Just a few weeks remain in the NFL season, with plenty of playoff opportunities still on the line. Four teams have a bye this week, but there is still a full schedule of intriguing matchups to look for.
What are the best picks against the spread in week 14? This is a breakdown of each game on Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns -2.5
Expect a lot of running from both of these teams as they try to pick up a divisional win. Both Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield have not been playing their best at quarterback, but the running attack has been what has worked for these two teams all year long.
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Defensively, both teams are solid, but Mayfield has had a tough time handling pressure all year long. That’s why the underdog road team is the safer pick here. It should be a close game either way, but Baltimore finds a way to win.
Pick: Baltimore Ravens +2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans -9.5
It’s very hard to predict how this game goes, considering the lack of effort Jacksonville has shown almost all season long. They’ve given up on the season, and Tennessee has been hit by injuries hard themselves. However, there’s less incentive for Jacksonville to even keep it close on the road, so it seems like Tennessee will be able to take care of business.
Urban Meyer is still attempting to figure it out as a coach in the NFL. The franchise plans to stand by him going into next year, so that might give him some confidence, but not enough to pick up this win.
Pick: Tennessee Titans -9.5
Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs -9.5
Earlier in the year, this game might be a bit of a toss-up. Now? Kansas City seems set to roll through the rest of the regular season. They finally look like those Super Bowl favorites, even if the numbers still don’t completely show it at home. Their offense is still looking to get back to 100%, but the good news is the defense is as good as advertised.
While Derek Carr has had another solid year for the Raiders, these are the games he’s struggled with during his career. It seems hard to think about trusting him in this matchup. Take the Chiefs to win and cover as they take care of the AFC West again.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -9.5
New Orleans Saints at New York Jets
New Orleans Saints -6
Are the New York Jets actually good? No, but they’ve been a little bit better than some thought the last few weeks. That all leads up to a potential upset on Sunday against the Saints.
The Jets seem to be getting healthier and healthier after each week. That’s great news for a team still playing with a lot of pride. Zach Wilson is showing signs of life at quarterback, and he’ll look to exploit the Saints’ secondary all game long. He won’t take a ton of chances, but enough to give them a real chance of winning. Even if the Jets don’t pull off the upset, they’ll keep it close enough to cover.
New York Jets +6
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team
Dallas Cowboys -4.5
Dallas has only a few weeks left to figure everything out before the playoffs. Did they peak too early? Some are wondering after having some down games on offense. Washington won’t make it easy for them on the road, and the spread means Dallas needs to be about a touchdown or a couple of field goals better.
It’s been a few weeks now for Dallas to have the passing and power running game going simultaneously. They’ve relied on their defense to get the job done, winning on strength and grit instead of big numbers. With Washington’s mildly limited offense, that plays right into Dallas’ hands. Pick the Cowboys to put together a solid game by winning and covering.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys -4.5
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons -3.5
The Carolina Panthers are going into their first game without offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Some teams respond well to these coaching changes, but they must have the personnel to do so. It just seems unlikely for Carolina to rally behind what is left of their offense.
As for Atlanta, they’re making due with what they have on offense. It really comes down to trust at this point, and with Matt Ryan healthy, he’s the better of the quarterbacks. He’ll score enough to pick up a divisional win in somewhat convincing fashion.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons -3.5
Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans
Seattle Seahawks -7.5
A great showing last week has Seattle fans excited that the Seahawks are back to their old ways once again. Getting a crack against a poor Texans team should help them keep the momentum going.
If this is Russell Wilson’s last stand in Seattle, he’ll be looking to go out on a good note. He looked healthy and productive again in Week 13 against San Francisco. He’ll need to carve up the passing defense for Houston, since they don’t have consistent runners to hand the ball off to.
Houston is in a similar position to Jacksonville. They’re playing out the regular season and seeing what changes they can make to get out of this mess. Don’t expect a huge effort from them. Seattle wins by double digits.
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -7.5
Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos -7.5
After winning their first game of the season, the Detroit Lions have a huge weight off their shoulders. They haven’t really played too poorly this year all things considered, but expecting them to win two games in a row could be a pretty tall task.
The good news for Detroit is that they are playing a Denver Broncos team that hasn’t exactly been a dominant force. The defense will put a ton of pressure on Jared Goff, but there will be chances for the running game to find some holes.
If Denver’s offense was more consistent, they’d be the pick here. It’s just not solid enough right now. Detroit as a team has little to play for, but their players are still going hard. That’s enough to cover in a close defeat.
Pick: Detroit Lions +7.5
New York Giants at Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers -10.5
The Giants just can’t find ways to score these days. That’s bad news when hitting the road to play the Chargers. The double-digit spread indicates that, but can the Chargers win in a blowout?
Limiting turnovers is key for Los Angeles. If they play a little more conservatively, their pure talent will easily prevail. The Giants stay in this game with costly turnovers. Justin Herbert and the offense has been guilty of some of that, but they fix it with a few weeks left in the regular season.
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -10.5
San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals
San Francisco 49ers -1
This is the closest game of the week based on the spread. Cincinnati is hoping to stay right there in the playoff picture, but they host a tough foe looking to get back on track after going down hard to their rival.
The Bengals have their hands full going up against San Francisco’s unique passing attack. They’ll spread the ball all over the field, finding targets like George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.
Joe Burrow has answers, as he’ll score consistently as well. Can he simply outscore the 49ers? This might be a bit of a leap, but the Bengals get it done in front of their home fans desperate for something to rally behind. It will come down to the final possession, with Cincinnati coming out on top.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals +1
Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5
This has the potential to be the game of the week, as the Buffalo Bills try to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs on their home field. Both teams have dreams of winning it all this year, and this could potentially be a matchup that happens once again in the near future.
Buffalo’s been great at home, but pretty average on the road. They’ve been particularly bad in the south, losing to both Tennessee and Jacksonville. Tampa is ready to flex their veteran muscles, taking control of the game early.
Pressure on Josh Allen will be the keep for Tampa’s defense. They seem to always find ways to cut down a one-one-dimensional attack. Take Tampa Bay to win and cover.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5
Chicago Bears a Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers -12.5
Sunday Night’s contest features another rivalry game, as the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears. The line indicates that this should be a pretty easy win for Green Bay, but Chicago usually has some sort of pride in this matchup.
To add even more fuel to the fire, Aaron Rodgers had some interesting comments on the Chicago Bears last time they played. If Chicago was better, that might fire them up. However, in Lambeau, it seems impossible Rodgers will let Chicago stay even remotely close.
Pick: Green Bay Packers -12.5