KC Joyner's Week 14 NFL pick'em selections

KC Joyner, one of the most accurate pick'em experts in the business over the past six years, details his winners for all of the Week 14 matchups.

KC Joyner

8 Dec, 2020

My Week 13 picks went 12-3, bringing my 2020 season mark to 131-60, or a 68.6 percent win rate that is tied for seventh highest among the more than 100 analysts tracked by Pickwatch.com.

 

Here are my Week 14 picks. Each section details which team is predicted to win and provides a quick summary of why that selection was made. The picks also contain a confidence value for each selection, based on a 1-10 scale with “10” being the most confident and “1” being the least confident.

 

Now on to the picks!

 

Thursday, December 10

 

New England at Los Angeles Rams

 

KC’s pick: Los Angeles

 

Confidence level: 4

 

Posting strong yardage totals has not been a problem for the Rams offense of late but putting strong point totals on the scoreboard had been an issue prior to Los Angeles racking up 38 points against Arizona last week. To be fair, seven of those points were courtesy of a pick six, yet let’s not forget that the Rams also had three touchdown drives of 75+ yards. Los Angeles has also been a takeaway machine on defense, as the Rams have taken the ball away 2+ times in six straight contests. The Patriots are coming off of their best game of the year, a 45-0 destruction of the Chargers, but they don’t have anywhere near the dual platoon big play ability of the Rams, so Los Angeles is the selection in this one.

 

Sunday, December 13

 

Denver at Carolina

 

KC’s pick: Carolina

 

Confidence level: 4

 

Carolina’s offense hasn’t been anywhere near as impactful without Christian McCaffrey in the lineup, but the Panthers have posted 23+ points and/or 370+ offensive yards in the past three games without the benefit of McCaffrey. That offers upside potential against a Broncos squad that has allowed 31+ points in four of the past six games even before taking into consideration that McCaffrey has a very good chance of returning from injury this week. Denver also has huge problems with giveaways, as they have turned the ball over 12 times in the past four weeks. Combine that with Carolina’s 11-game streak of posting at least one takeaway and this being a home game for the Panthers, and it leans this pick in Carolina’s direction.

 

Houston at Chicago

 

KC’s pick: Houston

 

Confidence level: 4

 

Houston has been a vastly improved team since their Week 8 bye, as the Texans have won three of their last five games and their losses against the Browns and Colts, two playoff-caliber clubs, were by a total of nine points. A lot of the credit can go to a Houston offense that has racked up 370+ offensive yards in four of those contests, but the defense also deserves its share of credit for holding foes to under 300 passing yards on four occasions in that span. As much blame as people want to give Chicago’s offense for the club’s six-game losing streak, the defense is the true culprit, as the Bears have allowed 75 points and 853 offensive yards over the past two weeks. The state of the defenses will likely turn this into a shootout game that highly favors the Texans, so Houston is the go-to option here.

 

Dallas at Cincinnati

 

KC’s pick: Dallas

 

Confidence level: 4

 

It is now clear that the return of Andy Dalton is nowhere near enough to get the Cowboys offense back to its early season form, as Dallas has now scored 19 or fewer points in five of the past six games. The Cowboys rush defense also hasn’t taken any forward steps as Dallas has now allowed 601 rushing yards in the past three games. All of those issues might have put the Cowboys in a tough spot if the Bengals still had Joe Burrow under center, but the Bengals have scored only 43 points in the past four games combined and have tallied a meager 150 rushing yards over the past three games. As subpar as the Cowboys are playing right now, they are still a step ahead of Cincinnati, so the Cowboys are the selection.

 

Tennessee at Jacksonville

 

KC’s pick: Tennessee

 

Confidence level: 7

 

The Titans have an argument for being the second-best offense in the NFL right now, as Tennessee has scored 30+ points and racked up 420+ offensive yards in three straight games. The problem for Tennessee is their defense is a near polar opposite of the offense, as over the past two weeks the Titans have allowed 67 points, 620 net passing yards, and 794 total offensive yards. That could be an issue against a Jaguars offense that has tallied 765 yards over the past two weeks, but Jacksonville has also posted eight giveaways over the past three games and hasn’t scored more than 24 points since Week 9. Those factors indicate the Titans scoring ability will be too much for the Jaguars, so Tennessee is the selection.

