NFL Week 14 game picks: Eagles nip Rams; Seahawks top Jags

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Week 14 is on the way, with a clear centerpiece: the 10-2 Eagles staying out west to face the 9-3 Rams.

Philadelphia can make another push for home-field advantage with a win at the L.A. Coliseum, but here's the kicker: The Rams might still be fighting for their division, but taking down Philly could also put them in prime position for the No. 1 seed. Remember, the Vikings -- who currently hold the top spot -- have a tough road test in Carolina.

And we haven't even gotten to the Goff/Wentz 2016 draft story!

The story of the Eagles and Rams is, well, storied. As quickly as people forget tight playoff games of years past in the salary cap era, Philadelphia came a fingertip short of blocking a punt that would've potentially decleated "The Greatest Show on Turf" in the 2001 NFC Championship Game. How would that have affected the Tom Brady story? The real legacy of these franchises goes back to the growth of the league after World War II. The first title game ever played west of Wisconsin was the 1949 NFL Championship: Eagles vs. Rams in the L.A. Coliseum. Philadelphia rode the best back in football to a 14-0 win in the rain and serious mud.

That win gave the Eagles back-to-back titles. They won the championship again in 1960. No rings since. Getting home-field would be a step in that direction. That also holds true for the Vikings, who hope to hold Cam Newton in the pocket. Those are just two of the many enticing games on this week's slate. All picks below. Your takes? Send 'em here ----> @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 11-5 on his predictions for Week 13, giving him a record of 120-72 thus far this season. How will he fare in Week 14? His picks are below:

Bills
22
Pick
Colts
14
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 1 PM ET
The Colts could steal a road win here, with Bills QB Tyrod Taylor ailing, but I'm putting faith in the Buffalo defense to generate a couple of turnovers, something it's been able to do in each of the team's wins this season. It was, in fact, on a Bills takeaway that Rob Gronkowski went all Goonkowski in Pats-Bills last Sunday. Here's a hot sports opinion, fresh out of the oven: Nathan Peterman, if he plays, will rebound from his monstrous performance against the Chargers. There are no Melvin Ingrams or Joey Bosas in Indy's lineup, just Jabaal Sheards and John Simons. Slight difference there. This should amount to a Frank Gore game, as Buffalo's run defense has been terrible for weeks (176.8 rushing yards allowed per game over the last five games). Let's hope the Bills stay in this playoff race, as I can't stand to hear about them having the longest postseason drought in all major sports even one more time. That means hearing it from you, too, @RealJackAndrade.

Cowboys
16
Pick
Giants
13
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 1 PM ET
Yeesh. This could be an ugly game. Maybe the Cowboys will grab a few garbage-time scores to win, say, 30-13, but I think the Giants are going to play for interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo and quarterback Eli Manning. Manning's new games-started streak will be at one in a row, but that No. 1 represents much more to his career and this franchise. He handled being benched with dignity and helped Geno Smith out in Oakland -- now, he should make a few throws against the Dallas secondary. The problem: What can Manning garner from the run game with Sean Lee on defense for Dallas? When Lee has played, the Cowboys have allowed 80.3 rushing yards per game. Without Lee, they've allowed 135.3. That's a massive difference. How about points? With Lee, Dallas gives up 18.0 per game, as compared with 29.3 without the rangy middle linebacker. As for the Cowboys' own rush offense, look at these numbers from NFL researcher @RealJackAndrade and try not to laugh at what he's promoting:

Ezekiel Elliott in 2017: 23.9 carries per game, 97.9 rushing yards per game, 4.1 yards per carry.

Alfred Morris/Rod Smith since Week 10: 23.6 carries per game, 100.0 rushing yards per game, 4.3 yards per carry.

