Bleacher Report's Expert Week 14 NFL Picks

NFL StaffContributor IDecember 9, 2021

Bleacher Report's Expert Week 14 NFL Picks

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    The trend isn't going anywhere. Favorites are just 85-105-3 against the spread this NFL season and just 46-67-0 ATS at home. You'd think that'd eventually be corrected as oddsmakers gain stronger and stronger feels for how the season is progressing, but it's held up for now. 

    Bleacher Report national NFL writers Gary DavenportBrad Gagnon and Brent Sobleski, B/R Gridiron editors Ian Kenyon and Wes O'Donnell, and B/R Betting host Connor Rogers continue to back faves as though the trend will be curbed. You're welcome to ride that or fade 'em, but they've got plenty of spread-related analysis ready for you regardless. 

    Here are their ATS picks for every game on the Week 14 slate. 


    Lines are from DraftKings as of Wednesday, December 8, at 5 p.m. ET. Check DraftKings for the latest odds info. Information on public betting trends courtesy of the Action Network.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1) at Minnesota Vikings (5-7)

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    DraftKings Line: Minnesota -3

    Believe it or not, our only panel deadlock of the week comes Thursday night with the Minnesota Vikings laying a somewhat generic three points at home against a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has performed only slightly better on paper this season. 

    Sobleski on Pittsburgh: "Somehow, the Steelers find a way. They're not particularly good. They're not entirely awful, either. They just...are. The Vikings exist in a similar plane of existence. The difference between the two is Pittsburgh tends to fall on the winning ledger during close games, while the Vikings fall apart. Plus, the chance to take the three points is enough to skew toward the Steelers." 

    Gagnon on Minnesota: "Despite the difference in their records, the Vikings are actually a much better team than the Steelers. They rank in the top 12 in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders, while Pittsburgh ranks in the bottom 12. And they have a much better scoring margin (plus-3 vs. minus-42). At home, I'm happy to lay the field goal."

    The Steelers are coming off a win, but it's their only victory in the last month. The Vikes have lost two in a row, but they've avoided three-game losing streaks twice already this season. Still, they could be falling off a cliff, and they'll be without Adam Thielen (ankle) and could be without Dalvin Cook (shoulder). 

    It's tough to feel fired up about either side here.



    Davenport: Pittsburgh
    Gagnon: Minnesota
    Kenyon: Minnesota
    O'Donnell: Minnesota
    Rogers: Pittsburgh
    Sobleski: Pittsburgh


    Score Prediction: Vikings 23, Steelers 20

Dallas Cowboys (8-4) at Washington Football Team (6-6)

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    Chris Unger/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Dallas -4.5

    The Dallas Cowboys may be coming off extra rest and an impressive Thanksgiving victory over the New Orleans Saints, but they haven't been consistent during the second half of the season. Meanwhile, their Week 14 opponent, the Washington Football Team, hasn't lost a game since Halloween. 

    Under those circumstances, a slim majority of the panel is happy to take 4.5 points with Washington at home. 

    "The Cowboys are getting healthier but still haven't inspired the type of confidence we expected," O'Donnell said. "Washington, meanwhile, is surging. This is the first of two meetings in three games for these NFC East rivals. Washington, at home, needs to steal this one before a Week 16 matchup in Dallas. Even if they can't get it done, they should keep it damn close. Give me the points."

    Washington just lost tight end Logan Thomas to a season-ending knee injury, but he hasn't been a consistent presence in that offense this season anyway. Meanwhile, Dallas hasn't won back-to-back games since October and was swept by Washington last season. The WFT appears to be the safer choice here.



    Davenport: Dallas
    Gagnon: Washington
    Kenyon: Dallas
    O'Donnell: Washington
    Rogers: Washington
    Sobleski: Washington

    Score Prediction: Cowboys 24, Washington 23

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) at Tennessee Titans (8-4)

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Tennessee -8.5

    The Tennessee Titans smashed the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-19 when they met earlier this season. They were a lot healthier and hotter then, and Jacksonville has put together some decent performances since then, but the majority of the gang still can't bring themselves to take the Jags with a mere single-digit spread in their back pocket. 

