NFL picks, predictions against the spread Week 14: Cowboys edge Eagles; Chiefs stump Bills; Broncos, Packers grind out wins

Week 13, as you might expect, was a bit unlucky with a case of triskaidekaphobia with 13 games on the slate. There were a few last-minute beats in tight matchups plus some unexpected underdog romps.

Week 14 doesn’t get any easier with the picks and predictions against the spread as we return to a near-full slate of 15 games. There are several favorites favored by less than a field goal, but a few teams are dominant double-digit heavies, too.

With road teams undaunted and home teams underwhelming the challenges are only greater. The only way to get back on track is dive right into another fearless football forecast of professional pigskin prognostications:

(Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

POWER RANKINGS: 49ers jump Eagles at top; Packers, Colts keep rising

NFL picks against the spread for Week 14

  • Game of Midweek: Patriots at Steelers (-6, 31 o/u)

Thursday 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video

The Patriots failed to score points at home against the Chargers’ defense. The Steelers’ offense went from revving up to sputtering against the Cardinals. But given the defensive natures of Super Bowl-winning long-time coaches Bill Belichick, either should be OK winning ugly with limited offense. Bailey Zappe vs. Mitchell Trubisky, a battle replacement starting QBs, becomes about running game an defense, plus a few big pass plays. The Steelers are better overall in both areas and will be fired up more to get back on playoff track.

Pick: Steelers win 20-10 and cover the spread.

  • Game of the Week: Eagles at Cowboys (-3.5, 52 o/u)

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The Eagles ran into a buzzsaw with no comeback in sight vs. the 49ers as their pass defense got ripped again by a diverse, dynamic downfield attack. The Cowboys just fell short of winning in Philadelphia in Week 9. Since then the Cowboys have won four straight with dominant offense led by Dak Prescott. Dallas is perfect at home this season but its coverage scheme can allow the Eagles to stay in it well with Jalen Hurts digging deep to make plays. The Cowboys just have too much firepower to be denied here a second time.

Pick: Cowboys win 34-31 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Upset of the Week: Broncos (+2.5, 44 o/u) over Chargers 

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Broncos’ defense gave up some big plays in Houston but tightened things up and gave Russell Wilson and a sloppy turnover-riddled offense a chance to win at the end. The Chargers got a free space with bad offense in New England, given their defense won a 6-0 nothing game. Justin Herbert should play better with his healthier weapons to duel Wilson well, but in the end, the Broncos’ backfield gives more key support to its QB.

Pick: Broncos win 23-20.

  • Lock of the Week: Dolphins (-13, 46.5 o/u) over Titans

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

Tyreek Hill blew past the Commanders’ secondary. The Titans should provide no problems with their weaker corners. Hill is in the big-play zone with Tua Tagovailoa and this week, Jaylen Waddle should get more chances downfield, too. The Titans’ run defense leans toward good, but it has gotten leaky of late in giving up some chunks.

Pick: Dolphins win 38-14 and cover the spread.

  • Buccaneers at Falcons (-2.5, 39 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Buccaneers are battling some major injuries to their pass and run defense but the Falcons are starting to fall into a simlar boat. That makes this game come down to which offense is more versatile, multiple and dangerous downfield. Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans are bound to get an extra break with top corner A.J. Terrell (concussion) hurting on top of disruptive tackle Grady Jarrett. Desmond Ridder plays better at home, but he’ll make more mistakes under pressure and not enough plays.

Pick: Buccaneers win 20-17.

  • Lions (-3.5, 44.5 o/u) at Bears 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Lions seem more comfortable on the road because of their rushing effectiveness and defensive big-play intensity. They should not want Jared Goff for pass for volume against an improve Bears pass defense, but rather use the backs well on the perimeter as runners and receivers, along with speedster Jameson Williams. Justin Fields puts up more big numbers on Detroit but gets limited support per usual around him.

Pick: Lions win 27-20 and cover the spread.

