Week 14 in the NFL gets underway with the Cowboys hoping to solidify their playoff position and continues Sunday with marquee matchups in Miami, Cincinnati, Arizona, Philadelphia, and San Diego. Every team in the league is down to their final month of the season and those who are going to be heard from in January must step forward now.
Let’s take a closer look at each matchup.
Dallas (8-4) at Chicago (5-7) – Spread: Cowboys -3.5
The Cowboys have been the best road team in the league this year, posting a perfect 5-0 record SU and a solid 4-1 record ATS. Quarterback Tony Romo has thrown 12 touchdowns in road games and just one interception. Dallas has beaten Tennessee, St. Louis, Seattle, Jacksonville, and the Giants on the road. Meanwhile, the Bears are 2-3 straight up and against the number at home.
After starting 0-3 at home with losses against Buffalo, Green Bay, and Miami, the Bears have won two straight at Soldier Field, beating both the Vikings and Bucs by identical 21-13 scores in weeks 11 and 12. Chicago has won three straight meetings with the Cowboys, including a 45-28 triumph last season (which played a large part in filling Josh McCown’s wallet in the off-season). Both teams are coming off embarrassing Thanksgiving losses.
Baltimore (7-5) at Miami (7-5) – Spread: Dolphins -3
The Ravens and Fins meet in south Florida in a pivotal matchup for both team’s playoff hopes. The Ravens are 3-3 on the road and 2-3-1 against the spread. Baltimore won at New Orleans (34-27) in week 12, snapping a two-game road losing streak. The Ravens other road wins came at Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Last weekend, the Ravens let one slip away, surrendering a double-digit lead in the last four minutes against the Chargers. If they wind up missing the playoffs, that game may be the reason.
Miami finishes the campaign with three of four at home. The Fish are 3-2 at home straight up and against the spread. The Dolphins last three games in Miami include easy wins over Buffalo and San Diego and a last second loss against Green Bay. Miami has lost four straight to Baltimore, including a 26-23 setback last season at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins squeaked past the Jets last week on MNF.
Pittsburgh (7-5) at Cincinnati (8-3-1) – Spread: Bengals -3.5
The AFC North is the best division in the NFL, with all four teams well over .500 and continuing to vie for a playoff berth. This is the first of two meetings between the Steelers and Bengals over the final month of the year. Pittsburgh is 3-3 on the road and 2-4 against the spread. They have road wins at Carolina, Jacksonville, and Tennessee, but dropped games at Baltimore, Cleveland, and the NY Jets. Last weekend, they lost to the Saints at home.
After three straight road wins, the Bengals are back at home. After going 8-0 SU last year, Cincinnati is 4-1-1 at Paul Brown Stadium (3-2-1 ATS) this season. The Bengals have not played at home since losing badly to Cleveland (24-3) in week 10. Pittsburgh has won six of the last eight in the series and three of the last four in Cincinnati. In week 13, the Bengals squeaked by the Bucs in Tampa, needing a strange unchallengeable-challenge to hold onto the win.
For a more in-depth early look at this game, check out our sneak peek.
St. Louis (5-7) at Washington (3-9) – Spread: Rams -3
The Rams are 2-4 on the road and 3-3 against the spread. They won at Tampa Bay (19-17) in week 2 and shocked the 49ers (13-10) in the Bay Area in week 9. St. Louis dropped a 27-24 decision to San Diego in week 12, turning the ball over deep in Charger territory in the final minute. In week 13, they played brought the Raiders back to earth with a 52-0 rout in St. Louis.
Washington is 2-3 at home and 1-4 against the spread. Their two wins are over bottom-feeders Tennessee and Jacksonville. In their most recent home game, the Skins fell to two-win Tampa Bay (27-7) in week 11. They traveled to Indy in week 13 and got spanked by Andrew Luck, 49-27. Colt McCoy put up good numbers as the starting QB, going 31 of 47 for 392 yards and three TDs. He should be back under center against St. Louis.
New York Giants (3-9) at Tennessee (2-10) – Spread: Pick’Em
For the second straight week, the Giants are on the road against an AFC South opponent. New York led Jacksonville 21-0 last Sunday, but lost 25-24. A seven-game slide in the middle of the season has left New York out of the playoffs for a third straight season. A highlight reel catch by Odell Beckham Jr. was not enough to trump the Cowboys in week 12.