 

Kansas City at Miami

 

KC’s pick: Kansas City

 

Confidence level: 3

 

The Kansas City offense is playing at an otherworldly pace right now, as the Chiefs have racked up an insane 1,450 offensive yards over the past three weeks. Having noted this, there is a bit of concern since Kansas City tallied only 22 points against Denver last week in part due to a defensive game plan that seemed to confuse Patrick Mahomes at key moments of that contest. Miami head coach Brian Flores knows a thing or two about frustrating opposing quarterbacks, as the Dolphins have allowed fewer than 200 net passing yards in three of the past four games and a total of six games this year. The problem for Miami is they have scored 20 or fewer points in three straight games and may have issues slowing down the powerful Chiefs ground game, so Kansas City is the pick here.

 

Arizona at New York Giants

 

KC’s pick: New York

 

Confidence level: 5


These are teams trending in opposite directions. The Cardinals have lost four of their last five and got their only win in that span on the miracle Hail Mary pass to DeAndre Hopkins. The Giants have won four straight and five of their past seven and their two losses in that span were by a total of three points. Arizona’s problem is aerial production, as this pass-centric offense has tallied a total of 300 net passing yards over the past two weeks. Part of that decline is because Bill Belichick’s defensive gameplan may have given opponents the blueprint for stopping Arizona’s passing game. That is a bad sign against a Giants defense that has held its last three foes to a total of 521 passing yards, a span that included shutting down the powerhouse Seahawks offense. Look for Big Blue’s defense and a cross country road game for the Cardinals to keep the trends of these teams going in the same direction and lead New York to a victory.

 

Minnesota at Tampa Bay

 

KC’s pick: Tampa Bay

 

Confidence level: 2

 

It’s odd to say that a Mike Zimmer club is winning based on the strength of the team’s offense, but the Vikings have won five of the past six games due in large part to scoring 28+ points and/or posting 380+ offensive yards in five of those contests. This approach has been necessary because the Vikings defense hasn’t been holding its own, as Minnesota has allowed 82 points and 1,140 offensive yards over the past three weeks. Tom Brady has been taking a ton of grief for Tampa Bay losing three out of four games, but the Buccaneers gave up 92 points and a ridiculous 1,376 offensive yards in those losses. All of these elements lean towards this being a shootout, so since Tampa Bay is coming off of a bye week and hosting this game, the Buccaneers are the selection in this one.

 

Indianapolis at Las Vegas

 

KC’s pick: Indianapolis

 

Confidence level: 3

 

Were it not for the inane blitz call by Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the Raiders would now be on a three-game losing streak. The main problem for the Silver and Black is defense, as the Raiders have allowed 106 points and 439 rushing yards in those three games, but the offense isn’t blameless, having tallied only 112 rushing yards and seven giveaways over the past two contests. The Colts are one of the toughest teams to figure out, as they can’t seem to put together more than two good games in a row but also never have more than one bad game in row. The thing Indianapolis does consistently well is run the ball, as they have tallied 100+ rushing yards in five of the past six games. That factor is to enough to make the Colts the pick here.

 

New York Jets at Seattle

 

KC’s pick: Seattle

 

Confidence level: 7

 

The disastrous end to last week’s game against the Raiders kept the Jets in the lead for the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but it’s worth noting that three of New York’s last four losses were by a total of 12 points. The Jets also scored 27 or 28 points in those defeats, so they have a much-improved capacity to keep up in the event this game turns into a shootout. Seattle has made major changes of late to protect its sieve of a defense, but that effort is part of why the Seahawks offense has posted fewer than 230 net passing yards in four straight games. These factors point towards this potentially being a much closer contest than is generally expected, but Seattle’s huge edge at quarterback and New York making a cross country trip put this into the Seahawks column.

