NFL Week 14 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 14 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 13 results: Rick: 5-10; Coin: 7-8
Cumulative: Rick: 89-99-3; Coin: 97-91-3

Thursday, December 10

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams (-5 1/2, 44 1/2) 8:20 pm (Fox/NFLN) - Now 6-6 after winning four of their last five, nobody wants to play the Patriots, so the Rams should be forewarned hosting one of the league's most capable defenses (21.3 ppg, 7th) and an offense that can bully and batter its way downfield.

The Patriots aren't used to missing the playoffs, but they still have work to do, with Miami, Buffalo, and the Jets still ahead. The Rams took possession of first place in the NFC West merry-go-round, but it may not last long. They're at Seattle in two weeks and host Arizona in Week 17. Six points seems a bit much against a red-hot team like New England.

Coin Flip: Los Angeles Rams

Prediction: Patriots 25 Rams 20

Sunday, December 13

Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers (-3, 47) 1:00 pm (CBS) - How this battle of 4-8 teams goes is anybody's guess. The Broncos had KC diagnosed in their 22-16 loss last week, but remain 31st in scoring, at 18.8 per game. The Panthers have statistical advantages on both sides of the ball, putting special teams into play in a game for prideful purposes.

The Panthers dropped close games to the Raiders and Chiefs, but topped the Chargers, 21-16, while the Broncos have lost all three games against the NFC South.

Coin Flip: Denver

Prediction: Panthers 24 Broncos 16

Houston Texans (-1 1/2, 45 1/2) at Chicago Bears 1:00 pm (CBS) - The Bears have run themselves right out of the playoff picture, losing six in a row after a 5-1 start to the 2020 season, including last week's devastating 34-30 loss to Detroit, where they led almost the entire game. At least Houston can claim to have won three of their last five and lost, 26-20, to the Colts last week on a bad snap inside the 3-yard line, with a chance to take the lead late.

While this could turn into a defensive struggle, it more likely will become something of a stand-off by the Houston defense and a decisive Texans win.

Coin Flip: Chicago

Prediction: Texans 24 Bears 9

Dallas Cowboys (-3 1/2, 43 1/2) at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm (Fox) - Bengals are 2-9-1, Dallas, 3-9, so this qualifies as a toilet bowl game. Dallas, after their 34-17 loss to the Ravens Tuesday night have to travel and remain the worst defense in the league. Even with backups, both offenses should be able to put up a good number of points, but especially the Bengals with Brandon Allen at QB.

So why are the Cowboys favored?

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Bengals 30 Cowboys 26

Tennessee Titans (-7 1/2, 53 1/2) at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm (CBS) - The Titans need to bounce back with a better defensive effort after being shredded by Cleveland, 41-35. To their credit, the Titans almost pulled off the comeback, holding the Browns to three second half points while registering four TDs.

Jacksonville, which is 28th in points allowed (29.3) and gives up 136.9 yards rushing per game, is probably going to fall apart in the second half against the Titans' line and bruising Derrick Henry, the league's leading rusher. The Jags are coming off a 27-24 OT loss at Minnesota, their 11th straight losing effort after somehow beating Indianapolis in week one. Six of those losses were by seven or more points, so the Titans stand well here.

Coin Flip: Tennessee

Prediction: Titans 31 Jaguars 20

Kansas City Chiefs (-7 1/2, 49) at Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm (CBS) - The Chiefs were tested by the Denver defense, eventually overcoming the Broncos for a 22-16 victory at home. Kansas City, 11-1, is a perfect 6-0 in road encounter, while the Dolphins are a solid 4-2 at home. Miami's given up one more point that the league-leading Pittsburgh Steelers (212-211) and should handle Mahomes and company well enough to stay in this game. Any turnovers Miami's way would be a huge plus for the Dolphins, who score at a 25.3 ppg clip, compared to the Chiefs' 30.8 (2nd, Green Bay leads, 31.6).

While the Chiefs are now tied with Pittsburgh for the best conference record, Miami cannot afford losses in their hunt for a wild card or possibly the AFC East title. They close out the season in Buffalo.

Coin Flip: Kansas City

Prediction: Chiefs 23 Dolphins 19

Arizona Cardinals (-2 1/2, 45) at New York Giants 1:00 pm (Fox) - New York's defense has been one of the best (16.5 points per game) over the past four weeks as they've won four straight and now have Colt McCoy calling the plays at QB in for injured Daniel Jones. With only one road game remaining (at Baltimore, 12/27), the Giants probably don't have to win out as they hold the tie-breaker over Washington in the NFC East. Next week, Cleveland, and Dallas in week 17, making this a game they really need.

Arizona has fallen to 6-6 and is looking more at a wild card than a divisional title after losing three straight and four of their last five. The Cardinal defense hasn't been up to task, especially in last week's 38-28 loss to the Rams. A close game the Giants can win.

Coin Flip: New York Giants

Prediction: Giants 23 Cardinals 19

Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6 1/2, 52 1/2) 1:00 pm (Fox) - Just how good or bad are the Vikings. Even with the versatile Dalvin Cook, they had to go to overtime at home to defeat the Jaguars last week, 27-24, and get to 6-6. They have won five of their last six, the only losing effort a 31-28 defeat by the Cowboys. With three wild cars spots up for grabs, they're actually in a pretty good position.

Tampa Bay is one of the teams the Vikings will be battling for the playoffs. At 7-5, the Bucs haven't blown the doors off the competition lately. Back-to-back 27-24 losses to the Rams and Chiefs have true believers a little stunned. It would be no surprise for Minnesota to come in and take one. Three losses in a row by the same score? Stranger things have happened. Lucky for the Bucs their final three games are at Atlanta, at Detroit, Atlanta.

Coin Flip: Tampa Bay

Prediction: Vikings 27 Buccaneers 24

Green Bay Packers (-7, 55) at Detroit Lions 1:00 pm (Fox) - For those chalk players out there, the Packers are your safety net. IN week two they pounded the Lions, 42-21, and it's arguable that they're even better now, though the Lions did come from behind to defeat the Bears on Thanksgiving.

Nobody should put too much thought into that Turkey Day win, however. The Bears have lost six straight.

Coin Flip: Detroit

Prediction: Packers 40 Lions 20

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