    "The Titans have been on a massive backslide since losing Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones to injury," Kenyon admitted, "but they have a get right home game against a 2-10 Jaguars team that looked as inept as ever in a 30-point road loss to the Los Angeles Rams last week. The Titans are still fighting for playoff position, and they should take care of the Jaguars by double digits in this one."

    Yes, Jacksonville beat the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills in October and November, respectively. And yes, they've also hung with the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts on the road this year, but they're still coming off their seventh double-digit-point defeat of the year, and the Titans have had two weeks to prepare for a familiar foe. 

    Don't expect Mike Vrabel's resilient team to cut this close. 



    Davenport: Jacksonville
    Gagnon: Jacksonville
    Kenyon: Tennessee
    O'Donnell: Tennessee
    Rogers: Tennessee
    Sobleski: Tennessee

    Score Prediction: Titans 27, Jaguars 17

Seattle Seahawks (4-8) at Houston Texans (2-10)

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    DraftKings Line: Seattle -7.5

    Are the Seattle Seahawks back following a season-saving victory over the San Francisco 49ers? Or was that a fluke for a team that hasn't been right most of the year? Almost the entire panel believes they'll keep it rolling with a fairly resounding road victory over the Houston Texans, although that might also have something to do with the fact Houston has been outscored 52-14 the last two weeks. 

    "Trusting Seattle is a dangerous game this year," Rogers said, "but Houston is abysmal right now. The Texans were held under 10 points for the sixth time already this season last week, and there's no help on the way. Russell Wilson will be looking to finish the year strong before the trade rumors heat up again, and this will be his best performance since September."

    Then again, the Seahawks are just 8-5 straight-up and 3-10 against the spread in their last 13 games when favored by more than seven points. The Houston defense has also given up a respectable 20.5 points per game in the team's last four outings, so pick leader Gagnon might be on to something with the points in his pocket. 

    That said, we wouldn't expect you to get behind a team with a league-worst minus-159 scoring margin and a quarterback controversy on its hands.



    Davenport: Seattle
    Gagnon: Houston
    Kenyon: Seattle
    O'Donnell: Seattle
    Rogers: Seattle
    Sobleski: Seattle

    Score Prediction: Seahawks 27, Texans 13

Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

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    Chris Unger/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Kansas City -9.5

    Not only do the Kansas City Chiefs have this quarterback named Patrick Mahomes, who could dominate at any moment, but they also have a defense that has surrendered just 11.2 points per game over the course of the team's current five-game winning streak. 

    Still, nearly the entire crew is taking the points with the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday at Arrowhead.

    "This is probably a sucker's bet because the Chiefs defense has played outstanding in recent weeks," Sobleski admitted. "Steve Spagnuolo's crew went from being historically bad to shutting down good offenses all in a matter of a couple of months. The Raiders already lost to the Chiefs by 27 points just four weeks ago. A glimmer of hope exists in a like opponent when Los Angeles and Kansas City beat the Dallas Cowboys in back-to-back weeks. If that version of the Raiders shows up, this should be a close contest."

    As for the lone wolf, Davenport defends himself this way: "As a team, Kansas City is playing as well as any team in the AFC. But the offense has been inconsistent—Mahomes hasn't thrown a touchdown since Week 10. The thing is, that Week 10 game was against the same Raiders squad that the Chiefs face Sunday at Arrowhead, and in that game, Mahomes topped 400 yards with five touchdowns in a 41-14 rout. With the defense playing at a high level, if Mahomes has nearly the success in Week 14 than he did last time against the Raiders, it will be blowout city once again."

    Bettor beware, but it's easy to see why the majority here can't lay those points with a team that has been held to 22 or fewer points in five of its last six games. 



