Week 14 NFL Picks

The Back Door Cover Week 14 NFL Picks

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Last Week: 7-8

Overall: 84-92-8 – 47.7%

Week 13 Whiffs

  1. Late in the 3rd quarter, the Vikings had two passes into the end zone that should have resulted in pass interference calls. Neither did, and instead of taking a 14-10 lead in New England, they were only able to tie the score at 10. Had those calls been made, I think we may be talking about a Vikings cover. But you know what they say, “if ifs and buts were candy and nuts…”
  2. Two weeks ago, I picked Pittsburgh on the road because they had been 10-0-1 in their last 11 road games. They lost. Last week, I took Pittsburgh again because they had been 14-1 at night. They lost again. The only thing positive about me losing these games is that the Steelers also lost and the thought that maybe, just maybe, I’m their kryptonite.
  3. I never would have thought Green Bay could possibly lose, at home, to Arizona. Aaron Rodgers looked uninspired and the loss led to Mike McCarthy being fired. It will be a long rest of the season in Green Bay.

It was another crazy week in the NFL that saw the Saints go down, the Titans almost lose to the Jets, and Pittsburgh blowing a 16-point lead at home (they had been 174-0-1 in those situations prior to Sunday night). All that led to me coming out in the negative last week.

Below are the Week 14 ATS Power Rankings:

 

It amazes me every year how the majority of these numbers always track back toward 50/50. There are only a few spots where you can see much separation and those are spots where I always question myself (i.e. home underdogs of more than 7 points).

Disclaimer: Please do not take these picks and expect to make any real money. I enjoy picking games and the discussions they create so feel free to play along. I will provide information for each game, but please make your own decisions and BE RESPONSIBLE!

Here are my Week 14 picks…

Thursday – 12/6/18

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans (-4.5, o/u 37.5)

I should have known last week to never underestimate the home team on a Thursday night. I won’t make that mistake again.

I was looking through the data to come up with some information and came across this surprising tidbit. Since 2008, these teams have matched up 21 times. The home team has only been favored in two of those matchups.

Jacksonville’s defense looked like its old self last week in shutting out a surging Colts team, but I’m going to go with a letdown here in Week 14 against a Titans team that badly need a win to stay in the playoff race.

Tennessee has won the last three  home games against Jacksonville going 3-0 ATS in those matchups. Jacksonville is 1-3-1 ATS on the road this season.

My Pick: Tennessee -4.5

Sunday – 12/9/18

Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers (-6.0, o/u 49.0)

Both teams failed miserably in Week 13. Atlanta had their worst offensive output since 1999 and Green Bay saw their coach fired after losing to the lowly Arizona Cardinals. I’m on the Packers in this matchup for a couple reasons. First, I think Rodgers will want to prove something this week after the firing of McCarthy. Most importantly though, this is a struggling dome team, going outdoors to play in below freezing temperatures. I’ll take the Pack to cover.

The Packers are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 home games in December. Atlanta is 2-6 ATS in their last eight games as an underdog.

My Pick: Green Bay -6.0

New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins (+8.0, o/u 47.0)

If I had to guess, this matchup probably has burned more people over the years than just about any other. For some reason, the Dolphins seem to have the Patriots’ number and at the very least, keep these games close, especially at home. That being said, this is a hot New England team that is 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 overall and 3-1 ATS in their last four on the road. There are trends you can look at here to point you in either direction, but I lean Patriots to cover in a game they need to have to keep ahold of the AFC’s 2nd seed.

Since 2011, Miami is 5-2 ATS against the Pats at home (4-3 straight up). In this matchup, the Patriots are 4-1 straight up and ATS in the last 5 games. Visiting teams are 1-12 in the last 13 matchups.

My Pick: New England -8.0

New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins (+3.5, o/u 41.0)

The fact that I found a line on this game leads me to believe that the Redskins are really going with Mark Sanchez. With that being the case, I think this is an easy call here for the Giants to cover in Washington. You can throw just about every trend out the window since there have been so many moving pieces here and you have to go with your gut.

Since 2010, the Giants are 3-5 ATS in Washington, but have won four straight ATS overall and five straight on the road. The Redskins are 4-2 ATS at home this season.

