Breaking down all the Week 14 NFL matchups, with suggested picks against the spread. Follow Samantha on Twitter @previtee.
Hopefully all your fantasy football teams made the playoffs (thanks to our expert advice) and you did not have Kareem Hunt, Emmanuel Sanders, Greg Olsen, Matt Breida, or James Conner on your rosters ?.
As the race for the NFL playoffs heats up, there are a lot of meaningful games on the slate this week. Good luck in round one of the playoffs, and happy betting!
Please keep in mind that by the time you’re reading this, the line may have shifted depending on breaking news during the week, or money flowing through the market. Good luck in Week 14!
Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Carolina at Cleveland, +1.5
The 6-6 Panthers suffered an embarrassing 24-17 loss to the Buccaneers in Week 13 and will come into this game in a dire fight for the last NFC wild card spot. Quarterback Cam Newton attempted 41 passes for 28 completions, 300 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions against one of the worst secondaries in the league. Cam’s health has become a serious concern, as he “can’t confirm [or] deny” if he’ll need surgery on his shoulder after the season. To add to their issues, tight end Greg Olsen was placed on injured reserve this week and is out for the year. The Browns also lost on Sunday to a surging Texans team that has now won nine straight games. This line opened at Carolina favored by 2.5 and has inched down to 1/1.5, but the Panthers have only covered one game on the road this year. With Cam’s lingering health issues and the negative momentum from this four game losing streak, give me the Browns as home underdogs to cover the spread.
NY Jets at Buffalo, -3.5
The 3-9 Jets find themselves in a six game losing streak and at the bottom of the AFC East after losing to the Titans 26-22 on Sunday. Quarterback Josh McCown was only able to complete 17 passes off of 30 attempts for 128 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception in the effort. On a slightly positive note, their offense managed to put up 22 points, which they have yet to do since mid October. They will face off against the 4-8 Bills, who lost last week against the Dolphins, but won their previous two games in a row. Buffalo looked much better with Josh Allen under center last week, and this will be the first time Buffalo is favored this season. This feels like it could be a trap, but with the Jets playing like utter garbage, I am leaning towards the Bills to win and cover the 3.5 points.
NY Giants at Washington, -1.5
Unfortunately for the 6-6 Redskins, backup quarterback Colt McCoy suffered a broken fibula in Monday night’s game against the Eagles, meaning that it is Mark Sanchez time. Sanchez came into the game and immediately passed the ball off to Adrian Peterson, who ran it for a 90 yard touchdown, but was otherwise unremarkable in their 28-13 loss. Meanwhile, I am shocked to say that the 4-8 Giants defeated a Chase Daniel-led Bears team on Sunday in overtime, 30-27. They have now covered two straight games, and are 5-1 on the road against the spread this year. This game opened at Washington favored by a point, but has moved to the Giants being favored by 3.5 and 4 at some books. I don’t think the Sanchize can save the Redskins, who are currently in a three game skid. As such, I obviously love this game at Giants getting 1.5 points, but I would probably stay away at the G-Men laying anything more than a field goal.
Atlanta at Green Bay, -5.5
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was let go on Sunday following an embarrassing 20-17 loss to the Cardinals. He will be succeeded by interim head coach Joe Philbin as they attempt to salvage morale from this disappointing 4-7-1 season. To add insult to injury, an outspoken Winston Moss was also let go over a controversial tweet yesterday. On the other side of the ball, the 4-8 Falcons lost their fourth straight game on Sunday and are now in sole possession of last place in the NFC South. Quarterback Matt Ryan was quelled by the Ravens’ defense, who held the offensive juggernaut to only 16 completions off of 26 attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown. He’ll face a much easier defensive matchup in Green Bay this week, but will be on the road outdoors in Lambeau Field. I don’t feel strongly about this one with all the turmoil in Green Bay, but I will take the Packers to win and cover the points.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay, +8.5
The New Orleans Saints offensive powerhouse was stymied on Thursday night in a shocking 13-10 loss to the Cowboys. Quarterback Drew Brees was held to only 18 passes on 28 attempts for 127 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, and the run game was virtually nonexistent. While it is a concerning loss, the Saints still only have two losses on the year, and are neck and neck with the 11-1 Rams for top seed in the NFC. Meanwhile, the 5-7 Buccaneers may not be in the playoff picture, but they do look at least somewhat revitalized with quarterback Jameis Winston under center once again. This line opened at New Orleans laying 7.5, but has shot up to -9/9.5 at most books as people hammered the Saints cover early. I think you’re getting value with New Orleans coming off of a flukey loss and Tampa Bay having won, which is why I’m going with the Saints to come out swinging, blow out the Buccaneers, and cover the 8.5 points this week.
