Week 14 NFL Picks, In Which We Claim a Preliminary Victory (Plus Week 13 Results!)

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Merril Hoge on the field in his playing days.

Since he picked so well last week, we're running a more flattering picture of Merril Hoge this time around. He really should tuck that ball away, though.

Boom! That’s the sound of a huge 14-2 record last week. It’s also the sound of a “preliminary victory” in our season-long quest to find the easiest way to predict NFL games each week without actually thinking.

If you recall, every week since Week 7, we’ve been making our picks by simply copying the picks of the ESPN “expert” with the best record the week before. Last week, for example, we used Merril Hoge‘s picks (as he had gone 14-2 the week prior). Hoge delivered, repeating at 14-2, which was tied for the best “expert” record of the week. Continuing on with our formula, that means we’re using Hoge again this week.

It’s been a little bit of an up and down season, but we have to say we’re developing a little swagger going into the home stretch. Hit the link below to see what Merril has lined up for us this week, along with our usual baseless justifications.

(Per our policy, we list the predicted winner of each game in bold and italics. Our “system” uses ESPN “expert” Merril Hoge’s picks since he had the best record last week.)

Browns at Bills
Somehow, Cleveland has found a way to become a somewhat respectable team. Buffalo has yet to turn that corner, and this will not be the weak that they do.

Packers at Lions
For the second week in a row, Detroit faces a division rival at home. This week it’s Green Bay, but just like last week, the Lions will lose. Also, this game won’t be as close.

Giants at Vikings
New York won on the ground last week, and this week their offense should be even more potent with the return of its main receiving threats. Minneapolis, on the other hand, may be starting a quarterback who barely threw in practice this week after being knocked out of the game on one of his first passes last week. Advantage Giants.

Bengals at Steelers
Nearly every week, no matter the quality of the opposition, Cincinnati finds a way to lose. Nearly every week, not matter the quality of the opposition, Pittsburgh finds a way to win. Draw your own conclusions.

Buccaneers at Redskins
Here’s a word problem: a football team from Tampa is heading steadily in the right direction when it collides with a Washington squad that’s rapidly spiraling downward. They meet in Washington at 1pm on Sunday. Who wins? (The answer is Tampa Bay.)

Falcons at Panthers
Carolina’s probably the worst team in the NFL right now. Atlanta’s probably one of the best. Sorry, Panthers.

Raiders at Jaguars
Jacksonville has quietly compiled a 7-5 record and sits in first place in the AFC south. Oakland is an impressive (for them) 6-6. West coast teams don’t play too well on the east coast, however, and the Raiders are no exception.

Rams at Saints
Considering their recent history, St. Louis has played very well this year, and their 6-6, NFC West-leading record is impressive. If they can beat the Saints in New Orleans they’ll prove they’ve arrived. Sadly, that won’t happen because New Orleans is finally hitting its stride and looking to make a run at the number one seed in the NFC should the Falcons falter.

Seahawks at 49ers
Two bad teams that play badly together. Someone has to lose, and we think it will be Seattle. Yay, San Francisco?

Patriots at Bears
What a golden opportunity for Chicago to prove it’s one of the NFL’s elite teams! It will remain only an opportunity, however, since New England’s firing on all cylinders after knocking of the Jets last week.

Dolphins at Jets
Miami is a team on the brink of collapse, and New York needs a big division win to right the ship after their embarrassing Monday night loss at New England. They’ll get it against a Dolphins squad desperately in need of a QB.

Broncos at Cardinals
So far every team that’s fired its coach during the season has won the following week. Denver’s so bad, however, that they’ll break this rule. We should probably say something nice about Arizona here, but we can’t think of anything. The Cardinals will still win though.

Eagles at Cowboys
Excluding their loss to the Bears, Philadelphia’s been on an absolute tear of late, and it’s about time Dallas’ carriage turned back into a pumpkin.

Chiefs at Chargers
San Diego’s in desperate need a win after embarrassing themselves agains Oakland last week. Kansas City is looking to prove they belong atop their division. Something has to give, and it’s the Chiefs.

Ravens at Texans
After suffering a heartbreaking loss last week against Pittsburgh, Baltimore takes their show on the road looking to right the ship. Luckily for them, Houston’s looking a lot like a pushover right now, so the Texans may be just what the Ravens need.

Once again, there was a game last night, but since we don’t get the NFL Network, we like to pretend it doesn’t exist. The Titans made it a little closer than anyone expected, but come on, did you really not pick the Colts?

Since he treated us so well last week, we’re going to recycle last week’s Merril Hodge sign-off:

Join us again next week to see how Merril Hoge’s picks treated us, and who will be our standard-bearer next week. It’s (still) December and it’s getting cold out, so let’s be careful out there.

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