Week 14 is up next and that means only four weeks to go in the NFL regular season. Some teams are eliminated and fighting for a top draft pick, while others are in the playoff hunt battling for first-round byes. We have a ton of big-time matchups on the schedule and from a betting standpoints a few games to look into. With some key injuries still yet to be determined, keep an eye on the lines as there will be some major changes as we get closer to Sunday. For now, let’s make some NFL picks.
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Week 14 Schedule
Cowboys -2.5 at Bears
Ravens -6 at Bills Redskins at Packers -13 Broncos at Texans -9.5
49ers at Saints -2.5 Bengals at Browns -8.5 Panthers at Falcons -3
Dolphins at Jets -5.5 Colts at Buccaneers-3 Chargers -3 at Jaguars
Chiefs at Patriots -3 Steelers -2.5 at Cardinals Titans -3 at Raiders
Lions at Vikings OTB Rams at Seahawks -2.5
Giants at Eagles -9
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots -3
This is maybe the biggest game of the entire week as two major AFC contenders clash in Foxboro. “In Foxboro” is the key takeaway from that sentence as New England is almost invincible at home and sits at 5-0 so far on the season. They are coming off a loss at Houston and like many thought, we have seen New England tested a bit since the competition has increased. They still have a top-end defense even if it is not historic, so the challenge for them will be finding a way to get their offense tarted. Sony Michel should have a big say in Week 14 as the Chiefs 30th-ranked run defense is the weak link that the Patriots will attack.
On the Chiefs side, they look to be back in a groove as they dismantled the Raiders last week in Arrowhead. Patrick Mahomes looks healthy and the injury scare from earlier this season looks to be in the rear-view mirror. The passing attack will be tested by this Patriots secondary that is second in the league in DVOA and even tougher to deal with at home. The Chiefs traveled to Foxboro in 2018 early in the season and came up just short in a 43-40 shootout. Tyreek Hill exploded in that game for 7-142-3 and limiting him over the top has to be a priority for the Patriots.
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The only other takeaway I see from last year’s game is on the Patriots side with Michel. Clearly, the offense is drastically different than last year, but the running game should once again have a chance to thrive in this spot. Michel ran for 100-plus and a pair of scores in the win last year and I assume the Patriots will need a similar performance on Sunday to get the job done. I will continue to back the Patriots at home where they are a much more dynamic team and I think they will find a way to control the tempo en route to a huge bounce-back win.
My Pick: Patriots -3
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints -2.5
The must-see matchup in the NFC this week takes place in the Superdome with the 49ers traveling down to NOLA to take on the Saints. With the standings so bunched in that conference, it’s a situation where both the one seed and playing a road wildcard game are on the table for several teams. This makes each game critical and San Francisco-New Orleans could decide home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The 49ers are in the gauntlet right now, as they just traveled to Baltimore last week to take on the Ravens. They lost on a last-second field goal, but at the same time, once again proved they have to be considered in the top handful of teams in this league. Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense rely heavily on the running game, and will be tested by the Saints defense. Last week, New Orleans exploded for nine sacks against the Falcons and protecting Garoppolo has to be a priority for San Francisco, especially if they fall behind.
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We last saw the Saints on Thanksgiving when they were testing how many consecutive onside kicks they could fail to recover while still winning the game. The answer was three, but they did grab the win and now look to take another step in securing the NFC South and home field in the playoffs. Drew Brees has been effective as he always is and the weapons around him make this consistently one of the toughest offenses to deal with on a given week. The 49ers defense has been fantastic all season (second DVOA in NFL) and similar to what I mentioned earlier, the Saints also need to give Brees time and avoid the pass rush. San Francisco averages over three sacks per game and their blueprint to success is run the ball, grab a lead and then turn it over to this defense to finish the job.
Both teams have strong identities about who they are and this is going to be a telling game for their playoff futures. You have to give the edge to the Saints as they are at home, healthier and have extra time to prepare coming off Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, the 49ers have played Seattle, Green Bay and Baltimore over the past month and that stretch has to take its toll on any team in some regard. I think New Orleans will limit the rushing attack and with Garoppolo forced to carry this offense, it will present opportunities for the Saints defense to make a major impact.
My Pick: Saints -2.5
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Good Luck everyone!