NFL Week 14 Picks: Jaguars vs Titans, Buccaneers vs 49ers, More
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Henry (left), Ryan Tannehill (right).
Week 14 is a huge division week in the NFL, with seven of the 13 games around the league big intra-division battles.
Earlier this week, I wrote about divisional trends for these late rivalry games from Week 14 forward. Be sure to check those trends and full explanations for most of my picks for every game.
I also doubled down with two sets of Friday Futures this week, one with a couple team bets and another with a trio of season-leader long shots you should play before Sunday.
Let’s recap those Bet, Lean, and Pass decisions from earlier now that the lines have shifted, and then get to our final three decisions. I’ll also include my favorite non-spread bets in the recap below.
- Patriots -1.5 at Cardinals
- Bengals 2H -2.5 vs Browns (Lean Bengals -5.5)
- Eagles-Giants Under 45.5 (Lean Eagles -7)
- Jets +10 at Bills (Under 43.5, +400 ML)
- Broncos +9.5 vs Chiefs (Under 44)
- Texans +17.5 at Cowboys (+1150 ML)
- Seahawks -3.5 vs Panthers
- Lions -1.5 vs Vikings
- Ravens +2 at Steelers (Either team to win by 6 or less & Under 37 +337)
Week 15 Lookahead Picks
- Ravens (+3) at Browns
- Cowboys (-6) at Jaguars
I grabbed Titans -3.5 on The Lookahead last week, but I’ll probably look to buy out of at least part of my position. There are just far too many injuries to feel good about either side in this game.
For Jacksonville, the big question is Trevor Lawrence. He’s listed as questionable with a toe injury — I suspect he’ll give it a go, but we’ll see how limited he is.
For Tennessee, it looks like Ryan Tannehill is fine but the defense is in awful shape. The Titans are missing both starting corners and effectively all four starting linebackers. David Long, in particular, has been a breakout star, and Denico Autry is a big loss, too. Jeffery Simmons is also questionable on the line, and he’s the star of this defense.
The one reliable unit on the field in this game should be Tennessee’s defense, but it’s had to know what to expect from a unit so decimated by injuries.
The Titans have dominated this rivalry and the division. They’ve won nine of 10 against the Jaguars, winning by 14.9 PPG, and have won 11 of the last 12 in the division. A win here all but clinches the AFC South for Tennessee and would give the Titans a month to get their defensive guys healthy.
I still prefer the Titans because the Jaguars have been terrible since the start of October, but the trends like Jacksonville catching over a field goal in a late division rivalry game. That Titans defensive injury report is rough. I’ll pass.
The Pick: Titans -3.5 (Pass) | Previously: Wait for QB injury updates
Rookie QB Brock Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, will make his debut as a NFL starter against the GOAT, and he is more than a field goal favorite. How did we get here?
All the focus this week has been on the big Jimmy Garoppolo injury, and fair enough. Garoppolo was genuinely good in conjunction with Kyle Shanahan. He was a stabilizer that kept all the gears moving and whirring, and his loss will be felt — eventually. My top futures play this week is fading the 49ers in the postseason without Garoppolo.
But the rest of the 49ers roster is actually getting pretty healthy. Star pass rusher Nick Bosa will be limited with a hamstring injury, but guys like Trent Williams, Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and Arik Armstead are off the injury report entirely.
The 49ers lead the league in DVOA over the last six weeks. The defense is first and the offense fourth — that includes second in passing so there will be a drop there. Still, this is a formula that can still work — in the regular season, against average or bad teams.
We saw it work just last week against a banged-up Dolphins squad. Now, San Francisco faces another injury-plagued Florida team — only the Bucs haven’t been good to start with and they’re even more buried on the injury front.
