Dec 11, 2020
The NFL Week 14 schedule is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score picks.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game and a look at current playoff scenarios, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy‘s Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk‘s Dave Bearman hand out helpful nuggets as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.
Let’s get into the full Week 14 slate, including two battles between NFC teams fighting for playoff spots. (Game times are Sunday unless otherwise noted.)
Thursday: LAR 24, NE 3
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 76.8 | Spread: KC -7.5 (50.5)
What to watch for: Miami’s Xavien Howard is playing like the NFL’s best cornerback with a league-best eight interceptions. But Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been one of the NFL’s most explosive players, ranking third in receiving yards and sitting tied for first in touchdowns. Since Week 5, the Chiefs have had the NFL’s top scoring offense, while the Dolphins have the top scoring defense. It’s a classic battle of great versus great. — Cameron Wolfe
Bold prediction: The Chiefs will intercept Tua Tagovailoa twice on Sunday. The Dolphins’ quarterback has yet to throw an interception this season, but the Chiefs are tied for second in the league in interceptions with 14 and had their way with another young QB, Denver’s Drew Lock, this season. They intercepted Lock four times in two games. — Adam Teicher
Stat to know: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 31 touchdowns with two interceptions this season. The fewest interceptions in a season with at least 30 passing TDs is four, done by Tom Brady in 2010 (36 TDs). Both of Mahomes’ picks this season have come against the Raiders.
Playoff/draft picture: The Chiefs have already clinched a playoff spot, and they can clinch the AFC West with a win or a Raiders loss in Week 14. They also have a 54% chance of earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC, per FPI, and that could climb to 63% with a win Sunday. The Dolphins, meanwhile, enter the week with a 41% chance of making the playoffs, per FPI. That would rise to 69% if Miami wins Sunday, but it will fall to 32% with a loss.
What to know for fantasy: Due for a spike in production? Based on the location of carries, Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin‘s production as a rusher is 26.6% below expectations, the second-worst rate of all qualifiers. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Miami has covered in seven of its past eight games. It is 18-6 against the spread (ATS) since its Week 5 bye last season, the best mark in the league over that time. Read more.
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 27, Dolphins 17
Wolfe’s pick: Chiefs 24, Dolphins 20
FPI prediction: KC, 76.4% (by an average of 9.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: The forgotten No. 1: Has Chiefs’ Fisher proved worthy of top pick? … Dolphins’ no-huddle, empty packages key to unlocking dynamic Tagovailoa … Kelce honored twice Thursday: Man of the Year nominee and a 99 rating in Madden
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 62.5 | Spread: TB -6.5 (52.5)
What to watch for: The Bucs’ top-ranked rushing defense is giving up just 74 rushing yards per game and has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season, while Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook boasts the league’s second-most rushing yards with 1,250. The Bucs made the Chiefs and Rams one-dimensional, and Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff still thrived, but this will be a big test for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. — Jenna Laine
Bold prediction: Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will throw for 350 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bucs’ bye week will prove to be just what the offense needed to get back on track, and as a bonus, Brady’s deep passing attack will look rejuvenated. Against a young Vikings secondary, Brady will avoid his first regular-season three-game losing streak since 2002. — Courtney Cronin
Stat to know: Minnesota wide receiver Justin Jefferson has 1,039 receiving yards this season, putting him on pace for 1,385. That would be second most all time by a rookie behind Bill Groman’s 1,473 in 1960.
Playoff/draft picture: The Buccaneers enter the week with a 92% chance of making the playoffs, but if Minnesota beats them, they will be looking at a 73% chance, per FPI. The Vikings, meanwhile, are fighting for their playoff lives. They enter the week with a 32% chance, which could climb to 64% with a win. They’ll have a 23% chance to still make the postseason if they lose and fall to 6-7.
What to know for fantasy: That’s not one, not two, but three straight games with more than 21 fantasy points for Cousins. It should be noted, however, that all three of those games came at home. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Brady is 46-19 ATS in his career after a loss, including 4-0 ATS with Tampa Bay. Read more.
