Eagles better not choke on Zeke Elliott’s dust again | NFL Week 14 preview
The Patriots can clinch again, Big Ben gets one more shot in Oakland and there's some high-level drama in Green Bay.
As we wipe away the tears of all those who had Derrick Henry on their bench during fantasy playoffs, here’s a look at the rest of the Week 14 schedule.
Eagles (6-6) at Dallas (7-5), 4:25 p.m. (Fox29)
Nice of Kamu Gruiger-Hill to throw some kerosene on a December NFC East blaze with his observation that the Cowboys “always choke.” Winning a championship every 57 years tends to embolden some folks. Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 151 yards in the Cowboys' win in Philadelphia last month. Elliott’s also averaging nearly six catches over the last five games. Stopping him is priority No. 1 to choking out the Cowpokes. Line: Cowboys minus-3.5
Postgame headline: Cowboys choke out Eagles playoff hopes
>>READ MORE: Our writers predictions for Eagles-Cowboys
N.Y. Giants (4-8) at Washington (6-6), 1 p.m. (Fox29)
It’s been almost four years since Mark Sanchez won a game he started. He beat the Giants in the 2014 season finale for the Eagles. Washington cornerback Josh Norman vs. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. would have been entertaining, but OBJ is out with a quadriceps injury. Line: Giants minus-3.5
Postgame headline: Saquon tops 1,000 yards as Adrian Peterson looks on wistfully
Atlanta (4-8) at Green Bay (4-7-1), 1 p.m.
Two years ago, these teams were playing in the NFC championship game. The Packers have lost five of six and fired coach Mike McCarthy after getting beat at home by 2-9 Arizona last Sunday. Assistant head coach Winston Moss sent an explosive tweet that said it would be nice if everybody was held to the same standard, including Aaron Rodgers. He was fired shortly thereafter. Yikes. Line: Packers minus-5.5
Postgame headline: Only thing the Packers need now is Davante Adams doing situps in his driveway
New Orleans (10-2) at Tampa Bay (5-7), 1 p.m.
Is Jameis Winston playing his way back into the Buccaneers' long-range plans? The Bucs QB has six touchdown passes and one pick in his last three games (two were wins, other was a three-point loss). The Saints lost to the Buccaneers in Week 1. New Orleans left tackle Terron Armstead (pectoral injury) returned to practice, a good sign for a Saints offensive line that was chewed up by Dallas. “Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war,” Drew Brees said of the dismal loss to Dallas, which snapped New Orleans’ 10-game winning streak. Line: Saints minus-8
Postgame headline: Saints squeak by; did they peak in November?
Indianapolis (6-6) at Houston (9-3), 1 p.m.
The last seven games in this series have been decided by seven points or fewer, including Week 4, when the Texans won in overtime to start their current nine-game winning streak. Indy’s defense, ranked 30th the last two years, is 11th this season. It is the only unit to force at least one turnover in every game. Texans star J.J. Watt was among the dignitaries to attend services for George H.W. Bush on Thursday. Houston has beaten one team (Dallas) that went into Week 14 with a winning record. Line: Texans minus-5
Postgame headline: Win over Colts puts Bill O’Brien into coach of the year conversation
New England (9-3) at Miami (6-6), 1 p.m.
Tom Brady has lost four of his last five starts in Miami and is 7-9 there all-time. It’s got to be the pina coladas, because the Pats have beaten Miami nine straight in Foxborough. A New England win would give the Patriots their 10th consecutive division title, extending their league record. Line: Patriots minus-7.5
Postgame headline: Patriots become first team in NFL history to make playoffs 10 straight years
N.Y. Jets (3-9) at Buffalo (4-8), 1 p.m.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen has 234 rushing yards over the last two games. Teammate LeSean McCoy has 235 total in his last six games. Let that sink in. Buffalo somewhat surprisingly released veteran wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes this past week. This will be the first meeting between Sam Darnold and Allen. The rookie quarterbacks were taken third and seventh, respectively, in the 2018 draft,, but Darnold missed the Jets' previous three games with a foot injury. Line: Bills minus-3
Postgame headline: No wonder the Patriots always win this division
Carolina (6-6) at Cleveland (4-7-1), 1 p.m.