Stud T Tristan Wirfs is doubtful, and two other OL starters are out for the year. Safeties Antoine Winfield and Mike Edwards are doubtful. Stud pass rusher Shaq Barrett is out, while Sean Murphy-Bunting, Akiem Hicks and Vita Vea are all question marks. That’s over half of an otherwise terrific defense, and that’s why this defense has fallen off to league average over the past six weeks and 23rd against the pass by DVOA.
Tampa Bay is mostly just an average team right now. The offensive line woes are a big problem against this ferocious defense. The Bucs have surpassed 22 points only once this season, and this team only seems to score in the final minutes when everything is on the line.
The 49ers defense has allowed more than 17 points only twice, and those were back-to-back games when they were dealing with a ton of defensive injuries. Throw out those two games, and the Niners have allowed 11.8 PPG, a remarkable number.
When the new lines posted Sunday night, the first thing I looked for was the under on this game. It’s hard to see Tampa Bay putting up many points in this one, and even with all those defensive injuries, this is Mr. Irrelevant making his debut against a very talented defense.
I would’ve smashed an under in the 40s but was thrown off by 38, and we’re down to 37.5 now.
Bucs unders are 10-2 and Todd Bowles road unders are 26-13 (67%), the second-most profitable such coach in our system. Tampa’s offense has been much worse on the road, and San Francisco’s offense will surely take its lumps with Purdy.
I’ll bet under 37.5. Either one of these offenses could lay an egg, or we could just get a 20-17 or 16-13 type outcome. I see many avenues to the under.
As for a side, I’ll probably stay away, but would lean 49ers just because this feels like such a trappy line, stuck right past the key number all week long without budging.
My initial thought seeing this line was the same as yours — “Tom Brady against Mr. Irrelevant, making his debut, getting more than a field goal? Say it ain’t so!” And that, I think, is the trap. We all know Brady. We know all the Shanahan numbers with and without Garoppolo and as a favorite. This line is just begging us to take the Bucs to keep it within a field goal in a low-scoring game.
My gut says it’s a trap, so I’ll go the other direction — but pass either way and just stick with the under instead.
The Pick: Under 37.5 (Pass 49ers -3.5)
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We waited for the injury report for both sides on this one, and it’s actually not that bad.
Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill all appear to be ready to go for Miami. LT Terron Armstead is listed as questionable with multiple injuries, but he is expected to give it a go. While the secondary is still banged up, Miami looks mostly whole.
The Chargers offense is finally getting healthy, and it looks like Mike Williams should play, but L.A.’s defense is still in a bad way. Joey Bosa is out and Derwin James is doubtful, which is a big loss. The defensive line is missing just about everyone of note still as well.
I think Miami will hang a big number on Sunday night. The Dolphins were 8-0 with Tua Tagovailoa playing a majority of the snaps til Sunday, and though the final score against the Niners wasn’t pretty, Miami was mostly in it until it got away late.
The Dolphins had scored at least 31 points in four straight before that one. And though that was against soft defenses, I’m not sure the Chargers offer much more resistance.
The Chargers rank bottom five in the NFL at both pressure rate and explosive passing plays allowed. That’s a terrible combo in this matchup.
Tagovailoa had his worst game of the season last week in large part because of the missing offensive linemen and the pressure he felt all game. With time to stand back there, he should play point guard and pick apart a beatable Chargers D, dialing up some of those big plays Miami has hit all year.
Can the Chargers hang and turn this into a shootout? I have no idea. Miami’s pass defense hasn’t been good, and Justin Herbert has his weapons back. Maybe Los Angeles scores and hangs in this game or even wins, or maybe they lay an egg. I grabbed Miami -1 on Sunday night on the Hot Read but don’t feel the need to play past the key number at -3.5.
Instead, I’ll just play the Dolphins team total over 27.5. Miami’s offense against L.A.’s bad, banged-up defense is the one matchup I feel most confident about in this game.
As long as the Dolphins score, I don’t really care what the Chargers do with the ball.
The Pick: Bet Miami TT over 27.5 (and Pass Dolphins -3.5) | Previously: Wait for injury news on both teams
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