Taking a look at the NFL Week 14 schedule
The injury slider has been turned up way too high this season. Unfortunately, real life is not a video game and there isn’t anything that we can do about it, but more quarterbacks and skill players went down in Week 13 to have an impact on the Week 14 odds.
The winner of the Super Bowl this season may simply be the team with enough healthy bodies to make it all the way through. Of course, we still have a long way to go until we get to the postseason and that includes the upcoming set of games. We’re down to our final two bye weeks (Arizona, Washington), so we’ve got 15 games to think about in Week 14.
As a blanket reminder, games will be played on December 7, 10, and 11, so make sure you are checking on the weather forecasts for the outdoor games. We also have a double dose of Monday Night Football games.
Here are some Week 14 thoughts:
(odds as of 12/3, 8:30 p.m. PT)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Kenny Pickett will be out this week for the Steelers, who failed to build off of their offensive successes against the Bengals with a 24-10 loss to the lowly Cardinals. It was the first road win of the season for Arizona and just the third of the season overall. Normally that would be cause for concern going into a short-week game, but the Patriots were shut out by the Chargers and have scored 13 points combined in the last three games. They are the first team in NFL history to hold three straight opponents to 10 or fewer points and lose every game.
Last year’s Browns/Saints game had a total of 32 on Christmas Eve, but you have to go back to Week 7 in 2006 to find another total of 32. If this one dips to 31.5, that would be the first since Panthers vs. Bears in the 2005 Playoffs.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
The Saints will presumably roll with Jameis Winston this week after Derek Carr went out with neck, back, and head injuries last week in the loss to the Lions. The Panthers did not get a big bump with an interim head coach, but did cover every number in the 21-18 loss to the Buccaneers. This will be an interesting line to watch throughout the week. I don’t think market confidence is high at all in the Saints, but the Panthers are the worst team in the NFL. Pick your poison here.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
The Jets benched Tim Boyle on Sunday and there were flashes from Trevor Siemian, but head coach Robert Saleh was unwilling to commit to Siemian this week. The Texans were one of the teams to suffer a loss, as Tank Dell went down with a season-ending broken leg. Nico Collins caught nine of CJ Stroud’s 16 completions and had 191 yards, but the Texans will need a new WR2 to emerge with Dell’s absence. The total was banged down a bit between Dell’s injury and another week of the Jets and their Benny Hill offense. But, the spread also jumped here with the Texans moving from -4.5 on the lookahead line to -6.
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
The 49ers went on the road to Philadelphia and pushed around the Eagles in a resounding 42-19 win, eerily reminiscent of what the Niners did to the Cowboys earlier this season. Speaking of the Cowboys, they beat the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football in Week 13, so Seattle is a little more rested than San Francisco, but rest feels like the only advantage. The 49ers closed north of a touchdown favorite on Thanksgiving Night and won 31-13. I’m not sure the only difference between these two teams from then and now is home-field, as the DraftKings line implies with a four-point swing. Most of the market is 12.5 and that seems closer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 13 market-wide with the wagon that is the 49ers.
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
Two of last week’s bye week teams meet in Sin City here. Minnesota suffered a pretty brutal setback with the 12-10 loss to the Vikings on Monday Night Football. The Raiders blew an early 14-0 lead to lose to the Chiefs when we last saw them, but they continue to play spirited football under interim head coach Antonio Pierce. The bye week did allow Josh Dobbs to settle in a little bit more and also allowed the Vikings to get back Justin Jefferson. Will that push this line out to 3? Will it hold 2.5? Will there be some interest in the Raiders? Any one or two of those outcomes seem reasonable as this line marinates.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
Even though he jogged back to the locker room after the game, Jalen Hurts seems less than 100% going into this rematch with the Cowboys. Dallas was pretty clearly the better of the two teams in the Week 9 matchup. The Cowboys did lose 28-23, but they outgained the Eagles by more than 100 yards and 0.9 yards per play. Dak Prescott threw for 374 yards in the loss. It seems more than fair that Dallas is -3 here. In fact, it isn’t a stretch to say that Dallas is the second-best team in the NFC. They’ll have a chance to prove it here, as they’ve certainly played the bully role well, but two of their three losses are the Niners and Eagles.
Early lines I like for Week 14:
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
The Chargers did what they had to do at Foxboro, but there wasn’t anything pretty about it. With Keenan Allen banged up, the Chargers really struggled to move the ball, managing just 241 yards of offense and 4.0 yards per play. The inept Patriots offense had more yards per play and the Chargers threw it 37 times compared to 25 for New England. This team just isn’t very good. And, I’d argue that the Broncos might be pretty good. They had 1st-and-Goal against the Texans and just failed to punch it in for the win, as Russell Wilson threw a pick that was maybe a foot away from being high-pointed by the tight end in the back of the end zone. Give me Sean Payton over Brandon Staley.
Pick: Broncos +3
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Nobody can cover Tyreek Hill. Will Levis and the Titans offense is way more interesting with Tyjae Spears getting additional touches. Derrick Henry could be cleared from concussion protocol, but the Titans continue to battle. Special teams mishaps really hurt against the Colts and they’ll have to find some new specialists, but this offense is at least mildly intriguing. Miami’s offense is as intriguing as it gets. I know we’ve seen a ton of primetime Unders, but even with a total that has been adjusted up three points, I think we get some fireworks in this one. Tyreek is running free, Tua is slinging it, the Dolphins can run it if they want to, and I think Tennessee’s defense is susceptible to all of those things.
Pick: Over 47