Baltimore at Kansas City, -6.5
The 7-5 Ravens have picked up a bit of late season momentum having won three straight games and find themselves in the last AFC wild card spot as of Week 14. Their defense was able to quiet one of the best offenses in the league in the Falcons, and rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson is proving he can get it done on the ground and in the air. Meanwhile, the 10-2 Chiefs are dealing with a plethora of off field drama after TMZ released a video of running back Kareem Hunt attacking a woman in a hotel hallway. He was released following the surfacing of this video, and the Chiefs managed to defeat the Raiders 40-33, despite having been heavy favorites. This line opened at -8.5, but has moved down to -7/6.5, suggesting that a lot of money was put on the Ravens cover. I really like the Chiefs to win and cover at under a touchdown, but would probably lean towards the Ravens if this line creeps back up over 7.
New England at Miami, +8.5
The 9-3 Patriots handled the Vikings on Sunday afternoon and picked up another big win, proving they can get it done against good teams. Quarterback Tom Brady finally broke 1,000 career rushing yards and their defense played uncharacteristically well. They will be on the road against the 6-6 Dolphins, who are somehow still in the race for the last AFC wild card spot. They did, however, list 14 players on the injury report on Wednesday (versus only four from the Patriots) and may be without cornerback Xavien Howard for the game on Sunday. This line opened at New England only favored by a touchdown, and is up to as high as -9 at some books. That said, I think these are a lot of points to lay on the road in an AFC East divisional matchup against a Miami team that’s 5-1 at home against the spread this year. The Patriots have historically struggled in Miami, so I am leaning towards the Dolphins as home underdogs to lose, but keep it within the touchdown.
Indianapolis at Houston, -4.5
The 6-6 Colts laid a goose egg in Week 13 against the Jaguars in a surprising 6-0 loss. Quarterback Andrew Luck, who had been red hot until this point, actually attempted 52 passes for 33 completions, 248 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception. They will go on the road for the second week in a row to face AFC South divisional rivals, the Houston Texans. The 9-3 Texans handled the Browns 29-13 last week and come into this matchup on a 9 game win streak. This line opened at 3.5 and has moved to 4.5/5 in a lot of places, but I think you have to roll with the hot hand in this case. I am taking the Texans to win and cover the 4.5 points.
Sunday 4:05 PM EST
Denver at San Francisco, +5.5
The 6-6 Broncos bested the Bengals 24-10 on the road and find themselves on a nice little three game win streak. Unfortunately, their workhorse wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders tore his achilles tendon during practice on Wednesday, meaning Case Keenum will have to rely heavily on young receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers, who only have two wins on the season, were bested by the Seahawks 43-16. Quarterback Nick Mullens attempted almost 50 passes for 414 yards for two touchdowns and one interception and will face a good Denver defense without running back Matt Breida, who is dealing with an ankle injury. This line opened at Denver favored by 3.5 and moved to 5.5, then back down to 4 in light of the Sanders news. I don’t love this game, but with the 49ers looking anemic on offense and jockeying for the first pick of the 2019 draft, it’s a lay it or don’t play it spot. I’ll take the Broncos to win and cover on the road.
Cincinnati at LA Chargers, -14.5
After a come from behind 33-30 victory against the Steelers in Week 13, the Chargers now have nine wins (one for each of Phillip Rivers’ copious progeny) and are only one game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. With Rivers playing spectacularly, they have picked up palpable momentum and have proven they can beat good teams in difficult spots. They will be home this week to face a 5-7 Jeff Driskel-led Bengals team that will be without star wide receiver A.J. Green for the rest of the season. With their 24-10 loss on Sunday to the Broncos, the Bengals sit in third place in the AFC North now having lost four straight and six of their last seven. I would probably shy away from this game because there are just too many points and opportunities for a backdoor cover, but with the Bengals offense showing few glimmers of life, it’s another lay it or don’t play it situation for me. Give me the Chargers to win by over two touchdowns.
