NFL

Scott’s Seven NFL Picks: Week 14

By Scott Kacsmar

The NFL has a Week 14 schedule that features some big games with the Bills trying to keep their season alive in Kansas City, and a key rematch of Eagles-Cowboys on Sunday night. We also have nearly half a schedule with backup quarterbacks starting, so finding points could be difficult this week. But there is a game in Cincinnati that might be a fun shootout for your NFL picks.

In recapping our Week 13 NFL picks, it was disappointing. Jalen Hurts and Christian McCaffrey delivered touchdowns for our top pick (+191), the Falcons won a close one over the Jets as expected (+130), and Tyreek Hill lit up the Commanders (+138). But just when you thought we might go 7-for-7, Rhamondre Stevenson’s double whammy of a fumble and game-ending injury ended the New England parlay, the Steelers hit their player props but failed to beat a 2-win Arizona team, the 49ers blew out the Eagles to mess up our parlay, and every prime-time over hit in Week 13 after the under had been so good to us all season.

Each Friday, we will share seven NFL picks that we are including in our bets for the weekend. These can be prop picks, spreads, totals, alternate lines, moneylines, teasers, same-game parlays, etc. We like to think outside the box instead of just telling you to pick a 12-point favorite to win. You can play the picks separately or parlay your favorite choices together.

Note: Picks are ranked in order of confidence (highest to lowest).

1. Offensive Player of the Year Candidates Score and Win (Christian McCaffrey and Tyreek Hill)

We were going to start our picks with something involving the Saints at home against the 1-11 Panthers, but do you really want to count on Derek Carr coming back from a concussion or go through the Jameis Winston experience?

Instead, let’s keep it simple and count on the two best offensive players in the league this year to score a touchdown and help their teams win as double-digit favorites.

First, we have Christian McCaffrey and the 10.5-point favored 49ers completing a sweep of the Seahawks at home this week. McCaffrey has scored a touchdown in all but one game this year, and he just had 2 rushing touchdowns against Seattle on Thanksgiving. He also scored against the Seahawks in both matchups last year, and we just watched Seattle allow 41 points to the Cowboys last week. Geno Smith is 0-4 against these 49ers since last year as it just has been a lousy matchup for the Seahawks.

On Monday night, Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins are a 13.5-point home favorite against the Titans. The Dolphins have only lost to Super Bowl contenders this year, and at 4-8 with a rookie quarterback, the Titans are definitely not that. Hill continues to be incredible as he pursues the first 2,000-yard receiving season in NFL history, and he has also turned his yardage into 12 touchdowns this year. Hill has scored in 10-of-12 games this year, only failing to do so in Buffalo and at Germany against the Chiefs.

The Titans are a middling defense that just allowed a few big pass plays to the Colts last week in an overtime loss. Look for Hill to continue his domination and find the end zone again in a Miami win.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Player Performance Double Parlay – Christian McCaffrey Touchdown Scorer/49ers ML & Tyreek Hill Touchdown Scorer/Dolphins ML (+149 at FanDuel)

2. Colts-Bengals: The Gardner Minshew vs. Jake Browning Shootout You Didn’t Know You Needed

What a difference a week makes. This game has gone from an afterthought to important for the AFC wild-card race as the Colts (7-5) are alive and well and the Bengals (6-6) may still have some life left after Jake Browning’s incredible second start in an upset win in Jacksonville last Monday night.

The Bengals have moved to a 1.5-point home favorite with a total of 43.5 points in this one. The weather sounds like it should be fine with rain passing in the morning. We are looking at a scoring prop where both teams will top 20 points in this one.

The Colts have scored at least 20 points in every game this year except for the 10-6 win over the Patriots in Germany, the game that kicked off New England’s 3-game odyssey of not scoring or allowing more than 10 points. But the Colts have been very consistent at putting up points under rookie coach Shane Steichen, and they have done this despite having backups at so many spots, including quarterback and running back.

The Bengals also have allowed the most yards in the NFL and are struggling on defense. The Bengals have allowed 3-of-4 opponents to score over 30 points in the last month. The Colts may not get that high in this one, but another 20-point game is very doable with the way Steichen is drawing things up for Gardner Minshew.

As for the Bengals, the offense looked as good as it has all season with Browning running the show in Jacksonville against a solid defense that is certainly much better than what the Colts have. Browning completed 32-of-37 passes for 354 yards and he had no turnovers on the road in the high-scoring comeback win in overtime.

Completing over 85% of your passes on that kind of volume is rare quarterback air only occupied by several Hall of Famers, MVP winners, and Pro Bowl starters at worst. Scrubs do not enjoy stat lines like Browning had in that game, and he looked solid with the eye test to back it up too. The Bengals may have something to work with here, and unless Browning falls completely on his face against a Colts team that rarely blitzes (16.6% blitz rate ranks 31st), he should have success here too, and lead a talented group of skill players to at least 20 points at home.

