NFL Predictions | Week 14 Picks
My favorite NFL picks for Week 14 are below. I’m on three spreads and an under on Sunday afternoon. You can navigate this post by clicking on a pick below.
The Saints got some positive news when Derek Carr cleared the (concussion) protocol, but it’s just as well for Panthers backers. Carr has led the Saints to an NFL-worst 2-9-1 (18%) against the spread (ATS) record. That the only record worse than Carolina’s 2-8-2 (20%) mark, though the Panthers are undefeated ATS since firing Frank Reich.
Carr will go up against a Panthers defense that has been trending upward since coming off the bye in Week 8, ranking inside the top 10 in EPA per play allowed excluding plays with turnovers (0.029), per rbsdm.com.
Cornerback Jaycee Horn is now healthy and returned last week to suit up for only the second time this season. His 88.0 Pro Football Focus grade this season would rank third-best if he had enough snaps to qualify. The Panthers are 8-4 ATS in their last 12 games with Horn in the lineup. Horn will be key to slowing down Chris Olave (questionable, illness), who will be relied upon heavily with Michael Thomas (knee) on injured reserve and Rashid Shaheed (thigh) and Taysom Hill (foot) listed as questionable after failing to practice all week.
The Saints defense is also trending downward. It ranks 28th in EPA/play excluding turnovers since Week 8 (0.156) and continues to be without top cornerback Marshon Lattimore (IR, ankle). The Panthers offense has nowhere to go but up in the absence of Reich. In their first game without him last week, they posted their most points (18) and yards (282) since Week 6 (21, 296). The Panthers have stayed within three points in two of their three division games this season – including a 20-17 loss to these Saints in Week 1 – and should be able to stay within striking distance once again.
Per our Action Labs data, Dennis Allen is 5-16-1 (24%) ATS as a favorite, failing to cover by 4.7 points per game. That includes a 1-8-1 ATS mark this season.
Bet to: +4
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The Texans are banged up on offense with the injury to Tank Dell (fibula) and the continued absence of Dalton Schultz (hamstring), but their defense is trending upward and should be able to carry them in this spot.
With second-year CB Derek Stringley back, the Texans now have two corners ranked in the top 25 among cornerbacks in PFF coverage grade, with a third (Desmond King) who would rank 18th if he had enough snaps to qualify. Stringley returned in Week 10 and has four interceptions in his last three games. On the season, he has broken up or intercepted 29% of targets thrown into his coverage. The Texans have more than enough to stymie the Jets’ one legitimate receiving threat, Garrett Wilson.
The Texans’ pass rush is also coming into its own. No. 3 overall pick Will Anderson Jr. grades as the 18th-best edge rusher at PFF and is tied for sixth among edge rushers in quarterback hits (12). Fellow edge rusher Jonathan Greenard has already tied a career-high with 8.0 sacks. The Jets have allowed the second-most pressures in the league (187) and will use their 10th different offensive line combination in this game.
Per our Action Labs data, non-divisional road favorites -7 or less in Weeks 14-15 are 69-42-8 (62%) since 2005, covering by 2.1 points per game.
Bet to: -3
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The Falcons are averaging 23 points per game at home compared to 14.7 on the road and should be able to put up points against a Bucs defense that ranks 28th in EPA per play since Week 6, per rbsdm.com. Desmond Ridder has always played better at home and is averaging 7.3 yards per attempt and an 89.1 passer rating at home compared to 6.0 yards per attempt and a 75.9 rating on the road in his career.
The Falcons defense ranks 25th in DVOA on the year and is banged up, missing DT Grady Jarrett (IR, ACL), DT David Onyemata (ankle) and LB Nate Landman (knee), among others. These teams played a 16-13 game outdoors in Tampa Bay in Week 7, but that final score was misleading, as the two teams combined for 730 yards of total offense.
Bet to: 41
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