Ladies & Gentlemen, a round of applause for the week 14 NFL schedule. It’s the least you can do.
Every single timeslot throughout the “weekend” has at least one incredibly important game.
- Thursday Night: Oakland (10-2) at Kansas City (9-3)
- Sunday 1pm ET: Pittsburgh (7-5) at Buffalo (6-6) / Denver (8-4) at Tennessee (6-6) / Houston (6-6) at Indianapolis (6-6)
- Sunday 4pm ET: Seattle (8-3-1) at Green Bay (6-6)
- Sunday Night: Dallas (11-1) at Giants (8-4)
- Monday Night: Baltimore (7-5) at New England 10-2
Seriously. That’s a pretty jam-packed day of quality football.
Let’s dive into the week 14 picks.
Oakland at Kansas City (-3) | over/under 46.5
The Pick: Kansas City
The Score: Kansas City 26, Oakland 23
The Bets: None
When is a Thursday Night Game not an ugly, hard-to-watch spectacle? When it’s 10-2 vs 9-3 with a division title and (probably) a playoff bye on the line. I’m captivated by the possibilities in this game. Does Oakland keep rolling along with their 7th straight win and 27+ point output? Or will the KC defense with Justin Houston as a reinforcement and the secondary playing out of its mind beat the Raiders for the 2nd time this year?
This is where we find out if Oakland’s defense can assist the offense at all going into the playoffs. It feels like a raucous home crowd will tilt an even game slightly towards the Chiefs. It’s honestly too close to call and seems silly to make any kind of bet on it.
(Note: I wrote all of that on Wednesday night and still talked myself into making a bet. Luckily I bet on the Chiefs. Pretty alarming for the Raiders that they lost by 8 with Andy Reid making plenty of head scratching decisions and Alex Smith uncharacteristically turning the ball over.)
Pittsburgh (-3) at Buffalo | over/under 46.5
The Pick: Buffalo
The Score: Buffalo 27, Pittsburgh 23
The Bets: Buffalo (+13) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (+3)
I don’t really believe in the Steelers in general. I DEFINITELY don’t believe in them on the road.
My hesitation about betting the Bills straight up is based on the weak resume they have in their wins this year. They beat: Arizona, New England (injured Jacoby Brissett at QB), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincy and Jacksonville. But I like the Bills a lot at home as 13-point underdogs when thrown into a 3-way tease.
Denver (-1) at Tennessee | over/under 43.5
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Tennessee 24, Denver 20
The Bets: None
My final score prediction is based on the guess that Trevor Siemian starts at QB for the Broncos. I don’t think the Broncos will be competitive in this game if Lynch starts.
Washington (-2) at Philadelphia | over/under 47
The Pick: Philadelphia
The Score: Philadelphia 22, Washington 20
The Bets: Under (57) in a 3-way tease
Jordan Reed’s status is crucial to making any kind of decision on this game. And it sounds like we may not have a definitive answer until Sunday morning.
I’m teasing the up the under, but not until I get confirmation that Reed is out. If he plays, I’ll probably stay away from this game entirely.
Did you know only 3 of Philly’s 12 opponents this year currently have a record below .500? Starting in week 3, they faced 9 straight teams that currently have a record of .500 or better.
Arizona (-2) at Miami | over/under 43.5
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami 26, Arizona 20
The Bets: Miami (+12) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with Miami (+2)
In what world should the Cardinals be favored on the road against anyone? They’re 1-4 on the road with their 1 win coming in San Francisco.
I have no additional thoughts about this game. I’m slightly nervous to bet the Dolphins even though I think they’ll win because we could be seeing the start of a classic Miami nosedive to end the season.
Minnesota (-3.5) at Jacksonville | over/under 39
The Pick: Jacksonville
The Score: Minnesota 13, Jacksonville 10
The Bets: Under (39) / Under (49) in a 3-way tease
Holy shit is this gonna be a bad game or what??
No exaggeration, I think a 13-10 win for one of these teams is being optimistic about the scoring. Hence, the under & teased under are my favorite bets in week 14.
Houston at Indianapolis (-6.5) | over/under 46.5
The Pick: Indianapolis
The Score: Indianapolis 29, Houston 21
The Bets: Indianapolis (+3.5) in a 3-way tease
Indy needs this slightly more than Houston. They already lost to the Texans, and they also have a much harder final three games than the Texans (Colts are at Minnesota & Oakland before finishing at home against the Jaguars, while Houston plays Jacksonville & Cincy at home before a road finish in Tennessee).
This is probably a discussion for another day, but does Bill O’Brien deserve to be fired regardless of this final month of 2016? He personally picked Brock Osweiler and added Lamar Miller at running back, both to complement their star receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. And yet there they sit, 28th overall in points per game and 31st in FootballOutsiders’ offensive efficiency ranks.
With Jonathan Joseph out for the Texans, it gets even more unlikely that they hold Indy’s offense in check.
