NFL Analysis


11 min read

NFL Week 14: Expert Picks, Predictions For Every Game

Several Week 14 games could be impacted by weather, which has been reflected in several plummeting game totals. Steady wind that exceeds 20 MPH is when the weather can significantly impact a football game. 

The games in Cleveland and Chicago are the most concerning with 20-30 MPH projected winds. The games in Cincinnati, Baltimore and East Rutherford, New Jersey also warrant monitoring.

Thursday Night Football

Steelers vs. Patriots

Spread: Steelers -6

Total: 30

This is one of many Week 14 matchups between backup quarterbacks. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mitch Trubisky replaces the injured Kenny Pickett. 

Pittburgh’s running game has been excellent for a little more than a month. We can expect Bill Belichick to focus his defensive game plan on stopping that group. The New England Patriots have the worst offense in the league. 

We saw Bailey Zappe get shut out at home but the Chargers last week 6-0. Whether Zappe or Mac Jones is under center, it hasn’t mattered much this year. The 30-point game total is extremely low, especially for a contest with no weather concerns. Expect both teams to lean on their running game as often as they can.

Score Prediction: Steelers 13, Patriots 6

Sunday Afternoon Games

Ravens vs. Rams

Spread: Ravens -7

Total: 40

The weather could impact this game, which is why the total has fallen four and a half points. The Baltimore Ravens are better equipped to handle a weather game than the Los Angeles Rams

The Ravens have the league’s most productive running game and the best scoring defense. Baltimore isn’t overly reliant on Lamar Jackson’s ability to be a voluminous passer, either. That said, if wind isn’t a factor in this game, Jackson could show some ceiling in the air.

The Rams are well-coached, and they have a solid core, but they are a significantly less talented team than Baltimore. Especially on defense, where the Rams are an average at best group. 

If weather is a major factor, it’s difficult to see Los Angeles giving the Ravens a game. If the weather clears, Matthew Stafford is capable of giving Baltimore a scare.

Score Prediction: Ravens 20, Rams 13

Bears vs. Lions

Spread: Bears +3

Total: 40

This game could be impacted by difference-making wind, so be sure to check weather reports closer to kickoff. When these teams met in Week 11, the Chicago Bears dominated the Detroit Lions for 58 minutes, but they couldn’t close. 

Normally dome teams are at a disadvantage in cold, windy climates. Jared Goff usually underwhelms in those conditions. However, the Lions are a physical team with a premium offensive line and two quality running backs. 

In that sense, they are well-equipped for a weather-impacted game. Chicago, along with Buffalo and Cleveland, usually has at least one game with these types of projected weather conditions. The Bears are used to this kind of environment where they rely on their running game if needed.

Score Prediction: Lions 17, Bears 16

Jets vs. Texans

Spread: Jets +5.5

Total: 33

No matter who the New York Jets decided to start at quarterback this week (they picked Zach Wilson), they'd have an extraordinarily limited offense. The wind and rain at MetLife stadium won’t help that plight. It could help the Jets’ defense, who are already a tough matchup for C.J. Stroud’s offense. 

The Houston Texans are throwing for the second-most yards this year while running for the ninth-fewest. The Jets are the league’s third-best pass defense but the fourth-worst against the run. Even if Stroud’s offense struggles, they don’t need much to get past New York.

Score Prediction: Texans 16, Jets 9

Saints vs. Panthers

Spread: Saints -5

Total: 37.5

Derek Carr suffered his second concussion in a month last week, putting his status in doubt against the Carolina Panthers. Jameis Winston had a nightmare game against the Panthers last season with two interceptions and two fumbles. 

If Winston is forced into action, he can be productive, but he’s been a turnover machine throughout his career.

The Panthers are scoring the fourth-fewest points per game this season, with no strengths on offense. The New Orleans Saints’ defense has fallen off in recent weeks, but Carolina represents a get-well opportunity. New Orleans needs a win in this matchup to stay within striking distance of the NFC South lead.

Score Prediction: Saints 17, Panthers 13

Browns vs. Jaguars

Spread: Browns -3

Total: 30.5

With Trevor Lawrence likely to miss this contest, the spread has moved from Browns +3 to Browns -3. Six points might not actually be enough to quantify the difference between Lawrence and C.J. Beathard. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars get a tough draw against the Cleveland Browns’ high-end defense coming off a bad loss. Difference-making wind could also be a factor, giving Beathard one more obstacle to overcome.

That puts this game on Jacksonville’s defense, which just made Jake Browning look like Peyton Manning. The Browns’ offense is among the league’s most limited, but Joe Flacco genuinely brings stability to this group. In this matchup, Cleveland might not need much from Flacco.

Score Prediction: Browns 17, Jaguars 3

Falcons vs. Buccaneers

Spread: Falcons -2.5

Total: 39

The story remains the same for both of these teams. The Atlanta Falcons have a talented, well-rounded roster, but Desmond Ridder is a limited quarterback. The Falcons sit on top of the NFC South, and a win could put them in a strong position. But ultimately, Ridder caps the ceiling of this team. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a good, but not great defense that is beatable through the air. Offensively, their running game has technically improved, but they have the third least productive on the ground. 

That means Baker Mayfield is the centerpiece of this offense. He’s had his moments this season, but Mayfield isn’t capable of carrying an NFL offense every week.

Score Prediction: Falcons 17, Buccaneers 16

Bengals vs. Colts

Spread: Bengals +1

Total: 40

Browning threw for 354 yards while completing 32-of-37 passes against Jacksonville. That should not become the new expectation for Browning, but he has more upside than expected. 

