The Week 14 NFL slate is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score predictions.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy‘s Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk‘s Mackenzie Kraemer hand out helpful nuggets as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.
Thursday: CHI 31, DAL 24
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 90.8 | Spread: NO -2.5 (44.5)
What to watch for: How rare is this matchup between the 10-2 Saints and 10-2 49ers? It’s the first time since 2005 that two teams with two or fewer losses have met this late in the season, and only the fifth time in the past 35 years. It doesn’t get much better than Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara facing one of the league’s top-ranked defenses. And on the flip side, San Francisco’s No. 2 rushing offense will have its hands full with New Orleans’ No. 3 rush defense. The Niners will be seeking a playoff berth clinch with a win and a Rams loss later in the day. — Mike Triplett
Bold prediction: The 49ers will sack Brees at least four times. The Saints have allowed only 21 sacks this season, sixth in the NFL, but they are dealing with injuries to left tackle Terron Armstead and left guard Andrus Peat. The Niners, meanwhile, have 45 sacks, second most in the NFL, and should be looking forward to getting after a quarterback who isn’t as mobile as Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson. — Nick Wagoner
Stat to know: According to ESPN’s pass coverage metrics powered by NFL Next Gen Stats, the 49ers use zone defense more than any other team, doing so on 69% of opposition dropbacks. And Brees has completed 80% of his pass attempts when faced with zone coverage this season, the best rate in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks. But he has thrown one touchdown and three interceptions against that scheme.
What to know for fantasy: The 49ers are top-three in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, tight ends and kickers. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: San Francisco is 4-0 against the spread (ATS) and 3-1 outright as an underdog this season. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is 7-3 outright and 8-2 ATS as an underdog in his career (6-3 outright and 7-2 ATS with San Francisco). Read more.
Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 27, Saints 20
Triplett’s pick: Saints 19, 49ers 17
FPI prediction: NO, 53.7% (by an average of 1.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: DE Jordan’s sack surge has Saints believing ’20 is attainable’ … 49ers’ Mostert proves he’s more than a special-teams dynamo … LB Warner’s cerebral approach at the heart of 49ers’ defense
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 84.3 | Spread: BAL -6 (44)
What to watch for: Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards (977 yards), while Bills QB Josh Allen leads all quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns (eight). Combined, the signal-callers’ 1,405 rushing yards entering Sunday’s game marks the most by opposing quarterbacks in NFL history. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Bold prediction: Mark Ingram II, not Jackson, will lead the Ravens in rushing. Since Week 8, Buffalo has allowed the NFL’s fourth-most rushing yards in between the tackles (530), and Baltimore has gained the most (718). Ingram does most of his damage with physical running inside. — Jamison Hensley
Stat to know: As it stands, the Ravens own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Patriots for the top spot in the conference and hold a 69% chance to earn the AFC’s No. 1 seed, per FPI. The Ravens would clinch a playoff berth with a win Sunday, and they could even lock up the AFC North with a win and a Steelers loss. The Bills, meanwhile, can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a trio of losses from the Raiders, Texans and Colts.
What to know for fantasy: Jackson’s athleticism generates the highlights, but he is leading the league in fantasy points per pass attempt this season. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Jackson is 7-1-1 ATS on the road in his career, including 3-0-1 as a favorite. Read more.
Hensley’s pick: Ravens 24, Bills 16
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 21, Ravens 17
FPI prediction: BAL, 71.7% (by an average of 7.7 points)
Matchup must-reads: Greg Roman’s wisecracking rise from high school coach to Ravens’ offensive guru … Where there’s ‘Smoke’: John Brown bringing fire to Bills’ offense … Pope Francis gifted custom Ravens jersey signed by Lamar Jackson
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 56.4 | Spread: TB -3 (47.5)
What to watch for: With the Buccaneers and Colts featuring two of the better run-stopping defenses in the league, this game will likely boil down to who can sling it better: Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston or Indy’s Jacoby Brissett. — Jenna Laine
Bold prediction: The Colts will rush for more than 160 yards for the sixth time this season despite Tampa being second in the NFL when it comes to stopping the run (76.3 yards allowed per game). Running the football gives Indianapolis its best chance to end a two-game losing streak, because it doesn’t have the offensive weapons to go toe-to-toe with a Tampa offense that’s averaging 28.3 points per game. — Mike Wells
Stat to know: The Colts had a 73% chance to make the playoffs coming off their Week 8 win over the Broncos, per FPI. But they have since lost four of their past five games and now have a 12% chance. They have committed 11 turnovers during this span — tied with the Buccaneers for most in the NFL — and Brissett has posted a 40.9 QBR, which ranks 27th out of 34 qualified quarterbacks since Week 8.
