Week 14 kicks off with one of the best Thursday night games of the year when NFC powers Minnesota and Arizona clash in the desert. The first set of games on Sunday is highlighted by the Steelers at Bengals, while Oakland at Denver and Dallas at Green Bay are on the docket in the afternoon. The Patriots and Texans got flexed to Sunday Night Football while Miami and the Giants get center stage on Monday.
Let’s look at the full slate.
Minnesota (8-4) at Arizona (10-2) – Spread: Cardinals -7.5
The Vikings have won four straight road games and are 4-2 outside of Minneapolis (5-1 against the spread). They have recent double-digit victories in Atlanta and Oakland. They also beat the Lions by nine and Bears by a field goal. Their first two road games this year were losses at San Francisco and Denver. The Vikings fell at home to Seattle on Sunday and lost two defensive stars in the process (Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith, whose statuses for this week remain unclear).
The Cardinals keep winning in Zona (4-1) but doing so by the slimmest of margins (2-3 ATS). After playing road games in four of the last five weeks, Arizona finishes the regular season with three of four at home. They won their only home game during the last month, 34-31 over Cincinnati. Their two covers came in decisive victories over the Saints and 49ers. The other two ATS losses were in one-score wins over Baltimore (26-18) and St. Louis (24-22). The Cardinals dominated the floundering Rams on Sunday, 27-3.
Buffalo (6-6) at Philadelphia (5-7) – Spread: Pick’em
The Bills are back on the road for the third time in four weeks. Buffalo recently went 1-2 on a three-game road swing with a victory against the Jets (22-17), and losses to New England (20-13), and Kansas City (30-22). Earlier in the year, they crushed the Dolphins in Miami (41-14) and won at Tennessee (14-13). The Bills beat Houston on Sunday, 30-21, and are very much in contention for the final AFC playoff spot.
The Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak with a shocking win in New England in Week 13. Philly lost its last two home games, though – by a point against the Dolphins and by four touchdowns to the Bucs. Earlier in the season, Philly fans watched the Eagles beat New Orleans and the Giants and lose to the Cowboys. They are 2-3 straight up and against the number at home.
San Francisco (4-8) at Cleveland (2-10) – Spread: Browns -1.5
The Niners kick-off in the AM (Pacific time) for the second straight week. They won at Chicago in Week 13, their first victory outside of the Bay Area this season, and just their second cover in six tries. They got dump trucked in Pittsburgh, Arizona, St. Louis, and Seattle while losing but covering (30-27) against the Giants in New York.
This is the second of three straight at home for the Browns, who are 1-4 SU and 1-3-1 ATS in Cleveland. The first of the three was a bizarre final-second loss to Baltimore on a “kick six” (as Mike Tirico called it). They also got rolled by the Bengals in Week 13. Earlier this year, the Browns beat Tennessee (28-14) at home but lost to Oakland (27-20), Denver (26-23), and Arizona (34-20).
Detroit (4-8) at St. Louis (4-8) – Spread: Rams -1
The Lions and Rams meet for the 84th time. St. Louis holds a 42-40-1 all-time edge but Detroit has won two straight in the series. The rivalry is nearly even in all of the locations the Rams have called home (Cleveland, Los Angeles, and St. Louis). Their only meeting at the Edward Jones Dome came in 2006 with the Rams winning 41-34.
Detroit is 1-4 on the road and 2-3 for betting purposes, covering in a win at Green Bay (18-16) and a close loss in Seattle (13-10). They get extra time to prep for this game after a Hail Mary loss to the Packers on Thursday in Week 13. This is the second of three straight at home for St. Louis. After getting smashed by Arizona on Sunday, the Rams are 3-3 in Missouri both straight up and against the number.
New Orleans (4-8) at Tampa Bay (6-6) – Spread: Bucs -4
The Saints and Bucs meet for the second time this year; in Week 2, Tampa Bay won at New Orleans (26-19). Both teams totaled exactly 323 yards in the game. The Bucs led 23-7 at the end of three quarters but needed a defensive stop in the final minutes to secure the victory.
New Orleans has not looked good in their two most recent road games. They lost at Houston (24-6) in Week 12 and were crushed by Washington (47-14) in Week 11. Earlier in the year, the Saints won at Indianapolis (27-21) while losing a close game at Carolina (27-22) and falling at Arizona (31-19) and Philadelphia (39-17). On Sunday, the New Orleans lost a back-and-forth battle with unbeaten Carolina.
