NFL Week 14 Predictions
We roll into the homestretch of the 2018 football season with just four weeks remaining in the regular season. In Week 14 we have a trio of picks that we’ll be playing starting with a total play on the BAL/KC game and against the spread picks on the ATL/GB and PHI/DAL contests.
In week 13 I took it on the chin with a 1-2 ATS record winning with the Ravens beat down of the Falcons, but dropping the Panthers pick with Newton tossing four INTs and the Steelers after a fluke TD catch by the Chargers changed the momentum.
Week 2: 3-1, Week 3: 2-1, Week 4: 2-1, Week 5: 2-1, Week 6: 1-3, Week 7: 0-3, Week 8: 2-0, Week 9: 2-1, Week 10: 1-1, Week 11: 2-2, Week 12: 4-1, Week 13: 1-2
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
Spread: Chiefs -6.5
Kansas City has lost only two games this season, both were on the road, and both were by just three points. At home, they have been a perfect 5-0 straight up, and 3-2 versus the points spread dropping their last two. Baltimore has had mixed results on the road beating Atlanta, Tennessee, and Pittsburgh, but losing to Carolina and Cincinnati by double digits.
The Chiefs in their first game without released starting RB Kareem Hunt appeared to not miss a beat in the running game rushing for 174 yards on 30 carries. However, they were playing the Raiders with the 31st ranked rushing defense, and the leading rusher was Patrick Mahomes with 52 yards. Hunt’s replacement starting RB Spencer Ware didn't impress running for 47 yards on 14 carries and now will be facing to take on the Ravens third-ranked run defense.
The Chiefs averaged 37 points per game on the season and 34 points per game at home failing to score at least 30 points in just two games this season. Cam Newton was able to run against the Baltimore defense, and I think if QB Patrick Mahomes decides to take off like last week the yardage will likely be there. I also expect TE Travis Kelce to have a big day. Baltimore has struggled all season to hold TE’s in check allowing 62.75 yards per game and to make matters worse they are expected to be without strong safety Tony Jefferson who would be responsible for Kelce in most coverage schemes.
Baltimore has been running over opponents in the three starts that Lamar Jackson has been behind center rambling for 265 yards against Cincinnati, 242 against Oakland and 207 versus Atlanta. The Chiefs run defense ranks near the middle of the pack in rushing yards allowed per game but are 31st in yards per carry.
The Ravens certainly can’t be considered an elite offense especially with QB Lamar Jackson’s deficiencies in the passing game, but they have averaged 28 points per game in his three starts with a low of 24 and can easily reach that number against the Chiefs’ challenged unit. Kansas City has allowed just 18 points per game at home this season, but their opponents included the pop gun offenses of the Jaguars and Cardinals to skew the numbers.
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers
Spread: Packers -3.5
Two ice cold teams meet on the tundra of Lambeau Field in Week 14. The Falcons have lost four straight, and the Packers have lost five of their last six beating only the Dolphins with a backup QB. The running game has been the problem for both squads ranking near the bottom in run defense.
Green Bay is a bit better on the other side of the ball ranking 20th in RYPG, but they are really banged up on the offensive line and may be missing their right side of the line with RT Bryan Bulaga doubtful and RG Byron Bell questionable to be able to exploit their opponent's dubious unit.
The Falcons haven’t been able to run all season surpassing 100 yards just two times in 12 games this season but have gotten it down through the air with the fifth best passing offense in yards per game 299 and a solid 8.2 yards per attempt to rank 8th in that category. The Packers themselves are listed just below Atlanta in PYPG with 275, but the yards per attempt is a mediocre 7.6. Defensively, Green Bay has done a good job against the pass ranking 6th in the league and does hold the advantage, but Atlanta has been able to pass on basically anyone throwing for over 300 yards in seven of their last nine games excluding previous week's dismal effort.
The firing of Mike McCarthy may have the team fired up, but in my opinion, the better team is the Falcons and to get the field goal plus the hook the value id on the road team here.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Spread: Cowboys -3 -120
The Eagles are 4-5 in their last nine games beating the NY Giants twice, a beat-up Jacksonville team missing Fournette and underrated starting CB A.J. Bouye and Washington last week with a third string QB. Dallas has won four straight including a 27-20 victory on the road over Philadelphia to begin the streak. The Cowboys defense has been a bright spot even after losing what many consider their best defensive player Sean Lee. The Eagles are getting healthier on offense and may step up here, but the Cowboys have been excellent at home this season with a 5-1 mark and that game last week was surely impressive, and they may get back starting Left tackle Tyron Smith to boost their offensive line. The line move down to a field goal at many books has me backing the host.