NFL Sports

NFL: Week 14 Picks Against the Spread

Courtland Sutton

The Game Haus is slipping towards the red at the wrong time. With a record of 7-9 against the spread last week, the season record now sits at 95-91-6. Picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk, and all spreads are from rtsports.com at the time of writing. Back to back losing weeks are never good. Here’s to stopping the trend.

Thursday Night:

Jaguars at Titans (-4)- Like their first meeting this year, this will be low scoring and ugly. As presently constructed, scoring six points and the defense standing on its head to shut out the opponent is the only way Jacksonville can win. There is no way that happens in consecutive weeks. As painful as the Titans offense can be to watch at times, the defense is top 10 in football and they are very much alive in the AFC Wild Card hunt. Ten 20 Jac 10

Aaron Rodgers
Photo: purpleptsd.com

Sunday:
Falcons at Packers (-5.5)- If you had told someone before the season that these two teams would meet in December and neither would have any realistic shot at the playoffs, you would have been laughed at, but that is the case. Mike McCarthy was a very small part of a massive problem in Green Bay. Still, letting a head coach go in season usually lights a fire under players for a week or two, go with that logic here. Like a few other teams, Atlanta is a beat up mess. GB 30 Atl 21

Ravens at Chiefs (-6.5)- This is an interesting one. With Lamar Jackson at quarterback the last three weeks, the Ravens are averaging 40 rush attempts per game and have racked up over 700 rushing yards. When going on the road to face an offense that averages 37 points a game, the Ravens either have the perfect formula for containing them or are bringing a plastic knife to a gun fight. The nod goes to the offense here because Kansas City is at home and hasn’t needed the ball for long to score this year, but this game could easily go the other way. KC 26 Bal 16

Panthers (-1.5) at Browns- Carolina’s problem during their surprising four games losing streak has not been defense, for the most part. It has been Cam Newton turning the football over. Four interceptions against an awful Bucs defense had to be rock bottom. The turnovers may or may not get corrected here, but it does not matter.
Since he took over, Baker Mayfield has been overmatched against every decent defense he has faced. Lots of teams have lit up Atlanta and Cincinnati this year. For Browns fans to get truly excited about Mayfield and the future in general, he needs to lead his team to a win in a game like this. He has not earned the benefit of the doubt yet. Car 24 Cle 16

Andrew Luck
Photo: footballperspective.com

*Colts at Texans (-4.5)- The Colts have won 25 of 33 meetings with Houston since the Texans entered the league. Andrew Luck was playing at an MVP level prior to last week’s clunker. He’s too good not to bounce back. Also, the Colts are in a far more precarious position as far as the playoffs. There is more incentive for them to play well here. Lastly, five wins in Houston’s nine-game win streak have been by one possession. Houston’s current form is not a mirage, but to be on the right side of every one score game you play for two months is rare. Take a flyer on the law of averages here. Ind 30 Hou 24

Saints (-8) at Bucs- The Bucs beat the Saints to start the year, are on a two-game winning streak and have been able to put up points pretty much all season long. This will be close, but the Saints were on cruise control before last week. That loss might be a good thing for them. It looked like they were head and shoulders above the rest of the league. A loss like that can wake a team up. With leaders like Drew Brees and Sean Payton, this team will not come up short two weeks in a row but they will have to sweat. NO 31 TB 27

Patriots (-7.5) at Dolphins- Some strange things have happened to the Pats in Miami over the years. However, all the Dolphins teams that have troubled New England in the past have had a pass rush, which is the only sure-fire way to disrupt Tom Brady. This year’s Dolphins rank second to last in sacks. So, Brady is going to have time, which means New England is going to score early then bleed the clock with its newfound running game, Miami can’t do anything to hurt the Patriots. Their first meeting this year proved that. NE 31 Mia 14

Jets at Bills (-3.5)- These late-season games between teams out of the race are usually tough to call, but not this one. Buffalo is at home and continues to play its tail off, despite not having much talent. Whatever fight the Jets had left probably went out the window with last week’s collapse against the Titans. Buf 19 Nyj 13

Bengals at Chargers (-14)- The Bengals are one of the most banged up teams in football and dead in the water, but 14 is a massive number. The Chargers do not have much of a home-field advantage, play Kansas City next week and are coming off a huge road win last week. The bolts look to be playoff bound, but this is a tricky spot for them. They have bigger and tougher games both ahead of and behind them. Going through the motions should be enough to get the job done, but the Bengals will hang around. Lac 27 Cin 17

49ers at Broncos (-5.5)- The injury to Emmanuel Sanders will eventually hurt Denver in a big way. For this week though, the ground game and defense should be enough to keep playoff hopes alive. The 49ers are scrappy, but just don’t have the bodies to compete with most of the league right now. Den 24 SF 13

Lions (-2.5) at Cardinals- Both teams are bad and playing for pride. The NFL is a pass-happy league in 2018. Even with last week’s surprise road win, Arizona remains firmly entrenched at dead last in passing offense. It is almost impossible for a team like the Cardinals to win two in a row. Det 21 Ari 17

Eagles at Cowboys (-3.5)- Betting on the Cowboys in a big spot has been a recipe for disaster for most of the last two decades. However, the run game and defense have them in position to all but lock up the NFC East here. Don’t be fooled by Philly’s two-game winning streak. They nipped the Giants at the end and shut down Mark Sanchez at home. Yippy. Dal 24 Phi 17

Steelers (-10.5) at Raiders– The Steelers are just plain weird. They were rolling along. Then, self-inflicted wounds cost them in Denver. They followed that up by blowing the largest home lead in franchise history last week. Throw in an injury to James Conner and a Raiders team that has been much better than its two-win record the last three weeks, and you get the almost upset of the week. Pit 30 Oak 27

Rams (-3) at *Bears– This is the one situation we have not seen the Rams in. On the road, against a good defense, and in cold weather. Also, the Rams already know they are headed to the playoffs and will likely at least get a bye. Home field is certainly something to play for, but the Bears are in a tight race just to make the playoffs. Desperation wins here. Chi 28 Lar 23

MNF:
Vikings at Seahawks (-3)- This is a pivotal game at the back end of the NFC playoff picture. Seattle still has one of the best home field advantages in all of football. They are second in turnover margin and average 148 rushing yards per game. As long as you have a capable quarterback to keep defenses honest, those two things will never go out of style. Russell Wilson does more than that. Nothing we’ve seen from the Vikings this year indicates that they can go on the road and win a game when the opposing team has an elite quarterback who’s playing like one. Sea 31 Min 21

 

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