п»їNFL picks 2019, Week 14: Quarterback and coaching carousels make for some hard choices.
How will the Panthers do without Ron Rivera? Can Gardner Minshew get the Jaguars back to winning? Week 14 is full of difficult questions to answer.
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A two-month-old puppy was much better at picking games than our NFL experts in Week 13. Henry Lamar was the only one brave enough to pick the Bills on Thanksgiving, and the only one reckless enough to correctly predict the Dolphins and Bengals would win on an upset-filled Sunday. Lately, everythingвЂ™s coming up roses for people named Lamar.
Our canine guest of the week wound up with a 12-4 record. Only two of our human experts, Stephen White and Alexis Chassen, managed winning records at 10-6 each.
Sometimes when it comes to the NFL, flipping a coin вЂ” or in this case, letting a puppy make choices вЂ” ends up more accurate than making educated guesses. Our expert panel could use some of HenryвЂ™s good luck in Week 14, because itвЂ™s full of tough games to pick.
ThereвЂ™s a marquee matchup between contenders in each conference in Week 14. The Chiefs will travel to face the Patriots in a rematch of the last AFC Championship. While Kansas City hasnвЂ™t been as unstoppable as it was in 2018, it blew out the Raiders in Week 13 and meets a Patriots team that has lost two of its last four. The majority of our experts are siding with momentum and taking the Chiefs to hand New England back-to-back losses (please donвЂ™t tell the Patriots).
The panel is a little more split on the NFC duel between the 49ers and Saints that could end up deciding homefield advantage in the playoffs. Both are 10-2, but New Orleans is riding a three-game win streak while San Francisco is looking to bounce back from a 20-17 loss to the Ravens.
The clashes of juggernaut teams arenвЂ™t the only ones that are difficult to predict. Recent news in the NFL has made a few of the games between lower-level squads toss-ups too.
Quarterback and coaching drama affect a handful of matchups.
The Carolina Panthers have been an unpredictable team in 2019. They lost both games Cam Newton started in September, then got hot once Newton was sidelined with a foot injury and replaced by Kyle Allen. The second-year quarterback led Carolina to four straight wins, but just when it was looking like it was safe to pick the Panthers, they fell apart.
Now the team has lost four in a row. A 29-21 loss to Washington was the final straw that got Ron Rivera fired. Yet, a majority our panel is picking the Panthers to win their first game under interim coach Perry Fewell. ThatвЂ™s an indictment of how little the experts think of the Falcons, who started the year 1-7 before inexplicably blowing out the Saints and Panthers in back-to-back weeks. New Orleans got its revenge on Thanksgiving and now Carolina will be looking for the same in Week 14.
While Rivera joined Jay Gruden as the only coaches fired so far during the 2019 season, there are plenty of others on thin ice. One is Jason Garrett, who probably needs a spectacular end of the season and a strong showing in the postseason to keep his job with the Cowboys. HeвЂ™ll be under the microscope Thursday against the Bears, who are clinging to playoff hopes of their own amidst a brutal season from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
While most of our experts are leaning toward the Cowboys, itвЂ™s not unanimous.
The panel is 50-50 on the Jaguars and Chargers game, though. Jacksonville has lost by at least 17 in four straight games, but handed the keys back to Gardner Minshew, the sixth-round rookie who took the league by storm in the first half of the season. HeвЂ™ll be playing at home against the Chargers, who are looking to snap a three-game skid full of painfully close losses.
The Good Dog of Week 14: Charlie.
Charlie is a 10-year-old Labrador Retriever who lives in Dallas, Texas. He loves going for walks, rides in the car, cookies, naps, and cheese Kongs. His mom Kate is a Chicago Bears fan, but his favorite NFL player is Lamar Jackson. He loves listening to Drake (he will bark at you if you talk during вЂњHotline BlingвЂќ) and Thor is his hero (he has his own hammer).
Charlie made his choices by picking food out of bowls. There was a designated bowl for each team, and whichever one he ate out of first was his pick. ThatвЂ™s how he landed on some bold choices, like the Bengals beating the Browns and the Broncos taking down the Texans.
Week 14 picks.
Our guest picker this week is Jimmy Morris from our suddenly uplifted Titans blog, Music City Miracles. Here are all our picks for the week with the caveat that we could change our minds and do a swap by Friday вЂ” just in case some more wacky quarterback or coaching news happens.
Pete Prisco's NFL Week 14 picks: Bills end Ravens' winning streak, Tom Brady outplays Patrick Mahomes.
Plus, Drew Brees and the Saints beat the 49ers at home and all of Prisco's picks.
The picks were better last week, but how could they not be after the disaster of the week before?
After going 4-10 against the spread in Week 12, I went 9-7 last week against the spread and straight up. I have a good feeling that it's turning around.
Too bad there are only four more weeks to go.
That makes it more critical to have winning weeks. This is a tough week with a lot of big games with meaning. I love the Ravens-Bills, Chiefs-Patriots and 49ers-Saints games. All are big.
I like the underdog in one of those games to win outright.
Let's hope the first full week of December games will help me continue my surge.
