NFL Week 14 Predictions: Latest Odds and Picks Against the Spread
One point and four seconds was the difference between evening up my season record and staying four games below the mark. How's anybody supposed to make money with this any-given-Sunday stuff?
But things have been steadily turning around for this prognosticator, and Week 14 provides some interesting contests with possibly lucrative lines.
Or the slate just provides 16 more chances for me to lose my dignity. But hey, that's why they play the games.
Click through to find out how I'm going to get over the hump with my Week 14 NFL picks against the spread.
Last Week's Record: 8-8
Season Record: 93-97-2
All lines provided by bovada.lv.
Baltimore Ravens vs. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (-3)
Quick show of hands: Who trusts the Washington Redskins offense more than the Baltimore Ravens version?
Keep them up. Okay, that's what I thought.
The Ravens keep winning games by the skin of their teeth and seem ready to take a nose dive, during which everyone will question the legitimacy of their Super Bowl candidacy.
Somehow, they'll scrap out a couple more wins, but RG3 will befuddle a defense that hasn't seen anything like him. Oh, and Terrell Suggs is ailing.
Plenty of you will say, "You're falling too fast for Griffin and that's what the public is doing too."
I know. I'm nervous.
But at the same time, I'm extremely excited because I get to root for big RG3 plays instead of living in fear.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+6) vs. Cleveland Browns
Jamaal Charles is having the worst year of his career in terms yards per rushing attempt.
He's averaging 4.8 yards per carry. How terrible!
Or not. That's just a testament to how well this kid has played thus far.
And the Cleveland Browns will be the latest to testify about his abilities.
Also, Cleveland's defense does not justify the six points.
Come to think of it, neither does the offense.
Anytime two junk teams are facing off and there are six points on the table, you grab the underdog and run.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (No Line) vs. San Diego Chargers
Oddsmakers have been hesitant to post a line due to the lack of certainty regarding Ben Roethisliberger's return. Signs point toward a comeback, but nobody is willing to be adamant with such a difficult injury.
If he does play, I'd take the Pittsburgh Steelers by as much as six points without hesitation. Roethlisberger will pick apart the San Diego Chargers secondary as he'll be anxious to flex his restless passing muscles.
If Charlie Batch gets the start, I still expect the defense to shut down and frustrate Philip Rivers, much like the rest of his season.
Turnovers, screaming and Norv Turner staring off into the distance are the only things we can be certain of when it comes to this weekend. You could definitely talk me into laying a couple points.
TENNESSEE TITANS (+6) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Because Chris Johnson is having a better year than you think. He's averaging five yards a carry, and the Indianapolis Colts rushing defense is atrocious.
Because the Tennessee Titans are slightly better than you think.
Because the Colts are not blow-out-inferior-oppenents good.
Because there is just too much optimism surrounding the Indy organization for it to keep going. Adversity has to shine through again. It's inevitable.
That doesn't mean the Colts necessarily lose, but they'll be down late. Again.
New York Jets vs. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+3)
Did I miss something?
Didn't the New York Jets just take their quarterback mess to a new level while beating a rudderless Arizona Cardinals team by one point? At home?
So why in the world are they favored over anybody on the road?
Chad Henne had a terrible day last week, but Montell Owens (third string) showed some serious pop when running the ball. Plus, even Maurice Jones-Drew might come back for this one.
Basically, I'm not taking Mark Sanchez, or any Jets quarterback, on the road as a three-point favorite right now.
CHICAGO BEARS (-3) vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Chicago Bears are not going to lose four of five games. Not with Jay Cutler under center.
They did blow a late lead last week, but I'll take Russell Wilson over Christian Ponder. After Ponder's solid start, he's only had one game with more touchdowns than interceptions since Week 3.
And guess who loves to force turnovers.
Jared Allen is a problem, but one the Bears have handled as recently as two weeks ago.
Atlanta Falcons vs. CAROLINA PANTHERS (+3.5)
The Atlanta Falcons SHOULD take care of business against the Carolina Panthers.