San Diego at Carolina (-1.5) | over/under 49
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: San Diego 24, Carolina 19
The Bets: San Diego (+1.5) / San Diego (+11.5) in a 3-way tease / Under (59) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with San Diego (+1.5)
Even taking into account San Diego flying across the country and playing in relatively cool weather…even including the (unlikely) chance that Luke Kuechly suits up for this game…I just don’t see a path to the Panthers winning this game. Carolina is really, really bad. Simple as that.
And with the Chargers having a sneaky solid defense, and their offense playing lower-scoring football on the road, the under feels like a great pick here.
Cincinnati (-5.5) at Cleveland | over/under 42.5
The Pick: Cleveland
The Score: Cleveland 23, Cincinnati 20 (in OT)
The Bets: None
I’m tempted to do zero research on this game and pick the Browns to win outright because:
- When A.J. Green went down for the year and the already-struggling Bengals lost their best player, this became the game that the Browns would most likely win.
- If Robert Griffin is the starting QB, the universe will make sure that he captures the city of Cleveland’s heart with a stunning upset against their in-state rival, which will cause the Browns to try to make him their starter again next year and pass up on the best QB in the draft.
- Hue Jackson is facing his former team and it would just make sense for Marvin Lewis to lose to an 0-12 team with his former offensive coordinator as the opposing head coach.
- By no statistical measure should the Browns win this game, and it feels like we’re due for this upset.
So let’s go with that. The Browns finally get a win (and of course put the #1 draft pick in jeopardy).
Chicago at Detroit (-8) | over/under 43.5
The Pick: Chicago
The Score: Detroit 23, Chicago 17
The Bets: Detroit (+2) in a 3-way tease / Under (53.5) in a 3-way tease
The Bears are 0-6 on the road and the only time they exceeded 17 points was at Indy in week 5. Detroit is a much lower scoring team than you think, even at home. The right play is the under.
The Lions had 11 straight games before last week that were decided by 1 score or less. Though I’m confident they’ll win, I think we’ll be back to a close game for them.
NY Jets at San Francisco (-3) | over/under 44
The Pick: NY Jets
The Score: NY Jets 27, San Francisco 17
The Bets: None
If we assume neither team can effectively throw the ball (a completely fair assumption), then the difference-maker in this game should be the Jets’ #2 ranked defense. Both teams have solid run games, but the 49ers have the worst run defense in the league. That’s a glaring difference between two crappy teams.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-3) | over/under 51.5
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: Tampa Bay 27, New Orleans 23
The Bets: None
This is what we’ve been waiting for. Earlier in the year, most games involving NFC South teams were obvious over bets. Especially so when two of them were playing each other…Except that the Saints have trouble scoring on the road and the Bucs have played very solid defense lately.
Assuming the Bucs don’t have a defensive meltdown like earlier in the season when they gave up 37 to the Rams and 27 to the Broncos (both at home), they should at least win.
Atlanta (-6.5) at Los Angeles | over/under 45.5
The Pick: Atlanta
The Score: Atlanta 28, Los Angeles 18
The Bets: None
SuperContest: Yes with Atlanta (-6)
This is a matchup between the best offense in the league and the worst offense in the league.
Even though the Rams have a decent defense, the Falcons have played fine on offense in road games against better defenses like the Broncos (23 points), Seahawks (24 points) and Bucs (43 points).
Since I feel like I’m getting burned by good teams on the road laying about a touchdown, I’m not putting actual money on the Falcons.
Seattle (-3) at Green Bay | over/under 46
The Pick: Green Bay
The Score: Green Bay 20, Seattle 19
The Bets: None
This marquee NFC matchup is really slanted in the Packers’ favor considering they’re at home in freezing weather and Seattle has to play its first full game without Earl Thomas.
The Seahawks’ offense has been nonexistent on the road with the exception of 2 games, and the cold weather isn’t going to help. Somehow I think Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson will have good enough performances to barely win this.
Dallas (-4) at NY Giants | over/under 47.5
The Pick: NY Giants
The Score: Dallas 27, NY Giants 26
The Bets: None
Nice game featuring the Cowboys and the only team they’ve lost to this year. I’m rooting hard for the Giants just because I want to hear an announcer during the playoffs provide us with the screwed up logic that Dallas will beat the Giants because it’s “really hard to beat the same team three times in a season.”
I think this game will play out similar to last week’s Cowboys/Vikings game with the Giants covering but barely coming up short for the win.
This time I won’t be dumb enough to take the underdog moneyline like I did last week.
Baltimore at New England (-7) | over/under 45
The Pick: New England
The Score: New England 26, Baltimore 17
The Bets: Under (55) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with New England (-7)
Fuck the fucking Ravens.
Also, I’m pretty sure this game goes under.
Here are the season-long stats that I’m tracking:
- Favorites are 84-99-9 against the spread through 13 weeks (including 11-4 in week 13)
- The Point Total has landed on Over 97 times, Under 92 times, ad Pushed 3 times
- I’m 101-85-6 against the spread
Enjoy week 14.