The Sunday slate for Week 14 of the 2013 NFL season is just around the corner. It’s an exciting week, especially with fantasy football playoffs beginning and the actual postseason picture finally taking shape.
Perhaps the only way to make this Sunday more thrilling is to place a wager down on the action in some—or all—of the marquee games on tap.
Let’s take a look at the updated lines so you can make an informed decision, check out my picks for the winner of each contest against the spread, plus highlight a handful of can’t-miss games you will want to get behind with a big bet.
|Away Team||Home Team||Spread||Prediction (ATS)|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Washington Redskins||KC -3||KC|
|Minnesota Vikings||Baltimore Ravens||BAL -6.5||BAL|
|Cleveland Browns||New England Patriots||NE -10||CLE|
|Oakland Raiders||New York Jets||NYJ -2.5||NYJ|
|Indianapolis Colts||Cincinnati Bengals||CIN -6||CIN|
|Atlanta Falcons||Green Bay Packers||N/A||N/A|
|Detroit Lions||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -2.5||PHI|
|Miami Dolphins||Pittsburgh Steelers||PIT -3||PIT|
|Buffalo Bills||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB -2.5||TB|
|Tennessee Titans||Denver Broncos||DEN -12||TEN|
|St. Louis Rams||Arizona Cardinals||ARI -6||STL|
|New York Giants||San Diego Chargers||SD -3||NYG|
|Seattle Seahawks||San Francisco 49ers||SF -2.5||SEA|
|New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers||NO -3||NO|
|Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||CHI -1||DAL|
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) over Washington Redskins
The Chiefs may be struggling as of late, but this team has what it takes to turn it around against a collapsing Redskins squad.
One of the main reasons Kansas City will be able to build an early lead and maintain it is turnover differential. It leads the league in that department, having forced 26 takeaways compared to just 12 giveaways. Head coach Andy Reid preaches ball security and has his players practice it with immense discipline and success, which is not something that Mike Shanahan—the beleaguered head coach of Washington—and his side can say.
The Redskins’ turnover differential is an unimpressive minus-two. They’ve recorded just 18 turnovers through 12 games but have coughed up the ball 20 times.
Things have been especially bad for the 'Skins during the current four-game losing streak. They’ve averaged just 16.5 points per contest during that span and had a number of locker room issues spill out into the public forum.
Which team will cover?
Kansas City may have lost three in a row, but it still looks bound for the playoffs and doesn’t boast a splintered roster. This group just had to navigate a tough schedule—playing the elite Denver Broncos twice and on the receiving end of a great performance by the San Diego Chargers—and is due for a bounce back on Sunday.
Giving just three points is an absolute steal for the Chiefs and looks to be a bet that most bettors should jump to back. Take the chalk and get paid after K.C. runs away with a blowout victory.
New Orleans Saints (-3) over Carolina Panthers
The Saints are ready for revenge after being thoroughly routed and embarrassed by the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football in Week 14. They have a chance to atone for that performance in another prime-time matchup, this time on Sunday Night Football against the NFC South rival Panthers.
The biggest difference in this one is that the Saints will be playing in the confines of the Superdome. They are currently 6-0 straight up in the building and 5-0-1 against the spread, proving that they are one of the hardest teams to beat—or even keep it close against—when playing with home-field advantage.
Carolina is a mediocre road squad, going 3-3 this year against the spread and looking quite beatable in recent weeks. Both the Miami Dolphins, playing at home, and the New England Patriots, on the road, had a chance to overcome the Panthers in the waning minutes of their respective contests, but they ultimately fell just a bit short.
It’s time for them to finally falter, as the Saints will be playing with a chip on their shoulder, have a noisy crowd on their side and traditionally rebound well after a letdown performance. They bounced back from a 30-27 loss to the Patriots with a 35-17 drubbing of the Buffalo Bills and crushed the Dallas Cowboys, 49-17, after a surprise 26-20 upset by the New York Jets.
Expect Drew Brees to rally his offense for a big performance and the defense in the Big Easy to clamp down, humbling the Panthers by a large margin and ending their winning streak in Week 14.