NFL Week 14 Betting Preview

NFL Week 14 Betting Preview

Zack GarrisonNo comments

Urgency starts to rise as we enter December, the last month of the regular season in the NFL.  Will the Cowboys and Lions choke again this month? Who will win the mighty AFC North and the humble NFC South? With meaningful games littered throughout the schedule, week 14 will start to answer all of those questions.

Let’s take a look at all the action on tap:

Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at Chicago Bears (Thursday Night Football)

Both teams enter this week after embarrassing performances on Thanksgiving. The good news for the Cowboys is they are 5-0 away from home this season while the Bears are under .500 at Soldier Field, losing three of their five games.

Dallas, however, is 2-4 against the spread in their last six visits to Chicago.

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins (-2.5)

With both teams at 7-5 and tied for the second Wild Card spot in the AFC, this clash between Miami and Baltimore is pivotal.  The Ravens let one slip away at home last week to the Chargers, surrendering a double-digit lead in the last four minutes. Miami narrowly avoided an embarrassing loss to the 2-10 Jets on MNF to keep its playoff hopes alive.

Baltimore is 5-1 SU and ATS in its last six against Miami.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

If the Steelers win both of their meetings against the Cincinnati Bengals, they will control their destiny in the AFC North. But that is easier said than done.  Pittsburgh allowed five TDs against the New Orleans Saints last week, dropping a close game at home. While Andy Dalton isn’t on par with Drew Brees, the Bengals are one of the best home teams in the NFL.

One of the best home teams straight up that is. For betting purposes, it’s a different story, especially against the Steelers. Cincinnati is 2-10-1 ATS in its last 13 home games against Pittsburgh.

Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) at Cleveland Browns

After being replaced by Johnny Manziel part way through the Browns’ loss to the Bills last week, Brian Hoyer will be back under center against the Colts. Hoyer has played three bad games in a row, but did manage to lead Cleveland to a fourth-quarter comeback win in Atlanta two weeks ago, showing good resilience after throwing three interceptions earlier in the game.

He’ll have to demonstrate more of that mental fortitude this week against an Indy team that can wrap up the AFC South with a win (and a Houston loss). Cleveland is 1-6 SU in its last seven games against Indianapolis, and 3-6 ATS in its last nine games at home.

Houston Texans (-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars won their second game of the season last week, mounting a huge 24-point comeback against the Giants.  But don’t expect that to snowball into a winning streak, as they are facing a motivated Texans squad coming off a 45-21 rout of the Titans.

Though they’re just 2-5 SU in their last seven games on the road against Jacksonville, the Texans (6-6) will be desperate for another win to stay in the AFC Wild Card race. Ryan Fitzpatrick was back at QB for Houston last week and played his best game of the season – make that the best game of his career – throwing for 358 yards and six touchdowns.

NY Giants at Tennessee Titans (pk)

Another loss by the NY Giants against a weak AFC South team should mean the end of the road for head coach Tom Coughlin. It would also lead to questions about the future of QB Eli Manning. Though the pair has brought two Super Bowls to the Big Apple, the Giants are turning into the laughing stock of the NFC East; they have lost seven straight and blew a 24-point lead to the one-win Jaguars last weekend.

The Tennessee Titans’ rookie QB Zach Mettenberger is nursing a shoulder injury. He left the game last week against the Texans, but the most recent reports indicate that he should be able to go. Mettenberger has showed promise under center, but is still looking for his first win in the NFL. The recent trend bodes well for him; this is a pick’em game, and the Titans are 5-0 ATS in their last five against the NY Giants.

NY Jets at Minnesota Vikings (-7)

Minnesota is coming off of one of its best games of the year, having pummeled Carolina 31-13  in week 13. At 5-7, they aren’t mathematically eliminated from the NFC playoff race; but, in reality, the squad is building toward next year.

The Jets, meanwhile, suffered another loss, their tenth of the season, last weekend against the Dolphins. Unlike most weeks, the Jets were competitive against Miami, running the ball well and stopping the Fins at the line of scrimmage for most of the night. However, they missed a late field goal and couldn’t put more than 13 points on the board, ultimately falling 16-13.

A microcosm of their season to-date, the Jets’ fate was sealed when Geno Smith threw his 11th pick of the season while trying to lead a game-tying drive late in the fourth.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-10)

The Saints surprised most experts by leaving Pittsburgh with a win in week 13. With Atlanta also winning last Sunday, the Saints remain level with the Falcons in the NFC South (though the Falcons own the tiebreaker).

Carolina, meanwhile, lost its sixth straight last week, 31-13 in Minnesota. That said, the Panthers still have one game left against each of their division foes and, if they can run the table, could still win the division. There’s no reason to think that will happen, though, since the Panthers haven’t won a game since October 5. Surprisingly, Carolina is 8-4 SU in its last 12 games on the road against New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (-10)

With a win over the Chicago Bears last week, the Detroit Lions (8-4) kept themselves firmly in the NFC playoff picture. They currently hold the last Wild Card spot in the conference and are just one game back of division-leading Green Bay.

