gworek's Pick: Buffalo, 23–21

Denver at Tennessee

The Titans must get their running game, which ranks third in yards and yards per carry, going against Denver’s 28th-ranked run defense. Marcus Mariota is developing nicely, but the Broncos have the NFL’s best pass rush (36 sacks) and pass defense (195.2 yards per game).

Gworek's Pick: Tennessee, 20–17

Washington at Philadelphia

The Eagles defense carried them early in the season, but it hasn’t been as good of late — and Washington racked up nearly 500 yards when these teams met in October. The Redskins need a win to stay in the playoff race.

Gworek's Pick: Washington, 30–21

Arizona at Miami

After pulling out close games for about two months in a row, the wheels came off the Dolphins last week. Arizona needs wins and plays three of its last four on the road, but the Cardinals are a top-10 team on offense and defense. They could still get hot.

Gworek's Pick: Arizona, 27–20

San Diego at Carolina

The Chargers keep finding exciting ways to lose games, usually as a result of weird turnovers like last week’s pick-6 of a pass that went in and out of Tyrell Williams’ hands. The Panthers could use Luke Kuechly back after allowing 900 yards and 75 points in two games without him.

Gworek's Pick: San Diego, 27–26

Cincinnati at Cleveland

The Bengals snapped a 0–3–1 skid with a relatively easy win over Philadelphia last week, but they haven’t won on the road since the season opener and are still missing A.J. Green. Coming off a bye and playing a banged-up opponent at home might be Cleveland’s best chance at a win this season.

Gworek's Pick: Cincinnati, 20–16

Chicago at Detroit

The Bears won the first meeting on Oct. 2, but that was a long time ago. Detroit has lost only once since and has won five in a row at home. The Lions defense has forced only 14 turnovers, but half of them have come in the last three weeks.

Gworek's Pick: Detroit, 28–20

Houston at Indianapolis

The Texans have lost three in a row, while Andrew Luck and Indianapolis are starting to look dangerous. Luck is 19–4 in his career against the AFC South and anxious to avenge a loss to the Texans in which the Colts blew a 23–9 fourth-quarter lead. With tough road games on the horizon, this is a game Indianapolis needs to win at home.

Gworek's Pick: Indianapolis, 26–21

Minnesota at Jacksonville

The Vikings may need to win out to make the playoffs after back-to-back losses by a total of five points. Fortunately, Blake Bortles and the Jags are coming to town, and they are usually in a giving mood. Despite the NFL’s No. 4 overall defense, Jacksonville is 2–10 because they don’t take care of the ball (25 turnovers, 30th in the NFL) or take it away (seven takeaways, last in the NFL).

Gworek's Pick: Minnesota, 16–10

N.Y. Jets at San Francisco

Fresh off a 475-yard offensive day, the 49ers imploded and gained just 147 yards in a snowy loss to the Bears. The weather should be better at home against the Jets, and facing Bryce Petty for his second NFL start certainly can’t hurt. New York having to travel cross-country on a short week could give San Francisco an edge as well.

Gworek's Pick: San Francisco, 17–16

New Orleans at Tampa Bay

These teams play twice in the next three weeks, so the Saints could turn the tables in the NFC Wild Card race quickly. The Bucs have won four in a row and forced 11 turnovers over that stretch; meanwhile, New Orleans has gone 1–3 and turned it over 10 times. If those trends hold, Tampa will win. But few things last long in the NFL. We’ll bet on Drew Brees.

Gworek's Pick: New Orleans, 30–28

Atlanta at Los Angeles

The Falcons let one get away last week against Kansas City, but they have scored 28 points or more in four of their last five games and lead the NFL in scoring. The Rams — last in yards, first downs and points — won’t be able to keep up.

Gworek's Pick: Atlanta, 27–14

Seattle at Green Bay

The Packers have beaten two top-10 defenses in a row, and Aaron Rodgers ranks second in the NFL in touchdown passes with 29. Seattle is just 2–3–1 on the road, but one of those wins came at New England. The Seahawks are coming off their biggest offensive day (534 yards) since December 2014. Feels like a game someone loses on a missed PAT.

Gworek's Pick: Seattle, 28–27

Dallas at N.Y. Giants

The Giants are the only team to have beaten the Cowboys this season, and they haven’t lost at home since September (5–1 overall). The Cowboys, of course, haven’t lost on the road (6–0) and are averaging 28 points per game away from home. The Giants haven’t scored — or allowed — 30 points in any game this season. 

Gworek's Pick: Dallas, 30–28

Monday’s Game

Baltimore at New England

The Ravens have won two in a row and four of five after picking up their most complete win of the season against Miami. The Patriots will miss Rob Gronkowski in this one, because they will likely have to win it through the air. The Ravens’ top-ranked defense leads the NFL in rushing yards allowed and yards per carry against.

Gworek's Pick: New England, 24–16

Week 13 Record: 8–7

Overall Record: 109–81–2