He’ll try to knock off an Indianapolis Colts team that would make the playoffs if the season ended today. Indianapolis is the league’s most overachieving team, scoring the eighth-most points per game this season. 

This is another matchup that could be impacted by wind, which could turn this contest into more of a low-scoring slog.

Score Prediction: Colts 21, Bengals 17

49ers vs. Seahawks

Spread: 49ers -10.5

Total: 47

When these teams met in Week 12, the San Francisco 49ers blew the doors off the Seattle Seahawks, 31-13. The 49ers have also blown out the Jaguars and Eagles in the last month. San Francisco is the best, most complete team in the league that can win in any phase. 

Seattle is now 6-6 after losing four of its last five games. Geno Smith had his first impressive showing in two months against Dallas last Thursday. Smith did more than enough to win that game, but Seattle gave up 41 points. 

Simply put, Seattle hasn’t strung together many complete games. If the Seahawks’ offensive line can keep Smith clean like against Dallas, the Seahawks have a shot. If they don’t, the 49ers will roll their rival for the second team in three weeks.

Score Prediction: 49ers 27, Seahawks 17

Raiders vs. Vikings

Spread: Raiders +3

Total: 40

As of this writing, there is still some uncertainty at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, but they should start Josh Dobbs. Assuming they do, he’ll get Justin Jefferson back coming off their bye. 

Even if Jefferson is on a pitch count, he raises the ceiling of this offense considerably. Dobbs might not need to do much against the Las Vegas Raiders because the Vikings are giving up the eighth-fewest points per game. 

That is an absolutely remarkable turnover from Brian Flores in his first year as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator. Expect Flores to blitz Raiders rookie Aidan O’Connell early and often.

Score Prediction: Vikings 20, Raiders 16

Chargers vs. Broncos

Spread: Chargers -2.5

Total: 44

In an unexpected turn of events the Los Angeles Chargers’ defense has been the strength of the team the last two weeks. A big reason for that is Keenan Allen has been the Chargers' only difference-making skill player for two months. Josh Palmer’s potential return should help, but he’s more of a solid contributor than a dynamic player. 

The Denver Broncos’ five-game winning streak came to an end in Houston last week. The Broncos’ defense continues to drive most of the team’s success. Russell Wilson has done enough to keep Denver competitive, but he’s thrown for less than 200 yards in eight games. 

Wilson has a big opportunity for a spike week against the league’s worst pass defense. If the Broncos are going to take a step forward, they need more from Wilson.

Score Prediction: Chargers 21, Broncos 20

Chiefs vs. Bills

Spread: Chiefs -2.5

Total: 47.5

The Kansas City Chiefs suffered a bad loss in Green Bay last week. Kansas City’s defense had a letdown game while its offense continued to struggle. The Buffalo Bills are coming off their bye, and they are in desperation mode at 6-6. 

Patrick Mahomes doesn’t lose two games in a row often, but the Bills need this one much more than Kansas City. In the last few seasons, these teams have been relatively even, while both have been a little disappointing this year. 

If the Bills are going to storm back into the playoff race, Josh Allen must be the one that takes them there.

Score Prediction: Bills 30, Chiefs 27

Sunday Night Football

Cowboys vs. Eagles

Spread: Cowboys -3.5

Total: 52.5

When these two teams met in Week 9, the Philadelphia Eagles won 28-23. However, the Dallas Cowboys took them to the brink. Both teams have premium offensive and defensive lines. 

Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts are two of the three MVP favorites. Dallas is leading the league in points per game, while the Eagles are fourth. Defense is the biggest margin between these two teams. 

Dallas is allowing the fourth-fewest points per game while the Eagles are 24th. The Cowboys are the fifth-best pass defense while Philadelphia is the fourth worst. If Dallas wins this game, Prescott’s passing attack against the Eagles’ secondary is the biggest edge.

Curiously, the spread for this contest moved off the key number of three to Cowboys -3.5 early this week. Not only are these divisional rivals familiar, but they have two of the best rosters in the sport.

Score Prediction: Cowboys 28, Eagles 24

Monday Night Football

Dolphins vs. Titans

Spread: Dolphins -13

Total: 47.5

If the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line can mitigate the Tennessee Titans’ front, Tua Tagovailoa could have a field day in this matchup. Tyreek Hill has reached 100 receiving yards in eight of his 12 games while going over 150 five times. 

Tagovailoa, Hill and Jaylen Waddle all have plus matchups. Even if the Dolphins’ offense doesn’t exceed expectations, their steadily improving defense could carry them to victory against the Titans. 

In Will Levis’ six starts, Tennessee has 17 or fewer points four times. The Titans are coming off an overtime loss to the Colts, which gives Miami another small advantage.

Score Prediction: Dolphins 30, Titans 17

Giants vs. Packers

Spread: Giants +6.5

Total: 37

The Green Bay Packers are coming off back-to-back upset victories against the Lions and Chiefs. Those wins have put Green Bay right back into the NFC Wild Card hunt. 

The Packers’ defense has kept them competitive all year, but Jordan Love has been a difference-maker during the last month. Green Bay’s pass rush has a trench advantage, while Love will be without Christian Watson.

The New York Giants will start Tommy DeVito coming off their bye. DeVito is better than expected, as the Giants have won each of their last two games. 

But the Giants’ defense has driven most of its minimal success this season. The Packers’ pass rush will have a trench advantage, so it’s tough to expect much from DeVito’s offense. That means if New York is going to keep this one close, Saquon Barkley and its defense need to drive that effort.

Score Prediction: Packers 20, Giants 14