Vinnie got away, last week, to check with some sources close to teams and generate ideas about which NFL teams are going to have a lot to say about playoff scenarios. Here’s what he came up with for Week 14:
New York Jets @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5): Sitting on a .500 record with four games left and only just behind New England in the AFC East standings, the Jets are in decent position to make a playoff run. Meanwhile the Bucs are out of contention after a brutal rebuilding year, with a questionable feel to its coaching carousel. This should be a cinch for the Jets, right? A lot is riding on backup quarterback Kellen Clemens in this one, even though we’ll see a lot of rushing plays out of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene, but Vinnie likes Tampa Bay’s defense to mix it up and keep the game close. Cadillac Williams should be able to do moderate damage against the Jets pedestrian run defense.
Gimme the Buccaneers plus the points.
Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5): After several times picking the Jags when favored, earlier this season, Vinnie has come full circle. It isn’t that the Dolphins defense is so formidable David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew will be stymied. On paper, those are decent matchups, and could well be some of the factors that make this a higher scoring game than many expect. But in terms of two AFC teams knocking on the door of the playoffs entryway, Vinnie is attracted to the underdog team that’s won three of its last four. Ricky Williams won’t have an easy go of it but should perform well enough. Chad Henne showed his mettle by knocking down the Pats last week, feeding Davone Bess all the passes he could want and then some. We may not see this tandem catch fire quite to the same extent, but Vinnie thinks they’ll hook up enough to make a difference.
Gimme the Dolphins plus the points.