Brad’s Baker’s Dozen For Week 14 Of Your NFL Season

Brad’s Baker’s Dozen For Week 14 Of Your NFL Season

The Baker’s Dozen takes on some big changes in the latter half of the rankings this week.  Left out of the top-13 are New England, Arizona, Seattle, Minnesota, and the New York Giants, who are all lurking.  The Football Team and the Browns make their first appearance after big wins last weekend. 

Kansas City Chiefs (TOTAL GRADE A)
It’s always great to have the x-factor, and the Chiefs have three of them in Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill.  Kansas City has a few holes on defense, but teams are going to have to find a way to stop the offense if they are going to beat them.  The next two weeks are huge with road games at Miami and New Orleans.  If they win both of those games they should finish the season 15-1. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (TOTAL GRADE A-)

The Steelers got clipped by the Football Team this past week.  I wouldn’t read into it too much.  Pittsburgh got caught looking ahead to Buffalo and was beaten by a Washington team that has one of the better defensive lines in the league, thus eliminating their running game.  What should be more concerning for the Steelers is the injuries that have mounted in recent weeks.  If Joe Haden misses this weekend, expect a shootout against the Bills.

New Orleans Saints (TOTAL GRADE B+)
We’ve been telling you all season that the Saints go on a run every year.  Right now they have a nine-game winning streak, thanks to a very soft schedule.  New Orleans has played just one team with a winning record over that span, and a game against the Eagles this week should make it 10 in a row.  Will they get caught napping this weekend with the Chiefs waiting on deck?  Jalen Hurts starts for Philadelphia, which should add a few new wrinkles. 

Buffalo Bills (TOTAL GRADE B)
The Bills have one of the great young quarterbacks in the league in Josh Allen.  Next to Patrick Mahomes, he may be the most vital piece of any team in the league and without him, the Bills would be a below .500 team.  With him, they are a tough out in the playoffs.  The problem in Buffalo is a defense that keeps too many games close.  The Bills have faced the Dolphins, Rams, Raiders, Titans, Chiefs, Patriots, Seahawks and Cardinals, and gone 5-3 against them.  Now they get the Steelers, which is another intriguing matchup. 

Tennessee Titans (TOTAL GRADE B-)
The Tennessee Titans will go as far as Derrick Henry can take them.   Fortunately for them, they get the Jaguars, Lions, Packers, and Texans to close out the season, which looks pretty juicy.  The Tennessee defense is not very good and remains the worst defense in the league on third down.  They should be able to keep them off the field over the next four weeks and walk away with the AFC South title. 

Green Bay Packers (TOTAL GRADE C+)
As I’ve been saying all season, Green Bay can’t play any defense.  Fortunately for them, they have Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams which makes them dangerous on any weekend.  Green Bay hasn’t beaten a team over .500 since week three when they beat the Saints. With the Lions, Panthers, Titans and Bears remaining, they have played one of the softest schedules in the league.  They could end up as the top seed in the NFC, but they aren’t fooling me. 

Indianapolis Colts (TOTAL GRADE C+)
The Colts are a team that will go as far as the defense can take them.  Philip Rivers has improved them on offense but only has so many weapons at his disposal, which limits their ability to win a track meet.  This weekend they get the Raiders, which continue to be a Heckle and Jeckel team.  Both teams need it.  Which one will get it?

Los Angeles Rams  (TOTAL GRADE C)
The Rams have one of the best defenses in the league.  They get into problems when their quarterback gives the ball to the other team.  You have to have a good quarterback to go anywhere in the playoffs.  The Rams do not have that, which will give them an early exit from the post-season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TOTAL GRADE C)
The Bucs are still a works in progress.  How long am I going to have to say this before they get labeled a disappointment?  At 7-5, plain and simple, Tampa Bay is a disappointment.  They have as much talent on both sides of the ball as any team in the league and can’t seem to find it on any given weekend.  Bruce Arians needs to go!

Miami Dolphins (TOTAL GRADE C)
The Dolphins are one of the great surprises in the league this season.  I just keep waiting for it to crumble, but it doesn’t.  Miami has played a very soft schedule, which now gets brutally tough down the stretch with Kansas City, New England, Las Vegas, and Buffalo.  At 8-4, they may have to win two of those to make the playoffs. 

Washington Football Team (TOTAL GRADE C-)
The Football Team just pulled off one of the great upsets of the season and should be rewarded for doing so.  Washington now gets San Francisco, Seattle, Carolina, and Philadelphia to close out the schedule, which looks favorable to what the Giants have remaining.  Here are a few realities for some.  Washington may have the best defensive line in the NFL and Alex Smith doesn’t make big mistakes.  The Football Team has developed some nice weapons on offense and Ron Rivera is one of the better coaches in the league. 

Baltimore Ravens (TOTAL GRADE C-)
The Ravens are not the team they were at the beginning of the season.  They have started to wear a bit thin on defense and still don’t have any consistency at the quarterback position.  Lamar Jackson is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league with his legs, but one of the least dangerous with his arm. 

Cleveland Browns (TOTAL GRADE C-)
Some might wonder why I have the Browns ranked below the Titans after they beat Tennessee last weekend.  Did you see the second half?  Cleveland will have to get consistent play from Baker Mayfield if they are going to go anywhere, and he isn’t going to give it to them.  They are average on defense and average on offense, relying mostly on a power running game.  It’s a nice story, but all good stories must come to an end.  They’ve given up 15 more points than they’ve scored for the year, which is in stark contrast to their 9-3 record.  With the Ravens, Giants, Jets, and Steelers ahead, I say they end the season with 10 wins and suffer a humbling defeat in the opening round of the playoffs.

Others on the Bubble:  New England, Arizona, Seattle, NY Giants, Minnesota, Las Vegas

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