The Bucs are 3-3 at home straight up and ATS with wins over the Jags, Cowboys, and Falcons. The Week 13 win over Atlanta kept Tampa in the playoff hunt in the NFC, currently one game back of Seattle for the final Wild Card spot.
Tennessee (3-9) at New York Jets (7-5) – Spread: Jets -7.5
The Titans have been a lot better on the road than at home, but are still just 2-3 SU and ATS outside of Nashville. They won at Tampa Bay (42-14) to start the season and beat the Saints (34-28) in overtime last month. Their road losses came at Cleveland, Houston, and Jacksonville. Last weekend, the Titans won a high-scoring affair with Jacksonville (42-39) for their first home win of the season.
The Jets are 5-2 at home and 4-3 against the spread after a come-from-behind “road” win against the Giants last weekend. The Jets hammered the Dolphins (38-20) at home in Week 12. Before that, they downed the Jags (28-23), Redskins (34-20), and Browns (31-10), while losing to Philadelphia (24-17) and Buffalo (22-17).
Pittsburgh (7-5) at Cincinnati (10-2) – Spread: Bengals -3
Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 56-35, but the Bengals won at Pittsburgh,16-10, last month in a game that featured 20 penalties and five turnovers. Cincinnati scored ten points in the final three minutes for a come-from-behind win.
The Steelers are 2-3 on the road and 2-2-1 against the number. They lost at Seattle (39-30) in Week 12, at KC (23-13) in Week 7, and in New England (28-21) to open the year. Their road wins came over St. Louis (12-6) and San Diego (24-20). Pittsburgh destroyed the Colts at home on Sunday Night Football in Week 13.
The Bengals are 5-1 at home and 4-1-1 against the number. They recently dominated St. Louis and Cleveland at home, but fell to Houston. Earlier in the year, the Bengals beat San Diego, KC, and Seattle at home. Cincinnati made easy work of Cleveland in Week 13.
Indianapolis (6-6) at Jacksonville (4-8) – Spread: TBA – Will Andrew Luck play?
In Week 4, the Colts clipped the Jags, 16-13 in overtime, as Jacksonville failed to score in the second half. It was the sixth straight win in the series for the Colts, who are 3-3 on the road (straight up and against the number) after falling to Pittsburgh last weekend. They have wins in Tennessee, Houston, and Atlanta.
The Jaguars are .500 at home SU and ATS (3-3). One of their three “road” wins came against Buffalo in London. The other two were over Miami (23-20) and Tennessee (19-13). The Jags lost a tight game in Tennessee last weekend, 42-39, falling two games off the pace in the AFC South in the process.
San Diego (3-9) at Kansas City (7-5) – Spread: Chiefs -10
When the Chiefs destroyed the Chargers, 33-3, in Week 11, it tied the all-time series between the two franchises at 55-55-1. It was the third straight win for Kansas City over San Diego, and the most decisive victory for the Chiefs in the rivalry in 15 years. After a slow start to the year, KC is now 3-2 SU and ATS at home and have won three straight in Missouri over the Bills (30-22), Lions (45-10), and Steelers (23-13). The Chiefs won their sixth straight, overall, last weekend, beating the Raiders (34-20) in Oakland.
The Chargers are just 1-4 on the road, but they’ve covered three times and beat the Jags, 31-25, in Week 12 (snapping a six-game losing streak). They have tight losses at Cincinnati and Baltimore, and fell by just five in Cincinnati and seven at Green Bay. They were pasted by Denver at home on Sunday, though, 17-3.
Washington (5-7) at Chicago (5-7) – Spread: Bears -3
The Redskins got back in the NFC East race thanks to three straight home wins (over the Bucs, Saints, and Giants). But they blew that momentum on Monday night in a 19-16 home loss to Dallas, which may prove costly as the team remains winless on the road and has covered just once in five chances: they were destroyed in Carolina, 44-16, during their last trip, and lost by double-digits to the Pats, Jets, and Giants. Their only tight road game was a 25-19 OT setback at Atlanta.
Chicago is 1-5 at home and 1-4-1 against the number after a Week 13 loss to the 49ers. Chicago also lost to Denver (17-15) in Week 11, and opened the year with home losses against Green Bay, Arizona, and Minny. Their only home win was a narrow 22-20 triumph over the Raiders.
Atlanta (6-6) at Carolina (12-0) – Spread: Panthers -7.5
This is the first of two meetings between these division rivals during a three-week span. The Panthers have won three of the last four battles, but Atlanta leads the all-time series, 24-16.
