NFL Week 14 Picks - Guns Blazin'

I lost Carl, myself, and others money by betting against my hometown Chicago Bears on Thursday. I looked stupid, and when that happens I just get pissed and work harder. I have a very unhealthy relationship with losing, so I'm whipping out the six-shooter and unloading this week. Getting that money back and then some.

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Niners (10-2) @ Saints (10-2); 12pm CT

Pick #1: Niners +2

Action: 60% of bets on Niners, 63% of money on Niners

San Fran +3 didn't last very long. Sharps gobbled that up and we're not getting it back. It's ok, I think the Niners win this game outright.

I've had a man-crush on Shanahan since he lined my pockets during his days in Atlanta. He is one of the greatest offensive minds in the game, he consistently makes great out-of-game planning decisions (like staying on the East coast this week after the Baltimore loss), and most importantly, he looks dope as shit on the sidelines:

The Superdome is a prohibitive environment, but Shanahan's Falcons offenses had plenty of success there. That familiarity factor should cascade down to his Niners players in what many San Fran beat writers have said to be the most energized week of preparation they've seen this year.

I think we all know the Niners love to run and the New Orleans D loves to stuff it. One thing that has gone under the radar in the Saints defensive success is that they haven't faced a Top-10 offense in two months. The Niners are about to break that streak, and they could catch the Saints on their heels early. 

With a banged-up linebacking corps (Alonso and Klein out), the Saints will struggle to slow the highly creative Niners run game, and that should temper the Saints Top-5 pass rush. If Jimmy G stays upright behind a line that has kept him clean all season, San Fran is putting up 30.

Looking at the 49ers D, we know they lock down the pass but can surrender yards in the run. The Saints O-line has pushed people around all year, so I expect a run-heavy game plan. The problem is that the Saints offense has faced a weak slate of opposing rush defenses while the Niners D has faced the very best slate of opposing rush offenses this year. Led by a diminished Alvin Kamara (no 100-yard rushing games this season and no TDs since Week 3), the New Orleans run game may unexpectedly hit a brick wall. This will put the onus on Brees.

I've said this before, but Drew Brees knows that he has lost the deep ball and that his current form is only a slight upgrade from Teddy Bridgewater. There's a reason why Brees rushed back from his thumb injury to rack up yardage against the soft Cardinals pass D in Week 8: he didn't want a QB controversy to brew during the Week 9 bye. 

Brees is still elite at reading defenses and beating blitz packages, but this is NOT a good match-up for him. San Fran only rushes four, but they are still among the best teams in pressure rate. This means that Brees will have hands in his face AND he'll have to beat an elite pass D that isn't sacrificing any defenders in the pass rush. He'll have a tough day.

I think this is a wire-to-wire victory for the 49ers, but if they go down at any point, I know hornball Jimmy G will treat this like a Kiara Mia date and come from behind.

Colts (6-6) @ Bucs (5-7); 12pm CT

Pick #2: Bucs -3

Action: 51% of bets on Colts, 62% of money on Bucs

This line opened at TB -1, but it moved to a field goal despite the majority of bets falling on the Colts. Sharps are on the Bucs.

The Colts are a bad team that is well-coached, and this is simply not the match-up for them. Indy can run the ball behind a great O-line, but the Bucs have a Top-3 run D. The Bucs pass D is a joke, but the Colts don't have the personnel to defeat it. With T.Y. Hilton sidelined and Parris Campbell working through a hand injury, look for WR contributions from Marcus Johnson, Ashton Dulin, A.J. Brooks, and Trey Simpson. I made up those last two names. A.J. Brooks may not exist, but you know he's a fucking BURNER.

Tampa Bay has the offensive firepower that the Colts are lacking, and that will be the difference in this one. Lay the field goal with the more talented team at home.

Redskins (3-9) @ Packers (9-3); 12pm CT

Pick #3: Redskins +13

Action: 63% of bets on Packers, 60% of money on Packers

I get it. The Packers are a good team and the Redskins are gross. This is not an appetizing bet. But this line opened at GB -14.5 and moved to -13 despite the majority of bets being placed on the Pack, so clearly there are some big bettors who wouldn't think I'm a crazy person for siding with the Skins.

I'm not gonna sell you on the Skins - they're bad.  This is more about getting a ton of points in a slow game with a low projected total. With an Over/Under of only 42, sportsbooks know this will be a low-scoring affair. And when that's the case, 13 points go a lot farther that they would in a shootout. The Redskins could only score a couple touchdowns and still cover - I like that.

Interim Redskins head coach Bill Callahan has made it his mission to install the most borrrrring style of play imaginable. To be honest, I think he's just bitter that none of his teammates showed up to his birthday party. Sorry, that's Bo Callahan, the fictional QB from that Draft Day movie that very few people liked. Back to the Redskins, they run the shit outta the ball and bleed clock with a bottom-6 pace of play. This is not a good match-up for the Packers D.

