Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Week 14: Previews, predictions

Jets at Giants, 1

Line/OU: Jets by 2½; 46½ Giants have won past five regular-season meetings for bragging rights of New York. Jets' Ryan Fitzpatrick has at least two TD passes in eight games, including throwing four vs. Miami last week. Chris Ivory leads AFC with 766 yards rushing. Brandon Marshall needs 69 yards to reach 1,000 receiving for eighth time in nine seasons. Jets allowed 12 yards rushing to Miami last week, a franchise mark for fewest given up on ground. Giants' Eli Manning has 3,021 yards passing, his 11th consecutive 3,000-yard season. Odell Beckham has 30 catches for 481 yards and five TDs in past four games. Three rushing TDs through 11 games are Giants' lowest since two in 1996.

JONES: Giants 20, Jets 10 READERS: Jets 54.1 percent

Cardinals at Rams, 1

Line/OU: Cardinals by 4; 43 Cardinals have won six of seven since losing at home to Rams in Week 4 and have five-game winning streak. Rams have lost four straight after entering November with winning record for first time since 2006 but are 3-0 vs. NFC West. Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu had career-high 13 tackles last week and in four games vs. NFC West opponents has four

This season we've asked Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones and readers to forecast the NFL results. To make your picks, go to

Falcons at Panthers, 1

Line/OU: Panthers by 8; 46½ Falcons RB Devonta Freeman has 390 yards from scrimmage and two TDs in past three NFC South games. He leads NFC with 11 TDs. Julio Jones, who leads NFL with 102 catches, will be matched against CB Josh Norman. No Falcon has more than two sacks. Falcons have lost four of past five to Panthers, who can clinch first-round bye with win. Carolina QB Cam Newton has 147 combined TDs in 74 starts. Panthers have won 16 straight regular-season games. Greg Olsen is second among NFL tight ends in receptions (62) and yards receiving (917).

Jones: Panthers 35, Falcons 24 Readers: Panthers 87.5 percent

Steelers at Bengals, 1

Line/OU: Bengals by 2½; 50 Bengals try to sweep season series for first time since 2009 and only third time since 1991. Steelers have won their past eight games in December. Pittsburgh has scored 30 in four straight games for first time in club history and leads NFL with 4.9 yards per rush. Ben Roethlisberger has passed for 300 yards in each of past four games, longest active streak in NFL and best of his career. Bengals can clinch second AFC North title in three years. Jeremy Hill has run for 86 and 98 yards in past two games, his two highest totals of season. Andy Dalton leads NFL with 107.4 passer rating. TE Tyler Eifert leads league with 12 TD catches, and S Reggie Nelson leads league with seven INTs.

Jones: Bengals 38, Steelers 35 Readers: Bengals 53.1 percent

Redskins at Bears, 1

Line/OU: Bears by 3½; 43½ Redskins, 0-5 away from home, own nine-game road losing streak dating to last season — longest active skid in NFL. Only team winless on road this year. Kirk Cousins has seven TDs, one INT and 117.7 rating over past four games. DeSean Jackson has TD catch in three straight games. Since entering league in 2011, LB Ryan Kerrigan is one of two players with at least 40 sacks (44½) and two INT returns for TDs. Bears are 1-5 at home and have dropped eight of nine at Soldier Field dating to last year. Alshon Jeffery is third in NFL at 98.6 yards receiving per game. RB Matt Forte could be busy man with Redskins struggling against run and Bears missing key target with TE Martellus Bennett (broken rib) going on injured reserve.

Jones: Bears 21, Redskins 20 Readers: Bears 71.9 percent

Chargers at Chiefs, 1

Line/OU: Chiefs by 10½; 44½ Chargers and Chiefs were original members of AFL, their series dating to 1960. Chargers have lost seven of past eight. San Diego's Philip Rivers has 275 TD passes, tied with Vinny Testaverde for 11th in NFL history. Chiefs have won six straight. Seven would match third-longest win streak in franchise history. Kansas City has outscored opponents by 113 points in past six games, tops in league. Alex Smith has thrown franchise-record 305 passes without interception. K.C. receivers are sixth in NFL in yards after catch with 1,700. Team is plus-13 in turnovers, second to Carolina (14) in league. Charcandrick West could have big day against Chargers' rush defense that ranks 30th in league.

Jones: Chiefs 24, Chargers 17 Readers: Chiefs 84.4 percent

49ers at Browns, 1

Line/OU: Browns by 2; 41½ QB Blaine Gabbert has given 49ers a spark since replacing Colin Kaepernick, going 2-2 in four starts. Anquan Boldin reached 13,000 career receiving yards last week, 18th player to hit milestone. He needs one catch and 5 yards to become first player to reach at least 50 catches and 600 yards receiving in each of first 13 seasons. Browns QB Johnny Manziel returns to starting lineup after being benched two games for off-field behavior. He passed for 372 yards against Pittsburgh in previous start on Nov. 15. Browns have lost seven straight. WR Terrelle Pryor could make season debut after being signed last week.