Cronin’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Vikings 23
Laine’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Vikings 21
FPI prediction: TB, 76.9% (by an average of 9.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Playoffs? Vikings need to beat good teams, starting with Bucs … Bucs must realize offensive identity to achieve playoff berth, reach full potential … Cousins has ‘settled down’ to keep Vikings in playoff hunt … Buccaneers WR Godwin has pins removed from finger … How Miller’s pass rushing summit saved Barrett’s career
Stephen A. Smith shares why he is not concerned about the Buccaneers’ recent losing skid and expects them to make the playoffs.
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 38.4 | Spread: ARI -1.5 (45)
What to watch for: The Giants have rushed for at least 132 yards in six of their past seven games. This week, they get to face the league’s 22nd-ranked rushing attack. How running back Wayne Gallman & Co. do against Arizona’s defense will go a long way in determining the final outcome of this contest. — Jordan Raanan
Bold prediction: Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will have 125 yards and a touchdown, but it won’t be enough because the Cardinals will be playing from behind for most of the game. Hopkins hasn’t had 100 yards receiving since Week 10, so he’s due for a big game. — Josh Weinfuss
Stat to know: The Giants had 15 turnovers and 10 takeaways in their first eight games. Over their past four, they have committed only two turnovers and secured 10 takeaways.
Playoff/draft picture: Arizona has a 40% chance of making the playoffs, per FPI. Win, and it becomes 51%. Lose, and the Cards are left at 21% to make the postseason. The Giants, meanwhile, enter the week at 57% likely to win the NFC East, and it would rise to 77% with a win.
What to know for fantasy: Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray‘s worst three games this season have come in succession, and yet his 308 fantasy points still rank second across all positions. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Giants are 8-2 ATS as an underdog this season with seven straight covers. Read more.
Weinfuss’ pick: Giants 24, Cardinals 17
Raanan’s pick: Giants 26, Cardinals 23
FPI prediction: ARI, 63.9% (by an average of 4.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Call of Duty Endowment cleats embody bond between Murray and the grandfather he never met … Giants optimistic QB Jones returns vs. Cardinals … Cardinals have ‘hit a wall’ during 1-4 nosedive … Morris among no-name Giants making big contributions … Fitzgerald: Scary part about having coronavirus is lack of answers
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 36.8 | Spread: HOU -1 (45)
What to watch for: The buildup in Chicago is all about Houston’s Deshaun Watson, one of two franchise quarterbacks the Bears bypassed in favor of Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 NFL draft. The game itself is almost inconsequential. Bears fans will hang on every Watson throw, the way they did when Patrick Mahomes visited Soldier Field last year. Mahomes embarrassed the Bears. — Jeff Dickerson
Bold prediction: Watson will throw for three touchdowns and set his single-season career high (27). That would also be the second most in a single season in Texans history. — Sarah Barshop
Stat to know: The Bears are 30th in offensive efficiency and yards per game, but the Texans rank 30th in defensive efficiency and opponent yards per game.
Playoff/draft picture: Through Week 6, Chicago held a 71.6% chance to make the playoffs. Now? Just 6.6% and a projected No. 12 pick in the 2021 draft. And while Houston’s playoff hopes ride at less than 0.1%, it does not have a first-round pick.
What to know for fantasy: On a per-game basis, Bears running back David Montgomery is RB7 since the Tarik Cohen injury. He faces the second-most friendly defense to opposing running backs this weekend. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Houston is 3-2 ATS against teams with losing records this season and 1-6 ATS against all others. Read more.
Barshop’s pick: Texans 27, Bears 20
Dickerson’s pick: Texans 27, Bears 24
FPI prediction: HOU, 52.9% (by an average of 1.0 points)
Matchup must-reads: For Texans’ Watson, losing is unfamiliar and ‘tough to handle’ … Can GM Pace and coach Nagy survive Bears’ downfall? … Under-25 developmental players crucial to Texans’ rebuilding effort … Bears’ Smith takes place among league’s elite linebackers
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 35.9 | Spread: CAR -4
What to watch for: Can the Panthers keep quarterback Teddy Bridgewater clean against a defense tied for eighth in the NFL in sacks with 32? Bridgewater might be without several of his top weapons, with running back Christian McCaffrey in doubt with a quad injury and wide receivers DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list. He might need more time than normal to give more inexperienced players a chance to create separation. But when Bridgewater is kept clean, the Panthers are usually competitive. — David Newton
Bold prediction: Broncos quarterback Drew Lock will have his first interception-free day since Week 2 (when he threw just four passes before exiting with a shoulder injury). Lock has struggled in the turnover department since he returned in Week 5 from that injury and has tossed 13 interceptions in his seven starts since then. But he says he has gotten the message, and the Panthers defense has intercepted just five passes this season. — Jeff Legwold
Stat to know: Lock ranks in the bottom four among all 32 qualified quarterbacks in Total QBR (29th), completion percentage (32nd) and TD-to-interception ratio (30th).
