John Halpin's Week 14 NFL Picks
6 Dec, 2017 by John Halpin
While watching NFL RedZone on Sunday, I saw Texans QB Tom Savage throw an interception in the end zone with just over a minute remaining, sealing a 17-13 loss. “Nice job,” I thought to myself. “They covered the spread.”
About an hour later, I saw TITANS 24, TEXANS 13 scroll across my screen. What. The. Hell? On the third play after the pick, with the Titans trying to run out the clock, Derrick Henry took off for a meaningless 75-yard touchdown. Thanks for the late collapse, Texans. I won’t forget this.
On to the Week 14 picks, with selections being both straight up and against the spread unless noted otherwise. If you have any questions, catch me on Twitter (@jhalpin37).
(Home team in CAPS.)
Week 13 records: 10-6 SU, 10-6 ATS
Overall: 119-73 SU, 95-89 ATS
FALCONS (+2) over Saints
This line opened at four points, which looked high for what should be a closely contested divisional game. The Saints are the better team, but probably not by too much, so I’ll take the home dog here. Even if that team’s head coach is chiding fans about being too quiet in their posh new stadium.
The pick: Falcons win and cover
BENGALS (-6) over Bears
The Bears have lost five in a row, averaging fewer than 14 points per game over that span. Heck, they just lost at home to the FORTY NINERS. This team is in free fall, and they’re gonna get smoked on the road against a decent Bengals’ team.
The pick: Bengals win and cover
BUCCANEERS (+1) over Lions
Matthew Stafford right hand isn’t broken, but is it healthy enough for him to be effective? Maybe. Is it too risky to bet on? Yep. If Stafford is out, the spread will change, and we might revisit this pick.
The pick: Bucs win and cover
BILLS (-4) over Colts
The Colts have lost six of their last seven. They’re bad. The Bills have lost four of their last five, but they’re not quite as bad as the Colts, especially with the mediocre Tyrod Taylor under center instead of the awful Nathan Peterman. They actually still have a shot at the playoffs, if you can believe it. Let’s hold our nose and take the Bills. My condolences to anyone compelled to watch this miserable event.
The pick: Bills win and cover
TEXANS (-3) over 49ers
Over the last three weeks, the Texans have a home win and two close road losses (last week’s score was skewed by the aforementioned Derrick Henry run). I’m not picking a 2-10 team against them at home, even if that team’s quarterback is new and exciting and talented and dreamy and stuff.
The pick: Texans win and cover
BROWNS (+3.5) over Packers
If not at home against Brett Hundley, then when? This is the week!
The pick: Browns win and cover
PANTHERS (+3) over Vikings
I’m tempted to pick the Vikings. The 8-4 Panthers are a solid team, but look to be a clear step behind the Eagles, Rams, Saints and Vikings.
However, even though they lost decisively last week to the Saints, the result was affected by a couple of fumbles. Also, in their last two games at home against good teams, the Panthers beat the Falcons and lost a close one to the Eagles. This is close to a tossup, and the Vikings have to lose sometime, right?
The pick: Panthers win and cover
CHIEFS (-4) over Raiders
Ugh - talk about two teams I don’t want to pick. The Chiefs have been in free fall, beating only the Broncos since starting 5-0. The Raiders have won two in a row – at home against the awful Broncos and Giants. Can we just skip this one? No? Fine.
The pick: Chiefs win and cover
GIANTS (+6) over Cowboys
Interesting week for the Giants, who fired their coach and GM, and made Eli Manning their starting quarterback again. Seems like a team in disarray that should be avoided at any cost.
Well, maybe not at ANY cost. The Cowboys played a strong game last week against the Redskins, but before that they had scored 22 points in three games without Ezekiel Elliott. They’re not good enough to take as a six-point road favorite.
The pick: Giants win and cover
Jets (-1) over BRONCOS
I don’t love the Jets, but I really hate the Broncos. For weeks, I’ve been thinking that their defense will have a bounceback game, and that (insert random terrible quarterback name here) won’t be so bad for a change. It hasn’t happened, and I’m tired of banging my head against the wall.
The pick: Jets win and cover
CHARGERS (-6) over Redskins
This seems too easy, with the red-hot Chargers hosting a fading opponent. But, Washington’s offensive line injuries are a bad match for the Bolts’ ferocious pass rush. Chargers-Chiefs in Week 15 is going to be a huge game for us longtime riders on the Charger Playoff Bandwagon.
The pick: Chargers win and cover
CARDINALS (+3) over Titans
The Titans have won six of their last seven. If you had told me before the season that they’d be 8-4 through 12 games, I’d have said it lived up to their identity as a trendy playoff pick.
Still, after every win I look at them and say … meh. They haven’t really had an impressive victory since September, and Marcus Mariota (10 TD, 12 INT) has been struggling. I think their mediocrity will be exposed on Sunday. Prove me wrong, Titans.
The pick: Cardinals win and cover
JAGUARS (-3) over Seahawks
The banged-up Seahawks are coming off a huge home win over the Eagles. That’s made them popular again, as 65 percent of wagers (through Wednesday morning, per OddsShark) have been placed on them in this matchup. Why do people keep underrating the Jags?
The pick: Jags win and cover
RAMS (-2.5) over Eagles
According to Sports Insights, the public is backing the Eagles, while sharp money is with the Rams. This could go either way, but I’ll ride with the pros, thanks.
The pick: Rams win and cover
STEELERS (-5.5) over Ravens
The Steelers will be without LB Ryan Shazier (back injury) and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (suspension) for Sunday night’s AFC North war. The Ravens’ offense has improved lately, and their defense is excellent. But if they lose this one 24-0 – or 26-9, as they did at home against the Steelers in Week 4 – would you be surprised? Even with the points, I don’t trust Joe Flacco on the road against a good (though shorthanded) defense. Not one bit.
The pick: Steelers win and cover
Patriots (-11.5) over DOLPHINS
Giving double digits on the road? Too much for me, especially with Rob Gronkowski suspended for being a jackass. The Pats should win, though.
The pick: Pats win, Dolphins cover
Home teams are always the preference, with the Chargers and Bengals looking like the smart plays based on point spreads. The Bengals are your pick if you haven’t used them, but since we've selected both of those teams already, let's go with the Steelers at home over the Ravens. This could be a close game, but a Ravens' win seems unlikely, and it's not like we have many options.
Week 1: Bills (win)
Week 2: Ravens (win)
Week 3: Panthers (loss)
Week 4: Seahawks (win)
Week 5: Eagles (win)
Week 6: Broncos (loss)
Week 7: Rams (win)
Week 8: Bengals (win)
Week 9: Texans (loss)
Week 10: Lions (win)
Week 11: Chiefs (loss)
Week 12: Patriots (win)
Week 13: Chargers (win)