Survival Sunday- With the arrival of the month of December the NFL has reached the 3/4 point of the season and is now officially in the home stretch. NFL.com has labeled week 14 as "Survival Sunday", and for some teams that will certainly be the case. However we look at this as more like "Survival Month" since some teams will be will be involved in games that will have even more direct impact on the playoff picture. For those teams that are on the bubble the time to make hay is now. With a majority of playoff positions maybe already decided both the AFC and NFC will see mad dashes for the sixth and final seed in each conference. In the AFC you have the Kansas City Chiefs who are most likely your number five seed baring a complete face plant. You also have the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins tied for the final play off spot each with 6-6 season records. The Ravens hold the tie breaker over Miami as Baltimore defeated the Dolphins in Week 5. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers and New York Jets are still mathematical possibilities despite 5-7 records. However it is clear that if one of these team are to make the post season they will almost certainly have to run the table in December and get some help along the way. In the NFC it’s almost certain that either the Carolina Panthers or New Orleans Saints will be the number five seed with identical 9-3 marks. The Panthers and Saints will play each other twice this month. The San Francisco 49ers hold the sixth and final post season spot. Right behind them are the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals at 7-5. After that you have the Chicago Bears at 6-6 and the Green Bay Packers at 5-6-1, followed by the New York Giants at 5-7. The Eagles could still win their division if they are able to overtake the Dallas Cowboys who hold the tie breakers between the two teams currently. In many ways this year several teams have already separated themselves from the pack and will be very tough teams to beat in January.
Kingshark Line- The Kingshark Line went 12-4 last Sunday, and nailed the result of the Broncos-Chiefs game (picked 35-28 Denver, Broncos won 35-28). Once again however some games were harder to pick then others. I said the Jets and Dolphins were a coin flip, and as it turned out they really weren’t one at all. The Cleveland Browns last Sunday showed everyone that when the chips are on the line they still have that uncanny ability to rescue defeat from the jaws of victory, even against Jacksonville. The Bills almost never win when we pick them (which is rare in upon itself). I stand by the Cardinals pick over the Eagles as I felt they had a good enough team to get a win on the road. However the Cardinals still tend to carry the bad habits of past Cardinals teams and usually at the worst possible time for their own cause. Does this mean we wont pick any of those teams again? That depends on the game and circumstances around the team. The Kingshark Line enters Sunday 1-0 for Week 14 after taking Jacksonville to beat Houston (picked 17-13 Jaguars, they won 27-20). As for the rest of the league, let’s get into what we see happening this Sunday...
Indianapolis@Cincinnati (CBS)- Two likely playoff teams face each other in a game which could decide home field advantage between the two should they meet in the post season. The Colts last Sunday took care of business at home in a 22-14 win over Tennessee while the Bengals were picking up a huge road win in San Diego. Andrew Luck vs Andy Dalton the way the season have gone for both QB’s has honestly been a wash. The Colts however as of late have gotten off to rough starts which was a trend that continued last week. The Bengals got a tough first half last weekend however were able to make the plays that needed to be made in particular on defense. The Bengals this season have been amazing at home and have learned how to protect their turf. The Colts on the road this late in the season tend to by a bit of a dicey proposition. Bengals 27 Colts 20.
Cleveland@New England (CBS)- This game looks to have blow out city written all over it. However last week the Patriots looked to have a blow out match awaiting them and surprisingly got a strong game from a Houston Texans team that was clearly making their last stand. The Browns will probably do what they can to take that same mentality into this game. New England meanwhile knows they got a scare on the road last week. Don’t expect the Patriots to take the Browns lightly as they should be able to handle their business at home. Patriots 34 Browns 16.
Minnesota@Baltimore (FOX)- The Ravens have won two in a row and are looking to spend the next four weeks locking down the final seed in the AFC post season playoff picture. The Vikings last week played their game of the year in an overtime win over the Bears. The Ravens in their last game on Thanksgiving night beat the arch rival Steelers in a tough showdown. The Ravens are well rested here. The Vikings probably aren’t going to play any better than they did last week. Baltimore also needs this game as well. Ravens 27 Vikings 13.