Playoff/draft picture: Both teams are 4-8 and in the top 10 projected draft spots. The Panthers are looking at the No. 8 spot, per FPI, while the Broncos are at No. 10. Could either get into the top five? The Panthers have a 8.7% chance, and Denver is slightly more likely at 10.1%.
What to know for fantasy: Will McCaffrey be back this week? The consensus first overall pick in fantasy drafts has appeared in three games this season, the last of which was Week 9. And yet, in Weeks 1-9, he ranked as RB26 with 90.4 fantasy points. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Carolina is 0-4 ATS in both its past four games as a favorite and its past four as a home favorite. Read more.
Legwold’s pick: Broncos 23, Panthers 16
Newton’s pick: Broncos 24, Panthers 10
FPI prediction: CAR, 65.6% (by an average of 5.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: What the Broncos want to see from Lock over the next four games … McCaffrey comes ‘full circle’ in prep for Broncos … Broncos ‘tough guy’ Patrick approaching 1,000 yards … McCaffrey’s return for Panthers meaningful, even if final games aren’t … Broncos DC Donatell expects to return to field Sunday after battle with COVID-19
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 28.1 | Spread: TEN -9 (52.5)
What to watch for: Dalvin Cook ran for 120 yards against the Jaguars last week but needed 32 carries to do it. That’s just 3.8 yards per carry. But Tennessee tailback Derrick Henry is a different style of runner and has absolutely feasted on the Jaguars in the past two late-season matchups: 397 yards, six TDs and 11.0 yards per carry. The Jaguars have spent all week working on tackling and trying to defend against Henry’s vicious stiff-arm. Henry might get his yards but, like Cook, is going to have to work for them. — Mike DiRocco
Bold prediction: Titans receivers A.J. Brown and Corey Davis will each have 100-yard receiving games, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill will pass for over 300 yards, as the Titans’ offense has a field day against the Jaguars. — Turron Davenport
Stat to know: Jaguars running back James Robinson needs only 42 rushing yards to become the fourth undrafted rookie with 1,000 in the common draft era (1967). And he has seven games with 100 scrimmage yards, tied with Clark Gaines ( in 1976) for most by an undrafted rookie.
Playoff/draft picture: The Titans, who already have a 85% chance of making the playoffs, per FPI, could be looking at 93% with a win on Sunday. The Jaguars are eliminated after losing 11 straight, but they are projected to pick second overall, and they have a 25.7% chance to jump the Jets for the top spot.
What to know for fantasy: Robinson is having a great season, but his ceiling is capped. Among qualifiers, only Frank Gore has fewer expected fantasy points per carry based on the location of rushes. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: When Tannehill starts regular-season games for Tennessee, overs are 18-3-1, including 9-2-1 this year. Read more.
Davenport’s pick: Titans 35, Jaguars 24
DiRocco’s pick: Titans 31, Jaguars 27
FPI prediction: TEN, 76.2% (by an average of 9.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: Titans’ Davis playing his way into a handsome second contract … Jaguars QB Minshew says he has ‘begged’ to play … Titans move rookie first-round pick Wilson to non-football illness list … Glennon opens up middle of the field for Jaguars’ offense
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 12.4 | Spread: DAL -3.5 (42.5)
What to watch for: Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton is making his return to Cincinnati, where he was a starter for the first nine years of his career. The loser of this game will strengthen its position for the No. 3 pick in the 2021 draft, and the Bengals have dropped four straight games, struggling to score since QB Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury. — Ben Baby
Bold prediction: The Cowboys will not have a turnover against the Bengals. While that might not seem bold for most teams, it is for the Cowboys. They have had at least one giveaway in all but two games this season. Dalton has at least one pick in each of his five starts as the quarterback, but he will not have one in his return to Cincinnati. Only four teams have fewer takeaways than the Bengals’ 12, including the Cowboys. — Todd Archer
Stat to know: Dallas has allowed 167.8 rushing yards per game this season, on pace to be the second-worst mark in a season in Cowboys history (186.8 in 1960). In more recent history, it’s also the worst mark by any NFL team since the 2010 Bills (169.6).
