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Kibbles and Picks 2017 - Week 14 Featured

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Hey guys – remember when I was cutting into Stella’s lead?

Turns out that I’m going to have to continue putting up ridiculous numbers to have any shot at her. Despite a strong 10-6 showing in Week 13, I actually lost the game I gained back in Week 12. Yeah, Stella went 11-5. Because of course she did.

The clock is ticking faster and faster with each passing week. I’m legitimately running out of time – counting this week, I’ve got four more chances to make up the six-game deficit. Try as I might, I just can’t take her down.

Not that I’m giving up. We’re head-to-head on seven of this week’s games, so there’s a chance for me to make up some serious ground. Granted, there’s also a chance for Stella to basically put me away, but I’m choosing to focus on the positive.

First up is the Thursday night game. I’ve got New Orleans winning on the road in Atlanta. The truth is that the Saints have looked fantastic over the past couple of months. The backfield pairing of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have gotten it done. And lest we forget, Drew Brees is still throwing the ball for New Orleans. Stella likes the Saints, but she thinks the Falcons are working their way back into resembling the offensive powerhouse that they were last year. She thinks New Orleans will have trouble containing Julio Jones. And Atlanta’s no slouch when it comes to running the ball themselves. This has a chance to be a wildly entertaining shootout.

I’m picking Tampa Bay to win at home against the Lions. That’s not because I have any great faith in the Buccaneers, though I think Jameis Winston is going to continue shaking off the rust. No, it’s because Stella picked Detroit and I need to make a move. She’s a bit concerned about Matthew Stafford’s health, but she’s still leaning toward the Lions.

In another pick made to counteract a Stella pick, I went with the Panthers at home against visiting Minnesota. There’s a lot to like about this Carolina team – Cam Newton still has highlight-reel potential on offense and the defense has loads of talent. Christian McCaffery could break out as well. Stella thinks I’m nuts. She LOVES the Minnesota defense and thinks they’ll have no problem with the Panthers. She’s also come around on Case Keenum and thinks that the Vikings’ receiving corps will get it done against the Carolina secondary.

It feels weird to pick the 49ers to win, but I’m choosing to believe that Jimmy Garoppolo is ready for his close-up. It’s not like the injury-riddled Texans defense is ideally suited to stop him. San Francisco has the potential to play spoiler in this season’s final month. Stella doesn’t care for Tom Savage and misses Deshaun Watson dearly, but she also believes that the Texans are just that much more talented than the 49ers. It’s going to be an ugly game, but she thinks that Houston has enough in the tank to take San Francisco down.

I’ve got the Jets going into Denver and beating the Broncos. It feels weird to pick the Jets to win games – I don’t care for it – but Denver has struggled hard in recent weeks. It’s more a feeling that the Broncos are going to lose rather than the Jets are going to win. Stella isn’t necessarily enamored of Denver, but she feels like the Broncos are due for a bit of a rebound. She’s worried about the QB situation, but she’s also not a Jets believer. Neither one of us feels awesome about this pick.

I think the Eagles are going to land in Los Angeles and take down the Rams, but it isn’t going to be easy. Philly’s loss last week leaves them hungry for revenge; that hunger – along with the excellent Carson Wentz – will be enough for them to challenge the admittedly-strong defense of the Rams. Stella thinks Jared Goff and the passing game might struggle a bit against the Eagles D, but she doesn’t believe Philly has an answer for running back Todd Gurley. And she loves the Rams on the defensive side. Both of us expect this one to be a highlight of the week.

Finally, I’m picking Seattle to beat Jacksonville. While I admit that the Jaguars have been flat-out phenomenal against the pass this season, Russell Wilson has been performing like a boss for a good chunk of the season. He’s got his work cut out for him, but he’s capable of carving up even this excellent pass defense. Stella’s pretty sure the lack of a consistent ground game for the Seahawks will allow that vaunted Jacksonville D to sell out against the pass and shut Seattle’s offense down. As long as Blake Bortles can keep it together against the depleted Seahawks secondary, she thinks the Jags win it.

And there you have it. Cross your fingers for me. I feel like I’ve got a decent chance at making up at least a little bit of ground this week. Though really, who knows?

Stella, as always, remains unconcerned.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Dec. 7

NEW ORLEANS at Atlanta

Sunday, Dec. 10

Indianapolis at BUFFALO

Chicago at CINCINNATI

GREEN BAY at Cleveland

Oakland at KANSAS CITY

DALLAS at NY Giants

Detroit at TAMPA BAY

Minnesota at CAROLINA

SAN FRANCISCO at Houston

NY Jets at DENVER

TENNESSEE at Arizona

Washington at LA CHARGERS

PHILADELPHIA at LA Rams

SEATTLE at Jacksonville

Baltimore at PITTSBURGH

Monday, Dec. 11

NEW ENGLAND at Miami

Week 13 record: 10-6

Season record: 119-73

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Dec. 7

New Orleans at ATLANTA

Sunday, Dec. 10

Indianapolis at BUFFALO

Chicago at CINCINNATI

GREEN BAY at Cleveland

Oakland at KANSAS CITY

DALLAS at NY Giants

DETROIT at Tampa Bay

MINNESOTA at Carolina

San Francisco at HOUSTON

NY JETS at Denver

TENNESSEE at Arizona

Washington at LA CHARGERS

Philadelphia at LA RAMS

Seattle at JACKSONVILLE

Baltimore at PITTSBURGH

Monday, Dec. 11

NEW ENGLAND at Miami

Week 13 record: 11-5

Season record: 125-67

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