What to know for fantasy: Winston leads the league in points per completion this season and faces the fourth-worst defense in terms of opponent completion percentage this week. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Tampa Bay is 0-5 ATS at home this season (1-4 outright), and its past four home games went over the total. And last week snapped a streak of nine straight Tampa Bay games going over the total, regardless of location. Read more.
Victor Cruz says the firepower of Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton will lead the Colts over the Buccaneers.
Wells’ pick: Buccaneers 28, Colts 27
Laine’s pick: Buccaneers 28, Colts 24
FPI prediction: TB, 59.1% (by an average of 3.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Brissett hasn’t been able to overcome Colts’ injury dilemma … Arians noncommittal on Winston as Buccaneers’ QB after 2019 … Keeping DE Barrett will be pricey, but Bucs can’t afford to let him go
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 52.4 | Spread: MIN -13 (43.5)
What to watch for: Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook says he’ll be ready to go despite dealing with a chest injury he aggravated twice in Seattle. But if Cook is ruled out or is on a pitch count, expect a breakout game from rookie Alexander Mattison, who has shown he’s fully capable and ready to shoulder a starter’s workload. — Courtney Cronin
Bold prediction: Lions quarterback David Blough is sacked seven times Sunday, bringing back memories of last year when the Vikings sacked Matthew Stafford 10 times. Blough was fun to watch on Thanksgiving, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer knows how to scheme against quarterbacks, and the Lions. — Michael Rothstein
Stat to know: Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes has allowed the highest percent of completions among defensive backs when he is the nearest defender this season (84%), according to NFL Next Gen Stats data. Oakland’s Lamarcus Joyner is the second-worst at 73%, more than 10 percentage points better.
Betting nugget: Minnesota is 34-14 ATS as a single-digit favorite under Mike Zimmer, including 24-7 ATS at home. Read more.
Rothstein’s pick: Vikings 31, Lions 17
Cronin’s pick: Vikings 37, Lions 20
FPI prediction: MIN, 83.3% (by an average of 12.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Vikings need to find a fix or be doomed for early playoff exit … Ex-Lion questions whether players want to fight for coach Matt Patricia … Unfazed by back injury, Lions’ Stafford eyes ‘long’ career
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 51.4 | Spread: HOU -9.5 (43)
What to watch for: Can Drew Lock beat the Texans? Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is 11-1 with Houston against rookie quarterbacks, the only loss coming to then-Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett. If Lock wins, he will be the first Broncos quarterback to win his first two career starts with the team since Trevor Siemian in 2016. — Sarah Barshop
Bold prediction: The Broncos will run the ball more than 30 times and top 150 yards doing it. Since Houston defensive end J.J. Watt went on injured reserve Oct. 30, the Texans have surrendered at least 145 yards rushing in three of their past four games. — Jeff Legwold
Stat to know: Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins has five receptions in 15 consecutive games, the longest such streak in Texans history.
Betting nugget: Lock is making his second career start for Denver after covering last week. Quarterbacks within their first two career starts are 15-4 ATS this season (7-2 ATS in second start). Read more.
Legwold’s pick: Texans 24, Broncos 16
Barshop’s pick: Texans 27, Broncos 13
FPI prediction: HOU, 80.2% (by an average of 11.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: Drewcember? Lock needs to develop, earn title of Broncos’ QB of future … Texans’ second-chance secondary jelling just in time for playoff run … Broncos: 19K no-shows and the cruel side of history on the horizon … Inside the Texans’ trick play that helped beat the Patriots
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 46.5 | Spread: GB -13 (41.5)
What to watch for: If the Packers’ defense can’t get right against the Redskins, then there’s real trouble in Green Bay. The Packers have allowed the most plays of 40-plus yards (16 total, 14 passes and two runs) this season, while the Redskins’ offense has just six such plays (tied for 22nd in the league). — Rob Demovsky
Bold prediction: Redskins running back Derrius Guice will top 100 yards for a second consecutive game vs. a defense that allows 4.7 yards per rush — but the Packers will apply heat on rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Their various looks up front will cause problems and result in ex-Redskin Preston Smith recording two more sacks and Haskins throwing an interception. — John Keim
Stat to know: With some help from Guice, the Redskins have averaged 121.9 rushing yards per game under Bill Callahan from Weeks 6-13 (10th in the NFL) after averaging 68.8 under Jay Gruden from Weeks 1-5 (27th).