Jones: 49ers 16, Browns 13 Readers: 49ers 65.6 percent

Bills at Eagles, 1

Line/OU: Eagles by 1; 47 Tyrod Taylor has 104.3 passer rating. Hall of Famer Jim Kelly (101.2 in 1990) was only other Bills QB to post at least 100 rating in a season. Bills are 6-0 in games QBs have 29 or fewer pass attempts. RB LeSean McCoy plays first game against former team, and it's well-known he has been eager for the matchup. He's all-time leading rusher in Eagles history. Rookie CB Ronald Darby leads AFC and ranks second in league with 19 passes defended. Eagles QB Sam Bradford has won five of past six starts vs. AFC teams. RB DeMarco Murray has 799 scrimmage yards and five TDs in past seven games vs. AFC. LBs Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin each had two sacks vs. Patriots last week.

Jones: Eagles 27, Bills 20 Readers: Bills 59.4 percent

Colts at Jaguars, 1

Line/OU: Jaguars by 1; 46½ Colts have won 16 straight against AFC South opponents and six in row against Jags. Only one of those six has been close, a 16-13 win in overtime in October. Indy QB Matt Hasselbeck, 40, is starting for sixth time this season. Frank Gore needs two rushing TDs to move into 29th on NFL's all-time list; needs 151 yards from scrimmage to pass Steven Jackson (15,051) for 21st on all-time list. K Adam Vinatieri will play in 304th game, passing Jerry Rice for sixth in history. Jags' Blake Bortles owns franchise record for TD passes (27) in season. Allen Robinson has franchise record for TD receptions (11) in single season and is team's first 1,000-yard receiver since Jimmy Smith in 2005. WR Allen Hurns will return to lineup after missing last week because of concussion.

Jones: Colts 23, Jaguars 16 Readers: Colts 56.3 percent

Lions at Rams, 1

Line/OU: Lions by 3½; 41 Rams have lost five in row after entering November with winning record for first time since 2006. Lions' Matthew Stafford has passed for seven TDs with no INTs in past two games. Theo Riddick leads NFL backs with 60 receptions, most for Lions through 12 games since 1960. Calvin Johnson had six catches for 111 yards in last meeting and faces a beat-up secondary. New Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras will be calling plays for first time since 2003, when he was at UNLV. Rams lost two defensive stalwarts for season this week: DE Robert Quinn (back) and S T.J. McDonald (shoulder). QB Case Keenum makes second start of year ahead of slumping Nick Foles.

Jones: Lions 20, Rams 17 Readers: Lions 75 percent

Seahawks at Ravens, 1

Line/OU: Seahawks by 12; 40½ Seattle is 16-8 in its past 24 road games. Baltimore has won 17 of past 18 at home against NFC. Seahawks have won five of six after 2-4 start. Russell Wilson has 11 TD passes and no INTs in past three games. He has 21 games with at least two TD passes and no INTs, most by QB in first four seasons in NFL history. Rookie Thomas Rawls has 712 rushing yards, most by undrafted player in first six starts since 1970. Ravens are first team in NFL history to have first 12 games decided by eight points or fewer. Their eight losses are by total of 34 points. All four Baltimore victories have come on game's final play. Rookie RB Javorius Allen, who produced 170 yards from scrimmage last week, is starting in place of injured Justin Forsett. Ravens will start either hurting Matt Schaub or Jimmy Clausen at QB.

Jones: Seahawks 20, Ravens 16 Readers: Seahawks 93.8 percent

Titans at Jets, 1

Line/OU: Jets by 7; 43½ Titans playing Jets at MetLife Stadium for first time. Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey is 2-3 since being promoted. With win, he would tie predecessor Ken Whisenhunt, who was 3-20 before being fired. QB Marcus Mariota became first player in NFL history with 250 yards passing (268), three or more TD passes (three) and 100 or more yards rushing (112) in same game last week. He leads rookies with 95.1 QB rating and 19 TD passes. Jets looking for first three-game win streak since 2011. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 390 yards, second-highest total of career, last week vs. Giants. In two games since trimming beard, has thrown for 667 yards with six TDs and no INTs. Brandon Marshall became first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards receiving for four different teams. He needs 11 receptions to break Al Toon's single-season franchise mark of 93, set in 1988. Chris Ivory second in AFC with 813 yards rushing.

Jones: Jets 19, Titans 14 Readers: Jets 90.6 percent

Raiders at Broncos, 4

Line/OU: Broncos by 6½; 43½ Broncos have won eight straight over Raiders. Oakland's Derek Carr needs 93 yards passing to beat his rookie mark of 3,270. Rookie Amari Cooper needs 10 receptions to break mark of most catches by an NFL wideout 21 years old or younger (San Diego's Keenan Allen, 71 in 2013). Latavius Murray is 149 yards rushing away from reaching 1,000 for season. Broncos are 24-5 in AFC West play over past five seasons. Gary Kubiak's 10 wins tied for second most by first-year Broncos coach with Dan Reeves (1981). Red Miller had most: 12 in 1977. Denver has five defensive scores this season. Brock Osweiler trying to climb list of most consecutive wins by QB to start his Denver career. With fourth straight victory Sunday, he would tie for third with Jake Plummer (2003) and Bubby Brister (1998). Team record is six by Kyle Orton (2009) and Craig Morton (1977).

