NE (6-6) @LAR (8-4) / LAR -5.5
- Last week was a brief glimpse back at the Patriots of years past, but this week New England is back to reality as they face a more than capable team in the Rams. In fact, we expect a role reversal here as this game could very well be a defensive struggle. Offensively the Patriots are broken when it comes to passing the football and this Rams defense won't make it any easier. In all honesty, this game either has the making of a defensive slugfest or a blowout by the Rams where they go up early then suffocate Cam Newton. The Rams on paper have the much better offense and a defense that is at least on par with the Patriots, so for what it's worth we would agree that outright the Rams should be favored. The spread is where this gets tricky because New England has the secondary pieces to slow down the Rams passing attack and make this an ugly game which is what we are envisioning at the moment. For that reason in a game that we anticipate will be close going late, we will take the Patriots on the spread.
HOU (4-8) @ CHI (5-7) / CHI +1.5
- At this point the most surprising thing about this game is that the Bears haven't fired everybody as they are at their lowest point of the season after losing to the Lions. And to make matters worse this is a game where the Bears have to be reminded yet again of who they could have drafted instead of Mitch Trubisky a few years back. But all that aside, we just can't trust the Bears at all right now. In terms of caliber of opponent the Texans are similar to the Lions, a good offense with a very bad defense. With that being the case, we fully expect the Bears to have success on the ground and the numbers to be respectable at the end of the day, but their QB is just too big of a liability. For the Texans even without Will Fuller we trust Deshaun Watson enough to be able to create the game changing plays with his arm or legs when it's crunch time, something we can't say for the Bears. In what will likely be a close game because the Bears do matchup well here we still have to go with the Texans which probably says more about Chicago than Houston at this point.
DAL (3-9) @ CIN (2-9-1) / CIN +3.5
- Very bad loss for Dallas last week vs the Ravens but at this point did we really expect anything else? The Cowboys have gone from NFC East contenders to all but out of it with two very bad losses in a row. Silver lining, they get to play the Burrow-less Bengals this week. This doesn't mean that the Cowboys will all of a sudden turn things around long term but for at least this week they are in a great bounce back opportunity. The Bengals at this point are almost on par with the Jets of this year and honestly maybe even worst considering their available QB's. To be fair though this Dallas defense could keep the Bengals in this game longer than should be the case but at the end of the day we believe the offensive talent for Dallas will win out. Currently the spread isn't all that large either so we advice taking the Cowboys there as well as they will likely pull away as the game progresses.
DEN (4-8) @ CAR (4-8) / CAR -3.5
- The Panthers are coming off the bye yet they are in a position to potentially be worse off than when they entered it. The presumed return of Christian McCaffrey might have to be delayed by another week due to a thigh issue and in the meantime the WR group has taken a huge hit with D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel being placed on the COVID list. In reality that's almost the majority of viable offensive weapons for Carolina that could miss this game. To be fair though the Broncos are the type of opponent that doesn't score a lot of points and inconsistent defensively so Carolina could still pull this one out. As things stand right now, we envision a lower scoring game where the best bet might be the Broncos on the spread. We will still take the Panthers outright because we believe they have the better QB and can hold their own vs a lackluster Denver offense. If McCaffrey does play then we would consider the Panthers on the spread.
TEN (8-4) @ JAX (1-11) / JAX +7.5
- This is a rematch of a game that was actually very close all the way back in Week 2. And yes we realize that the Titans are the much better team here while the Jaguars are mostly looking forward to next year, but for the most part the Jaguars have been competitive in the majority of their games this year regardless of the QB. When you factor that this is also a divisional game and the Titans defense is banged up we expect that this could be one of the highest scoring games of the week. As usual the offensive flow for the Jaguars will come down to the play of Mike Glennon but if he doesn't implode don't be surprised to see another one score game here. Don't get it wrong though, the Titans are still the team we like here as even if Tannehill struggles for them they can still lean on plenty of other offensive playmakers to get the job done, which isn't quite the case for the Jaguars.