This is the second of three straight on the road for the Falcons, who lost a Week 13 contest at Tampa Bay, falling to 3-3 away from home (2-4 ATS). They have wins at the Titans, Cowboys, and Giants, but haven’t won on the road since (or anywhere, for that matter) since late October.
The Panthers are perfect at home (6-0) but only 4-2 against the number. They won big against Dallas and Tennessee recently, but failed to cover in narrow wins over New Orleans (27-22) and Indianapolis (29-26). The Panthers were tested but rallied to beat the Saints in the Bayou on Sunday (41-38).
Seattle (7-5) at Baltimore (4-8) – Spread: TBA – Several injuries to sort out
This is a second straight early start multiple time zones away for the Seahawks, who crushed Minnesota in Week 13 (38-7). Seattle is 3-3 on the road and 2-3-1 against the spread. Their only other cover came at San Francisco (20-3).
The Ravens are 2-3 in the Charm City but 0-4-1 against the number. Baltimore narrowly got by San Diego and St. Louis at home recently. Earlier in the year, they lost to Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Jacksonville. They also fell, 15-13, at Miami (but covered) on Sunday.
Oakland (5-7) at Denver (10-2) – Spread: Broncos -7.5
Despite the fact that Denver has beaten the Raiders eight straight times, Oakland holds the all-time series lead, 60-50-2. In Week 5, the Broncos won in the Bay Area, 16-10, with the winning score coming on a fourth-quarter pick-six. The Broncos are 4-1 at home and 3-2 ATS. When last in Denver, they beat the Patriots in the snow, coming back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit. They also own home wins over Minnesota, Green Bay, and Baltimore. Their lone loss was to the surging Chiefs in Week 10. The Broncos won at San Diego in Week 13.
Oakland is 3-3 on the road and 4-2 for betting purposes. They have SU wins at Cleveland, San Diego, and Tennessee, and also covered in a three-point loss at Pittsburgh. The Raiders lost at home to Kansas City on Sunday, dropping them two games back in the AFC Wild Card chase.
Dallas (4-8) at Green Bay (8-4) – Spread: Packers -7
After beating the Redskins in Washington on Monday, Dallas is 3-3 on the road straight up and against the spread. The Cowboys won at Philadelphia and Miami and lost in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay.
The Packers are 4-2 at home and 3-3 against the spread, but their last two efforts at Lambeau Field have been ugly; they lost to the Bears, 17-13, on Thanksgiving, and then fell to Detroit, 18-16. They won the four prior over Seattle, Kansas City, St. Louis, and San Diego. Green Bay has extra time to prepare for this game following a miracle, last-second win at Detroit on Thursday in Week 13.
New England (10-2) at Houston (6-6) – Spread: Patriots -3
Midway through the year, this game figured to be meaningless. The Patriots were cruising to the number one seed in the AFC and Houston was dead in the water. Now both teams have something to play for, as the decimated Patriots need wins to avoid playing a first-round playoff game, while Houston is in the thick of the AFC South and Wild Card race (thanks to a four-game win streak, which ended in Buffalo on Sunday).
The Pats are 4-1 on the road but just 2-3 against the spread. They failed to cover in the last two, blowing a 14-point lead against the Broncos and eking out a 27-26 victory over the Giants. New England was shocked at home by the Eagles on Sunday, 35-28, surrendering three special teams TDs.
Overall, Houston is 4-2 SU and ATS in Texas. The Texans started their recent four-game win-streak at home against Tennessee, and have also handled the Bucs, Jets, and Saints in Houston.
New York Giants (5-7) at Miami (5-7) – Spread: Pick’em
The Giants have not played well on the road this year (2-3 SU and ATS) though their games have been exciting. They started their road slate with a one-point loss in Dallas (27-26), looked good in a two-touchdown win over the Bills (24-10), fell in an ugly effort at Philadelphia (27-7), lost a shootout in New Orleans (52-49), got beat by the Bucs (32-18), and then fell in Washington with first place on the line (20-14). New York let another fourth-quarter lead slip away last weekend as the Jets came from ten-back in the final minutes to win 23-20 in OT.
Miami finishes the year with four of five at home, though none of the games are particularly meaningful. The Fins are 2-2 at home with wins over Houston and Baltimore and losses against the Bills and Cowboys. They’re just 2-5 all-time against the G-Men.
(Photo credit: SteelCityHobbies (flickr) “MRR_0058″ [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)