Below are my confidence level straight up picks for Week 14. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 (a set of selections that have gone 44-19-1 since Week 8) will be available to all NFL Pickwatch readers.
The selections with a 6+ confidence level, a group of games that have netted a 188-73-2 record since 2020 (including 31-13 since Week 4), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers. Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheat code to beat the sportsbooks over the last six years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.
NY Jets at Buffalo
The betting public seems to have forgotten that the Jets won this matchup by a 20-17 score in Week 7, as the Bills are listed as a nine-point favorite in his contest. That seems odds since three of Buffalo’s past five wins have been by fewer than nine points. It also doesn’t dovetail with the Jets loss level, as New York’s last three defeats have been by a total of 17 points, with none of them being by more than seven points.
This suggests there is a lot of faith in a Bills offense that has been quite varied all year long, as Buffalo has rushed for 100+ yards in every game this year and has posted 200+ net passing yards in all but two contests. Buffalo’s defense has also held its last three foes to fewer than 100 rushing yards.
The key factor here is whether or not Mike White can keep the New York offense moving at the same clip he has had it at the past two weeks, as he has thrown for 300+ passing yards in each of his starts. That is apt to be difficult against a Buffalo secondary that finally got shutdown cornerback Tre’Davious White back last week. His presence should help slow Garrett Wilson’s tremendous production pace and that ought to be enough to give Buffalo the edge, even if it isn’t quite by a nine-point margin.
KC’s pick: Buffalo
Confidence level: 2
Cleveland at Cincinnati
It still seems odd that Joe Burrow has yet to rack up a win over Cleveland, as the Bengals have lost five straight and eight of the last nine games against the Browns.
That may bode well for a Deshaun Watson turnaround, as he had an abysmal game against Houston last week and only avoided the loss because Cleveland tallied two defensive touchdowns and a special teams score in a 27-14 win at Houston. The Browns do have a saving grace in that they were able to run the ball for 152 yards against the Texans and face a Bengals defense that allowed 138 rushing yards to Kansas City last week.
Having noted this, Cleveland has given up 160+ rushing yards on six occasions this year, a factor that could be an issue versus a Bengals ground attack that now can feature both Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine.
That could be enough on its own to vault Burrow to his first intrastate win, but the Bengals now have a healthy Ja’Marr Chase to go along with the big play ability of Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Combine that with Watson likely having some recurring issues being in sync with this offense and the Bengals are the pick.
KC’s pick: Cincinnati
Confidence level: 5
Minnesota at Detroit
Detroit has been waiting all year long to get its backfield where it wants it to be, and last week finally saw a payoff for that waiting. D’Andre Swift is now the between the 20s back on the ground, a full-time pass catching back, and someone who gets some goal line carries. That dovetails perfectly with Jamaal Williams’ goal line prowess and when that is combined with the skills of Amon-Ra St. Brown, it is a prime factor in why Detroit racked up 40 points against the Jaguars last week.
That may help the Lions keep up in a shootout game against a Vikings squad that has tallied 23+ points in all but one contest this year, but Minnesota has built a team that is perfectly suited to keep up in shootouts (defined as when each team scores 24+ points in a game).
The Vikings are a league best 5-0 in games of that nature, while the Lions weigh in with a 2-5 mark in shootouts. Since this game leans heavily in that direction, Minnesota is the preferred selection.
KC’s pick: Minnesota
Confidence level: 3
Philadelphia at NY Giants
The Giants started the year with an incredible knack for winning closely contested games, but that trend has soured of late, as New York has gone 1-3-1 in its last five matchups after starting the year with a 6-1 mark.
One of the main issues for the Giants is that Philadelphia doesn’t get into close games very often, as seven of its 11 wins have been by seven or more points, a trend that includes a 35-10 destruction of Tennessee last week.
The Eagles are also very adept at winning by every manner imaginable, but their preferred method is to rely on a great ground game. That will be an issue for a New York team that has given up 160+ rushing yards in three straight contests. Merge that with Saquon Barkley wearing down a bit and the Eagles having a revamped rush defense and it pushes this matchup into Philadelphia’s column.