    Davenport: Kansas City
    Gagnon: Las Vegas
    Kenyon: Las Vegas
    O'Donnell: Las Vegas
    Rogers: Las Vegas
    Sobleski: Las Vegas

    Score Prediction: Chiefs 24, Raiders 21

New Orleans Saints (5-7) at New York Jets (3-9)

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineNew Orleans -5.5

    Once again, it's all but Davenport in agreement. This time, the rest of the gang is laying 5.5 points with the slumping New Orleans Saints in New York for a matchup with a Jets team that habitually loses big.

    "We're getting some value out of the Saints' five-game losing streak," Gagnon said. "That's gotta end eventually, and Sean Payton's team is very likely to at least get back in the win column against a 3-9 team with the league's worst scoring defense. That's all you have to believe in order to back New Orleans, because each of the Jets' last eight losses have come by seven or more points."

    In fact, four of the last five have come by 15-plus points. And now they could be without emerging rookie receiver Elijah Moore (quad), while the Saints might get star rusher Alvin Kamara back from a knee injury. 

    The Saints aren't great, but Davenport appears to be taking a much bigger risk than his colleagues in this spot. 



    Davenport: New York
    Gagnon: New Orleans
    Kenyon: New Orleans
    O'Donnell: New Orleans
    Rogers: New Orleans
    Sobleski: New Orleans


    Score Prediction: Saints 27, Jets 16

Atlanta Falcons (5-7) at Carolina Panthers (5-7)

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineCarolina -2.5

    How does one back the Carolina Panthers? We know nobody likes betting on the Atlanta Falcons, but laying any points with a Carolina team in a free fall can't be easy. 

    "If my confidence level in the Falcons was a car," Davenport said, "it would be a 1987 Yugo with 397,000 miles on it. But the Panthers are a collapsing football team with a quarterback who can't throw the ball that just fired their offensive coordinator because of course everything that has happened so far this year is his fault.

    "That Cordarrelle Patterson is the biggest attraction in this game tells you everything you need to know. Take the points and an Atlanta team that hung around most of last week's tilt with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."

    The quarterback Davenport is referencing is Cam Newton, who was an unbelievable 5-of-21 in Carolina's last outing. The scapegoated former offensive coordinator is Joe Brady, who was oddly relieved of his duties midway through a two-week off stretch for the team. You have to wonder if there's acrimony there, while Atlanta has at least been impressive with four wins in its last five road games. 



    Davenport: Atlanta
    Gagnon: Atlanta
    Kenyon: Atlanta
    O'Donnell: Carolina
    Rogers: Atlanta
    Sobleski: Atlanta


    Score Prediction: Falcons 23, Panthers 20

Baltimore Ravens (8-4) at Cleveland Browns (6-6)

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    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineCleveland -2.5

    Big week for lone wolves. This time that's Gagnon, who is the only panelist down with laying 2.5 points in support of the Cleveland Browns when they host the division-rival Baltimore Ravens Sunday. 

    "These two teams played each other two weeks ago with the Ravens claiming a 16-10 victory in Baltimore," Kenyon said. "The Ravens have allowed a league-low 1,011 rushing yards this year and held Najee Harris to 71 yards on 21 attempts last week. The Browns should have a rough time running the ball again just as they did two weeks ago. Oddsmakers are giving the Browns the edge in this matchup in Cleveland, but I'd expect the Ravens to not just cover but win outright yet again."

    Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for just 36 yards and no touchdowns on 15 carries when these two last met. And the Browns might need to prove they can beat the Ravens before being favored against them (they've lost the last four head-to-head matchups).

    That said, Gagnon noted they've had two weeks to prepare for this rematch, while the Ravens are coming off a draining loss to the Steelers. They have the stronger DVOA between the two, and they're laying less than a field goal at home. 

    Still, in their last home game they barely beat the Detroit Lions. We get it.



    Davenport: Baltimore
    Gagnon: Cleveland
    Kenyon: Baltimore
    O'Donnell: Baltimore
    Rogers: Baltimore
    Sobleski: Baltimore


    Score Prediction: Ravens 24, Browns 20

New York Giants (4-8) at Los Angeles Chargers (7-5)

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    Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineLos Angeles -10

    And here's another with Gagnon as a lone wolf. This time, everyone but the picks leader is fine with laying a full 10 points with the Los Angeles Chargers hosting a Giants team that likely will be without quarterback Daniel Jones (and possibly backup Mike Glennon).

