NFL Picks Week 14: Examining Recent Odds and Expert Predictions

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Jason Behnken/Associated Press

The 2018 NFL playoff landscape is beginning to solidify, but there are still plenty of potential playoff teams dealing with questions.

The Kansas City Chiefs have to keep rolling without Kareem Hunt, while the Baltimore Ravens have to decide whether they want to keep rolling with Lamar Jackson.

The Pittsburgh Steelers may be without James Conner for more than just this week, and the Carolina Panthers don't seem to have a 100-percent Cam Newton under center.

For the wagering football fan, of course, the big-picture question is how these questions will impact the coming week.

That's what we're going to examine here. We'll look at the latest odds and over/unders from OddsShark and some expert projections from around the media world.

We'll also take a closer look at how some of the aforementioned situations will play out in Week 14.

        

Week 14 Odds, Over/Unders and Predictions

Jacksonville Jaguars (+4, O/U 37.5) at Tennessee Titans: Titans 22, Jaguars 20

Atlanta Falcons (+5.5, O/U 49.5) at Green Bay Packers: Packers 30, Falcons 23

Baltimore Ravens (+6.5, O/U 53) at Kansas City Chiefs: Chiefs 26, Ravens 23

Carolina Panthers (-1.5, O/U 47) at Cleveland Browns: Browns 24, Panthers 22

Indianapolis Colts (+4.5, O/U 49.5) at Houston Texans: Texans 30, Colts 28

New England Patriots (-7.5, O/U 47) at Miami Dolphins: Patriots 30, Dolphins 20

New Orleans Saints (-8, O/U 55.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Saints 33, Buccaneers 23

New York Giants (-3.5, O/U 41) at Washington Redskins: Giants 23, Redskins 18

New York Jets (+3.5, O/U 38.5) at Buffalo Bills: Bills 24, Jets 23

Cincinnati Bengals (+14, O/U 47.5 at Los Angeles Chargers): Chargers 35, Bengals 25

Denver Broncos (-5.5, O/U 44.5) at San Francisco 49ers: Broncos 28, 49ers 20

Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5, O/U 51.5) at Oakland Raiders: Steelers 34, Raiders 26

Detroit Lions (-2.5, O/U 40.5) at Arizona Cardinals: Lions 25, Cardinals 21

Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5, O/U 43) at Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys 30, Eagles 27

Los Angeles Rams (-3, O/U 52) at Chicago Bears: Rams 24, Bears 17

Minnesota Vikings (+3, O/U 45.5) at Seattle Seahawks: Seahawks 28, Vikings 26

       

Expert Predictions

If you're looking for what the media experts think, you can find a compiled list of predictions at NFLPickWatch.com.

As of Thursday morning, the consensus picks are pretty one-sided in most matchups. The only games with a 60-40 split or closer are the Cleveland Browns-Carolina matchup and the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals tilt.

The road teams favored by the experts at the time of this writing are the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams and Steelers. Eight home teams are favored, and the Browns-Panthers is a 50-50 split.

     

Week 14 Questions

How injured is Cam Newton?

The Panthers are on a four-game losing streak, and the health of quarterback Cam Newton may have something to do with it. According to Newton, he is still experiencing issues with his surgically repaired shoulder.

"At the end of the day, I just know, I'm healthy enough to play," Newton said, per David Newton of ESPN.com. "I'm not going to let nothing hold me back from being able to help my team."

Panthers coach Ron Rivers didn't seem as certain, though.

"We'll see," Rivera said, per ESPN'com's Newton. "We're not even at Friday yet."

Newton may be healthy enough to play, but that doesn't mean he's going to be at 100 percent. He may not have been last week either when he tossed four interceptions against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If Newton isn't healthy enough to make all the throws, the Browns defense is going to have a decided advantage.

       

Jackson or Flacco?

John Bazemore/Associated Press

The Ravens have gone with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson over the last three weeks because of Joe Flacco's hip injury. While Flacco did return to practice this week, coach John Harbaugh has not indicated whether the veteran will return to the starting lineup.

"We'll see," Harbaugh said, per Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun. "We just kind of take it as we go."

Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com believes Jackson will get another start.

Realistically, the run-oriented offense the Ravens have been able to run with Jackson gives the Ravens a better chance of pulling off the upset.

Baltimore has the league's best scoring defense (17.8 points per game allowed), but it isn't going to stonewall the Chiefs for all four quarters. If the Ravens can shorten the game, keep the score low and steal a possession or two with turnovers, however, they'll have every opportunity to win.

       

How Long Will Conner Be Out?

Second-year running back James Conner has been one of the brightest young players this season, and he's helped the Pittsburgh Steelers move on from Le'Veon Bell. Unfortunately, he suffered a leg injury last week against the Los Angeles Chargers.

While the injury was initially described as a contusion, it's now being described as a sprain.

Conner has already been ruled out against the Oakland Raiders, but his absence may be longer than just this week. Not all sprains require a lengthy recovery, but this one might. Former NFL physician David J. Chao believes it could be a high-ankle sprain based on video.

As Chao explains, not all high-ankle sprains recover a six-week recovery. However, this is still the kind of injury that could impact Pittsburgh's playoff push.

We think the Steelers will still be able to handle business against the Raiders without Conner, but upcoming games against the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots are a different story.

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