Running back Christian McCaffrey has been on the field for 97.4 percent of Carolina’s offensive snaps. Last week he became the first player ever with at least 50 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving in five consecutive games. Would have thought Marshall Faulk did that, but his career best was four consecutive games. The Panthers have lost four in a row as their defense has let them down. Head coach Ron Rivera fired two assistants and took the defensive play-calling away from coordinator Eric Washington. Line: Panthers minus-1.5
Postgame headline: Carolina falls to 1-6 on the road; Eagles fans can only wish it was 0-7
Baltimore (7-5) at Kansas City (10-2), 1 p.m. (CBS3)
Monster game for the Chiefs’ pursuit of the conference’s No. 1 seed. Baltimore is on a three-game roll and has the league’s top-ranked defense. Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson is expected to make his fourth consecutive start. He’s beaten Cincinnati, Oakland, and Atlanta, so this will easily be his toughest test. Opposing QBs have seven TD passes and eight interceptions at K.C. this season. Jackson might need another one of those 26-carry days to pull this off. Line: Chiefs minus-6.5
Postgame headline: Chiefs Ware out Ravens defense behind back-up running back
Cincinnati (5-7) at L.A. Chargers (9-3), 4:05 p.m.
Chargers defensive tackle Brandon Mebane will play after missing the previous two games to be with his family after the premature birth of daughter Makenna. His wife and other two children are in Omaha, where Makenna is being treated for serious birth defects. Kind of puts playoff seeding, coaching changes, and quarterback ratings in perspective. Line: Chargers minus-14
Postgame headline: Cincinnati was a two-TD underdog, shoulda been four
Denver (6-6) at San Francisco (2-10), 4:05 p.m.
Emmanuel Sanders became the sixth opening-day starter lost when he ruptured his Achilles’ in practice this week. At some point all of those fallen bodies will catch up to Denver. Penn State rookie DaeSean Hamilton figures to see more time in Sanders’ absence. Hamilton has just five catches in the 10 games he’s played. Line: Broncos minus-4
Postgame headline: Heaven help the Broncos if Phillip Lindsay gets hurt
Detroit (4-8) at Arizona (3-9), 4:25 p.m.
“We’ve got guys who weren’t on the team a week ago that are out there starting and playing,” said Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. “We’re not making excuses. We’re paid to do a job.” Line: Lions minus-3
Postgame headline: Could be worse; Imagine being a Cardinals season-ticket holder and paying for this
Pittsburgh (7-4-1) at Oakland (2-10), 4:25 p.m.
Ben Roethlisberger is 0-3 in his career at the Black Hole and this will be his final chance for a win with Oakland moving to Las Vegas after next season. If he loses here, though, that 0-4 mark will be the least of his worries. Pittsburgh already has lost two in a row and has games against the Patriots and at New Orleans after this. The last Steelers quarterback to win in Oakland was Neil O’Donnell in 1995. Line: Steelers minus-10
Postgame headline: This was kind of like when Alabama plays the Citadel before facing Auburn
L.A. Rams (11-1) at Chicago (8-4), 8:20 p.m. (NBC10)
The Bears have a much better shot at pulling the upset with the return of starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky – as long as he avoids turnovers. If Chicago’s Khalil Mack isn’t named defensive player of the year, then the Rams' Aaron Donald will. Line: Rams minus-3
Postgame headline: Gurley rams through Bears run defense for a buck and a half
Minnesota (6-5-1) at Seattle (7-5), Monday, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
The Seahawks are closing the season with four home games in the final five weeks. They hammered the Niners last week. Seattle is 15-2 in home night games under Pete Carroll. This is their first meeting since Minnesota broke its own heart when Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal at the end of a 2016 playoff game in Minnesota. Line: Seahawks minus-3.5
Postgame headline: Only guy who delivers more than Russell Wilson in December lives at the North Pole