    "There's a chance this Giants team is starting Jake Fromm at quarterback," O'Donnell said. "The Chargers have been a bit of a roller-coaster this season, but this is a good opportunity to continue their momentum from last week's big win over the Bengals in Cincinnati. The Giants defense plays tough and proud most of the time, but I'd lay 14 points if I had to in this game, thanks mainly to a Big Blue offense that will do next to nothing."

    That 28th-ranked scoring offense has produced 32 points total the last three weeks, so it might not take much for the Bolts to pull away at home. 

    Still, Gagnon noted there's no NFL tape on Fromm, and the Chargers have the sixth-worst scoring defense in the NFL. They also haven't won back-to-back games since Week 5 and need a lot more than a one-score win here, and they could be without Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Chris Harris and Austin Ekeler in this spot. 

    So you still might want to tread carefully.



    Davenport: Los Angeles
    Gagnon: New York
    Kenyon: Los Angeles
    O'Donnell: Los Angeles
    Rogers: Los Angeles
    Sobleski: Los Angeles


    Score Prediction: Chargers 31, Giants 10

Detroit Lions (1-10-1) at Denver Broncos (6-6)

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineDenver -8.5

    Say what you will about the one-win Detroit Lions. They're 8-4 against the spread this season, and you'd still be fading the public by taking 8.5 points with Detroit visiting Denver Sunday. Since its Week 9 bye, it hasn't been outscored by more than three points in a game. They fight, and the Broncos aren't a juggernaut. 

    So it's no surprise the majority of the gang is taking those points. 

    "The Lions may own a 1-10-1 record," Sobleski said, "but everyone knows they'll come in and compete every single week. A spread over a touchdown is ridiculous, particularly against a Broncos offense that struggles to do anything more than run the football. Detroit will surrender yards on the ground, but this game should be relatively quick and tight."

    Detroit could even get runner D'Andre Swift back from a shoulder injury, although that remains a long shot, and tight end T.J. Hockenson now has a hand injury for the Lions. It's possible they'll fail to show up for this one after an emotional maiden 2021 victory last week, and Denver's last two wins have come by 14-plus points. So you can see where O'Donnell and Rogers might be coming from here as well. 



    Davenport: Detroit
    Gagnon: Detroit
    Kenyon: Detroit
    O'Donnell: Denver
    Rogers: Denver
    Sobleski: Detroit


    Score Prediction: Broncos 23, Lions 17

San Francisco 49ers (6-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineSan Francisco -1

    We're essentially looking at a pick'em with the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio, which is odd to the majority of the gang because the home team with the better record should probably be laying at least some points.

    "I don't trust either club at this point," Gagnon said, "but it looks as though Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will play through a finger injury while the traveling 49ers are much less likely to have key receiver Deebo Samuel (groin). Cincy is coming off a tough loss but has bounced back pretty well this year, while the 49ers might simply be too depleted at this stage."

    Rogers and Sobleski beg to differ.

    "Deebo Samuel's status is going to come down to the wire, and that's a big factor in this game," Rogers said. "On the Bengals' side, Joe Burrow is playing through a pretty significant pinky injury. San Francisco's defense has forced nine turnovers in its last four games, a complete turnaround from the beginning of the season. This one is going to come down to who establishes the ground attack, and I simply trust Kyle Shanahan more, even on the road."



    Davenport: Cincinnati
    Gagnon: Cincinnati
    Kenyon: Cincinnati
    O'Donnell: Cincinnati
    Rogers: San Francisco
    Sobleski: San Francisco


    Score Prediction: Bengals 26, 49ers 23

Buffalo Bills (7-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)

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    Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineTampa Bay -3

    The Buffalo Bills remain a top-three team in terms of DVOA and points differential, and they can't afford a sixth loss as they attempt to hang with the New England Patriots in the AFC East. 