Lions
23
Pick
Buccaneers
20
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 1 PM ET
Sunday's effort in Tampa could represent a last-ditch effort for the Lions to make a postseason run. While Detroit likely needs to win out to reach the playoffs, the schedule is manageable (depending on whether or not Aaron Rodgers plays for Green Bay in the Packers' and Lions' Week 17 clash). Any hope starts with taking care of the Bucs, and with Matthew Stafford, who bruised his hand last Sunday, being healthy under center -- not just playing, but being able to throw the ball effectively. Jameis Winston must protect the football, as Tampa is not good enough defensively to survive the offense giving away points like it did last week. Nice to see Peyton Barber rack up 102 yards at Lambeau; that was the first time a T.B. RB pushed past 100 yards this season. Good news, Lions fans: Jim Caldwell's group doesn't play down to the competition. The Lions are 5-0 against teams that don't have a winning record. Bad news: They're 1-6 against teams that do.

Chiefs
20
Pick
Raiders
17
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 1 PM ET
Unless they unveil some horrific color-rush matchup, this might be the sexiest uni clash in pro football: Raiders' road whites and Chiefs' home red. It was this matchup that maybe gave us the wildest brawl in NFL history, or, at least, one of them. In truth, the color-rush outfits for these two teams in October weren't all that ugly -- unlike the ending of that game for Kansas City. If the Chiefs lose this one at home, the close of 2017 could be similarly unappealing for Andy Reid. Oakland will be up in the standings in the AFC West and own the head-to-head, while the Chargers aren't getting drained by anybody right now. KC is the third team ever to start 5-0, then lose six of its next seven. That stat would be so lit -- if the 2016 Vikings and 2015 Falcons hadn't also pulled that feat off. I think all of you readers are lit.

49ers
25
Pick
Texans
17
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 1 PM ET
Why not forecast another win for Jimmy Garoppolo, whom everyone in the Bay Area is excited about following a road win in Chicago last week? Despite San Francisco only scoring one offensive touchdown against the Bears, Garoppolo impressed plenty with efficient play. Tom Savage must rein in the turnovers if Houston is to pick up its fifth win of the season. He's been far from an interception machine, but seven lost fumbles have given him a total of 13 giveaways in part-time duty this year. Also, the interception he threw with a minute to go in Nashville was of the kind he didn't need to force.

Fun fact: Garoppolo has made three career starts -- and he's led fourth-quarter comebacks in two of them.

Packers
22
Pick
Browns
20
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 1 PM ET
Packers win!!! Packers win!!! Packers win!!! Which means we all win. The NFL playoffs -- which practically include Weeks 16 and 17 -- are better if the stars are involved. (That said, I'd like to see the Browns get a W before 2018 rolls around.) If Green Bay does prevail in Cleveland, expect to see Aaron Rodgers activated the following week. Now, all of this is not meant to disparage the Browns, who will give Brett Hundley all he can handle. Considering how bad Cleveland's offense has been, the Browns' defense ranking 10th in yards allowed is remarkable. DeShone Kizer will lead a harrowing final drive to try and tie the game, but the Browns will miss the two-point conversion. That's my Njoku-damus prediction for the week.

Notable: Jamaal Williams has posted over 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the last two games.

Bengals
24
Pick
Bears
20
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 1 PM ET
John Fox says he's going to control what he can control and try to give his team its best chance to win. Up until a couple of weeks ago, the Bears were competing their tails off against far more talent-laden teams. Interestingly enough, if Fox's group ousts the Bengals at their place, that will pretty much do it for Cincy's 2017 hopes. Thus, speculation in regards to the end of the season might switch from Fox to Marvin Lewis. If the Bengals do prevail, it will be by finding mismatches in the passing game; I don't see this being a prolific day for Joe Mixon (or Giovani Bernard, if Mixon can't go). Hard to believe Cincinnati made the postseason in six of seven years before these last two hard-luck (hard-to-watch?) seasons.