Playoff/draft picture: Following their loss to the Ravens, the Cowboys now have just a 1% chance of making the playoffs, per FPI (Cincinnati is already eliminated). And both teams have 0.1% chance at the top pick right now. Realistically, it’s all about the No. 3 spot — the Cowboys are projected to pick fourth, while the Bengals are third.
Betting nugget: Dallas is 2-9 ATS this season, the worst cover percentage in the NFL. Read more.
Archer’s pick: Cowboys 23, Bengals 20
Baby’s pick: Cowboys 17, Bengals 12
FPI prediction: CIN, 63.5% (by an average of 4.6 points)
Mike Clay asserts that Gio Bernard can get back on track against a Cowboys defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to RBs.
4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 51.0 | Spread: IND -2.5 (50.5)
What to watch for: The Raiders will be trying to get their running game going against the No. 7-ranked rush defense in the NFL. In Weeks 8-10, Las Vegas averaged 190.7 yards per game on the ground. The past three weeks, it’s only 67.0 per game. If the Colts make the Raiders a one-dimensional passing team, they can make QB Derek Carr uncomfortable in the pocket. So keep an eye on Las Vegas’ right tackle spot, where Trent Brown just might appear in only his third game this season. “He’s the best in the world at what he does,” Carr said of Brown. — Paul Gutierrez
Bold prediction: The Colts will sack Carr at least three times. Carr has been sacked five times over the past two games by Atlanta and the Jets, teams who both are in the bottom half of the NFL in sacks. The Colts, meanwhile, could be the healthiest they’ve been in several weeks on defense, if linebacker Bobby Okereke and safety Khari Willis return from their injuries. — Mike Wells
Stat to know: Raiders tight end Darren Waller is second among all tight ends in receptions (77) and receiving yards (742). He’s coming off a game with 13 receptions for 200 yards and a pair of scores. But the Colts have allowed the fewest yards per attempt (5.0) and fewest TDs (one, tied with the Patriots) to tight ends this season.
Playoff/draft picture: The Colts enter the week with a 61% chance of making the playoffs, per FPI. Make that 82% with a win and 43% with a loss. And chasing them in the AFC, the Raiders hold a 49% chance of making the playoffs but could be positioned with a 70% chance if they win Sunday. But lose, and they’re looking at a 26% chance.
Betting nugget: The Colts are 7-2 ATS in their past nine games as a favorite. Read more.
Wells’ pick: Colts 31, Raiders 25
Gutierrez’s pick: Raiders 27, Colts 23
FPI prediction: LV, 52.7% (by an average of 1.0 points)
Matchup must-reads: Colts rookie Blankenship still gets a kick out of Lego sets … Raiders’ Waller taking life, games one day and one play at a time … Rivers won’t let hurt toe keep him from potential playoff run … Ruggs gets redemption with last-second touchdown in Raiders’ win
4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 44.6 | Spread: SEA -13.5 (47)
What to watch for: As if Jamal Adams facing the team that dealt him to Seattle this summer after a messy divorce isn’t enough of a storyline on its own, the All-Pro safety can make NFL history. His team-high 7.5 sacks are a half-sack shy of Adrian Wilson’s NFL record for most in a season by a defensive back since those became an official statistic in 1982. With as much as the Seahawks blitz Adams and as motivated as he figures to be against the Jets, there’s a good chance he gets the record on Sunday. — Brady Henderson
Bold prediction: Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf will have a career receiving day, meaning more than 177 yards. The Jets have a new defensive coordinator, as Frank Bush replaces the fired Gregg Williams on an interim basis, but they have the same old defense. And the Jets simply don’t have any cornerbacks who can match up physically with Metcalf. This could be a historic day. — Rich Cimini
Stat to know: A team 0-12 or worse has beaten a team with a winning record one time in the Super Bowl era. In 2011, the 0-13 Colts defeated the 7-6 Titans.