Time is running out.
The Cowboys were bad last time out against the Bills at home, while the Bears impressed in beating the Lions. Mitch Trubisky has been better the past few games, and he will have success against the Dallas secondary. The Bears defense will be challenged here, but I think they will be up to it. The Bears will win a low-scoring game.
Pick: Bears 20, Cowboys 16.
Also make sure and listen to our Week 14 Best Bets Podcast in the player below and hit that subscribe button for eight-plus podcasts per week delivered straight to your favorite pod app.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
These two are playing a game where one coach (Ron Rivera) is already fired and Atlanta's Dan Quinn could follow after the season. Both teams have been major disappointments. With both defenses having issues, this could be high scoring. The Falcons had offensive line issues last week, but they will play better this week. Falcons take it.
Pick: Falcons 31, Panthers 27.
Who should you back against the spread, on the money line and the total in every Week 14 NFL game? And which Super Bowl contender gets stunned? Visit SportsLine to see their Week 14 NFL cheat sheet, all from the model that is up over $7,000 on its top-rated picks.
This is one of the best games of the week. The Ravens are rolling and they are the best team in the league right now, but this will be a big proving game for the Bills. Can that defense slow Lamar Jackson? Will Josh Allen outplay him? I think this will be close with both quarterbacks playing well. Upset special.
Pick: Bills 21, Ravens 20.
The Battle of Ohio doesn't mean much this time, with two teams basically playing out the string. The Browns lost last week at Pittsburgh, while the Bengals beat the Jets. Andy Dalton did some good things being back in as the starting quarterback, but this will be different. The Browns will show up in front of the home fans вЂ“ even if it means little.
Pick: Browns 21, Bengals 13.
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers (-13)
The Redskins impressed last week in upsetting the Panthers on the road, but this is a big step up and they are on the road for a second straight week. The Packers seemed to find something on offense in the victory over the Giants, and that will carry over here. Aaron Rodgers has another big day.
Pick: Packers 28, Redskins 10.
Denver Broncos at Houston Texans (-9.5)
The Broncos won in Drew Lock's first start last week, but this will be his first road start. That will be a challenge against an improving Houston defense. The Texans lit up the Patriots last week, and Deshaun Watson will build on that. Texans take it.
Pick: Texans 26, Broncos 13.
The Vikings are coming off a Monday night loss, so they are playing on a short week, while the Lions have added rest after playing on Thanksgiving. It won't matter. Minnesota's defense, which was bad against Seattle, will play better here against David Blaugh. The Vikings get back on track.
Pick: Vikings 27, Lions 17.
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-2.5)
This is one of the best games of the week, but the 49ers are playing a second consecutive road game across the country, which will be challenging. The Saints played better on defense against Atlanta last time out, but this will be about Drew Brees against the 49ers defense. I think Brees gets the best of it at home.
Pick: Saints 22, 49ers 17.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-5.5)
These two have showed some life the past month, although the Jets are coming off a horrible loss to the Bengals last week. The Dolphins impressed in beating the Eagles last week. The Dolphins are playing hard, but with the Jets back home I think they get back on track. Sam Darnold rebounds from a bad game last week.
Pick: Jets 23, Dolphins 13.
Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
The Colts didn't look good in losing to the Titans last week. The Bucs have impressed the past two weeks as their defense has made strides. With Jacoby Brissett not playing well, I think the Bucs will pull find a way to pull this one out.
Pick: Bucs 27, Colts 21.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars.
This is a game between two disappointing teams. The Jaguars are wisely going back to Gardner Minehew at quarterback, which should give them some spark. The problem is the offensive line. I think Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will be all over Minshew. The Chargers will win a low-scoring game.
Pick: Chargers 19, Jaguars 14.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals.
The Steelers would be in the playoffs if they started today, which is impressive considering all the injuries. With Devlin Hodges starting again at quarterback, I think this will be a run game for the Steelers with Bennie Snell. The Cardinals are awful on defense, which will show up. Steelers win it.
Pick: Steelers 24, Cardinals 14.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-3)
This should be a fun rematch of the AFC Championship Game from last January. The Patriots are struggling on offense, but I don't think that will be the case here. Look for Tom Brady to change that in this one. I think he will outplay Patrick Mahomes as the Patriots win an important game.
Pick: Patriots 31, Chiefs 27.
The Titans are playing consecutive road games, and this is a classic sandwich game between the Colts and the Texans. That makes it a be-careful game, which is why the Raiders will find a way to win it. Look for Derek Carr to play big here as the Raiders stay alive.
Pick: Raiders 27, Titans 23.
The Seahawks impressed Monday night beating the Vikings, but now must go out on the road for a tough division game on a shortened week. That's hard to do. The Rams have come to life on offense the past few games and I think that will continue. Seattle's defense has been OK, but not in this one. Rams take it.
Pick: Rams 28, Seahawks 25.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5)
The Eagles were terrible in losing on the road to the Dolphins last week, but they get a bad Giants team at home to turn things around. I think the offense will continue to play well like last week, while the defense will rebound to handle the Giants.
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