Vikings
27
Pick
Panthers
21
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 1 PM ET
It's been a helluva stretch of road games for the 10-2 Vikings, who won in Detroit on Thanksgiving, played in Atlanta last Sunday and now stare down a third straight game with a playoff atmosphere in Carolina. Playing in front of the home crowd should help the Panthers, though they'll find this Minnesota defense to be stouter than the Saints group they just saw. The Vikings are allowing a scant 17.0 points per game, tops in the NFC. Carolina must get traction on the ground against the Minnesota front -- and not solely from Cam Newton. Although Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey have pulled their numbers up lately, they're still only averaging 3.2 and 3.5 yards per carry, compared with Newton's 5.8. The Vikes' run defense is third in yards per rush allowed. Offensively, Minnesota QB Case Keenum has been every bit as effective as the defense. He is second to only Tom Brady in N3P (positive plays minus negative plays divided by qualifying snaps), because he's thrown for a ton of first downs (123) despite having far fewer snaps than most quarterbacks, and because he's suffered just five giveaways (five picks, no fumbles).

Chargers
28
Pick
Redskins
27
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 4:05 PM ET
This is one of the coolest matchups of the week. Everyone is counting the Redskins out. Everyone is counting on the Chargers to overtake the Chiefs in the AFC West. Can Washington brandish any kind of run game against the Los Angeles front? Can any broadcaster outside of play-by-play man @MattMoneySmith go one game without calling that team the San Diego Chargers? While wondering if anyone in Los Angeles is noticing the uptick in the Bolts' play lately, this will be as challenging as any game on their schedule. Kirk Cousins has much to prove heading into the offseason. Jay Gruden has stated that Washington doesn't "have any plans to shut anybody down."

Way cool fact: Keenan Allen leads the league in numerous third-down categories, including receptions, receiving yards and moving the sticks ... like, all the important money-down measures.

Jets
14
Pick
Broncos
12
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 4:05 PM ET
Oy. Well, this game does carry some intrigue. If the Jets beat the Broncos, they'll fall toward the middle of the pack in the draft order, which will oddly upset their fan base, whereas another loss from Team Elway puts Denver in line for a top pick. The 49ers (2-10) might catch Denver (3-9) this week in the win column, while the Giants (2-10) are only a game back. Moreover, the Broncos play two of their last three on the road, with the lone home date against a Chiefs team possibly playing for the AFC West. Trevor Siemian must outdo his 19-of-41 performance in Miami. That game turned on his late throw to the sideline that went for six points the other way. Don't think Josh McCown will serve up any of those balls. If he does, maybe Denver will avoid tying its franchise record for consecutive losses (nine), which was set back in 1967. Fantastic year for sci-fi ("Planet of the Apes") but not so much for Broncos.

Cardinals
29
Pick
Titans
24
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 4:05 PM ET
Will this be the week that playing down to opponents catches up with the AFC South-leading Titans? Maybe Tennessee isn't as stout as most analysts initially thought, but there can be no argument that every contest has been, well, a real contest. Arizona, meanwhile, gave the Jaguars their only loss in the last six games. To defeat the Titans, the Cards will have to shut down the opposing ground game, which they've done better than anything else (ranking ninth against the run) this season. So the outcome will be contingent on the performance of a struggling Marcus Mariota. With the Jags hosting the Seahawks, the game in Arizona is a prime opportunity for Tennessee to gain ground in the AFC South. Say this about Mariota, though: He's engineered four game-winning drives this year, tied with Kirk Cousins for most in the NFL.

