Happy Thursday football fans and welcome to our weekly column where we attempt to predict the outcome of several contests for the upcoming slate of NFL games. In Week 13, the New York Giants upended the Seattle Seahawks, while the Washington Football team handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the season.
That said, picking games isn’t always as easy as it seems. Last week, I predicted victories for the Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Titans fell to the Browns. The Raiders barely squeaked by the winless New York Jets, and the Chiefs edged the Denver Broncos by a 22-16 margin. On the heels of another 2-1 week, my overall season record stands at 30-8. Now that you’ve brought up to speed, here’s a look at my outright picks for Week 14.
Week 14 NFL Best Bet No. 3:
Houston Texans (2-5) at Chicago Bears
To say the Chicago Bears have had a tough season would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I knew their 5-1 start was based on good fortune more so than the team being good. And the last six weeks have proven just that. In Week 13, the Bears led by a double-digit margin (30-20) with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. That should have been a big enough lead, right? Wrong. Detroit scored a TD to close the gap to three points and their defense forced a turnover deep in Bears’ territory that eventually led to another touchdown. The final result was a 34-30 loss in a game they had no business losing, especially since the offense had one of its better performances of the season. So, with that said Bears fans, if you’re thinking of putting money on your team this week, I highly recommend that you reconsider.
James’ pick: Texans hand Bears another loss
Week 14 NFL Best Bet No. 2:
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills
This is probably one of the best matchups in Week 14. On one side of the coin, you have a Steelers’ team that is smarting a bit following a 23-17 loss to the Washington Football team. Oh, and I should probably mention that Pittsburgh led that game 14-0 before scoring just three points the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Josh Allen is coming off one of his solid outing in Buffalo’s 34-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers. In that contest, he was 32 for 40 for 375 yards to go along with four touchdowns.
The Steelers’ defense has recorded 44 sacks, which leads the NFL. That’s an impressive stat, to say the least. However, here’s an interesting tidbit via CBS Sports. There have been five games in which Allen has been sacked multiple times. In those outings, he is averaging 300 passing yards per game and two touchdowns. Even more important, the Bills have won each of those contests. This is going to be a very competitive game as the current point-spread indicates (courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook). The betting line is even smaller on the Sporting News website (-1). In the end, though, look for the Steelers to make a statement in this one following two lackluster performances against Baltimore and Washington.
James’ pick: Steelers get back into the win column
James’ NFL Best Bet of Week 14:
Green Bay Packers (-8) at Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions have dropped two of their previous three contests. And the 34 points they produced against the Bears was more than what they put up in the last two games combined. Conversely, Green Bay has won four of its last five games and Aaron Rodgers is putting up MVP-caliber numbers. Although the teams have split the last four meetings at Ford Field, with a division title and a chance to remain in contention for the top spot in the conference, the Packers will come out on top here.
As a side note, the over/under on this matchup is 55. Given the fact that the Packers are averaging 31.3 points per outing and the Lions are at 23.8, taking that 55 may be a safe bet. Another bet you may want to consider is the number of yards Aaron Rodgers will have. Since he has failed to reach the 250-yard plateau only three times through 12 games, betting that he will surpass that mark is probably a good call as well.
James’ pick: Packers roll to third straight win