Atlanta@Green Bay (FOX)- This will be a battle between two teams that were favored to go deep into the post season this year. So much has changed since the season started. The Packers excuse is that they lost Aaron Rogers. The Falcons excuse is that they played well below their own expectations. The Falcons are playing for jobs in 2014. The Packers perhaps are too. Going with the Packers only because the of the weather and the Falcons being a dome team. Packers 17 Falcons 13.
Detroit@Philadelphia (FOX)- The Lions and the Eagles in a match of two teams that could see each other in the post season, though a lot has to happen first for that to be a possibility. The Lions are well rested after an statement win over the Packers on Thanksgiving. The Eagles have won four in a row and have come back from the dead to compete for the NFC East division title. Matthew Stafford vs Nick Foles will be an interesting battle of two QB’s who have taken the reigns of their respective teams. Both teams have been unpredictable as they have had good showings followed up by surprisingly poor showings. For us the Lions on the road is always dicey and Philadelphia is one of those places where they haven’t had too much success in the past. The Eagles need to win to keep pace with Dallas in the NFC East and also with the Wild Card chase. This is a tough one to pick but between the two teams the Eagles overall have played the better football as of late. The Lions need to prove they can win on the road on a consistent basis. Eagles 24 Lions 17.
Oakland@NY Jets (CBS)- The Raiders and Jets match up in a game of two teams that will more than likely be "also rans" this seasons. The Raiders played a decent game in Dallas on Thanksgiving in spite of the loss to the Cowboys. The Jets were woeful in an embarrassing 20 point home loss to the Dolphins. The Jets have already peaked and get more under whelming by the week. The Raiders despite their record have shown on most Sundays that they can compete regardless of who is the QB (Matt Flynn excluded). Raiders 17 Jets 10.
Kansas City@Washington (CBS)- The Chiefs enter this game having dropped their last three games. The Chiefs are looking to stop the skid and have before them the perfect opponent and opportunity to do so. The Redskins at 3-9 are playing for jobs in 2014 though not necessarily under current Head Coach Mike Shanahan. The Chiefs in the three game losing streak were more than competitive despite losses, though two were to division rival Denver. All the Chiefs can do from here is lockdown their almost certain position as the number five seed in the AFC post season. Look for Kansas City to have a strong rebounding game against a team that is officially playing out the string. Chiefs 34 Redskins 20.
Miami@Pittsburgh (CBS)- The Dolphins and Steelers meet on what is almost certain to be a bitter cold Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The Dolphins are still a post season contender tied for the last playoff spot in the AFC. Pittsburgh will come into the game with 10 days rest however they also enter this game with a 5-7 record. For the Steelers they have to be able to run the table over the last four weeks and get some help to have a shot at the post season. If the Dolphins are to get their they will also need some help too. Miami had an impressive win over the Jets last week while the Steelers lost two-point decision to arch rival Baltimore. The Steelers have not played well for a good deal of the season but still have players on their roster with both big game experience and cold weather experience. The Dolphins are still green and this game could be difficult just based on the elements which favor their opponent. Steelers 20 Dolphins 14.
Buffalo@Tampa Bay (CBS)- No pressure here. This game has no playoff implications whatsoever. Both teams might as well just open their playbooks and go for it. It will at least give the fans something to see and make the game worth watching. Buccaneers 24 Bills 17.
Tennessee@Denver (CBS)- The Titans come into this game with their fading playoff hopes on the line. The Broncos at 10-2 are on a mission to try and cement home field advantage throughout the post season in the AFC. The Titans are at least making a somewhat valiant effort but just don’t have the horses (no pun intended) to stay with the Broncos for four full quarters. Broncos 34 Titans 21.
