Week 14 of the 2021 NFL season is here, and we’re getting closer and closer to the playoffs. The race for the 7th seed is still wide open in both the NFC and AFC, while the competition for seeding at the top remains as fierce as ever. This week features a solid Thursday Night Football outing between the Steelers and Vikings, before getting to some awesome matchups on Sunday and Monday: Bills at Bucs and Rams at Cardinals stand out, in particular.
I had a very important bounce-back performance in Week 13, going 9-5 in my picks. That gives me some breathing room above .500 once again at 52-47-1 on my shortened pick season. Let’s see if I can keep that winning streak going with another strong performance in Week 14.
Thursday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1) at Minnesota Vikings (5-7)
The pick: Vikings (-160)
Spread: Vikings -3 | Over/Under: 43.5 | Moneyline: Vikings -160, Steelers +140
This NFL season continues to baffle, with both of these teams being on the end of surprising outcomes last week. The Steelers managed to pull off the upset over the Ravens, who (correctly) went for the win at the end of the game but didn’t succeed. Meanwhile, the hot-and-cold Vikings continued that stretch by blowing a game to the previously-winless Lions. This isn’t an easy one to pick, but I’m going with the Vikings in a bounce-back performance.
Dallas Cowboys (8-4) at Washington Football Team (6-6)
The pick: Cowboys (-200)
Spread: Cowboys -4.5 | Over/Under: 47.5 | Moneyline: Cowboys -200, WFT +170
A suddenly-interesting NFC East matchup awaits—and I’m shocked it wasn’t instantly flexed into primetime. The Cowboys had a rough November, but bounced back with a victory over the Saints last week. Meanwhile, Washington remains a frisky and fun team who can upset anyone but also lose to anyone. I think this has the potential to be a sneaky-good game, but I’m taking the Cowboys to win it in the end.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) at Tennessee Titans (8-4)
The pick: Titans (-425)
Spread: Titans -8.5 | Over/Under: 43.5 | Moneyline: Titans -425, Jaguars +320
The Titans are reeling from a string of offensive injuries and a tough loss at the hands of the Patriots, but they get an opportunity to right the ship here against the lowly Jaguars in Week 14. While Tennessee is far from full strength, they should still be able to handle Jacksonville.
Seattle Seahawks (4-8) at Houston Texans (2-10)
The pick: Seahawks (-350)
Spread: Seahawks -7.5 | Over/Under: 41 | Moneyline: Seahawks -350, Texans +270
Seattle got their first win since Week 8 with an upset of the 49ers. While this is still a deeply-flawed Seahawks team, they get to play the Texans on Sunday. Houston has occasionally looked frisky, but I ultimately believe Russell Wilson wills this team to victory.
Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
The pick: Chiefs (-450)
Spread: Chiefs -9.5 | Over/Under: 47.5 | Moneyline: Chiefs -450, Raiders +340
While Kansas City still hasn’t reclaimed their explosive offensive of old, they’ve managed to play consistently-winning football again and are in the midst of a five-game winning streak. The Chiefs now get a rematch against the Raiders, a team that they victimized a few weeks back for over 40 points. I’m not sure KC gets above 40 again, but I think they handle Las Vegas at home.
New Orleans Saints (5-7) at New York Jets (3-9)
The pick: Saints (-235)
Spread: Saints -5 | Over/Under: 42.5 | Moneyline: Saints -235, Jets +190
My kiss of death has worked three weeks in a row, and I see no reason to stop the train now. This week New Orleans is actually favored, although the opponent is the Jets. In honesty, the Saints should be able to handle New York—but the Jets have quietly been looking better on offense in recent weeks, and Taysom Hill did just toss four picks.
Atlanta Falcons (5-7) at Carolina Panthers (5-7)
The pick: Falcons (+115)
Spread: Panthers -2.5 | Over/Under: 42 | Moneyline: Panthers -130, Falcons +110
The Falcons are fresh off another loss where their offense fell to pieces, and now they face a dominant pass rush in the Panthers. However, Carolina is in turmoil on offense as well: the team just made the puzzling decision to fire OC Joe Brady, and new starting QB Cam Newton had an extremely rough outing as a passer before the bye. It’s tough to know what to expect from the Panthers, but I think we’ll see a lot of rushing attempts. I believe the Falcons eke out another close one on the road, where they’ve played much better this year.