KC (11-1) @ MIA (8-4) / MIA +7.5
- Both of these teams are coming off a pair of good but ugly wins but a win is a win. However, we would be hard pressed to tell you that both sides are trending up as the Dolphins can't quite match their previous offensive success with Tua now under center. And for all of their defensive talent Miami faces the exception to the rule in Patrick Mahomes this week. What we're trying to say is that this game will likely come down to a dual between Mahomes and Tua. While we're not saying the Dolphins can't surprise the Chiefs and keep this game closer for longer than expected at some point in time we anticipate that the Chiefs will pull away and the margin will be too large to overcome for Tua. It's very possible that Tua is less than 100% right now but the fact is as things stand right now the Chiefs are the pick to make outright for sure. The spread is much trickier and we would ultimately suggest teasing that number down by a few points and then taking KC there too.
MIN (6-6) @ TB (7-5) / TB -7.5
- Nice, gritty win for the Vikings last week but now they have to face a Bucs team that is coming off the bye week and just seemingly waiting to have an offensive explosion. And unfortunately for the Vikings their subpar secondary will likely offer that exact chance as there is no way they can contain Godwin, Evans and Brown. To make matters worse is the fact that the best offensive weapon for Minnesota, Dalvin Cook, is facing a very stout rush defense and will likely face a negative game script. In all honesty, we think this game has the making of a blowout as the Bucs likely come out fast, score consistently and leave the Vikings in the dust. When you take Dalvin Cook out of the Minnesota game plan this offense just becomes too predictable for the Vikings and that's usually when Kirk Cousins struggles the most. For that reason we like the Bucs across the board in this game.
ARI (6-6) @ NYG (5-7) / NYG +2.5
- Congrats to the Giants who pulled off one of the biggest, if not biggest upsets of the year by beating the Seahawks last week. Making that win even more improbable and impressive is the fact it was with Colt McCoy under center. Favorably for the Giants they are optimistic about getting Daniel Jones back in this game and even though that doesn't mean they win this game in our eyes it does drastically improve their chances. On the other side the Cardinals are spiraling a bit as they are coming off yet another loss. It's possible that Kyler Murray is still not 100% which would explain some of their offensive struggles. Unfortunately for the Cardinals this stingy Giants defense isn't exactly the best opponent to get back on track against but that's exactly what will need to happen if they want to keep their playoff chances alive. Currently, while we do envision a close game with both teams having opportunities to win late we slightly favor the Cardinals as even with the return of Daniel Jones, the NYG QB will likely be limited in his own right and that will limit some of his mobility that he relies on so much. The spread is low enough where we are treating this as a pick'em.
IND (8-4) @ LV (7-5) / LV +2.5
- Talk about narrowly avoiding disaster, the Raiders did just that by managing to beat the Jets in the final seconds of their game last week. It's these type of performances that make us doubt the record of the Raiders and question their abilities vs upper echelon teams. To be fair the Colts aren't elite either, but they are a bit more consistent on the season and face a friendly defensive matchup in this game. It also helps that the Colts have seemingly figured out their rushing attack which is probably their biggest weapon along with the reemergence of T.Y. Hilton. On the flip side the Raiders continue to see inconsistencies from players not named Darren Waller and their rushing attack isn't at 100% with Josh Jacobs in jeopardy to miss another game. Defensively we also tend to give the advantage to the Colts who have the bend but don't break mentality and all these factors combined together lead us to taking the Colts outright and on the spread with the number being rather low.
NYJ (0-12) @ SEA (8-4) / SEA -13.5
- The Seahawks are coming off an atrocious loss and the Jets are coming off probably their best chance to get a victory this season. This might make you think this could be a trap game but that is the furthest thing from the truth in this game. In fact, we expect the Seahawks to absolutely obliterate the Jets not only via offensive scoring but also with some defensive efforts as this also happens to be the Jamal Adams revenge game. The Seahawks outright are probably going to be one of the biggest locks of the year outright and even with a spread of almost two TD's we also like them there. Even if the Seattle defense doesn't show up, which would be a surprise, Seattle is way too good offensively to not score at least 30-40 points. And at the end of the day just remember the golden rule, facing the Jets is always the remedy for what ails you.