Jones: Broncos 27, Raiders 10 Readers: Broncos 90.6 percent

Cowboys at Packers, 4:25

Line/OU: Packers by 6½; 42 Cowboys have lost four straight in series, last winning Sept. 21, 2008, at Lambeau Field. Cowboys 4-10 on road against Packers. TE Jason Witten one game from becoming first Cowboy to play in 200 consecutive games. Darren McFadden 66 yards rushing shy of reaching 5,000 for career. Packers 17-3 at home in December in Mike McCarthy's 10-year tenure as coach. Aaron Rodgers 12-1 at home in December with passer rating of 117.3. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has 38 tackles, INT and two sacks over past four games. LB Julius Peppers has team-high seven sacks. Eddie Lacy averaging 121 yards on 20 carries in two career games against Dallas, but also has been in McCarthy's doghouse at times.

Jones: Packers 34, Cowboys 17 Readers: Packers 87.5 percent

Patriots at Texans, 8:30

Line/OU: Patriots by 3; 45½ Patriots' Tom Brady has thrown for three or more TDs in six of first 11 games this year, leads NFL with 31 TD passes and is fourth player in league history to have six or more seasons with 30 or more TD passes. Pats 52-19 in December since 2001 and haven't lost twice in single December since 2002. The have lost consecutive games for first time since 2012. They have not lost three in row since four-game losing streak from Sept. 29-Oct. 27, 2002. Brian Hoyer, a former Patriot, will be fifth QB to start for Texans against New England. He has thrown two or more TD passes in seven of past eight games. DE J.J. Watt, who will play despite a broken left hand, leads league with 13½ sacks. DeAndre Hopkins has caught at least one TD pass in four of past five games and ranks third in league with 1,169 yards receiving.

Jones: Patriots 19, Texans 17 Readers: Patriots 71.9 percent

Giants at Dolphins, 8:25 Monday

Line/OU: Giants by 1½; 46½ Giants have given up 328 pass completions, most in NFL. They have 15 sacks, second fewest in league, and the offense has only three rushing TDs. Odell Beckham ranks fourth in receiving yards with 1,154. Dolphins will appear on Monday Night Football for 82nd time, most in league. They're 41-40. Dolphins are averaging 4.7 yards per rush, fifth best in league, but they're averaging 20 carries per game, last in league. Miami has converted 28 percent of third downs, worst in AFC. WR Jarvis Landry is one of two players to have gained at least 100 yards on rushes (107), receptions (821), kickoff returns (255) and punt returns (252). Dolphins are in 50th season, and their 50 greatest players will be honored at halftime.

Jones: Giants 28, Dolphins 20 Readers: Giants 59.4 percent

Game text from Times wires

Patriots, Eagles bring plenty of local ties to Super Bowl

Patriots, Eagles bring plenty of local ties to Super Bowl

The Bucs aren't playing for a Super Bowl, and the game itself won't come to Tampa for three more years. But there's no shortage of cool local connections and ties on the Patriots and Eagles' rosters. You've already heard some of these stories, and yo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

TAMPA — Next victim, please.Shouldn't we just start penciling the Patriots into the Super Bowl before every season?It would save us a lot of time.Mind you, the rest of the NFL is fighting Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and this foregone conclus...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

PHILADELPHIA — Confetti filled the air, fireworks erupted overhead, and fans sang "Fly, Eagles Fly!" No one dared head for the exits. There was too much to celebrate.The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.The makeshift podium hadn’t taken space on Ph...
Published: 01/21/18
Updated: 01/22/18
Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Published: 01/21/18
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Published: 01/21/18
Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

ST. PETERSBURG — USF had expected to have four former players in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, but QB Quinton Flowers had to miss the showcase game after learning that his grandmother had died late last week."I most definitely ...
Published: 01/20/18
Late score gives West victory over East in Shrine Game

Late score gives West victory over East in Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — With less than a week to install a playbook, offenses can have it tough in college showcase games.And for 58 minutes on Saturday in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, the teams combined for just one offensive touchdown.But...
Published: 01/20/18

Sunday’s NFL conference championship game previews

AFC: Jaguars at Patriots, 3, CBSLine/OU: Patriots by 7˝; 46The big drama leading into this game is whether, or how much, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be slowed by his injured right hand, which kept him out of practice Thursday (see 6C for more...
Published: 01/20/18

NFL playoffs schedule

AFCCONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPJaguars at Patriots, 3 p.m. today TV: CBS Line/OU: Patriots by 7˝; 46NFCCONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPVikings at Eagles, 6:40 tonight TV: Fox Line/OU: Vikings by 3; 38˝Super Bowl LIIJaguars or Patriots vs. Vikings or Eagles, 6:30 p...
Published: 01/20/18