NFL Week 14
Our picks tied a season-high of 5-2 in week 13, and we would have gone 6-1 if either the Colts or Texans could have scored a single touchdown in the second half of their game. Regardless, 5-2 is nothing to be mad about, especially when the Lock (f.k.a. Fade) of the Week hit as well. That's right, the pick that I renamed the Fade of the Week in last week's article is now back to a Lock, as the week 14 Lock is probably the best I've felt about one all season. Keep reading to find out where to put all your money as you take in a full 16-game NFL slate.
Houston Texans -1.0 at Chicago Bears
The Bears are so bad that I think any team in the league would be favored against them now. Even the Jets, now that they got rid of their prime saboteur, Gregg Williams. The Texans aren't in too much better shape and have one less win on the season, though they have looked really good at times. They would have knocked off the Colts last week if not for an aberrant fumble by Deshaun Watson while they were taking time off the clock before scoring the potential game winning touchdown. That would have been their third win in a row, and it also would have proven the absence of Will Fuller didn't even slow them down. Chicago has lost six in a row now, and there's no reason to believe their offense will play any better against a solid Texan defense. I expect Houston to prevail without much trouble.
New York Giants +3.0 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Talent wise, I think everyone would agree that the Cardinals have the edge here. But for some reason, the Giants have been playing excellent football over the course of their last several games, winning four in a row and narrowly losing to the Buccaneers five weeks ago. Their most recent victory at Seattle suggests that New York is a team that we should be taking seriously, even if they've only had one win against a team with a winning record. The Cardinals are trending in the opposite direction and would be coming in on a five game losing streak if not for the Hail Mary they converted to win against the Bills four games ago. I'm simply going to roll with the hot hand in this matchup and take the Giants to cover the three points, as they potentially even win outright at home.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers Over 49.0
These squads combined for 16 total points in their respective affairs in week 13, but they played against defenses that had their numbers and stifled anything they tried to do. Fortunately, their pathetic showings last week has lowered the point total for their game against each other. They both simply put up lots of points against lower-tier defenses, which is what each will be facing in this matchup. Atlanta put 43 and 34 in their last two games against opponents not named the Saints, and Justin Herbert is having the best season for a rookie quarterback ever. Even though Julio Jones is out for the Falcons, with Calvin Ridley, Keenan Allen, and Austin Ekeler all healthy, I expect both teams to reach 30.
New Orleans Saints -7.0 at Philadelphia Eagles
Just read my narrative for last week's Packers vs. Eagles bet and replace the Packers with the Saints. If you missed that, here is the synopsis: the Saints are very good, even with Taysom Hill at quarterback, and the Eagles are very bad. And this time, the Eagles are starting a young, backup quarterback who Sean Payton's defense is going to eat alive with a full week to prepare for him. It could get ugly in Philly, and New Orleans will win by double digits to extend Payton's perfect record with a QB not named Drew Brees over the last two seasons.
Washington Football Team at San Francisco 49ers Under 43.5
Washington's defense is playing too well to not take the under in this matchup. They haven't allowed more than 17 points in three straight weeks, including against the formerly undefeated Steelers. The Niners don't exactly have an explosive offense either, so I expect that trend to continue this week. Washington doesn't have a great offense and San Francisco's defense is still solid as well, so I'm not worried about them outscoring the 49ers by so much that the under is in jeopardy. I'm not sure who will win, but I won't care when the score is 20-17 either way with triple zeros on the clock.
Buffalo Bills -1.5 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
I don't want to overreact, but I don't think the Steelers are quite as good as I did before their week 13 loss against Washington. Their defense played good, but they couldn't run the ball and Ben Roethlisberger is too old to be required to do everything himself. The Bills looked good against the 49ers on Monday night and have several quality wins on their resumé. Certainly more than the Steelers have. With how good Josh Allen has looked in recent weeks, I have plenty of confidence in taking Buffalo to win at home on Sunday night. They can still obtain the two seed in the AFC if they continue their torrid pace, which starts against the current two seed on Sunday night.
Lock of the Week: Baltimore Ravens -2.0 at Cleveland Browns
Here it is, the lock of the week, year, and decade. Yes, the Browns are two games ahead of the Ravens and just destroyed the Titans. Yes, Baltimore hit a rough patch for a few weeks, but turned it around on Tuesday night against the Cowboys. Now, they'll take on Cleveland, who they defeated 38-6 to open the season. This game is huge for both teams, but especially for the Ravens who desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. When it really matters, the Browns will be the Browns, which everyone knows is an organization of utter futility. The Ravens have owned the Browns historically, winning 32 of their 43 meetings. They'll make that 33 of 44 on Monday night. It will certainly be closer than their first matchup, and I'll give credit to Baker Mayfield and the Browns for their successful season so far, but there's no doubt in my mind that the Ravens will go into Cleveland and win by at least a touchdown.
Written by Nick Swatson
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