Zack Moss

  • Colts (-1, 41 o/u) at Bengals

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Colts have found their offensive identity under Shane Steichen with Gardner Minshew’s deep passing picking things up to complement the power running game, now back to featuring Zack Moss over the injured Jonathan Taylor. The Bengals have been weak agains the run and Minshew can exploit them well with deep shots in a rematch of Apple Cup college counterpart Jake Browning. The defense and special teams have become huge factors for Indy, setting them up for more success in Cincy.

Pick: Colts win 23-20 and cover the spread

  • Jaguars at Browns (-1.5, 34 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Jaguars will be without Trevor Lawrence follwing a devastating home loss to the Bengals on Monday night. C.J. Beathard going on the road against a defense that plays much better at home isn’t the most appealing situation. Joe Flacco plays well enough on the other side as a backup for the Browns to steal a low-scoring battling of attrition.

Pick: Browns win 16-13 and cover the spread.

  • Panthers at Saints (-5.5, 38 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Saints are looking at starting Jameis Winston with Derek Carr (concussion) seeing an injury pileup on top of ineffective play.  He can actually spark the passing game with Chris Olave to help Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara well on the ground in a plus spot for their rushing. Bryce Young will be stuck in more of a one-dimensional attack in a hostile division road environment.

Pick: Saints win 27-20 and cover the spread.

CJ Stroud 12032023

  • Texans (-6, 35.5 o/u) at Jets

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Texans run the 49ers’ defense under DeMeco Ryans. The Jets operate a familiar zone scheme under Robert Saleh, the defensive coordinator in San Francisco who preceded Ryans. The Jets will limit some big plays from the aggressive C.J. Stroud with their loaded cornerback corps and good pressure, forcing the Texans to run well to win. The Jets will hang around in that case with whoever’s at QB trying to get Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson going more.

Pick: Texans win 17-13 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Rams at Ravens (-7, 44.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Rams have looked great with Matthew Stafford playing at his best veteran level during their three-game winning streak. But they run into a more challenging defense on the road vs. the Ravens, a team known for crushing NFC visiting foes with Lamar Jackson. The Rams don’t have enough to keep up as Odell Becikham Jr. leads the offensive way in a revenge game.

Pick: Ravens win 27-17 and cover the spread.

  • Vikings (-2.5, 40.5 o/u) at Raiders

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Vikings are facing the Vegas trap against a scrappy Raiders defense under Antonio Pierce, but they also have found their own defensive playmaking pop with Brain Flores calling the plays. They can get after Aidan O’Connell well with the defense staying active for Kevin O’Connell, led by Danielle Hunter. Josh Dobbs rebounds well after a bye with Justin Jefferson back.

Pick: Vikings win 23-20 and cover the spread.

Buccaneers vs. 49ers odds, props, predictions: McCaffrey will end San Francisco's road surge

  • Seahawks at 49ers (-12.5, 46 o/u)

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Seahawks were sleeping in Seattle for the Thanksgiving night matchup, which the 49ers won 31-13 in a total domination. Although the Seahawks went off on the Cowboys with Geno Smith getting hot, the 49ers play a zone to limit big plays and will win only their front four often. Look for Christian McCaffrey to have yet another big game to pad his sneaky good MVP case.

Pick: 49ers win 34-17 and cover the spread.

  • Bills at Chiefs (-3, 48 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bills and Chiefs haven’t had the usual automatic explosive offenses this year. The numbers still go up with Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, but the eye test says they are not the dominant passing and rushing forces from recent seasons. Buffalo is working to stretch the field better all-around, while Kansas City is learning it needs to lean more on the run with the passing compressed by shaky downfield connections. The Chiefs get a little more creative and can shore up their defense a little easier than the Bills.

Pick: Chiefs win 30-23 and cover the spread.

  • Packers (-6, 38 o/u) at Giants

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET, ABC

The Packers are red-hot with Jordan Love performing at a high level, which is inspiring the running game and defense to be stronger complements. The Giants can stop much here behind their stout front and Tommy DeVito will return after the bye to face a defense playing the pass well. The Giants will try to hang in there with Saquon Barkley, but they will have too many breakdowns on the other side.

Pick: Packers win 24-14 and cover the spread.

Stats of the Week

Week 13 straight up: 8-4

Week 13 against the spread: 4-7

Season straight up: 130-62

Season against the spread: 103-85-1

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