Betting nugget: Washington has won back-to-back games outright as an underdog, including last week as a 10.5-point underdog against Carolina. Since 2000, teams coming off a win as a double-digit underdog are 28-47-3 ATS. Read more.
Keim’s pick: Packers 28, Redskins 16
Demovsky’s pick: Packers 30, Redskins 17
FPI prediction: GB, 90.3% (by an average of 17.3 points)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 39.9 | Spread: ATL -3 (47)
What to watch for: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan stands just 34 passing yards away from becoming the 10th quarterback to reach 50,000 passing yards. It would be nice if he reaches that with a pass to Julio Jones, who needs just 50 yards for his sixth-consecutive 1,000-yard season. — Vaughn McClure
Bold prediction: Panthers QB Kyle Allen, who had four interceptions in a 29-3 loss to the Falcons in Charlotte, will not have a turnover and will throw three touchdown passes in Carolina’s first game since firing head coach Ron Rivera. — David Newton
Stat to know: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey has six straight games with 100 scrimmage yards, tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history with DeAngelo Williams (McCaffrey had an eight-game streak last season). But the Panthers’ run defense hasn’t been as stellar. Their 5.3 yards per rush allowed this season are the second most through 12 games since the 1970 merger (1976 Chiefs, 5.4).
What to know for fantasy: The Falcons have won the past four games against the Panthers in Atlanta, and Ryan has averaged 24.7 fantasy points in those games. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Atlanta is 7-1 ATS and outright in the past eight meetings, including winning and covering four straight. Ryan is 9-2 ATS at home against Carolina in his career. Read more.
Rob Ninkovich is going with Matt Ryan and the Falcons against the Panthers.
Newton’s pick: Falcons 31, Panthers 27
McClure’s pick: Falcons 24, Panthers 21
FPI prediction: ATL, 67.8% (by an average of 6.2 points)
Matchup must-reads: Fixing the Falcons starts with protecting, sacking the quarterback … Panthers players feel like they lost more than a coach in Rivera … Fired Panthers coach Rivera says he ‘absolutely’ plans to coach again
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 33.4 | Spread: CLE -7.5 (41.5)
What to watch for: How motivated will the Browns be coming off the devastating loss to Pittsburgh, which destroyed their playoff chances? The home crowd won’t be patient if Cleveland shows up sleepwalking against an inferior opponent. — Jake Trotter
Bold prediction: Cleveland receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. will have 150 combined receiving yards and two touchdowns. Cincinnati’s emphasis on stopping the run should allow Cleveland’s passing attack a chance to have a good day. — Ben Baby
Stat to know: Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is 2-0 with seven touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 94 Total QBR in his career against the Bengals. But not to be outdone, Bengals again-starter Andy Dalton has won four straight games in Cleveland (eight scores, one interception in those games).
What to know for fantasy: Receiver John Ross III was activated this week for Cincinnati and brings with him a wide range of outcomes. In his first two games this season, he racked up 56 fantasy points. In his other two games? 8.8 fantasy points. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Over the past 15 seasons, teams 1-6 or worse coming off their first wins of the season are 14-5 ATS. Earlier this season, 1-7 Miami upset Indianapolis outright as an 11-point underdog one week after its first win. Read more.
Baby’s pick: Browns 24, Bengals 21
Trotter’s pick: Browns 24, Bengals 20
FPI prediction: CLE, 77.3% (by an average of 10.0 points)
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 12.0 | Spread: NYJ -5 (46)
What to watch for: The Dolphins have allowed 109 points in their past three games, so the Jets should be able to rebound from last week’s disaster. New York’s secondary, likely without safety Jamal Adams (ankle), will have to figure out a way to cool off Miami QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, though. The Jets have dropped four straight to Miami, sparking “revenge” talk in their locker room. — Rich Cimini
Bold prediction: Fitzpatrick will throw for more than 300 yards for the second consecutive game. Fitzpatrick is coming off his best game of the season vs. Philadelphia, and he gets a Jets defense that could be without three of their top five defensive backs, including Adams. — Cameron Wolfe
Stat to know: Since taking over as starter in Week 7, Fitzpatrick has the third-most passing yards in the NFL (1,831) and fourth-best QBR (68.9). And he has won his past three starts against the Jets.