ATL (4-8) @ LAC (3-9) / LAC +2.5
- If there was ever a matchup of two teams that are most likely to blow a lead it would be this week with the Falcons vs the Chargers. Both of these teams have had their fair share of heartbreaking losses this year which begs the question who will it be this time and how will the other respond? In all seriousness though, this is a game that has very high scoring potential as both teams have offenses that air it out and defenses that haven't been doing much about it. And yes, we realize that the Chargers are coming off their worst offensive game with Herbert under center, but the Falcons defense is a far cry away from the Patriots squad they faced last week and a perfect bounce back candidate. Even with that being the case though we are riding with the Falcons here assuming that they have Julio Jones available once again. The logic being that even though Matt Ryan has been disappointing this year we simply favor the more experienced QB. And for what it's worth winning this game for the Chargers would also be extremely detrimental to their future draft pick positioning.
GB (9-3) @ DET (5-7) / DET +7.5
- The first time these two teams played it was an absolute thrashing as the Packers put up 40+ on this Detroit defense and in all honesty it might happen again. The main difference since then is the fact that Matt Patricia has been fired but we tend to believe that the unifying affect that had was seen last week when the Lions stunned the Bears and simply put vs a team of the caliber of the Packers it won't matter. The game plan for the Packers here will probably be pretty similar to the first contest which will mean a heavy dose of the rushing attack vs the worst rush defense in the NFL. When you sprinkle in some Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams magic as well then this game is all but a done deal. Yes, the Lions probably get Swift back vs a poor GB rush defense as well, but that will not be enough to keep pace with the Packers here. We like GB outright and expect them to pull away late in this game.
NO (10-2) @ PHI (3-8-1) / PHI +6.5
- If you predicted this Week 14 clash would be Taysom Hill vs Jalen Hurts then kudos. In reality what this means is that we could get a very low scoring game here. The reason for that is this is probably the best defense Hill has faced since taking over for Brees and Hurts making his debut vs the Saints is an absolute nightmare scenario. Even though Wentz struggled incredibly and deserved to be benched so the Eagles can see what they have in Hurts judging by the small sample size of last week this offense isn't that much better with Hurts. The fact of the matter is that the Saints have the better offensive pieces the slightly more experienced QB, which isn't saying much, but most importantly the much better defense. At the end of the day we believe that the Saints defense will be the reason why they win this game convincingly. The unit has been exceptional this last month and vs a rookie QB making his first NFL start we expect the streak to continue.
WAS (5-7) @ SF (5-7) / SF -3.5
- Just like we warned last week, Washington is coming off its biggest win of the year by beating the previously perfect Steelers. However, in that process they lost start RB, Antonio Gibson, for the time being and that's a big loss for an offense that wasn't scoring a lot of points to begin with. Now facing a SF defense that is also capable of keeping games low scoring this might be the lowest scoring game of the week period. Offensively we don't see much opportunities for success for SF as Washington is stout vs the run which means that Nick Mullens will have to beat them through the air and that's going to be easier said than done. In instances like this where the final score could be 20-17, we tend to go with the team that has the better defense and better QB who limits mistakes, which would be Washington in both cases.
PIT (11-1) @ BUF (9-3) / BUF -2.5
- The Steelers have to focus on putting their first loss of the season behind them as they face a very good Bills team this week. That will be easier said than done though as the Bills have the offensive talent to compete with anyone, especially when Josh Allen is on his A-game like he was last week. The problem is that the Steelers pose the toughest defensive test Allen has faced all year long and we tend to believe that the Bills will face some offensive struggles here. On the flip side this is also a much easier defensive matchup for the Steelers compared to Washington last week which should mean a good opportunity for an offensive rebound on their end. The Steelers are also tentatively expected to get James Conner back this week and even though the rushing attach for Pittsburgh hasn't been good this year, Conner is still their best bet at the position. As things stand right now we expect a very competitive game here that won't be a blowout one way or the other but we give the advantage to the team with the better matchups on both sides of the football and that is the Steelers.
BAL (7-5) @ CLE (9-3) / CLE +1.5
- It's a bit strange to see a home team with two more wins than their opponent be an underdog at this point in the year but we tend to agree with the betting public here. The Browns still strike us as a team that isn't as good as their record while the Ravens are starting to trend up as they are getting healthier at the right time. The Ravens pummeled the Browns back in Week 1 and while we do think this game will be much closer we still have to give the edge to the Ravens. Defensively Baltimore presents a much tougher test for the Browns compared to the Titans last week and we would bet against Baker Mayfield having another ultra efficient performance for the second straight game in a row. And we do realize that this is a divisional game where weird things can happen but at the end of the day we view the Ravens as the more capable team.
- DAL, TB, SEA, NO