The Packers defense is weak, but it's opportunistic (i.e. they blitz and jump routes). If they face a reckless QB dropping back to pass 35+ times as they did in Daniel Jones last week, they thrive. If they face a conservative, run-heavy attack, they struggle to turn the ball over and simply get pushed around (28th in yards/rush allowed). Get ready for heavy doses of Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice to keep this game within the number.

Chiefs (8-4) @ Patriots (10-2); 3:25pm CT

Pick #4: Patriots -3

Action: 52% of bets on Chiefs, 58% of money on Chiefs

I love betting against a team coming off of an inflated victory. Looking at last week's scoreboard, it would appear that the Chiefs dominated the Raiders in a 40-9 blowout. Not exactly the case.

Kansas City put up only 4.4 yards per play against Oakland, which would rank dead last among NFL team averages this year. I told you that the whipping winds would stifle the passing game (Mahomes threw for only 175 yards) and force the Chiefs to reluctantly resort to their revolving door of running backs (under 100 team rushing yards). So how did KC get 40 points? Well, the Raiders turned the ball over 3 times (including a pick-6), took 12 penalties for 99 yards, and gave the Chiefs an average starting field position of the KC 36-yard line. When an opponent does this, points are pretty easy to come by. 

Even though the Raiders scored in the single digits, let's not forget that the Kansas City run D fuckin blows. If the Raiders handed the ball off to Josh Jacobs on every play (6.1 yards/carry last week), this would've been a one-possession game. Instead, Derek Carr came out chucking and dug his team into a hole early. This is not hard: run the shit outta the ball against the Chiefs' garbage front-7 and keep Mahomes on the sidelines. A smart team will not fuck this up.

Which brings us to the Patriots. I know this may shock you, but they're smart. They don't overthink things. If a game calls for 30+ runs, they run the ball 30+ goddamn times. That's what we're gonna see this week. Perhaps Sony Michel was on the illness plane last week, but he totaled only 10 carries in the Sunday Night loss to the Texans. He'll be refreshed, and the Patriots are gonna load up 2-TE sets to run him 'til he goes cross-eyed... wait... well you know what I mean.

I expect the Pats elite pass D to take away Hill and Kelce, forcing the Chiefs to lean on their ailing run game. KC will put up low yardage numbers as they did last week, except this time the scoreboard will more accurately reflect their struggles. It'll be tough sledding in Foxborough.

Steelers (7-5) @ Cardinals (3-8-1); 3:25pm CT

Pick #5: Cardinals +1

Action: 59% of bets on Steelers, 60% of money on Steelers

Are you shocked that an 8-win team is barely favored against a 3-win team? If so, this usually means you should be looking towards the underdog.

This is a classic Mike Tomlin let-down game. I told you last week that the Steelers are emotionally inconsistent and that they would show up in a big way as a home dog against the Browns (winning bet). Now we see the other side of the coin. Tomlin is unbelievable as a road underdog, but he is unconscionably brutal as a road favorite against below-.500 teams. In other words, he's great against teams he shouldn't beat, and he sucks against teams he should beat.

Very simply, the Cardinals can get explosive plays, and the Steelers can't. With the Steelers being on a motivational downswing, the Cardinals will find the chunk plays to come out with the W.

Seahawks (10-2) @ Rams (7-5); 7:20pm CT

Pick #6: Rams pk

Action: 63% of bets on Seahawks, 66% of money on Seahawks

If you're surprised that this line is a pick 'em, it's because the Seattle defense is completely mediocre. This line moved from SEA -3, and it sure-as-shit wasn't because of the public.

The Rams offense may feel a little Jekyll and Hyde, but it's actually pretty straightforward. When the Rams face good defenses that can pressure Goff, they do nothing. When they face bad defenses that can't pressure Goff, they roll.

Based on performances from the past month, many would think that the Rams offense has fallen off a cliff. People are asking to revoke McVay's "genius" card. Well, the Rams played the Steelers, Bears, and Ravens in three of their last four games. Not easy assignments for the Rams offense.

Seattle can't get a pass rush and they're truly average in the secondary. Armed with a fully healthy receiving corps and having time to throw, Goff will shred. 

Flipping to the Rams D, we're looking at a unit that has rounded into Top-5 form. They're phenomenal against the run (will shut down Carson and Penny), so the game will fall on Russell Wilson to operate with his #1 receiver Tyler Lockett working through a shin injury. Seattle has really struggled at the Center position since Justin Britt went down in late October, and that is NOT a position you can afford to be weak when lined up against the Rams. Joey Hunt, tie your hair back buddy because Aaron Donald is serving up swirlies and/or throatpies.

Lastly, Seattle is worse than their record would indicate. They've had their fair share of good luck. In their ten wins, they've only won ONE by more than one possession. They seem to always face teams with major injuries, and they're 5th in turnover differential. Shit has just gone their way in razor-thin victories. These are the teams I love to bet against towards the end of the season. 

The Rams lost by damn near 40 when they were in prime time two weeks ago, and that's gonna keep the public off of them. That gives you serious value against a public darling in Seattle that is getting tons of action from people who are blindly betting Russell Wilson. It may not feel right, but take the value with a Rams offense that is primed for 28+.