My Pick: New York -3.5

Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans (-5.0, o/u 49.0)

As a Ravens fan, we’re rooting hard for whoever plays the Colts or the Broncos going forward. The Colts will look to rebound after a disappointing performance against a Jacksonville team that had been playing terrible up until last week. Houston, on the other hand, is rolling and looking for their 10th straight win and would just about clinch the division. I don’t think the Colts pull this one off, but I do see this as a field goal game.

The Colts are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Houston going 4-1 straight up. Houston is 3-2-1 ATS at home this season.

My Pick: Indianapolis +5.0

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills (-3.5, o/u 38.0)

I like the Bills here strictly because of their defense and Sam Darnold’s return. This is not an ideal situation, in what will be freezing temperatures, for Darnold to return against a formidable defense. Buffalo will limit the Jets’ offense and Josh Allen will do just enough to cover the spread at home.

The Bills are 4-2 ATS in their last six home games against the Jets, however they have lost the last two ATS. New York is 2-4 ATS on the road this season with an average point differential of -2.8 points.

My Pick: Buffalo -3.5

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-7.0, o/u 53.0)

Let me start off by giving my two cents about the Lamar Jackson vs. Joe Flacco debate. In an ideal situation, Flacco is the better option here. However, this offensive line has not played well at all which makes Jackson’s skillset the better choice to start going forward as it can mask some of the deficiencies along the line. Plus, I think the only way the Ravens beat the Chiefs is if they can control the ball as they did last week in Atlanta.

Now, with all that said, I don’t see the Ravens covering here in Week 14. Jackson struggled in his first road start and that was in a half-empty stadium. Arrowhead will be extremely loud and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the noise.

I think the Ravens will limit the Chiefs’ offense better than anyone has, but I don’t think they’ll score enough to keep up, losing 27-17.

Baltimore is 6-3 ATS in their last nine road games. Kansas City is 2-3 ATS in their last five overall and have lost two in a row ATS at home.

My Pick: Kansas City -7.0

New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8.5, o/u 55.5)

The Saints offense was silenced on Thursday night in Dallas, but with a few extra days to prepare, they should put up big numbers again against the Bucs. That makes the over here an enticing play as both teams rank near the top of the NFL in offense. Ultimately, Jameis Winston will make a turnover or two that will allow the Saints to win by 10+ points.

Tampa is 3-7 straight up in their last 10 against their division but are 4-0 ATS in their four home games as home underdogs. The Saints are 5-1 straight up in their last six games after a loss.

My Pick: New Orleans -8.5

Carolina Panthers vs. Cleveland Browns (+1.5, o/u 47.0)

Carolina is reeling after four straight losses and head on the road where they have struggled mightily this season, going 1-5 straight up and ATS. They’ll match up against an improved Browns team that has won three of its last four games. I believe that Carolina will find themselves offensively this week as the Browns will have trouble covering Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield which will lead the Panthers to a field goal victory.

Cam Newton has thrown eight of his 11 interceptions on the road this season and as a team, Carolina is rushing for 67.7 fewer yards per game on the road. Cleveland is 4-2 ATS in their last six home games.

My Pick: Carolina -1.5

Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers (+6.0, o/u 44.5)

I had Oakland and Arizona in the crosshairs earlier in the season and they both began to cover. I now have San Fran in those crosshairs so maybe for the Ravens sake, they’ll win one for us this week. Now that that nonsense has been put out there, I don’t see how the 49ers and rookie Nick Mullens can cover here against a rejuvenated Denver defense that has everything to play for to keep pace with the Ravens.

San Francisco is 1-7 ATS in their last eight December home games. Denver is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall.

My Pick: Denver -6.0

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Chargers (-14.0, o/u 47.5)

This matchup is a spot where you could see a letdown from the Chargers after an emotional comeback against Pittsburgh and coming home to face a Bengals team that is down for the ten count. If there were to be a letdown for the Chargers, facing one of the league’s worst defenses is certainly welcomed. This is another game where I’m trying to convince myself that the Bengals can cover two touchdowns, but I have to be honest with myself.

Cincinnati is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games against teams with winning records. The Chargers are 8-2 straight up in their last 10 home games.