KC’s pick: Philadelphia
Confidence level: 4
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
If this game had been held a few weeks ago, it would have been one of the easiest to prognosticate, as Baltimore was on a roll and the Steelers were a lost team headed into their Week 9 bye.
Things have changed notably since then, as the Ravens won’t have Lamar Jackson available for this contest and Pittsburgh found its formula for success during the off time and have now rushed for 154+ yards in three straight contests.
The Steelers might have some trouble moving the ball on the ground with that type of consistency against a Baltimore defense that has given up fewer than 50 rushing yards in four of the past five games.
The problem is that didn’t help the Ravens much over the past three weeks, as Baltimore muddled its way to a 13-3 win over an overmatched Carolina team in Week 11, lost by a point to Jacksonville in Week 12, and would have lost to Denver last week if not for another lesson in coaching mismanagement from Nathanial Hackett.
Put that together with Baltimore starting a backup quarterback and Pittsburgh’s defense playing much better of late as well and the Steelers are the selection.
KC’s pick: Pittsburgh
Confidence level: 2
Jacksonville at Tennessee
This has been a one-sided series for a while now, as Tennessee has won five straight games against Jacksonville and posted wins in 12 of the previous 14 matchups between these franchises.
That track could be on pace to continue against a Jaguars club that has allowed 27+ points in three straight games, but the Titans may have an issue in that this team is somewhat worn down. Tennessee’s only mode for success is to operate a very physically challenging power approach on both offense and defense. It worked like a champ for a while when the Titans won seven out of eight games, but Tennessee hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards since Week 9 and may have worn Derrick Henry down
for the second straight year.
That may give Jacksonville more potential paths to success and thus should keep this game quite close, but the Jaguars still have too many inconsistencies, so the Titans are the pick here in what ought to be a very close game.
KC’s pick: Tennessee
Confidence level: 1
Miami at LA Chargers
Los Angeles built its entire roster in a way to support the skill set of Justin Herbert. This looked to be a wise move considering Herbert’s generational talents, but it hasn’t yet resulted in consistent victory even when the Chargers put up a strong point total, as Los Angeles is 4-3 this year when posting 23+ points and 2-3 when falling short of that bar.
A major impediment here is an atrocious rush defense, as the Chargers have given up 154+ rushing yards in six straight games and allowed 131+ rush yards in nine of the past ten contests.
That should augment a Miami rushing offense that has fared below its talent level of Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert, but Los Angeles may have even larger problems against a Miami offense that can go toe-to-toe with the Chargers high powered attack, having posted 30+ points in four straight games prior to last week.
KC’s pick: Miami
Confidence level: 3
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
This contest features the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady and one of the best gamebreakers in Deebo Samuel, but the hands down best group in this matchup is the San Francisco defense.
DeMeco Ryans has put together a squad that leads the league in points allowed and has given up 17 or fewer points in five straight games. This platoon is a brick wall against the run, as none of the past five foes have generated more than 67 yards on the ground, and it has become a takeaway machine with nine tallied in the past four weeks combined.
The 49ers lost Jimmy Garoppolo last week, but San Francisco still has the capacity to move the ball on the ground with superstar Christian McCaffrey, so they should be able to generate a solid point total.
Since Tampa Bay’s offense has been stuck in neutral and only got moving on Monday night after New Orleans took its foot off the proverbial gas (something the 49ers defense will never do), this group won’t be putting up many points, so San Francisco should win this game.
KC’s pick: San Francisco
Confidence level: 4
New England at Arizona
Bill Belichick has always prided himself on having adaptable teams capable of attacking any defensive weaknesses. That has been the case for the 2022 Patriots offense at times, as New England has tallied 250+ net passing yards on four occasions, but that has only happened once since Week 6. That lack of aerials success has held the Patriots back, as New England has posted 100+ rushing yards only once since Week 5.