It just might be the shootout of the afternoon.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 20+ Points (+155 at bet365)

3. Broncos-Chargers: Russ Keeping It Close in LA

We have a 3-leg parlay for the first AFC West matchup between Russell Wilson’s Broncos and Justin Herbert’s Chargers. We like the quarterbacks to produce and the game to be close, which sounds like most Chargers games in the 21st century:

  • Russell Wilson 200+ Passing Yards
  • Justin Herbert 225+ Passing Yards
  • Broncos +10.5

Wilson passing for 200 yards is a risky bet since he has only done it in 4-of-12 games this year. Wilson is averaging 198.8 passing yards per game this season, his lowest since his rookie year in 2012. But things should perk up this week as the Chargers allow 290.1 gross passing yards per game. Wilson passed for 283 yards in his last meeting with the team, though that was a Week 18 finale with the Chargers resting starters (but only very late in the game).

Herbert has passed for at least 237 yards in all 6 career meetings with Denver. He has passed for over 225 yards in 8-of-12 games this season. He is usually very reliable for hitting this number. The Chargers are still inconsistent with running the ball. They have as many games with over 100 rushing yards (4) as they have games without cracking 55 yards on the ground.  Oddly enough, the Chargers are only 1-5 when rushing for over 85 yards this year, so maybe they should neglect Denver’s No. 32 rush defense ranking and let Herbert cook. Denver’s defense has also played much better in recent weeks compared to the days when they allowed 70 points in Miami and a perfect half to Justin Fields.

The Chargers are only a 2.5-point home favorite in this game. As a favorite of 1-3 points, Brandon Staley is only 8-8 SU in his career with the Chargers since 2021. But more notable is the fact that in those 16 games, he has won by more than 5 points just twice. We could easily tease this down to +7.5 or higher, but we’ll stick with the Broncos not losing by more than 10 points to complete our parlay.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Denver wins outright, but that will require some takeaways and the Chargers have protected the ball well this year. But this is almost an elimination game in the AFC, so it will be fun to see if any Chargering ensues with the game on the line.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Russell Wilson 200+ Passing Yards & Justin Herbert 225+ Passing Yards & Broncos +10.5 (+159 at FanDuel)

4. Bears-Lions: Shootout Sequel?

When the Lions beat the Bears 31-26 in Week 11, it completed the craziest comeback of the season. Detroit was down by 12 points with just over 4 minutes left, and comebacks like that are very hard to pull off. But Detroit made it look rather easy as Jared Goff finally stopped turning the ball over and moved his top offense against an overmatched defense right down the field.

With a 3-and-out by Chicago’s offense in between, Goff led back-to-back touchdown drives with David Montgomery providing the winning run with 29 seconds left. Aidan Hutchinson then stripped the ball from Justin Fields, which led to a safety that clinched the game.

The teams are meeting again in Chicago, the weather doesn’t sound like it’ll be too bad, and we like the game prop of both teams scoring 20 points again:

  • It was 31-26 in Week 11 and the teams played a 31-30 game last November in Chicago too.
  • Fields moved the ball well in Detroit, including over 100 rushing yards from the quarterback position.
  • The Lions have allowed at least 26 points in four straight games since their bye week.
  • The Lions have allowed 20 points in 9-of-12 games this year.
  • The Lions have scored at least 20 points in every game but the 38-6 blowout loss in Baltimore.
  • The Bears have allowed 20 points in 8-of-12 games this year.

Detroit’s last four games have seen the Lions and their opponent both reach 20 points as this team starts to look like last year’s squad that struggled on defense. With both teams able to run the ball well too, let’s not fret about the weather in Chicago and trust that both teams put up points in another high-scoring battle.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 20+ Points (+156 at FanDuel)

5. Rams-Ravens: Fading Matthew Stafford on the Road  

It’s December and Lamar Jackson just missed his first practice of the season due to an illness. But before Baltimore fans freak out over the prospects of another season-ending injury to their star quarterback, we are going to trust he plays and bet on a game script that features Matthew Stafford frequently throwing on the road to keep up against a top team.

This is our 2-leg parlay:

  • Matthew Stafford Over 32.5 Passing Attempts – He has gone over in 7-of-11 games, including 4-of-5 on the road this year. One of the few times he didn’t was the Dallas game where he played 68% of the snaps and left with an injury.
  • Matthew Stafford Over 0.5 Passes Intercepted – He has been picked in 7-of-11 games, including 4-of-5 on the road this year and in 4-of-5 losses for the Rams.

Stafford has always been a volume passer, and the Ravens are a tough defense to throw against with a league-best 4.2 net yards per pass allowed. They have intercepted 11 passes in 12 games this year and have a league-high 47 sacks. Stafford could easily get frustrated and force a throw to avoid another sack, resulting in a pick.

We like for his day to be rough in Baltimore. He last played there in 2021 in December. While it was a comeback win, he had 35 passes and 2 interceptions, so we’ll take that again.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Matthew Stafford Over 32.5 Passing Attempts & Matthew Stafford Over 0.5 Passes Intercepted (+175 at Caesars Sportsbook)

6. Bills-Chiefs: Josh Allen Ready for Another Arrowhead Upset?

The Buffalo offense comes in with many statistics that look better than the Kansas City offense this season. The Bills come in averaging more points, yards, first downs, the highest third-down conversion rate in the league, and they are better in the red zone too.

