Bing Predicts: NFL Week 14

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Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
> Bing Predicts winner: Dallas (72%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Dallas -6
> Matchup history: Cowboys lead 63-46-2

Dallas (6-6) remains in the playoff conversation — just two games behind Carolina and Seattle for wild-card spots. Despite losing three of their last four, the Cowboys are the favorite. Linebacker Sean Lee is expected to return from a hamstring injury after he missed the last two games. It should spark the defense. In last week’s 38-14 win over the Redskins, running back Alfred Morris led the offense with 127 rushing yards and a touchdown. Also, wide receiver Ryan Switzer returned a punt 83 yards for a score.

Eli Manning will return to his rightful spot as the Giants (2-10) starting quarterback on Sunday, but he’s still got the same talent to work with on offense and defense. Plus, there’s a bit of an upheaval with coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese both fired. It all adds up to quite possibly another loss for the Giants (2-10), who are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Chargers. That’s the game Geno Smith started while Manning stood on the sidelines.

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Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
> Bing Predicts winner: Detroit (60%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: No line
> Matchup history: Lions lead 30-27-0

The Lions (6-6) still have a slim chance of earning a playoff wild-card berth, but to do so they must win this matchup. They get the edge in a game that’s meaningful for them but not so much for the Bucs (4-8). Detroit is coming off two losses in which the offense has sputtered and the defense has looked unprepared. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who left Sunday’s game with a nasty bruise on his throwing hand, is expected to play. He rates second in the NFL in passing yards (3,302), but the Lions have fallen behind 36-3 in the first quarters of the last four games. They lost the last two. Part of that is on Stafford, who needs to get the offense off to a faster start. The Lions running game is also lacking, averaging just 78.2 yards on the ground, ranking 31st in the league.

Tampa Bay has lost seven of the last nine games, including an overtime defeat to the Packers on Sunday. Quarterback Jameis Winston had a shaky return, completing 21 of 32 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. In his defense, Winston didn’t have much time — he was sacked seven times. Running back Peyton Barber carried 23 times for 102 yards.

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Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
> Bing Predicts winner: Minnesota (60%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Pick ‘em
> Matchup history: Vikings lead 8-5-0

The Vikings (10-2) will just not let go of their lead in the NFC North, which they won two years ago. They’ve won eight straight and are expected to make it nine with a win at the Panthers. It should be close, but the Vikings defense is tough, ranked second in yards allowed with 289.1 and also second in rushing defense, allowing just 77.7 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Case Keenum, who signed for just this season, could have quite a payday coming.

The Panthers (8-4) will not be a pushover. They’re 3-2 at home but have won four of their last five overall. They’re coming off a 31-21 loss at New Orleans, where Cam Newton passed for 183 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also rushing for 51 yards, including a 32-yard scamper. The defense is ranked sixth overall, allowing just 297.6 yards per game.

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San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans
> Bing Predicts winner: Houston (53%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Houston -3
> Matchup history: 49ers lead 2-1-0

Houston (4-8) gets the nod here by the slimmest of margins, coming off a 24-13 loss to the Titans. While the Texans have struggled big-time since the loss of quarterback Deshaun Watson to an Achilles injury, Sunday’s loss cannot be pinned on quarterback Tom Savage, who threw for a career-high 365 yards and just one interception. He did this despite the Texans losing four offensive players to injury in the game. Just when you think the Texans couldn’t suffer with any more injuries, they play another game and it’s deja vu all over again. It’s been a tough season in Houston.

It’s not like San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a great game in his first start, but he moved the offense into position to score five field goals, which was enough to beat the Bears 15-14 at Chicago. Garoppolo, traded to San Francisco from New England, was 26 of 37 for 293 yards and an interception. His favorite target was wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (eight catches, 99 yards). He’s expected to be the 49ers quarterback of the future, so with a 2-10 record, it’s the perfect time to get him rolling.

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New York Jets at Denver Broncos
> Bing Predicts winner: New York (57%)
> Kickoff time: 4:05 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Denver -1
> Matchup history: Broncos lead 19-15-1

Early in the year, the Jets (5-7) were not given much respect. A few prognosticators wondered if they’d win even one game. Well, they’ve won five and are coming off an impressive 38-31 victory over the Chiefs. It starts with the offense, led by quarterback Josh McCown. His two favorite wide receivers have stepped up in recent weeks. Jermaine Kearse had nine catches for 157 yards, while Robby Anderson had eight receptions for 107 yards. McCown threw for 331 yards and a touchdown and ran in two scores. Winning is the best way to earn respect.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the Broncos (3-9), who have lost eight straight after high hopes for the season. This is their longest losing streak in 50 years. Quarterback Trevor Siemian will get the start after throwing three interceptions in Sunday’s 35-9 loss to the Dolphins. He completed 19 of 41 for 200 yards and still is the best option at quarterback. Too bad GM John Elway can’t suit up — he’s their best quarterback. Denver’s defense allows just 295.6 yards a game, which is fifth best in the NFL. But the offense struggles, averaging just 315.3 yards per game, 23rd in the NFL.