Picking some NFL games in Week 14 is easy.
It's not exactly a bold prediction to say that the 49ers will beat the Miami Dolphins or that the Seahawks will take care of business at home against the Cardinals. According to Bovada, both of those teams are double-digit favorites.
However, there are some games on the NFL slate that are much more difficult to pick. The relative evenness of the matchup and unpredictability of both teams have oddsmakers leery of favoring either team and bettors nervous to go either way.
Here's a look at some of the closest spreads for Sunday's action and how the two teams stack up. All lines courtesy of Bovada.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins
Spread: Washington Redskins -3
The Washington Redskins scored a huge win against the New York Giants last week to pull within one game of the division lead. They don't have any time to sit back and enjoy their big win though, the Ravens roll into town in need of a big win to regain momentum after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
The Redskins are favored in this one and they look primed to live up to that expectation. The Robert Griffin bandwagon has never been more full. The rookie quarterback has been sensational and a key cog in the offense.
Griffin has been efficient through the air, but it's his rushing ability that will give the Redskins the advantage in this one. Baltimore struggles to stop the run and Washington is the NFL's top rushing team.
Prediction: Redskins 24, Ravens 20
Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings
Spread: Minnesota Vikings +3
This is a huge matchup for the NFC North. The Bears are 8-4 and looking to overtake the 8-4 Packers atop the division. The Vikings remain just outside the playoff picture at 6-6, but would be right back in the thick of things if they could come up with the win against the Bears.
These two teams played just two weeks ago in Chicago and the Bears routed the Vikings 28-10.
It would be easy to say that we should expect the same result, but that would be a dangerous assumption—the Vikings are 5-1 at home this season. In the first game this season, the Bears jumped out to a 25-3 lead in the first half which rendered Adrian Peterson useless as the team was forced to throw to get back into the game.
The Vikings are a completely different team at home as evidenced by the disparity in their record at home compared to their 1-5 record on the road. Peterson should be a much greater factor in this one and will lead the Vikings to the upset.
Prediction: Vikings 20, Bears 17
New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars +3
At 5-7, the New York Jets' hope of a playoff berth are just about dead. A loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and they can start making vacation plans for January.
The Jets have been absolutely awful on offense this season. Despite lackluster production and results, Rex Ryan continues to trot out Mark Sanchez as his starter at quarterback. The defense has had its struggles too. The unit ranks fourth in the NFL in passing defense but has been atrocious against the run.
The Jaguars are in the midst of a truly awful season and appear to be headed toward a top-three pick in the 2013 NFL draft at 2-10. Chad Henne has improved the offense since taking over at quarterback, but it will still struggle to find ways to beat the Jets defense.
Prediction: Jets 17, Jaguars 7