Boom! The week off from betting was a success, as last week's picks were on fire, finishing at a 6-1 record. That's just what we needed to bounce back after a few lackluster betting performances. We're sitting at an impressive 50-35 record on the season with a 9-4 Lock of the Week.
I've been super busy this week as I've been in the process of moving, so I'm going to keep this one a bit shorter than usual. I'll have only five picks to give out in Week 14, but that just increases our chances of pulling off an undefeated week. So get your parlays and your popcorn ready for what will be a fun Sunday of pro football.
Cincinnati Bengals -5.5 vs Cleveland Browns
Are the Browns better with Jacoby Brissett? You could certainly make that argument after watching Cleveland's game against Houston last week. Yes, they won by 13, but Deshaun Watson looked extremely rusty in his first game in almost two seasons. Almost too rusty. The Browns amassed 304 yards of total offense, but 174 of those came on the ground. And all three touchdowns Cleveland scored came from the defense or special teams (which, I must add, is an impressive feat). On the flip side, the Bengals come into this matchup on a four game win streak, most recently knocking off the Chiefs for the third consecutive time. And they did it without workhorse back Joe Mixon. Now, with Mixon back and a fully loaded receiver corps, I'm expecting the Bengals to operate efficiently on this Browns team. But most importantly, I just don't think Cleveland can score very much against Cincinnati. And Joe Burrow and company will take care of the ball better than the Texans did a week ago. Give me the Bengals by double digits.
Dallas Cowboys -17.0 vs. Houston Texans
Speaking of the Texans, they have the privilege of playing the hottest team in America this week. Since Dak Prescott returned from injury, Dallas is 5-1 with a point margin of 115 in those six games. That includes a 49-29 win over Chicago, a 40-3 drubbing over Minnesota, and a 54-19 shellacking of Indianapolis last Sunday night. The point is the Cowboys are on absolute fire right now, both on offense and defense, as they had five takeaways last game against the Colts. And now they'll be facing a team who just had four turnovers - two of them returned for touchdowns - in their most recent appearance. 17 is a massive number for a spread in the NFL, but this Cowboys team is playing so well right now that I just can't resist. Dallas will notch another massive win this Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers -3.5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It's risky to bet on a rookie quarterback in his first career start, but that shows what I think of this Buccaneer team. It also is a referendum on Brock Purdy's performance last week when he filled in for Jimmy Garappolo after he was injured on San Francisco's first drive of the game. Purdy led the Niners to a 33-17 win over a hot Dolphins team, which was capped off by a scoop and score on the penultimate drive to douse any hopes of a Miami comeback. That highlights the key thing that matters in this matchup: the 49ers' defense. Tampa Bay has been abysmal on the offensive side of the ball this season and really had no business winning last week against the Saints. They scored two TDs in the final three minutes of the game (after being held without a touchdown for the first 57 minutes) to win by one over their division rivals. This week's game is going to resemble that first 57 minutes more, as I think it'll be tough for the Bucs to get much of anything going on a Niners defense that just held Miami to 17. Tampa Bay will also not be playing at home; they'll be traveling all the way across the country for their late afternoon contest. I'll take San Fran to win by around a touchdown, if not more.
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers Under 54.5
This number is simply too high for me. While the Dolphins have been putting up lots of points in their recent games (other than last week's against the Niners), the Chargers haven't been as productive. This is billed as a huge game as Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, two quarterbacks drafted one right after the other a few years ago, face off for the first time in the NFL. But the hype around this leads me to believe that while it will probably be a close game, I just have a feeling that points will be harder to come by than most people think. If you are judging by statistics, you'd think this game sets up to be filled with points on either side. But you can't get a full assessment with statistics, which is where my analysis fills in. This is a purely gut feeling decision on the under here and I don't have a lot of stats to back it up, to be quite honest. But my gut feelings are right more often than they're wrong.
Lock of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Under 44.0
Make it 11 out of 12 for the Broncos. All but one game of theirs this season has stayed under the point total. That's a dang near impossible statistic, but one that I'm riding again in Week 14. And that's because this number has gotten up to 44 due to Denver's opponent. However, while the Chiefs definitely have the ability to get into a shootout, they also don't typically win by huge margins against teams with poor offenses. It's almost as if Kansas City knows how much they need to secure a win against a given team, and sort of coast to that number so as to obscure the offensive playbook in a sense. The Chiefs have grown fond of rookie running back Isiah Pacheco, and I expect him to have a big day on the ground due to volume if nothing else. Even if the Chiefs do score a lot of points, they'll need to just about hit the number here themselves to get this game to go over. I would estimate a 24-10 game in favor of the Chiefs.
Written by Nick Swatson