We also know Josh Allen and the Bills have been very successful in their last three trips to Arrowhead. We have a 4-leg parlay that is conducive to quality performance for the Buffalo offense against a Kansas City defense coming off its worst game of the season against Green Bay:

  • Josh Allen Over 253.5 Passing Yards
  • Gabriel Davis Over 40.5 Receiving Yards
  • Dalton Kincaid 4+ Receptions
  • Bills +7.5

Allen has passed for over 253.5 yards in 8-of-12 games this year, but we also know the Bills heavily rely on him in these big games. After some rough performances in 2020, Allen has gotten very good at facing Steve Spagnuolo’s Kansas City defense. In the last 3 matchups, Allen has passed for 315, 329, and 329 yards with 3 or 4 touchdown passes in each game.

Gabriel Davis has some damning home-road splits this year with four road games where he failed to surpass 35 yards. But his two most prolific games have come away from Buffalo when he had 100 yards in London against Jacksonville and he had a season-high 105 yards in Philadelphia in the rain in the team’s last game. But Davis has played big in Kansas City with 201 yards and 4 touchdowns in that classic 2021 divisional round playoff game, and last year he had 74 yards and a big touchdown in Buffalo’s win.

Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid has become a very reliable target for Allen in the passing game. He has at least 5 catches in 6 straight games, and he has at least 4 catches in 9-of-11 games played this year. We’ll play it safe and go with at least 4 catches for him in this one.

Finally, we know the Bills are a classic “win big, lose close” type of front-running team. It is tough to blow them out like Cincinnati did in last year’s playoffs. Buffalo is only 6-6 by none of the losses have been by more than 6 points. In fact, that 27-10 loss in the playoffs to Cincinnati is the only time in the last 39 games that Buffalo lost by more than 6 points. We’ll tease that out to +7.5 in this one as the Bills have a real shot to win this game outright and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Josh Allen Over 253.5 Passing Yards & Gabriel Davis Over 40.5 Receiving Yards & Dalton Kincaid 4+ Receptions & Bills +7.5 (+367 at FanDuel)

7. Eagles-Cowboys: NFC East Game of the Year Parlay

For Sunday night, we have a 5-leg parlay that favors a successful night for the Cowboys and Dak Prescott’s MVP campaign:

  • Dak Prescott Over 2.5 Passing Touchdowns
  • Brandin Cooks Over 46.5 Receiving Yards
  • CeeDee Lamb 6+ Receptions
  • Cowboys Over 27.5 Points
  • Cowboys ML

Dak Prescott has been on fire with 20 touchdown passes in his last 6 games, the type of run that usually leads to an MVP award. Dak has passed for over 2.5 touchdowns in 5-of-6 games going into Sunday night. He also has thrown at least 3 touchdown passes in all 4 games against the Eagles since 2021 (Nick Sirianni era). Look for him to keep rolling against a Philadelphia defense he has played very well against that is struggling right now.

One of Prescott’s key receivers is speedster Brandin Cooks, who has come alive with 83 yards per game over the last month and he has always been involved in the home games this year. If you are worried about him getting shut down in this game since the Eagles held him to 7 yards in Week 9, don’t be. He had a season-low 2 targets that day. Cooks only had 2 catches for 22 yards against the Giants on opening night before exploding for 9 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown in the rematch with New York in Week 10. He will make plays against this struggling secondary.

CeeDee Lamb has been posting huge games lately and he already had 11 catches for 191 yards in Philadelphia earlier this year. Lamb has had at least 6 catches in 6-of-7 games going into Sunday night. The Eagles are giving up big plays to wideouts right now, so look for Lamb to be heavily involved again.

Ever since Prescott returned from injury last year, the Cowboys have scored at least 24 points in every home game. In fact, the Cowboys have scored at least 27 points in 11 straight home games, which is the third-longest streak in NFL history. The Eagles just allowed 42 points to the 49ers a week after Buffalo scored 34 in Philadelphia. The Cowboys are the No. 1 scoring team at 32.3 points per game, and they dropped 40 points on Philadelphia last December in Dallas. This will be another high number for them as they should go over their team total of 27.5 points.

Put it all together and you are looking at a Dallas win. Hedge that on the Eagles’ spread if you want since we’ve been burned before by the scoreboard like in our Eagles-Chiefs parlay in Week 11. But the truth is the Eagles have been struggling for a few weeks now with every game a battle for them, and Dallas has mostly cruised through the competition with a top-scoring offense and a turnover-heavy defense that can play great at times.

It should be a fun game, but we are going to back Dallas to come through with a big night led by Dak.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Dak Prescott Over 2.5 Passing Touchdowns & Brandin Cooks Over 46.5 Receiving Yards & CeeDee Lamb 6+ Receptions & Cowboys Over 27.5 Points & Cowboys ML (+602 at FanDuel)

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