Eagles
29
Pick
Rams
26
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 4:25 PM ET
This is the top-shelf game at your local sports bar this weekend. You don't want to miss this matchup, which should live up to the hype. Yes, you have been -- and will continue to be -- inundated with the obvious Carson Wentz vs. Jared Goff storyline. (Did you know they were the first two picks of the 2016 NFL Draft??!) But that's not the only subplot that matters here. Not by a longshot. This showdown carries all sorts of playoff implications, with the Rams only a game back of Philly in the win column in the NFC. A win by the Eagles could keep them atop the conference with the Vikings, who've already toppled Los Angeles. Not to mention, the Rams must stay ahead of the Seahawks, whom they lost to in October. Watching Wentz compete against Wade Phillips' ever-improving defense should be fun. More fun: the NFL's top-scoring team taking on Jim Schwartz's Philly defense. Most fun: This is the first time since the AFL-NFL merger that two teams tied for the league lead in scoring (30.1) will play each other.

Seahawks
13
Pick
Jaguars
10
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 4:25 PM ET
Taking the plunge in trusting the Seahawks to play well enough on the road to beat a division leader. Tough to do, given that the Jaguars own the No. 1 scoring defense in the league, and the flight from Seattle to Jacksonville represents one of the longest road trips in the NFL. Also not helping this pick: Earlier this season, Seattle was throttled by the Titans (before playing frantic catch-up football). I'm not confident Blake Bortles and the Jags' receivers can capitalize on the Achilles' heel of Seattle right now: a banged-up secondary missing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Offensively, maybe the Seahawks should come out in no-huddle, letting Russell Wilson play with a sense of urgency in quarter No. 1. Wilson is tied with Eli Manning (2011) for the most fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a single season. Let's hope RW doesn't get benched, too.

Steelers
16
Pick
Ravens
10
Sunday, Dec. 10 @ 8:30 PM ET
The earlier meeting between these two devolved into a Steelers blowout. Don't imagine this game will go the same way. The Ravens' defense has been more consistent than the Steelers' offense, specifically Ben Roethlisberger. You might recall that when these teams played in Baltimore, Antonio Brown was more than a dash perturbed that his quarterback couldn't find him down the field. It was also Brown who personally delivered the AFC North title with his "Immaculate Extension" in this same matchup last season. If the Ravens can connect down the field against the Joe Haden-less secondary, it could open up a now-viable run game. A win at Heinz puts them in the lead in the wild-card race, with an outside chance at the division. A loss means Pittsburgh clinches the AFC North. Joe Flacco must find ways to generate offense; he's third-lowest in N3P (explanation in Vikings- Panthers section), ahead of only Tom Savage and DeShone Kizer.

Patriots
36
Pick
Dolphins
14
Monday, Dec. 11 @ 8:30 PM ET
In years past, this road trip has been far from joyous for the Patriots. Despite all the success in the Bill Belichick era, New England has lost nine of 17 games in Miami, including three in a row before last season. Eight of those losses came in Tom Brady starts. That said, these Dolphins are not as strong on defense as in years past. They're 24th in points allowed -- the franchise has finished worse than that only twice in the last 30 years. Granted, pick-sixes by Adam Gase's quarterbacks haven't helped. Expect Brady to go to his running backs often, especially in the absence of the suspended Rob Gronkowski. Would you believe the Patriots are 12-0 without Gronk since the start of the 2016 season? That includes the playoffs, broseph.

THURSDAY NIGHT'S GAME

Saints
30
Pick
Falcons
24
Thursday, Dec. 7 @ 8:25 PM ET
Will the Falcons have a better answer for Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara than they did last week for Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon? OK, while those latter two didn't exactly dominate in Minnesota's win over Atlanta, they made enough plays to bail Vikings QB Case Keenum out of some trying situations. The Saints' duo -- the "Creole Combo" -- is on pace to blow past 3,000 yards from scrimmage. Thus, Falcons MLB Deion Jones will be huge in this game. Also, Atlanta's pass rush must get Drew Brees down on the turf, something the Falcons struggled to do with Keenum. Matt Ryan has thrown 14 touchdown passes and one interception against the Saints since 2104. Whoops -- meant 2014. A hundred years from now, maybe a stem-cell replicated Ryan will throw a hologram touchdown to a kid wearing a VR visor with a No. 11 jersey on.

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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