Sunday 4:25 PM EST
Detroit at Arizona, +2.5
The 4-8 Lions scored only 16 points for the second week in a row in their second consecutive loss. They will be on the road to face the 3-9 Cardinals, who just pulled off a huge 20-17 upset win against the Packers. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen completed a mere 11 passes off of 26 attempts for 149 yards and zero touchdowns, but will hope to ride some momentum into this week’s matchup. This line suggests the Lions would be favored by 5.5 on a neutral field when I’m not even convinced they’re the better squad at this point. With both teams demonstrating a low degree of offensive prowess, the over/under point total for this game is 40.5 (and I’d probably bet the under). All this said, Arizona is 6-3-1 against the spread this year as underdogs, and I think you’re probably getting value with the points. Give me the Cardinals as home dogs to cover and maybe steal a win.
Philadelphia at Dallas, -4.5
The 7-5 Cowboys have quietly strung together four straight wins and sit in first place in the NFC East after an impressive upset against the Saints 13-10 on Thursday night. They’ll be home for the second week in a row to face NFC East divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, who have now won two straight games to move to 6-6 on the year. However, they haven’t been playing particularly well, thanks in large part to their very injured secondary. The Cowboys are 5-1 at home straight up and 4-2 against the spread. Hopefully they can continue this hot streak for one more week because I am taking the Cowboys to win and cover the 4.5 points.
Pittsburgh at Oakland, +11.5
The 7-4-1 Steelers dropped another game last week in a crushing 33-30 defeat to the Chargers. They are still in first place in the AFC North, but have the Ravens nipping at their heels only a half game back in the division. Furthermore, running back James Conner is out for at least this game while he recovers from an ankle injury, meaning they will have to lean on rookie Jaylen Samuels to fill the void. Meanwhile, the Raiders lost to the Chiefs on Sunday, but managed to keep it somewhat close at 40-33. They are now 2-10 on the season and are bereft of any motivation to win games at this point. This spread opened at Pittsburgh favored by 13, but I think Oakland can keep it within the number. I’ll take the Steelers to win, Raiders to cover the 11.5 points.
Sunday 8:20 PM EST
LA Rams at Chicago, +3.5
The 11-1 Rams steamrolled over the Lions on Sunday 30-16 and have officially clinched the NFC West. They will have to go on the road for the second week in a row to Soldier Field to face the 8-4 Bears who, even with their Week 14 overtime loss to the Giants are in sole possession of first place in the NFC North. The Bears expect quarterback Mitch Trubisky to return for this game after sitting out the last two games due to a shoulder injury. This line suggests the Rams would only be touchdown favorites against the Bears on a neutral field, which feels low given their seemingly immutable offensive weapons. It’s true that LA clinched the division and they have the best record in the NFL, but the one seed in the NFC is not a lock at this point, especially with their one loss coming to the 10-2 Saints, meaning they will not have the tiebreak. The Bears have one of the better home field advantages in the league having covered all but one home game this year, but with Trubisky’s health in question, I think you have to go with the Rams in this spot. Rams win, Rams cover the 3.5 points on the road.
Monday 8:15 PM EST
Minnesota at Seattle, -3.5
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins had a subpar outing last Sunday against the Patriots and will have to go on the road for the second week in a row to face the 7-5 Seahawks. The Vikings, at 6-5-1, are teetering on the edge of the second NFC wild card spot and this feels like a must-win game for them. On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks picked up their third straight win against the 49ers on Sunday 43-16 in a game that was not ever close. Quarterback Russell Wilson had four touchdowns on only 11 passes with zero interceptions, and they got decent performances from their running back committee, Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. The Seahawks seem to be picking up momentum at the right time and I do not trust Cousins in primetime, especially with the “12th man” – give me the Seahawks to win by at least a field goal.
Thursday 8:20 PM EST
Jacksonville at Tennessee, -4.5
The 4-8 Jacksonville Jaguars managed to pick up a win on Sunday against AFC South divisional rivals, the Indianapolis Colts, in a riveting 6-0 game. The Jaguars were without running back Leonard Fournette due to suspension, and backup quarterback Cody Kessler threw for only 150 yards for zero touchdowns. That said, their defense showed up and brought the red hot Colts offense to a halt. They will travel to Tennessee this week to face the 6-6 Titans, who also won in Week 13, albeit against a disastrous Jets team. This line opened at -3.5, and while Jacksonville has only covered one game on the road this year (one push), the Titans are 0-2 as favorites against the spread. With Fournette back for this game, I like the Jaguars with the points in this spot.