My Pick: Los Angeles -14.0

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys (-3.5, o/u 43.0)

I love the extra half point here. I have been down on the Cowboys all season and maybe it’s just me being stubborn, but I still don’t believe in them even after their win against the Saints. I also don’t believe in the Eagles, so I’m in a predicament with this game.

My pick is for the Eagles to win outright here for one reason: Darren Sproles. He adds a different dimension and speed to the Eagles offense and having him back gives them the ability to be more dynamic than they have been to this point of the season.

The Eagles are 10-2 straight up in their last 12 divisional games. The visiting team is 11-3 ATS in the last 14 games in this matchup.

My Pick: Philadelphia +3.5

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders (+11.0, o/u 51.5)

The Steelers should win this game, but I think it’ll be closer than people think. James Conner is out and this could be a trap game with a matchup against the Patriots next week in the back of their minds.

Oakland possesses the 14th ranked passing defense, but league’s worst rush defense. Without Conner, I would expect Big Ben to air it out on Sunday a little more than usual. That should play (somewhat) into the Raiders’ hands and allow them to keep it close.

Oakland is averaging 24.3 points per game over their last three games which is six points higher than their season average. Pittsburgh is 10-1-1 straight up in its last 12 road games. Since 2009, Oakland is 4-1 ATS against the Steelers.

My Pick: Oakland +11.0

Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals (+3.0, o/u 40.5)

This game is a matchup between two struggling offenses and Arizona was dealt another blow on their offensive line last week when Mike Iupati left the game against Green Bay with a knee injury and was subsequently placed on IR. Anyone that really follows football knows that games are won and lost in the trenches and I can’t ignore the fact that Arizona will be throwing out an offensive line filled with rookies and backups.

With Christian Kirk being placed on IR, Larry Fitzgerald is the only Cardinals receiver with more than 11 catches this season. Arizona is 5-3 ATS in their last eight games and 2-3-1 ATS at home this season. After starting the season 5-1 ATS, Detroit has gone 1-5 ATS since.

My Pick: Detroit -3.0

Los Angeles Rams vs. Chicago Bears (+3.0, o/u 52.5)

Along with the Ravens/Chiefs matchup, this is another high-powered offense vs. high-powered defense showdown in Week 14. This game’s “closeness” hinges on whether or not Mitchell Trubisky returns. It appears as if he will, but my guess is he’ll be a little rusty early on which will allow the Rams to get out to an early lead.

An added bonus for the Rams in this matchup is that they can clinch a first round bye with a win. In this day and age where the offense dominates the defense, that will play out here on an entertaining Sunday night game.

The Rams are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games and 3-3 ATS on the road this season. They are also outscoring opponents by an average of 9.7 points on the road. Chicago is 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games and 3-3 ATS at home outscoring opponents by 11.5 points at Soldier Field.

My Pick: Los Angeles -3.0

Monday – 12/10/18

Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks (-3.5, o/u 45.5)

This is another game in Week 14 where the half point really pushed me in one direction. This will be a very entertaining Monday night game (which you can’t say for most this season) where both teams will be fighting for their playoff lives. I give the edge here to Minnesota’s defense to be able to shut down Russell Wilson and co. enough to keep this game close and possibly pull out a close win on the road.

Seattle is 7-1-2 ATS in their last 10 games and 3-1-1 ATS at home. Minnesota is 3-3 ATS on the road this season.

My Pick: Minnesota +3.5

With eight divisional matchups this week, look for a lot of close scores coming down to the last drive. That fact leaves me confident in only a few picks:

Denver -6.0

New York Giants -3.5

Philadelphia +3.5

Baltimore/Kansas City UNDER

Good luck to everyone this week! Check out GridIron Gold for your online betting needs.

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About Drew Kordula

I was born and raised in Baltimore. I'm a graduate of Eastern Tech and UMBC. Baltimore/Maryland sports have always been a huge part of my life. Whether it be going to University of Maryland Football games with my dad as a kid, or climbing to the top of Mt. M&T Bank Stadium for my seats in section 540 today. I'm a Joe Flacco apologist, Buck Showalter groupie, and Wild Bill Hagy disciple. I love writing about Baltimore sports because I know how passionate of a fan base we have here. Everyone has an opinion and I invite you to share yours on any of my blogs no matter if you agree or disagree. Feel free to follow me on twitter @DrewKordula More from Drew Kordula

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