Betting nugget: New York is 1-5 ATS and outright as a favorite over the past two seasons, including 0-3 this season. Read more.
Wolfe’s pick: Dolphins 26, Jets 24
Cimini’s pick: Jets 31, Dolphins 27
FPI prediction: NYJ, 71.7% (by an average of 7.6 points)
4:05 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 32.2 | Spread: LAC -3 (43)
What to watch for: The Jaguars did a solid job against the run last week against the Buccaneers, but Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler present a much tougher test for a defense giving up 137 yards per game on the ground (28th in the NFL). Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has destroyed the Jaguars in his career, but he’s struggling a bit this season. — Mike DiRocco
Bold prediction: Chargers receiver Mike Williams will score a touchdown Sunday. After reaching the end zone 11 times last season, Williams has yet to score in 2019. However, he’s made some amazing, clutch catches in late-game situations for the Chargers, and he currently leads the league with an average of 20.5 yards per catch. — Eric D. Williams
Stat to know: Los Angeles is seeking to avoid its first four-game losing streak since the 2017 season, when it started the season 0-4. All eight of the Chargers’ losses this season have come by seven or fewer points. But the Jaguars are amid their own four-game losing streak, during which their offense ranks last in the NFL at 11.8 points per game.
Betting nugget: Los Angeles is 1-5 outright as a single-digit favorite this season (0-5-1 ATS), including 0-2 outright as a road favorite. Read more.
Victor Cruz and Rob Ninkovich expect Philip Rivers to have a big game to lift the Chargers over the Jaguars.
Williams’ pick: Jaguars 20, Chargers 18
DiRocco’s pick: Chargers 28, Jaguars 24
FPI prediction: LAC, 53.6% (by an average of 1.3 points)
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 96.3 | Spread: NE -3 (48.5)
What to watch for: After running for 176 yards in last season’s AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs, which came after rushing for 173 yards against them in the 2018 regular season, the Patriots could lean again toward more of a ground-based approach — even though the Chiefs have a completely different defensive scheme under first-year coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Pats would clinch a playoff berth with a win, while the Chiefs can lock up the AFC West with a win and a Raiders loss. — Mike Reiss
Bold prediction: The Chiefs will intercept Tom Brady twice. Kansas City has six interceptions in its past two games, albeit against struggling quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Derek Carr. Brady is an upgrade in competition, but the Chiefs are on a roll defensively. — Adam Teicher
Stat to know: In his past two games, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has completed 56% of his passes, well below the percentage an average QB would have completed (68%), according to NFL Next Gen Stats data. He’ll need to right the ship fast with the Patriots’ defense on deck; it has allowed a completion percentage of just 55% this season, the best in the NFL and the best by any team through 12 games since 2012 (three teams).
Betting nugget: New England is 1-4 ATS against teams that entered with winning records this season. New England did not score more than 22 points in any of those games. Read more.
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 27, Patriots 24
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 27, Chiefs 24
FPI prediction: NE, 59.7% (by an average of 3.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: Chiefs know legacies are built by beating the Patriots … Belichick, Brady, big wins and bigger expectations: Inside the Patriot Way … On the verge of history, Travis Kelce is the one constant for the Chiefs … Patriots-Chiefs rematch evokes best victories of New England’s dynasty … Running game might again be the key for Patriots vs. Chiefs
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 38.5 | Spread: TEN -3 (47)
What to watch for: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is 3-0 against Tennessee, passing for 841 yards with five touchdowns and one interception while completing 64.4% of his passes. All of those games have been in Nashville, so the friendly confines of the Black Hole should also serve as a boost for Carr against the Titans. — Paul Gutierrez
Bold prediction: Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill will finish with 300 passing yards against the Raiders’ pass defense, which allows 258.2 yards per game. Tannehill’s arm will be the deciding factor for the Titans in their road win. — Turron Davenport
Stat to know: Since Week 7, the Raiders have allowed 23 offensive touchdowns (second worst in the NFL) and 162 first downs (worst). And the Titans are tied for second in red zone efficiency during their current three-game winning streak.
What to know for fantasy: Tennessee running back Derrick Henry has 13 rushing touchdowns and six runs of 30-plus yards over his past eight November/December games (168 carries). Over that same stretch, the preseason “Big Four” running backs (Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott) have 13 rushing scores and six runs of 30-plus yards (507 carries). See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: All six of Tannehill’s starts have gone over the total. He is 4-1-1 ATS this season. Read more.
