- Who will win out between the reeling Ravens and Browns in a pivotal AFC North clash?
- Can the Bills get back on track against the Buccaneers?
- Last week’s picks went 2-0, winning us 3.83 units and returning our season total to +11.92 (16-18 record)
Well that’s more like it! After some crappy showings, our upset picks bounced back with a pair of wins in Week 13.
After looking at the NFL’s Week 14 lines, I want to continue the theme of bouncing back, by jumping on three teams coming off losses in Week 13. Will they also be able to turn things around, or will the theme of next week’s picks be crippling disappointment? Let’s find out!
NFL Week 14 Upset Picks
|Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns||CLE -2.5||+124||Ravens||1.25|
|Buffalo Bills vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB -3.5||+150||Bills||1.25|
|New York Giants vs Los Angeles Chargers||LAC -10||+360||Giants||0.5|
Ravens Romp Browns
In yet another huge AFC North matchup (is there one of these every week now?) the Cleveland Browns are 2.5-point favorites over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Browns are in a rare spot, playing the Ravens back-to-back games with their bye week in between. Even with all that extra time to correct their errors from Week 12, it appears Cleveland will continue to make one very correctable mistake: starting a banged-up Baker Mayfield.
The Browns’ run game was completely stymied by the Ravens in their first meeting, limited to just 40 yards on the ground. Hope of things turning around after the bye were dampened by news that Jack Conklin is gone for the season. Add in the fact that Jedrick Wills Jr. has been battling an ankle injury all season and this once vaunted line is starting to show cracks.
Mayfield will need to make throws to win this game. Granted, if ever there was a time to throw on the Ravens, it’s this week. The secondary that lost Marcus Peters before the year has now lost Marlon Humphrey as well, and the lack of corner depth is impacting Baltimore’s decision-making.
John Harbaugh on the decision to go for 2: "Tried to win the game right there. We were out of corners at that point in time [Marlon Humphrey injured – getting MRI]. It was an opportunity to try to win the game right there."
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) December 6, 2021
The Ravens offense has been in a funk of their own lately. Baltimore hasn’t topped 20 points since Week 9 as defenses keep following the Dolphins’ blueprint and blitzing Lamar Jackson like mad. The Ravens have yet to find consistent success in those situations.
Need to see decisions like this MUCH more from Lamar. 6 defenders on LOS & all come.
Duv and Watkins both looking for ball after slot DB blitz from their side of field.
Lamar looks right, then works back to Watkins and fires with defender in his face. pic.twitter.com/uz7IItBPU7
— Raven Up (@RavenUpPod) December 7, 2021
Still, when you have two reeling teams going head to head, and the better coach and quarterback are getting points, that’s seems like an easy decision. The Browns haven’t beaten the Ravens in their last four meetings. Look for Baltimore to run it to five.
Bills Beat Brady
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 3.5-point favorites over the Buffalo Bills in a matchup many had slated for Super Bowl 56 before the season.
Prognosticators can’t be feeling as good about the Buffalo side of that equation now. The Bills lost their grip on the AFC East in an ugly game where their struggles stopping the run were on full display.
— NFL (@NFL) December 7, 2021
While insane winds and snow may not be Bills weather for this 2021 team, they won’t have to worry about that this week in Tampa. Josh Allen has also thrived in his last three trips to Miami, throwing nine TDs to just one interception. That South Florida success should continue against a Buccaneers secondary that is still not back to full strength.
Bruce Arians ruled S Jordan Whitehead out after practice and now the injury report shows four other Bucs as questionable: WR Jaelon Darden, CB Jamel Dean, DL Will Gholston and C Ryan Jensen. https://t.co/lnLwRUEhHN
— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 10, 2021
No matter the weather, the Bills still need to figure out how to stop the Bucs’ power running game with Leonard Fournette. Considering they just spent all week hearing how soft they are, a failure to do so won’t be from lack of motivation.
Buffalo Bills' safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde were not happy after a reporter asked if Monday's loss to the New England Patriots was "embarrassing." pic.twitter.com/f3Y33HeXAD
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 7, 2021
This is a crossroads for both Buffalo and bettors. The underlying numbers say the Bills should probably have had some better luck, from their ability to break tackles to their pass rush. They’re 0-4 in one-score games and Tom Brady has owned this franchise.
Something has to give here: perhaps it’s Buffalo’s Super Bowl hopes? Personally, I remain optimistic.
Giant Upset in LA
Despite COVID-19 hitting their receiver room hard, the Los Angeles Chargers are 10.5-point favorites over the New York Giants.
Keenan Allen has already been ruled out, but it appears Mike Williams still has a shot at playing. We won’t know officially until this is already published.
Chargers WR Mike Williams, a Covid-19 close contact, continues to test negative, I'm told, so L.A. remains optimistic that he will play Sunday vs. the Giants. CB Chris Harris is in the same boat.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 10, 2021
This year, we’ve already capitalized on a New York underdog playing a receiver-less team and this could be another opportunity here. Granted, the Chargers at least have homefield in this spot (for whatever that’s worth) but I still think the Giants D should hold up well here. After all, they’ve been playing well against healthier opponents tough too.
Since week 7, the Giants defense is allowing pass plays of 20+ yards at the lowest rate in the NFL. They are also 5th in the NFL in turnover rate on defense this year
Xavier McKinney has been a huge part of stopping the big play AND forcing so many TO’s
— Justin Penik (@JustinPenik) December 1, 2021
The question is whether Jake Fromm and the offense can deliver enough points for the outright win. Considering I’m only sprinkling half a unit on this, I’m clearly not that confident in this Freddie Kitchens’ bunch. But considering the Chargers struggles against the run remain, maybe this will the be the game that convinces the Giants to give Saquon Barkley way too much money?
“That’s not even something that’s crossing my mind”
Saquon Barkley on his contract pic.twitter.com/L7PTVNgnvX
— Talkin’ Giants (@TalkinGiants) June 9, 2021
The Chargers are just 1-4 ATS as a home favorite of a field goal or more this season, so if you don’t join me on the moneyline, at least look at the Giants on spread.