Thursday, June 21, 2018

Week 14 NFL games

Jets (5-7) at Jaguars (2-10)

1 p.m.

Jets by 3, 38½

You know, if the Jets can put together a couple more stirring 7-6 wins (like last week's against the Cardinals), they could avoid a losing record. Their remaining opponents are not exactly intimidating: Jaguars, Titans, Chargers and Bills. As for their quarterback situation, that might still be murky in four weeks. Greg McElroy, above, needs playing time to be adequately evaluated, but no one would be surprised if they stubbornly stick with Mark Sanchez.

Jets 21, Jaguars 17

Chargers (4-8) at Steelers (7-5)

1 p.m.

Steelers by 8, 40

The Steelers say injured QB Ben Roethlisberger, above, will be back today, and that changes things in a major way. There's still time to make a run at a playoff spot and, depending on what the Ravens do, have a shot at the AFC North title. Meanwhile, time appears to be running out for Chargers coach Norv Turner. For all the heat he has been under in recent years, he has never finished worse than 8-8 with San Diego. That's about to change.

Steelers 24, Chargers 18

Dolphins (5-7) at 49ers (8-3-1)

4 p.m., Ch. 10

49ers by 10½, 39

The best thing about this game for the 49ers is they aren't playing the Rams. After their loss at St. Louis last week, the 49ers are 0-1-1 against the Rams this season. Instead, they host a competitive Dolphins team that is just a little short on talent. This sets up as almost a sure thing for several reasons: The 49ers are angry, have never lost two straight games under coach Jim Harbaugh, above, and have the NFC's top-ranked defense.

49ers 26, Dolphins 14

Cardinals (4-8) at Seahawks (7-5)

4:25 p.m.

Seahawks by 10, 35½

Did you hear the news? The Cardinals are going back to John Skelton, above. Then again, does a quarterback change in Arizona still qualify as news? Probably not when the guy being benched is someone named Ryan Lindley. Anyway, the Seahawks are in the driver's seat for the final wild card. They need to handle their business here and keep chugging. At this rate, Russell Wilson might be just one of several rookie quarterbacks in the postseason.

S'hawks 23, Cardinals 14

Saints (5-7) at Giants (7-5)

4:25 p.m., Ch. 13

Giants by 5, 53

The inconsistency of the Giants has got to be exasperating for their many fans. One week, they blow out the Packers 38-10. The next, they score just 16 points in a one-point loss to the Redskins. Did we mention their 31-13 loss to the Bengals last month? The good news: The Saints have an abysmal defense that can be exploited. More good news: Ahmad Bradshaw, above, ran for 103 yards last week against Washington, his most in six weeks.

Giants 30, Saints 24

Texans (11-1) at Patriots (9-3)

8:30 Monday, ESPN

Patriots by 3½, 51

In a matchup of arguably the AFC's best teams, footballs will be flying frequently. Who does a better job probably decides this matchup. The Texans' pass defense has been pedestrian against elite quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Peyton Manning), and it faces one of the best today in Tom Brady, above. As much as Houston DE J.J. Watt is having an incredible season, it's hard to affect Brady when he trusts his protection.

Patriots 31, Texans 29

Lions (4-8) at Packers (8-4)

8:20 p.m., Ch. 8

Packers by 6½, 49

Lions QB Matt Stafford, above, has thrown for 3,742 yards, more than Aaron Rodgers and tops in the NFL. Stafford throws to Calvin Johnson, perhaps the best receiver in the game. Rodgers has had a revolving door at receiver because of injuries. Is there any question which guy most people would want on their team? Rodgers makes the most of his opportunities as evidenced by his 29 touchdowns and league-best 105.0 rating.

Packers 28, Lions 24

Rams (5-6-1) at Bills (5-7)

1 p.m.

Bills by 3, 42½

How good are the Rams? Well, at 5-6-1 they certainly have flaws. But they are solid defensively, and that's no accident. Coach Jeff Fisher has made the Rams a tough out, and they have been among the best at preventing big plays. Only two teams, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, have yielded fewer long passing plays than St. Louis. What's the point? It will take long, methodical drives for the Bills to win. That makes it tough.

Rams 21, Bills 20

Cowboys (6-6) at Bengals (7-5)

1 p.m.

Bengals by 3, 45½

Here come the Bengals. They've won four straight, including a solid win last week at San Diego, and frankly, they look more like a playoff team than the Cowboys. But Dallas WR Dez Bryant, above, has been doing damage of late, and the Bengals give up a few too many deep balls. Can they keep him and QB Tony Romo in check? Cincinnati's pass rush is strong. Plus its own star wideout, A.J. Green, offsets things at bit.

Bengals 26, Cowboys 24

Chiefs (2-10) at Browns (4-8)

1 p.m.

Browns by 7, 38

Let's call this the Brady Quinn Redemption Bowl. Quinn, above, was traded by the Browns in 2010 after going 3-9 as a starter. Now he and the Chiefs will try to capitalize on a strong showing last week in an emotionally charged situation. After LB Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and himself, some of the most poignant words came from Quinn. Unfortunately for him, Cleveland is surging — well, if you call a two-game win streak a "surge."

Browns 21, Chiefs 20

Titans (4-8) at Colts (8-4)

1 p.m.

Colts by 5½, 46½

The Titans spent many years looking up at the Colts in the AFC South and probably figured that would change with Peyton Manning gone. Along comes QB Andrew Luck, above, and, for the Titans, it's deja vu. What's happening in Indy is not only unexpected, it's unfathomable. While there were other personnel changes and a new coaching staff, the single biggest difference between this team and last season's 2-14 club is, well, Luck.

Colts 27, Titans 20

Bears (8-4) at Vikings (6-6)

1 p.m.

Bears by 3, 39

That was a bad loss by the Bears last week; bad enough to make you seriously question their defense. To let a rookie QB (Seattle's Russell Wilson) drive 97 yards in the fourth quarter, then allow him to lead the winning drive in overtime is disturbing. But it's hard to have that kind of faith in Vikings QB Christian Ponder. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is on fire, but so is Bears WR Brandon Marshall, above. Also, the Bears can still win the NFC North.

Bears 23, Vikings 20

Falcons (11-1) at Panthers (3-9)

1 p.m.

Falcons by 3½, 48

The Falcons pulled off the impossible in the last meeting to remain undefeated. On Sept. 30, Atlanta needed a 59-yard completion to Roddy White from the 1-yard line and a last-second field goal. QB Matt Ryan, above, was sacked a career-high seven times that day. That close call coupled with the chance to lock up homefield throughout the NFC playoffs over the next few weeks should keep the Falcons focused enough to win this one.

Falcons 27, Panthers 23

Ravens (9-3) at Redskins (6-6)

1 p.m.

Redskins by 2½, 47½

Remember how the Ravens began the season looking like an offensive juggernaut? Lately, not so much. Baltimore has averaged 13 points over its past three games. Somehow, it won two of those. But neither of those teams had Robert Griffin III, above, at quarterback. He has been so dynamic this season, he has made the decision on offensive rookie of the year a major conundrum. How is he not every bit as worthy as Andrew Luck?

Redskins 24, Ravens 23

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