Seattle@San Francisco (FOX)- The Seahawks have totally dominated the 49ers in their last two meetings in outscoring them 71-16. However both of those games were in Seattle. Most people have forgotten that the last time the two teams met in San Francisco the 49ers came away with a 13-6 win. Seattle here has a chance to clinch the NFC West title and are already the first team to qualify for the post season. The Seahawks are also coming off an impressive 34-7 rout of the New Orleans Saints this past Monday night. The Seahawks at times tend to be a different team on the road and the 49ers will need to find ways to exploit that if they are looking to win here. The 49ers will be up for this game and certainly are not lacking in the motivation department. The 49ers also will give Seattle a challenge with their defense much in the same way the Seahawks will likewise challenge the 49ers with their defense as well. With or without the game the Seahawks are basically a mortal lock for the NFC top seed. The 49ers just don’t want Seattle to be clinching the NFC West on their turf. A close game will favor the 49ers. The 49ers find a way in a close one throughout. 49ers 23 Seahawks 20. For more on this game please go to this link: http://goldengatereport.com/articles/49ers-vs-seahawks-the-rematch
St.Louis@Arizona (FOX)- Cardinals QB Carson Palmer could be a game time decision. If he does not play it does not bode well for Arizona. Zach Stacey will be out for the Rams which could hurt them also. The Rams are one of those pesky teams that if they are allowed to hang around could cause a lot of trouble. The Cardinals need a win here to keep their playoff hopes strong as they are only one game behind San Francisco. The Rams have faint post season hopes but can play spoiler and have already for some teams. The Cardinals had won four in a row before a tough loss in Philly last Sunday while the Rams suffered through a mistake filled loss to the 49ers. The Rams if Palmer doesn’t play will have an opportunity that is wide open. If Palmer plays the Rams will still make it interesting but the edge has to go to Arizona. Cardinals 24 Rams 20.
NY Giants@San Diego (FOX)- Chargers fans plan on spending the afternoon booing Eli Manning who wanted nothing to do with their franchise when they drafted him in 2004. Nine years later Manning may still get the boos birds but he will have a Super Bowl ring in each ear which will prevent him from hearing any of them. Time to just let it go Charger fans. The Giants and Chargers are both on life support for their seasons as both come into this game with 5-7 records. Between Manning, Phillip Rivers and their respective offensive units both are able to compete at high levels. The Chargers however falter when it comes to team defense. The Giants don’t exactly have the best defense however theirs is better than the Chargers. Eli gets (and has already gotten twice over) the last laugh. Just try to "Stay Classy San Diego." Giants 31 Chargers 24.
Carolina@New Orleans (NBC)- This will be a good one. NBC flexed out the Falcons-Packers to pick this game up and it was quite a steal. Both teams are tied atop the NFC South with 9-3 records. Both teams have protected their home fields well while playing good football on the road as well with two exceptions (Carolina’s 22-6 loss at Arizona in Week 5; New Orleans 34-7 loss at Seattle this past Monday). Between the two teams it’s the Panthers who have played the better football over the longest stretch as they enter the game on an eight game winning streak. The Saints have to be angry and frustrated after a tough night last Monday and may come onto the field with the mind set of a wounded bear. The Saints also don’t want to fall behind Carolina in the NFC South. Carolina has a defense that in many ways is as tough as Seattle’s and this could give Drew Brees and company even more fits. The Saints have a good defense though they are prone to giving up some big plays. If Cam Newton gets the Panthers offense rolling this will be a tough game for the Saints. The Saints are 6-0 at home. Carolina doesn’t care. Upset Special here: Panthers 27 Saints 23.
Dallas@Chicago (ESPN)- Night games in Chicago in December are usually not all that fun for the teams or spectators in attendance. This will be the case when the Cowboys meet the Bears in the Windy City Monday Night. Who doesn’t want to experience football in 10 degree weather (or colder)? The bitter chill will be of particular concern for Dallas who has played in cold weather in the past, just not on a regular bases. The Chicago Bears know December is cold as it goes with their territory. The question is can Cowboys QB Tony Romo be effective in the bitter cold. Another question is will Bears QB Josh McCown handle the cold. With the temps well below freezing this likely will be more of a battle of the running games. Matt Forte has handled the load for the Bears while DeMarco Murray has done the same for Dallas. The Bears despite their recent offense woes as far as scoring is concerned still rank amongst the top 10. The problem is their defense which is in the lower third of the league. The Cowboys defense also happens to be in the bottom third as well. Romo may not be that used to cold weather but at this point of the season if you don’t have your original starting QB that usually means trouble late in the season. Cowboys edge Bears in a cold weather grinder. Cowboys 16 Bears 13.
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*Mandatory Disclaimer: The Kingshark Line is stickily for entertainment purposes only. I have the same exact information that anyone else has and do not claim to know any more or less than the next guy. This is not to promote or encourage gambling on football or any other sport. No point spreads are played here or implied in any way. Scores are for entertainment purposes only and are only based on team trends, team reports, etc. There is no inside information given here or implied. This is just for your information and entertainment. Enjoy the games.