Tennessee has had little luck throughout the year and come home where they have won and covered just once all season. The Titans beat Jacksonville in Nashville (16-14) in week 6. They have home losses to Dallas (26-20), Cleveland (29-28), Houston (30-16), and Pittsburgh (27-24). Since moving from Houston to Nashville, the Titans are 5-0 against New York. They stretched their losing streak to six last weekend with a loss to the Texans in their former hometown
Carolina (3-8-1) at New Orleans (5-7) – Spread: Saints -10
The Panthers and Saints meet for the second time this season. New Orleans won at Carolina (28-10) in week 9. The Saints outgained Carolina 375-231 in the win, limiting the Panthers to 122 yards through the air. Carolina needs a win to stay in the division race.
While New Orleans has a great track record at home in recent history, they’ve lost three straight in front of their fans and are now 3-3 at the Superdome this year (2-4 ATS). New Orleans has won six of their last nine against Carolina, though, and picked up a rare road-win over the Steelers in week 13.
New York Jets (2-10) at Minnesota (5-7) – Spread: Vikings -5.5
The Jets are back on the road after losing a tight game to the Dolphins on Monday night (New York’s lone home game in a five-week stretch). Rex Ryan’s squad lost to the Bills in Detroit (38-3) in week 12 after the game was moved from Buffalo because of snow. The Jets are 0-5 away from home and 1-3-1 against the spread. Their lone cover came in a 27-25 loss at New England in week 7.
The Vikings are playing their third straight home game and have played well thus far, losing a tight game against Green Bay and beating Carolina. In their first year playing outdoors (while the Metrodome is rebuilt), Minnesota is 3-3 at TCF Bank Stadium. The Jets are 8-1 all time against Minnesota, though, with seven straight wins dating back to 1975.
Indianapolis (8-4) at Cleveland (7-5) – Spread: Colts -4
Playoff hopefuls meet in Cleveland in week 14. The Colts are on the road for the first time since a week 9 blowout over the Giants (40-24). Indy is 3-2 on the road and 4-1 against the spread this year; they have beaten Jacksonville, Houston, and New York, but lost at Denver and Pittsburgh.
The Browns are 4-2 at home and 3-2-1 against the spread. They let the division lead slip away in their last home game, though, falling 23-7 to Houston in week 11. They won their two previous home games against the Raiders and Bucs in weeks 8 and 9. The lost on the road to the Bills in week 13. The Colts have won six of seven against Cleveland dating back to 1999.
Tampa Bay (2-10) at Detroit (8-4) – Spread: Lions -10
After playing their lone home game during a five week stretch, the Bucs are back on the road. They won at Washington (27-7) in week 11 and lost to Chicago (21-13) in week 12. On the road this year, Tampa Bay is 2-4 overall and 4-2 against the number. The Bucs beat Pittsburgh (27-24) in week 4. They nearly picked up their first home-win of the season last weekend (losing, 14-13, to Cincy), but ultimately did themselves in, leaving 12 men on the field for a critical play in the last minute.
The Lions are at home for a second straight week after dropping road games at Arizona and New England. Detroit rebounded to beat Chicago, 34-17, in week 13. After failing to reach double-digits against the Pats and Cards, the offense will be looking to build off of the outburst against Chicago. Tampa Bay has won five of their last six games in Detroit.
Houston (6-6) at Jacksonville (2-10) – Spread: Texans -5
The Texans and Jaguars meet for the first of two games in a four-week span. Houston is 3-2 on the road (4-1 ATS) this season. The Texans have won two straight away from home, beating Tennessee (30-16) in week 8 and Cleveland (23-7) in week 11. They won at Oakland in their road opener (30-14). They lost at the Giants (20-17) and Cowboys (30-17) in weeks 3 and 5, respectively. In week 13, they crushed the Titans at home, with original starter Ryan Fitzpatrick back at QB.
This is the second straight home game for the Jaguars, who came from behind to beat the Giants last week. The Jags lost five straight against Houston before sweeping the two-game series last season.