Davenport’s pick: Titans 24, Raiders 17
Gutierrez’s pick: Raiders 23, Titans 21
FPI prediction: TEN, 53.4% (by an average of 1.2 points)
Matchup must-reads: Tannehill playing his way into Titans’ long-term QB considerations … Can Raiders right themselves at the quarter-pole after consecutive blowouts? … Raiders RB Jacobs playing through shoulder fracture
4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 22.7 | Spread: PIT -2.5 (43.5)
What to watch for: The Cardinals will be playing what could feel like a road game in their own stadium because of how many Steelers fans live in Arizona or will travel for the game. That will play a major factor Sunday and likely cause the Cardinals to go with a silent count and struggle. — Josh Weinfuss
Bold prediction: The Steelers’ tight ends will outscore the Cardinals. Arizona is notoriously bad at defending tight ends, making this a prime game for both Vance McDonald and Nick Vannett. — Brooke Pryor
Stat to know: The Cardinals have lost five straight games, but quarterback Kyler Murray has been a bright spot. He has four games this season with 300 passing yards. One more such game would give him the second most by a rookie since the 1970 merger.
Betting nugget: Since quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, Pittsburgh is 6-2-2 ATS, and the under is 8-2 in those games. Read more.
Pryor’s pick: Steelers 27, Cardinals 13
Weinfuss’ pick: Steelers 24, Cardinals 21
FPI prediction: ARI, 53.3% (by an average of 1.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Steelers QB Hodges, WR Washington translate hunting friendship to on-field connection … QB Murray ‘disgusted’ by blowout loss to Rams … OT Villanueva supports special forces for ‘My Cause My Cleats’ … How will Murray rebound from worst defeat of his life?
8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 75.7 | Spread: LAR -1 (46.5)
What to watch for: When these teams met in Week 5, the Seahawks won 30-29. The Seahawks are 9-1 in one-score games this season, and Sunday’s game is likely to be another thriller, with the Seahawks trying to earn home-field advantage in the playoffs and the Rams needing a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. A win for Seattle secures a playoff berth. — Lindsey Thiry
Bold prediction: Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny will find the end zone again. No longer buried behind Chris Carson the way he was for most of his first season and a half, Penny has seen a near-even split in playing time with Carson over the past two weeks. — Brady Henderson
Stat to know: Rams quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams aren’t using the play-action pass much this season. They’ve used it on 28% of their plays after leading the league at 36% last year.
Victor Cruz and Rob Ninkovich expect the Seahawks to have no issues against the Rams on Sunday night.
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 24, Rams 23
Thiry’s pick: Seahawks 21, Rams 17
FPI prediction: LAR, 57.2% (by an average of 2.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: How Rams’ McVay is handling his biggest challenge yet … Seahawks in first place in the NFC West after latest white-knuckle win … Rams’ resilience must be proved over tough four-game span
What to watch for: The Eagles are 0-3 since losing Jordan Howard in Week 9 to a shoulder stinger, and he has still not been cleared for contact. Coach Doug Pederson hasn’t been as trusting of his ground game in Howard’s absence, though Miles Sanders‘ clear development as a runner in recent weeks should change that. Expect a heavy dose of the rookie on Monday night. — Tim McManus
Bold prediction: Sanders out rushes his close friend and former Penn State teammate Saquon Barkley. Sanders is coming off a career-best 83 yards rushing and 17 carries against the Dolphins. Barkley also had 83 yards rushing last week against the Packers, but the Giants have struggled to run the ball, and it was his best output since Week 2. — Jordan Raanan
Stat to know: Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has a 15-game streak with a passing touchdown, tied for the longest active streak in the NFL with Russell Wilson. And Wentz has a 4-1 record against Eli Manning, with four being his most wins vs. another starting QB.
What to know for fantasy: Barkley does not have a rush gaining more than 27 yards since ripping off a 59-yarder in Week 1. The top overall pick in fantasy drafts this summer has failed to score in four straight games and is averaging just 4.0 yards per carry this season (5.0 as a rookie). See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Road teams are 19-11-1 ATS on Monday Night Football in the past two seasons, including covering seven of the past eight. Read more.
Raanan’s pick: Eagles 33, Giants 18
McManus’ pick: Eagles 24, Giants 20
FPI prediction: PHI, 83.4% (by an average of 12.9 points)
Published at Fri, 06 Dec 2019 12:45:12 +0000