We're talking about a team that just forced Drew Brees into his worst game ever (5 INTs, 0 TDs). And now the Falcons face Cam struggling-is-the-norm Newton.
Plus, while they have clinched the division, Atlanta is still chasing home-field advantage, and this game could clinch it.
So, naturally, the Falcons won't.
Not to mention I really like half-points. They make me feel all warm and cozy.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-7.5)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a point away from covering last week, and that's not nearly enough to scare me off.
I've got a serious man-crush on this entire team. Not only are the Bucs fun to watch, they're actually good too.
And the Philadelphia Eagles are not.
Greg Schiano will hammer home to his players that this is a statement game. Maybe they don't care what the rest of the league thinks, but they will want to prove it to themselves that they can respond.
Plus, the Eagles are not good.
ST. LOUIS RAMS (+3) vs. Buffalo Bills
Almost every year there is a mediocre team that comes together toward the end of the season. It wins a few games, and the hype machine ensues the following year.
In 2012, that team is the St. Louis Rams.
They have all the components. Recently hired coach with a new message, a trademark strength (the defense) and an occasionally competent quarterback.
The Buffalo Bills won last week, but they aren't that team. Chan Gailey's message and philosophy is too stale.
Dallas Cowboys vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS (-3)
In many ways, these two teams are similar. Would anything surprise you once the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals kick off?
Andy Dalton, not unlike Tony Romo, can suck you in with a masterful performance, only to look completely clueless the next week.
The defenses? Well, the Cowboys gave up 26 points to a Nick Foles-led offense last week, and the Bengals allowed the Cleveland Browns to score 61 points in two games.
Three points isn't enough for a points grab, so I'll take the more balanced offense. Gives me a better sense of security.
Miami Dolphins (+10) vs. San Francisco 49ers
Vegas has not made this easy.
The San Francisco 49ers have taken a few teams to the woodshed and even beat the New Orleans Saints by 10 points.
But couldn't you see the Miami Dolphins hanging tough?
They have the right type of team to make the Niners work for the win. The Dolphins don't take too many chances, run the ball and stop the run.
They're basically a pair of Foakleys to the Niners' Oakleys. Miami is a cheap knock off of San Francisco.
Which makes 10 points too much to bear.
New Orleans Saints (+5) vs. New York Giants
The Giants are 1-3 in their last four games. The one win? When they trounced the Green Bay Packers on national television.
Again, how is anybody supposed to make any money?
This is a perfect grab-the-points situation. Drew Brees has had extra time to stew about his five-pick day against the Falcons and prepare for the Giants' shaky secondary.
Besides, New York has to lose one more game while the Skins win so we can all falsely predict that the Giants are done. It's a must.
ARIZONA CARDINALS (+10.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson is building his Rookie of the Year campaign on a foundation of clutch play and close wins. Thus, blowing out the Arizona Cardinals wouldn't fit the script.
That's just too many points. That spread is so big not even John Skelton could mess this up!
Wait a minute. If I pick the Cardinals, I'm putting the rent money in Skelton's hands.
How can I make this work?
Patrick Peterson! Oh, and another half-point.
DETROIT LIONS (+6.5) vs. Green Bay Packers
The Detroit Lions will be without their No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 wide receivers. So how could the Lions possibly keep pace with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers?
The Lions offense hasn't struggled as much lately, and you'll see a definite correlation between its success and Johnson's numbers.
He's the best receiver in the league. Giving him a chance to make a big impact on a game is always a positive.
Therefore, without any other options, CJ will see plenty of action. Which should keep the score close enough to drive Detroit fans insane.
HOUSTON TEXANS (+4) vs. New England Patriots
Too many people are anointing the New England Patriots as the Super Bowl champs and are overlooking the Houston Texans. This game has to shake things up.
Arian Foster is going to go off. New England does well against the run, but Foster is going to reignite his MVP contention with his performance.
Plus, every time Tom Brady struggles, it's because of defensive pressure. Here's betting J.J. Watt spends plenty of time in the Pats backfield.
Regardless, we are getting treated to consecutive Monday nighters that are actually worth watching.
Now I just need to make some cash off of both of them.