Playoff/draft picture: The Seahawks (97% chance of making the playoffs) need to make up ground to win the NFC West. They have a 33% chance, per FPI, and even if they win against the Jets, they’ll still hold just a 35% chance of jumping the Rams in the division. And worse, a loss puts them at 22%. No playoff implications to discuss for the Jets, but FPI does give them a 44% chance of losing their remaining games and a 74.1% chance to hold on to the No. 1 pick — and perhaps the chance to draft Trevor Lawrence — in the 2021 draft.
What to know for fantasy: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson averaged 21.2 points per game through nine weeks, but he has failed to even reach that number in each of his past four games. Over that stretch, he has 14.9 fantasy points per game. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Seattle is the seventh team since 2010 to be a double-digit favorite immediately after losing outright as a double-digit favorite. Each of the previous six covered. Read more.
Cimini’s pick: Seahawks 31, Jets 13
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 27, Jets 14
FPI prediction: SEA, 86.1% (by an average of 14.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: Gase was ‘surprised’ by Adams’ criticism … Seahawks ‘ecstatic’ about Adams trade, but contract negotiation awaits … Jets coaches couldn’t get over loss to Raiders … Gordon ‘excited as hell’ to rejoin Seahawks … Winless Jets prepare for Adams, Seattle’s chairman of the ‘bored’
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 55.3 | Spread: SF -3 (43)
What to watch for: The 49ers are coming off a disappointing loss, and their slim playoff hopes are on the line, while Washington enters off a big win and is chasing the NFC East crown. Much like the Niners, Washington has invested serious resources in its defensive front and is starting to reap the benefits, as it ranks fifth in the league in pass rush win rate (an ESPN metric powered by NFL Next Gen Stats). San Francisco, meanwhile, is 20th in pass block win rate and has struggled consistently from center to right tackle. How well the Niners hold up against Washington’s rapidly evolving front four will go a long way in determining a winner here. — Nick Wagoner
Bold prediction: Washington receiver Terry McLaurin will become the sixth opposing receiver to surpass 100 yards against the 49ers this season (three have topped 150) and will also score once. He was held to 14 yards by Pittsburgh, in part because the Steelers focused hard on him. But against the 49ers, McLaurin will be a bigger part of the attack. San Francisco ranks 17th in catches allowed by receivers and 28th in touchdowns. — John Keim
Stat to know: Washington quarterback Alex Smith is averaging a league-low 5.16 air yards per attempt, the lowest mark by any qualified passer since ESPN began tracking it in 2006.
Playoff/draft picture: Two teams fighting for playoff hopes square off. The 49ers have a 28.0% chance to make the postseason, which would improve to 35.0% with a win. And Washington has the same record as the NFC East-leading Giants, but it has just a 35.2% chance to win the division, per FPI. Both teams are projected to pick in the first half of the first round next April, too.
Betting nugget: San Francisco is 1-5 ATS and outright at home this season. Read more.
Keim’s pick: Washington 20, 49ers 17
Wagoner’s pick: Washington 24, 49ers 23
FPI prediction: SF, 66.7% (by an average of 5.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Source: Washington RB Gibson has turf toe … No bubble: 49ers manage their mental health at temporary home in Arizona … Washington ‘on a roll’ thanks to young defensive ends, Smith … 49ers cling to slim postseason hopes after blowout loss to Bills … A support team, root beer and trust: How Washington’s Rivera faced cancer without missing a game
Mike Clay explains why J.D. McKissic should be a top consideration to play in Week 14 against the 49ers.
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 51.7 | Spread: GB -9 (55)
What to watch for: The Lions were invigorated by the change in coach from Matt Patricia to Darrell Bevell last week. This week? That can only carry a team so far, and Green Bay is one of the NFL’s best teams. The Lions’ poor defense is still their poor defense, and the roster still has big-time holes in it. Those holes could show up in a big way on Sunday. — Michael Rothstein
Bold prediction: The Packers will set not one but two milestones. First, wide receiver Davante Adams will catch a touchdown in his eighth straight game to break Don Hutson’s nearly 80-year-old team record. Second, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will throw four touchdown passes to get to 40 on the season for the third time in his career, which would be the most in NFL history. — Rob Demovsky
Stat to know: On play-action, Rodgers has an NFL-high 18 passing touchdowns with zero interceptions this season. That’s the most in a season since it was first tracked in 2006. His 74% completion percentage on play-action passes is also No. 1 in the NFL, while his 96.8 passing yards per game on those plays ranks second.