 

Green Bay at Detroit

 

KC’s pick: Green Bay

 

Confidence level: 7

 

It’s easy to pan the Packers five wins over the past eight weeks as coming against weak competition while noting how Green Bay fell apart in losses against Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and Indianapolis, yet it’s tough to knock a team when it racks up 71 points, 331 rushing yards, and 830 offensive yards while giving up only 41 points over the past two weeks. Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell showcased his offensive playcalling expertise by leading Detroit to season highs in passing yards, offensive yards, and points scored last week. That mindset will push this game towards the shootout category, something that won’t help a Lions defense that has allowed 71 points over the past two weeks, so Green Bay is the selection here.

 

Atlanta at Los Angeles Chargers

 

KC’s pick: Atlanta

 

Confidence level: 6

 

The Falcons have lost two of the last three games but consider that the two defeats occurred against the Saints, who are arguably the best team in the league, and the win was a 43-6 destruction of a playoff contending Raiders squad. The Chargers are coming off of what is arguably the worst loss by any team this season and their only three victories in 2020 came against the Bengals, Jaguars, and Jets, three clubs that have a total of three wins between them. These teams are close talent-wise, but Atlanta is simply playing much closer to its talent level than the Chargers, so the Falcons are the pick.

 

New Orleans at Philadelphia

 

KC’s pick: New Orleans

 

Confidence level: 9

 

The Saints have won nine straight games because they get maximum production out of every facet of their team. New Orleans has posted 110+ rushing yards in seven straight games, allowed 70 or fewer rushing yards in five of the past seven contests, and given up a miserly 8.8 points per game since Week 9. The Eagles are switching to a rookie quarterback because they haven’t scored more than 17 points since Week 8 and haven’t thrown for more than 209 passing yards since Week 7. Add in a Philadelphia rush defense that has given up 130 rushing yards in every game but one since Week 4 and it pushes this choice strongly in the Saints direction.

 

Washington at San Francisco

 

KC’s pick: Washington

 

Confidence level: 5

 

Washington’s win over an undefeated Pittsburgh squad has put them on the radar screen of the football world, yet it should be noted that the Football Team has won four out of its last six contests and its two losses in that span were by a total of six points. Defense is the main reason for the turnaround, as over the past three games Washington has tallied five takeaways while giving up only 151 rushing yards and 42 points. San Francisco has lost four of the past five mainly because of frequent turnovers, having registered 13 giveaways in that span. Compare that trend to Washington having only three giveaways in the past four games and the Football Team is the pick.

 

Pittsburgh at Buffalo

 

KC’s pick: Buffalo

 

Confidence level: 4

 

The cracks in the Steelers armor have become clearer over the past six games, as Pittsburgh has given up 120+ rushing yards four times in that span and gained fewer than 70 rushing yards on five occasions. The Steelers offense is also now on something of a slump, having scored only 36 points over the past two weeks. Buffalo’s offense went through its own midseason slump, but the Bills have scored 27+ points in four straight weeks and are seemingly back to their early season elite form. With Pittsburgh trending in the wrong direction and the Bills trending in the right direction while hosting this contest, Buffalo is the selection here.

 

Monday, December 14

 

Baltimore at Cleveland

 

KC’s pick: Cleveland

 

Confidence level: 4

 

Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski deserves a ton of coach of the year consideration for leading the Browns to their first winning record since 2007. No team can boast of a 1-2 running back combination as powerful as Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, as that duo has led Cleveland to rush for 693 yards over the past four games. As impressive as that is, no team in the league has a better overall ground attack than Baltimore, a factor that led the Ravens to post a ridiculous 294 rushing yards against Dallas on Tuesday night. Both of these teams have hit-or-miss rush defenses, so that’s a push factor, but Cleveland has shown much more upside in its passing game. Combine that with this being a home contest for the Browns and they earn this pick.