The Bucs can still win the dreadful NFC South if they win out and get some help. Last week’s heartbreaking loss (14-13) to the Bengals felt like a back-breaker for their season though. And now they face one of the best defenses in the NFL on the road. Tampa Bay is 2-8 ATS in its last ten against Detroit.

St. Louis Rams (-2.5) at Washington Redskins

After obliterating the Oakland Raiders 52-0 in week 13, the Rams are hoping to post back-to-back wins for the first time all year when they face the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The Rams have been much improved of late, beating Denver at home and narrowly losing to the Chargers on the road in weeks 11 and 12, respectively.

Colt McCoy is back under center for the Redskins after RGIII was ineffective in his return. The Texas product has put up good offensive numbers, but hasn’t received much help from the defense. Last week, Washington was blown-out 49-27 by Indy, though McCoy threw for almost 400 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks in the loss. Washington is 1-4 ATS in its last five home games against St. Louis.

Buffalo Bills at Denver Broncos (-10)

After losing to the Rams in week 11, the Denver Broncos seem to have their mojo back, posting back-to-back wins over the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs in weeks 12 and 13. The emergence of running back C.J. Anderson has been key for a Denver squad that has missed Monte Ball and Ronnie Hillman for portions of the year.

The Buffalo Bills have the best front seven in the NFL, recording 48 sacks on the season. The Bills defense was dominant last week against the Browns, holding Cleveland to ten points and chasing QB Brian Hoyer from the game. Not only is the Buffalo front seven great at getting after the QB, but it is also seventh in the league against the run. The Denver offensive line will have its hands full in both the running and passing games on Sunday.

Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals (pk)

Two weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs both looked like locks for the playoffs. Now, both have dropped two in a row and neither can afford another if they want to keep playing into January. While Arizona is still tied for the best record in the NFL, the Seahawks are breathing down their necks in the NFC West and, if they lose the division lead, the Lions, Cowboys, and Niners will be more than happy to oust them from the Wild Card race, as well.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, are one of the six teams at 7-5 in the AFC (and tied for the last Wild Card spot). After dropping both games to Denver on the year, a division title looks out of reach for K.C. But, if the Chiefs can win at least three of their final four, a Wild Card spot could be theirs. The trends favor the Chiefs in this pick’em game, as K.C. is 4-2 ATS in its last six against Arizona.

San Francisco 49ers (-8) at Oakland Raiders

Many people think this is one of the last games that the 49ers will play under Jim Harbaugh, who could wind up in Oakland with the Raiders.  However, if the 49ers can mount a late season charge and earn a playoff bid, the Harbaugh-era may continue in San Fran. After a Thanksgiving dud against the Seahawks, the 49ers need to bounce back with a win against their cross-bay rivals and carry that momentum into next week’s rematch with Seattle.

Oakland, meanwhile, picked up its first win of the year in week 12 at home (in surprising fashion over a solid Chiefs squad). But they were brought back to reality in week 13, getting blown out by the Rams, 52-0, in St. Louis. While there will be plenty of Niner supporters in the Black Hole this Sunday, the Raiders can at least try to continue their strong play at home in front of their ever-faithful fans.

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles (-1)

This is arguably the most interesting game of the week, as two of the best and hottest teams in the NFC square off. Both teams dominated division rivals on Thanksgiving. Seattle handed it to the 49ers (19-3) and Philadelphia did the same against the Cowboys (33-10). Making the victories even more impressive is the fact that both game on the road in very hostile environments.

Philadelphia is 3-6 ATS in its last nine games when playing Seattle.

New England Patriots (-3.5) at San Diego Chargers (Sunday Night Football)

After losing in Green Bay, the New England Patriots need to get back to their winning ways in order to earn home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. Currently, they are tied (at 9-3) with the Denver Broncos. Pats QB Tom Brady is 4-2 in his career against the Chargers with 12 TDs and four INTs.

The Chargers are just one game away from the Broncos in the AFC West and, at 8-4, own the first Wild Card spot in the AFC. But San Diego has arguably the toughest schedule of any team down the stretch, facing the Pats, Broncos, 49ers, and Chiefs in the last four weeks.

Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (-13) (Monday Night Football)

The Packers have won their last three games against the Falcons, and this matchup features Aaron Rodgers, arguably the NFL MVP so far this season, facing the worst total defense in the NFL. The Packers have put up huge points at home recently (except against the AFC-leading Patriots), and you should expect something similar against a porous Atlanta secondary.

The Falcons, meanwhile, kept the division lead in the NFC South with an impressive win over the 9-3 Arizona Cardinals last week. After losing their first four road games of the year, the Falcons have also won two straight away from home. But those came against division rivals Carolina and Tampa, who are a combined 5-18-1 on the year. Facing the Packers at Lambeau is a different story.

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