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NFL Picks Week 14: Favorites That Won't Let You Down

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown catch by  Rob Gronkowski in the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts on December 4, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2011

At this point in the NFL season, most fans have a pretty good idea of which teams are among the upper echelon. At the same time, so do the Las Vegas oddsmakers, meaning the lines seem to be getting steeper as we reach the end of the regular season.

There may be plenty of heavy favorites in Week 14, but it is for good reason. While larger lines may scare some bettors away, you're usually best off taking the more talented team. With that in mind, here are three favorites who won't let you down this weekend.

 

Green Bay Packers (-12)

Regardless of their opponent, the undefeated Green Bay Packers have essentially dominated on a weekly basis. While there have been a few close games along the way, there generally hasn't been much doubt with regards to the outcomes of their respective games. The Packers will host a solid team in the 7-5 Oakland Raiders this week, but they are appropriately 12-point favorites.

The Raiders surprisingly ran into a buzzsaw last week, as they were trounced by the surging Miami Dolphins. Because of that, the Raiders desperately need a win to keep pace with the Denver Broncos in the AFC West, but they won't get it this week. The Packers are just four games away from a perfect regular season. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the entire organization seems to want it, so the Packers will make no mistake on Sunday.

 

New Orleans Saints (-4)

Over the past couple weeks the New Orleans Saints have outclassed formidable opponents and it is beginning to look like the Saints are clearly the second-best team in the league behind the Green Bay Packers. Despite that, they are only favored by four points on the road against the Tennessee Titans this week. This likely has to do with the Titans' recent hot streak and the resurgence of running back Chris Johnson.

Provided Johnson runs the ball like he has over the past few games, the Titans may have the formula to slow down the Saints' explosive offense. Quarterback Drew Brees is locked in right now, however, and should be able to march the Saints down the field regardless of how many chances he gets. Four points isn't much of a line for a team that scores in bunches, so I don't think New Orleans will have much of an issue covering.

 

New England Patriots (-9)

The Washington Redskins have been playing much better lately and are at home this weekend, but that doesn't mean much as they will be hosting the New England Patriots. The Pats have been on a nice roll since losing two consecutive games and haven't shown any signs of slowing down, although they only beat the lowly Indianapolis Colts by seven points last week.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is the type of coach who enjoys running the score up on inferior teams, so he couldn't have been overly happy about barely beating the Colts. Because of that, I think New England will be extremely determined to blow the 'Skins out of the water on Sunday. Washington may be able to move the ball a bit on the Patriots' terrible secondary, but it will have no answer for Tom Brady and New England's offense.

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