Playoff/draft picture: The Packers can clinch the NFC North with a win and a Vikings loss in Week 14. But they could also just clinch a playoff berth with a win and a loss from either the Cardinals or Jets. The Packers own the tiebreaker over the Saints, who sit at 10-2, and they enter the week with a 38% chance at the No. 1 seed in the NFC, per FPI. A win pushes it to 45%, but a loss dims those hopes to the tune of 12%. The Lions, meanwhile, are projected to pick ninth in the NFL draft, and they still have a 2.1% chance to climb into the top five.
What to know for fantasy: Rodgers is averaging 0.66 fantasy points per pass attempt, his most since 2011. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Green Bay is 5-1 ATS against teams with losing records this season. Read more.
Demovsky’s pick: Packers 31, Lions 23
Rothstein’s pick: Packers 34, Lions 24
FPI prediction: GB, 77.9% (by an average of 10.2 points)
Matchup must-reads: From the best to the best: Rodgers, Adams power Packers … How attractive is the vacant Lions general manager’s job? … Rodgers’ first job as Packers QB under Bevell: Find Favre … Inside a changed first week for the Lions under interim coach Bevell
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 50.8 | Spread: NO -7 (44)
What to watch for: Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts‘ first career start comes against the No. 1 defense in the NFL. The Saints are allowing 289 yards per game (first), 20.1 points per game (fourth) and have racked up 36 sacks (tied for third). Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins made the move from Philly to New Orleans in the offseason and knows the Eagles’ offense extremely well, which could further complicate things for the rookie QB. — Tim McManus
Bold prediction: Saints running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray will each gain more than 100 yards from scrimmage. We saw the Saints lean heavily on their backfield two weeks ago at Denver, where the Broncos were without a starting QB. I expect a similar conservative game plan outdoors at Philly in Hurts’ starting debut, especially since the Saints are so good at running the ball. — Mike Triplett
Stat to know: Hurts will be the 11th different starting quarterback in the NFC East this season, the second most by a division since the 2002 realignment (AFC North in 2015 with 12). It’ll be the first time since 2004 all four teams of the NFC East used multiple starting QBs.
Playoff/draft picture: The Saints have already clinched a playoff berth but could clinch the NFC South with a win or a Buccaneers loss in Week 14. They have a 57.6% chance to keep the top seed in the NFC, according to FPI. The Eagles, however, are down to just a 7.1% chance to make the postseason, which would become 2.9% with their ninth loss this weekend. Projected to have the sixth pick in the draft, Philadelphia has a 41.5% chance of jumping into the top five.
What to know for fantasy: Over the past four weeks, there have been 66 instances in which a running back scored at least 14 fantasy points in a game, and Eagles running back Miles Sanders has not accounted for any of those instances. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Since the start of the 2018 season, New Orleans is 17-5 ATS on the road. Read more.
Triplett’s pick: Saints 23, Eagles 17
McManus’ pick: Saints 26, Eagles 20
FPI prediction: NO, 78.6% (by an average of 10.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: Thomas back to peak form in time for Saints’ playoff run … Cox, Kelce stand behind Wentz of Eagles … Hill’s not perfect but shows why Saints think he could succeed Brees … Eagles deviate from Reid script by choosing Hurts over Wentz
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 33.0 | Spread: ATL -2.5 (49.5)
What to watch for: Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert will have to figure out how to bounce back from a blowout by New England against a suspect Atlanta defense. He has 23 passing touchdowns, four shy of matching Baker Mayfield‘s rookie record of 27 set in 2018, but this will be a big test in how he responds to adversity. — Shelley Smith
Bold prediction: The Chargers will be held without a touchdown for a second straight game. They’ll be more productive on offense than they were in last week’s debacle but still won’t find the end zone against the Falcons, who are improved defensively under interim coach Raheem Morris. — Adam Teicher
Playoff/draft picture: The Chargers have been eliminated from the playoffs, while the Falcons have a 0.1% chance. So, yeah, it’s time to turn to the draft. The Chargers are looking at the No. 5 pick at the moment, while the Falcons are projected by FPI to pick seventh.
