NFL Week 14 reactions and futures




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Week 14 in the NFL provided another shake-up with a couple of wild finishes on Monday night and monster games in the late window and Sunday Night.

The AFC playoff races got more clouded than ever with losses from Miami, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Houston. Baltimore ended the week with the inside track to the number one seed after a wild win at home versus the Rams, but they will have to go on the road to the 49ers and Dolphins to try to stay in that spot.

The Buffalo Bills got a statement win at Kansas City and moved to 7-6. While they still sit in the #11 position in the AFC, they had the best week. The aforementioned losses all benefited their playoff and division chances. The road will not be easy, however, with a tough matchup at home this week versus a Cowboys team that is rolling and closing the season at Miami. If they make the dance, they are the team no one wants to play. In some books, 16-1 is still available on Buffalo to win the AFC. That number is higher than it should be. I currently have them power rated as the third-best team in the AFC, and the gap between the Bills and the #1 AFC team, the Ravens, is minimal.

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Now let’s look at the biggest two power rankings adjustments that I made from the games this week:

Move them up: Chicago Bears

It has been a wild season in Chicago. The preseason betting darlings of the NFL started 2-6 and looked left for dead, but a renaissance on the defensive side of the ball has propelled this team into a frisky fringe contender to make the playoffs. While I do think that is out of reach, from a betting perspective, this is a team that deserves some credit. They have now covered four straight weeks, winning outright in three of those games.

Over the last five games, their defense ranks in the top 5 in nearly every category and has stifled the Lions twice. On the offensive side of the ball, they have redesigned what was a drop-back passing offense into a run-first style with Justin Fields. While that change was obvious to most, it is nice to see the coaching staff go back to what Fields is best at. He isn’t an elite pocket passer. Allowing him to be an elite athlete while still having the threat of the pass has moved the Bears up to a middle-of-the-pack offense which is good enough when the defense is playing at its current level.

Move them down: Miami Dolphins       

As a Dolphins fan, it pains me to write this, but that Monday night game was everything I was worried about capsulated into a 60-minute football game. I’ve watched every snap of Tua Tagovailoa’s career, and he can’t make plays off-schedule. The offensive line, which was banged up, did not hold up last night and made the Miami offense look very pedestrian while facing one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. The Hill injury obviously affected the Dolphins as well, but against the Titans, you need to be able to overcome adversity.

Additionally, this was a faulty final. Miami was lucky to be ahead by 14 late in this game, with both second-half touchdowns coming on short fields off unforced Titans errors. The loss of Jaelan Phillips also was much more noticeable this week. His fill-in Andrew Van Ginkel balled out last week but could not get pressure on Will Levis on Monday night, which allowed the Titans to have success through the air when they were forced into a passing situation.

Early Week 15 Plays

A rocking chair win in Week 14 moves us to 8-5 on the season in this section. Let’s keep in rolling into Week 15.

We are going right back to an Under, but this time on Thursday night. The Chargers head to Las Vegas without Justin Herbert and an offense that was struggling with him in the game. Easton Stick looked decent coming in mid-game, but he was facing largely a prevent defense from Denver. The Raiders have been a solid Under team for weeks now with an offense that lacks explosive plays and a defense that is playing well. I made this total 31, and we are still sitting at 34, so let’s look to the Under.

The bet: Chargers / Raiders u34

Coach of the Year Market

Let’s switch markets and look at the most interesting market that is still up in the air. Dan Campbell is the +200 favorite, and I have no idea why. The Lions are in a freefall, and let’s be honest, it’s not Dan Campbell who is making the difference; it’s Ben Johnson, the offensive coordinator who will be a hot head coaching candidate in the offseason. Mike McDaniel at +400 seems like an unlikely winner after the loss last night. DeMeco Ryans took a hit this week as well with a loss and losing his starting quarterback to a concussion. Shane Steichen, the fourth choice at +750, also took a loss over the weekend. There are a couple of prices that caught my eye in this market.

Sean Payton has brought the Broncos back from the dead. They are now 7-6 and just a game back of the Chiefs in the AFC West. If they win the division after the 1-5 start, it’s hard to believe he does not win the award. At +950, there is some value there.

Kevin Stefanski has the Browns at 8-5 and heading to the playoffs. What makes this even more impressive is the starting QBs for Cleveland this year have been Watson, Walker, Thompson-Robinson, and Flacco. The schedule is also favorable for them coming home with games against the Bears, Texans, Jets and Bengals. At +1400, there is a solid case to be made that he is deserving.

Season Long Bets Recap

Win Totals:

Titans u6.5 (bet after Week 1)

Jags +125 to win the AFC South (bet after Week 3)

Chargers to miss the playoffs -115 (bet after Week 4)

Jalen Hurts MVP +700 (after Week 5)

Cardinals u4.5 Wins (after Week 5)

Broncos u4.5 Wins +100 (after Week 6)

NFC to win the Super Bowl -125 for 3 units (after Week 12)