Offensive success hasn’t been much of a problem for an Arizona offense that has Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, and James Conner, but that hasn’t been enough to offset the Cardinals allowing 25+ points in five of the past six games, including 31+ points in four of those contests.
That makes this game a combination of a movable force and a stoppable object, so the key here may come down to Arizona’s four losses all occurring when they allow 25+ points. New England is not likely to hit that mark, having done so only twice in the past five games. Blend that with it being a cross country road trip for the Patriots and the Cardinals are the pick.
KC’s pick: Arizona
Confidence level: 1
KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 188-73-2 since 2020 (including 31-13 since Week 4), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.
Las Vegas at LA Rams
These are teams headed in radically different directions, as the Raiders have won three straight games after a rough 2-7 start, while the Rams have lost six consecutive games after beginning the year 3-3.
The main problem for Los Angeles is an offense that has been wracked with injuries across the board. This is why the Rams haven’t posted 200+ net passing yards since Week 6 and have scored fewer than 20 points in four of the past six games.
By contrast, Las Vegas has racked up 400+ yards in three consecutive contests and posted 437 rushing yards over the past two games combined. The Raiders rush defense has also been very stout of late by allowing fewer than 100 yards on the ground for three straight games.
The Rams are also going with another quarterback change and also recently lost Aaron Donald to injury. Add that to this being a short week road matchup for Los Angeles and Las Vegas is the way to go.
KC’s pick: Las Vegas
Confidence level: 6
Houston at Dallas
Dallas has featured a lot of powerhouse offenses over the years, but few of those platoons came close to lighting up the scoreboard the way the 2022 edition of the Cowboys has done that, as Dallas has racked up 28+ points in five straight games and posted a total of 199 points over that span. The Cowboys also generated 33 points in the fourth quarter against the Colts last week, a pace that is the second highest point total posted in the fourth quarter in NFL history.
The Texans haven’t lacked for effort this year, as Lovie Smith has Houston’s players fighting hard each week, but the offense has posted 13 giveaways in the past five weeks and 23+ points in each of those games. There is little to suggest any type of percentage path to win for the Texans, so Dallas is a very rare 10-point pick.
KC’s pick: Dallas
Confidence level: 10
Carolina at Seattle
Geno Smith has made the 12s in Seattle forget all about Russell Wilson, as Smith’s incredible passing numbers show that maybe the Seahawks offense had a lot more to do with the players around Wilson than was generally thought. That aerial prowess dovetailed well with the power rushing that Kenneth Walker III brought to the table and it has resulted in Seattle posting 27+ points in seven of the past nine games.
Steve Wilks has shown that he is well deserving of another full-time head coaching job, as he has guided the Panthers to three wins in seven games despite a quarterback carousel and losing his best player to a trade to the 49ers. The Panthers have a solid ground attack that should be able to move the ball against a Seattle defense that has given up 615 rushing yards over the past three weeks.
That will put some points on the board for the Panthers, but it won’t be anywhere near enough against the high scoring Seattle offense, especially on the road, so the Seahawks earn this pick.
KC’s pick: Seattle
Confidence level: 7
Kansas City at Denver
This season has been somewhat different for the Chiefs in that Kansas City is finally faring well in shootouts. This wasn’t the case in previous years, as getting this club into a high scoring game was pretty much the only way to succeed, but the Chiefs started off 4-0 in shootouts this year before losing by a 27-24 score last week against a Cincinnati team that is perfectly suited to get into those types of games.
That makes Kansas City 5-2 in non-shootout games this year, so there may be a path for Denver to win that type of game, but the Chiefs have scored fewer than 20 points only once this year. Two of Denver’s last three opponents scored more than 20 points and the Broncos have only posted 20+ points twice this year. These scoring trends just don’t provide many avenues for success for the Broncos, so Kansas City should notch its 14 th consecutive win over Denver this week.
KC’s pick: Kansas City
Confidence level: 8