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NFL Week 14 Pickem: Closing the Deal

December 6th, 2012 at 4:11 PM
By Chuck Chapman

Four weeks remain in the 2012 season. By my count, 20 of the NFL's 32 teams still have at least an outside shot at a playoff berth. That's the way the late Pete Rozelle dreamed each season would finish. It's also why the last four weeks of the season take on added importance for every team: it's time to finish what you started.

The Indianapolis Colts have improbably won eight of their first 12 games. As giddy as that has made Colts' fans, it won't mean "diddly-poo" to use the words of Jim Mora, if they don't finish with at least two wins in their final four games.

The same applies to the Pickem contest between me and Steven. I've built a sizeable advantage over 13 weeks (128-64 to 109-83). But Steven seems to have gotten his bearings the last few weeks and is putting on the pressure for me to maintain my lead and win the season's contest.

Here's who we like this week:


Denver at Oakland- Steven: Broncos – "With four weeks left, how long to play Manning down the stretch or when do you rest? Colts fans shouldn’t worry, but will undoubtedly be interested." Chuck: Broncos- "The good news is that the Indianapolis market will get to see some other AFC team besides Denver play this week. When the Raiders are involved in the only game on TV, any good news will do."
San Diego at Pittsburgh- Steven: Steelers – "San Diego has to have thrown in the towel already at this point, but Pittsburgh would be better off not hoping for a second performance from Charlie Batch." Chuck: Steelers- "I nearly switched windows to see if Big Ben was starting before making my pick. Then I remembered they were playing the Chargers."
Tennessee at Indianapolis- Steven: Colts – "Splitting the final four games down the stretch secures the playoffs, but this is a must win to that cause." Chuck: Colts- "The Colts stole another game they weren't supposed to win last Sunday. They need to continue to take care of business at Lucas Oil on Sunday. They will."
New York Jets at Jacksonville- Steven: Jaguars – "Maybe if the TV producers can get the right hue out of the feed, these team’s jerseys will act as camouflage to the field and we won’t notice they’re playing." Chuck: Jets- "Mark Sanchez is starting for the Jets. That doesn't mean he's finishing. Even the Jets won't lose at Jacksonville."
Chicago at Minnesota- Steven: Bears – "Minnesota goes as Adrian Peterson goes, and this week he goes nowhere." Chuck: Vikings- The Bears are getting banged up and not forcing turnovers at the rate they did earlier in the season. With Brian Urlacher on the sidelines, the Vikings remain in the playoff picture."
Atlanta at Carolina- Steven: Falcons –" I’ve determined Atlanta may make another early exit in the playoffs, but they’ll keep racking up wins in the regular season." Chuck: Falcons- "Carolina dropped a tough one in Kansas City last week. This week they'll drop another one, but it won't be so close."
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay- Steven: Buccaneers – "The better your running back, the less time you give to other teams to hang around. Doug Martin keeps Philadelphia out of this one." Chuck: Buccaneers- "I've been impressed with Bryce Brown for the Eagles. I've been less impressed with the other 21 starters out there."
St. Louis at Buffalo- Steven: Bills – "It’s not a division matchup or a home game for St. Louis, so they have little chance." Chuck: Bills- "The Bills keep their slim playoff hopes alive and end the Rams'"
Dallas at Cincinnati- Steven: Cowboys – "Didn’t I write a few weeks ago about Dallas just losing to go away already? Well, they’re back in the hunt again and will cool off Cincinnati." Chuck: Bengals- "This Bengals' team has pluck. This Dallas team has luck (small "l"). The Bengals win their fifth straight while Dallas goes back toward .500."
Baltimore at Washington- Steven: Redskins – "Baltimore has to make Robert Griffin III throw, as he is being let loose to run more and more." Chuck: Ravens- "Last week the Ravens got beat by an old man. This week a young man pays the price for their anger."
Kansas City at Cleveland- Steven: Browns – "It won’t be a misprint: Three wins in a row for Cleveland." Chuck: Browns- "Cleveland is a good young team. I'm glad the Colts got them early."
Miami at San Francisco- Steven: 49'ers – "The one thing not mentioned about ties: They are a beautiful thing for playoff seeding." Chuck: 49'ers- "This one will be closer than it needs to be. Jim Harbaugh has made a major miscalculation starting Colin Kaepernick. His defense will win this one though."
New Orleans at New York Giants- Steven: Saints – "Whatever last week was from Drew Brees doesn’t happen in back-to-back games." Chuck: Giants- "Last week's loss effectively doomed the Saints' slim playoff chances. The Giants are still very much alive and will get this one at home."
Arizona at Seattle- Steven: Seahawks – "Russell Wilson easily can be listed as the number two rookie quarterback in the league right now, behind Andrew Luck, of course." Chuck: Seahawks- "Seattle gutted out a win in Chicago last week and now comes home and feeds off the energy of their 12th man."
Detroit at Green Bay- Steven: Packers – "Think Green Bay will put up with Detroit’s “antics” on the field? No team may be more aware." Chuck: Packers- "Detroit just has to be devastated after last week's loss. Green Bay isn't where you go to have your spirits lifted."
Houston at New England- Steven: Patriots – "What blasphemy is this? ESPN gets a great game? Purely going with home field advantage in this one. Would love an AFC Championship game rematch." Chuck: Patriots- "I'd go with Houston if I thought their secondary was healthy, but I'm not. Still, Houston possesses the run game that could keep the ball out of Brady's hands. I wouldn't be shocked if they won in Foxboro."
Tags: Football, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, NFL

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