    With that in mind, a slim majority of the crew is taking three points with Buffalo in Florida to take on the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

    "Buffalo isn't the team it should be," O'Donnell admitted. "It has struggled to establish a balanced offense due to a lackluster run game, and Josh Allen hasn't been able to elevate the rest of the unit against above-average defenses. Its defense has been forced to keep them in too many games. A date with Tom Brady is a tall task for anyone, especially when the Bucs are at home. They're one of only two teams undefeated in their own stadium this season. All signs point to Tampa continuing to 'hit its stride' like it did last year at this time.

    "But I'm not ready to throw in the towel on my preseason Super Bowl pick just yet, and think this is the type of opportunity the Bills will embrace as they start their march back to being a legit contender. I think they win straight-up so taking the points is easy for me."

    The Bucs did get hot at this stage last year, but that doesn't mean lightning will strike twice for a team with a target on its back and is quarterbacked by a 44-year-old. The Bucs did not dominate the Colts and Falcons the last two weeks, and the Bills have followed up each of their last four losses with 15-plus-point wins.



    Davenport: Tampa Bay
    Gagnon: Buffalo
    Kenyon: Buffalo
    O'Donnell: Buffalo
    Rogers: Buffalo
    Sobleski: Tampa Bay


    Score Prediction: Bills 27, Buccaneers 26

Chicago Bears (4-8) at Green Bay Packers (9-3)

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineGreen Bay -11.5

    The Green Bay Packers have not dominated the NFL this season, and yet they're a league-best 10-2 against the spread. They usually get the job done, just as they have with five consecutive wins and covers against the division-rival Chicago Bears. 

    The panel tried not to overthink this one. The majority is backing the Pack, even with 11.5 points on the line, Sunday night at Lambeau. 

    "This is a lot of points to lay in a rivalry game," Davenport admitted. "But while the Packers are rolling and rested coming off their bye week, the Bears looked absolutely abysmal last week against the Arizona Cardinals. Chicago's options at quarterback are a rookie who can't complete passes in Justin Fields or a veteran in Andy Dalton who keeps completing passes to the other team. Neither inspires confidence that Da Bears can keep this contest close."

    Aaron Rodgers' toe injury is worth noting, but the time off should have helped, and that didn't stop his team from handily defeating the Los Angeles Rams on the road in Week 12. Plus, Green Bay could get top cornerback Jaire Alexander back from a shoulder injury, while top back David Montgomery is suddenly banged up for Chicago. 



    Davenport: Green Bay
    Gagnon: Chicago
    Kenyon: Chicago
    O'Donnell: Green Bay
    Rogers: Green Bay
    Sobleski: Green Bay


    Score Prediction: Packers 28, Bears 14

Los Angeles Rams (8-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-2)

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineArizona -2

    We had one split crew this week but also no clean sweeps. Our final shot was Monday night with the Arizona Cardinals laying two points at home against the Los Angeles Rams, but only a slim majority of the gang is backing the league's top team, record-wise.  

    "The Cardinals offense has seemingly found its footing again with Kyler Murray back in the lineup," Kenyon said, "while the Rams have had a turbulent past month. L.A. is coming off a big home win over the Jaguars but had previously lost three in a row, and it faces a difficult test on the road in Arizona. Kyler and Co. cover this week."

    Rogers and O'Donnell aren't so sure.

    "Murray was extremely efficient in his return against the Bears," Rogers said, "but the Rams are going to be a different test. Los Angeles is coming off a 'get well' game where they demolished Jacksonville, now they need to regain momentum that looked entirely lost in November. Arizona is the only team to keep Cooper Kupp under 90 receiving yards all year (he had five catches for 64 yards in Week 4), but I don't think they'll be able to do that twice. This shootout is going to come down to the wire."

    That also represents a nice public fade, but the Rams have been tough to trust lately, and the Cards are 9-3 ATS overall. 



    Davenport: Arizona
    Gagnon: Arizona
    Kenyon: Arizona
    O'Donnell: Los Angeles
    Rogers: Los Angeles
    Sobleski: Arizona


    Score Prediction: Cardinals 30, Rams 24


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