Betting nugget: Los Angeles is coming off a 45-0 loss. Since 2015, teams coming off a 40-point loss are 0-6-1 ATS in their next game. Read more.
Teicher’s pick: Falcons 26, Chargers 9
Smith’s pick: Chargers 27, Falcons 20
FPI prediction: ATL, 57.0% (by an average of 2.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: Gurley, Falcons run game heading in wrong direction … Henry, Ingram lead list of Chargers’ pending free agents … Chargers hit rock bottom in record-setting, 45-0 blowout loss to Patriots
Mike Clay points out how strong the Falcons’ defense is against the run, but he and Daniel Dopp are confident Austin Ekeler will have a strong fantasy performance on Sunday.
8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 82.1 | Spread: BUF -1.5 (48)
What to watch for: Over the past four weeks, the Bills own the second-best passing offense in the NFL in terms of yards per game. But the Steelers have allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game in that span. Considering Buffalo’s struggles to run the ball effectively this season, it’s critical that the Bills either figure out a way to solve Pittsburgh’s pass defense or get their run game going. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Bold prediction: James Washington will lead Pittsburgh receivers in targets. The Steelers had a whopping seven drops in the loss to Washington, and coach Mike Tomlin said afterward that receivers who can’t catch the ball will be replaced by those who can. Though explosive, Diontae Johnson has struggled the most with drops, recording three last week, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has openly campaigned to get Washington on the field more often. Washington is known for making combat catches and explosive plays, two things that will be needed against a tough Bills team. — Brooke Pryor
Stat to know: The Bills’ offense leads the league in both third- (49.3%) and fourth-down conversion rate (83.3%) this season. And that third-down rate is the highest by any team since the 2011 Saints (56.7%).
Playoff/draft picture: A lot going on here. First, the Steelers can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a loss from either the Dolphins, Raiders or Titans. They can clinch the AFC North with a win and a Browns loss. The Bills can also clinch a playoff berth with a win and losses from each of these three teams: the Ravens, Raiders and Dolphins. The Bills have a 90.8% chance to win the AFC East division, according to FPI, something they haven’t done since 1995.
What to know for fantasy: Yes, Johnson may lead the league in drops this season, but the consistent work has him as WR4 in total points over the past month. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Pittsburgh is 8-4 ATS this season, the second-best mark in the NFL. Read more.
Pryor’s pick: Bills 27, Steelers 24
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 24, Steelers 17
FPI prediction: PIT, 56.8% (by an average of 2.3 points)
What to watch for: Two of this game’s biggest stars — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Browns defensive end Myles Garrett — continue to work their way back after testing positive for the coronavirus. Both players, who performed well in their returns this past week, will be instrumental as Baltimore and Cleveland make their playoff pushes. — Jake Trotter
Bold prediction: The Ravens will be held to a season low in points. Jackson and the Baltimore offense is coming off a game in which they scored 34 points and ran for 294 yards. But that came against a struggling Cowboys defense, whereas the Browns have held teams to 18.8 points at home this season, the fourth fewest in the NFL. — Jamison Hensley
Stat to know: The Browns have a minus-15 point differential this season, the worst by any team with at least nine wins through 12 games in NFL history, via Elias Sports Bureau data.
Playoff/draft picture: The Ravens are on the outside looking in, sitting at a 68% chance to make the playoffs, according to FPI. But that would go up to 84% with a win or drop to 37% with a loss. The Browns, meanwhile, have a 86.2% chance to make the playoffs at this point.
What to know for fantasy: Jackson was QB6 in Week 13, matching his best finish since opening the season with a QB4 performance in Week 1. See Week 14 rankings.
Betting nugget: Cleveland is 0-4 ATS against AFC North opponents this season. Read more.
Hensley’s pick: Browns 23, Ravens 13
Trotter’s pick: Browns 30, Ravens 28
FPI prediction: BAL, 65.9% (by an average of 5.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: Who drove Bryant’s comeback with Ravens? His daughter … With Mayfield playing the best ball of his career, Browns could be a force come playoff time … Jackson stars in return, keeps Ravens in AFC hunt