Buffalo (7-5) at Denver (9-3) – Spread: Broncos -10
The Bills are 0-2 against AFC West competition as they venture to Denver. Buffalo fell at home to San Diego (22-10) in week 3, and were tripped up by the Chiefs (17-13) in week 10. The Bills are 3-2 away from home both straight up and against the spread. They have posted two impressive home wins in a row, crushing the Jets (38-3 in Detroit) and Browns (26-10).
The Broncos are 6-0 at home, but just 3-3 ATS. Denver came from behind to beat Miami (39-36) at Mile High in week 12. It was the first Broncos home game decided by fewer than seven points since a 24-17 win over the Chiefs in week 2. The Broncos took a huge step toward another division title last weekend with a 29-16 win in K.C. Denver won five consecutive battles with Buffalo from 1995 through 2007, but the Bills have won the last two.
Kansas City (7-5) at Arizona (9-3) – Spread: Chiefs -1
The Chiefs travel to Arizona seeking to return to their winning ways on the road. Kansas City is 3-3 away from home and 4-2 against the spread. Most recently, they were stunned by formerly-winless Oakland (24-20) in week 12. Prior to that, the Chiefs beat Miami, San Diego, and Buffalo away from home and lost at Denver and San Francisco.
The Cardinals are 6-0 at home and 5-1 against the spread. Arizona beat Detroit at home (14-6) in week 11 and smashed the Rams (31-14) in week 10. However, they have lost their last two (on the road at Seattle and Atlanta) and are now perilously close to losing the division lead. The Chiefs have lost just two of 11 all time meetings with Arizona and have won three straight dating back to 2001.
Seattle (8-4) at Philadelphia (9-3) – Spread: Eagles -1
The Seahawks are in the midst of a killer five-game stretch that started in week 12 and includes two games (apiece) against the Cardinals and Niners plus this trip to Philadelphia. So far, so good for Pete Carroll’s team. The Seahawks handled the Cards and Niners by identical 19-3 scores in the first two of those five.
For the Eagles, this game is sandwiched between battles with NFC East rival Dallas. Philadelphia is 6-0 at home and 5-1 against the spread. Their last three home games have been blowout wins over Tennessee, Carolina, and the Giants. Seattle has won three of their last four against Philly. Both teams have a little extra time to prepare after playing on Thanksgiving in week 13.
San Francisco (7-5) at Oakland (1-11) – Spread: 49ers -9
San Francisco has extra time to prep after losing to Seattle on Thanksgiving. The Niners are 4-2 on the road straight up and against the spread. San Francisco won back-to-back tight road games against the Saints (27-24 in overtime) and the Giants (16-10) in weeks 10 and 11.
In week 12, the Raiders picked up their first win of the year and celebrated like it was the Super Bowl. In week 13, they returned to reality, getting blown out by their former crosstown rival, the Rams (52-0). The Raiders are 1-5 at home and 2-4 against the spread. Plenty of 49er fans will be present for the Battle of the Bay to see if San Francisco can win a fourth straight regular season meeting with the Raiders.
New England (9-3) at San Diego (8-4) – Spread: Patriots -4
The Patriots face a third road challenge in four weeks after winning at Indianapolis in week 11, and falling to the Packers in week 13. New England was limited to 21 points against the Packers; the Pats had scored more than 30 points in six of the previous seven.
San Diego is in the midst of four home games in five weeks. The Chargers beat Oakland (13-6) in week 11 and got by St. Louis (27-24) in week 12. San Diego is 5-1 at home and 3-3 against the spread. The Chargers come in hot after pulling off a huge double-digit, fourth-quarter comeback against the Ravens in week 13, but they’ve lost five of their last six against New England.
Atlanta (5-7) at Green Bay (9-3) – Spread: Packers -12
The Falcons are 2-4 on the road and 1-5 against the spread. They won at Carolina (19-17) in week 11 and in Tampa Bay (27-17) in week 10. They lost road contests at Cincinnati, Minnesota, NY (Giants), and Baltimore to begin the campaign. Atlanta beat Green Bay at Lambeau Field 22-21 last year and have taken three straight matchups with the Packers.
The Packers are 6-0 at home and 5-0-1 against the spread. Though they didn’t post the same eye-popping offensive numbers in the game, their week 13 victory over the Patriots (26-21) was arguably the most impressive. Green Bay has won four straight overall and eight of nine.
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