NFL Picks Week 14: Road Warriors Ready to Dominate

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints in action against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on November 18, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As teams prepare to make their final push towards the postseason, the importance of road games can't be understated. You want to win every game, be it at home or on the road, but you can see the mettle of a team when they are faced with incredible adversity away from the home support. 

All you have to do is look at what happened last week with, for example, a team like San Francisco. The 49ers had a chance to put some breathing room between themselves and Seattle in the NFC West, but St. Louis played a great game in its building and upset the 49ers in overtime. 

With so many teams bunched so close together for postseason positioning, every little thing that happens is going to be scrutinized. If you want to prove your worth, go on the road and win some games. 

Here are the road teams that we love in Week 14. 


Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

The Bears have fallen on hard times since a 7-1 start. They have lost three of their last four games and their lead in the NFC North. Plus, they will have to be without star linebacker Brian Urlacher due to a hamstring injury.

On top of all that, the Bears have to play Adrian Peterson, who leads the world in rushing yards and broken tackles. This looks like a recipe for disaster...right?

When you look at the Vikings, Peterson has to carry the load, literally and figuratively, because Christian Ponder just isn't getting the job done. Ponder has completed just 50 percent of his passes in the last two games (34-of-68) with just two touchdowns and three interceptions. 

The Bears' problems are mostly health related, or just shooting themselves in the foot. They found a way to force last week's game against Seattle into overtime after allowing a 97-yard touchdown drive. 

But let's not forget that the Bears just destroyed the Vikings two weeks ago in Chicago. That game was as ugly as the Vikings have looked all season. It also gave the Bears a blueprint to follow. 

Bears 31, Vikings 17


Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins

Everyone is on Washington's bandwagon right now, and there is a lot to like about where this franchise is heading. Robert Griffin III is as exciting as any quarterback in the NFL, while the defense has stepped up to make some plays during this three-game winning streak. 

However, before we go proclaiming the Redskins the new "it" team in the NFL, let's keep in mind that the three teams they have defeated are the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants.

The Eagles have lost eight straight games, the Cowboys are as inconsistent as any team in the NFL and the Giants have been in a haze since the start of November. 

Two of the Ravens' three losses have come against Houston, the best team in the NFL, and Pittsburgh, which boasts the best defense in the NFL. 

Let's calm down before we start printing those Redskins playoff tickets. 

Ravens 27, Redskins 17


New Orleans Saints at New York Giants

If you want a game between two teams that are going to frustrate you to no end, the Saints-Giants is going to be better than the Super Bowl. 

Early in the season it was easy to blame the Saints' defense for all their problems, but when Drew Brees is throwing five interceptions and they rank 27th in rushing, perhaps the problems go deeper than just a bad defense. 

The Giants look completely lethargic right now. They come out of the tunnel with no energy, which has shown in three of their last four games. They got held to 16 points against a Redskins defense that allows more than 25 per game. 

So how do you decide who will win?

Honestly, you can take either side and not get a lot of argument from anyone. But where the Giants tend to check in and out of games, the Saints at least look like they are trying hard to fix what ails them. 

Things aren't firing on all cylinders for the Saints right now, but in this spot, you have to trust them more than the Giants. Right?

Saints 34, Giants 24