Baltimore Ravens (8-4) at Cleveland Browns (6-6)
The pick: Ravens (+120)
Spread: Browns -2.5 | Over/Under: 42 | Moneyline: Browns -140, Ravens +120
The Ravens went bold and tried for the win against the Steelers on a two-point conversion at the end of the game, and I liked the decision despite costing them the tie. Overtime is a total crapshoot, and I’d rather control my own fate with one play—so good on them. This week, Baltimore faces a hot-and-cold Browns team on the road. These AFC North battles can be tough to predict, but I like the Ravens as an underdog here.
New York Giants (4-8) at Los Angeles Chargers (7-5)
The pick: Chargers (-520)
Spread: Chargers -10.5 | Over/Under: 44 | Moneyline: Chargers -520, Giants +385
There’s a chance this game could’ve been spicy, what with the Chargers propensity for blowing games and the Giants propensity for delivering better than expected. But with Daniel Jones out and the entire offense banged up, Los Angeles gets New York at the perfect time.
Detroit Lions (1-10-1) at Denver Broncos (6-6)
The pick: Broncos (-350)
Spread: Broncos -7.5 | Over/Under: 42 | Moneyline: Broncos -350, Lions +270
The Lions finally got that elusive first win, and against a division rival no less. What happens now in Detroit? Do the players stay bought in with basically nothing to play for, or do we see some malaise set in? Time will tell, but another lopsided matchup could await this week against the Broncos. Denver has been riding the hot hand of rookie RB Javonte Williams, and Detroit has allowed over 130 yards per game on the ground. Broncos should handle this one...but I said that about the Vikings last week.
San Francisco 49ers (6-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
The pick: Bengals (+105)
Spread: 49ers -1.5 | Over/Under: 49 | Moneyline: 49ers -125, Bengals +105
Here we see a matchup between two of the most high-variance teams in the NFL, and I have to pick the winner. The Bengals are capable of laying waste to opponents, or laying an egg. San Francisco is largely the same, though they tend to save most of their bad games for their home stadium. I’ll take Cincinnati in a bounce-back game.
Buffalo Bills (7-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)
The pick: Bills +150
Spread: Bucs -3.5 | Over/Under: 53.5 | Moneyline: Bucs -170, Bills +150
One of the top games of the week, the Bills travel down to Tampa Bay to take on the reigning Super Bowl champs. Buffalo got the worst possible draw on Monday: a bad-weather game against the ground-and-pound offense of the Patriots. Weather shouldn’t be nearly as much of an issue in Tampa Bay, where the Bucs remain vulnerable on defense and not quite at full strength on offense. I’ll take Buffalo in a surprise upset here.
Sunday Night Football: Chicago Bears (4-8) at Green Bay Packers (9-3)
The pick: Packers (-650)
Spread: Packers -12.5 | Over/Under: 43.5 | Moneyline: Packers -650, Bears +460
The biggest spread of the week awaits on Sunday Night Football, where the Packers are expected to dominate the Bears. In positive news, Chicago’s offense should be more watchable with Justin Fields back at the helm. But aside from that, you expect Green Bay to take total control of this one.
Monday Night Football: Los Angeles Rams (8-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-2)
The pick: Cardinals (-125)
Spread: Cardinals -1.5 | Over/Under: 51 | Moneyline: Cardinals -125, Rams +105
The Cardinals are back to full health with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, and they got to knock the rust off last week against the Bears. That sets up an awesome MNF matchup with the division rival Rams in a game that could have massive implications for the playoff seeding in the NFC. Los Angeles handled the Jaguars easily last week, but they’ve looked very vulnerable against good teams. I think the Cardinals might be the most well-rounded team in the league, and that’s why I’m picking them here.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.