NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 14: Cardinals clip Rams; 49ers burn Bengals; Packers roll

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Week 13 in the NFL brought some good results for picks and predictions against the spread thanks to a lot of big favorites taking care of business in their games. Now it’s time to carry over that success with more tricky lines through which to navigate in Week 14.

Once again, there are four teams on a bye, creating another 14-contest slate. There is the same mix of medium and large spreads, but there also a few extra traps of razor-thin numbers.

As division competition heats up in December and more is on line regarding the NFL playoff picture, everything is bound to get tougher. Here’s how Sporting News fearlessly forecasts the upcoming set of matchups:

(Game odds courtesy of FanDuel)

NFL POWER RANKINGS: 
Chiefs, Steelers, Dolphins climb; 49ers, Ravens, Vikings fade for Week 14

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NFL picks against the spread for Week 13

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Rams are fine when Matthew Stafford is protected and they can stay balanced. But the Cardinals’ pressure defense got to him last time and the game script may not work in his favor. The Cardinals’ offense is at full versatile speed with Kyler Murray healthy and he should have all his weapons operating well for him, too. The Rams will fare better than the first meeting but Arizona rides a big, loud home-field advantage to victory in prime time.

Pick: Cardinals win 27-24 and cover the spread.

Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video

The Steelers’ offense is putting more pieces together with Najee Harris being supported much better by Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game. The Vikings’ run defense has fallen apart and they are mess downfield in the secondary. Their offense will be without Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen, too. Minnesota has made it a habit of losing close games it has 

Pick: Steelers win 23-20.

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

This is another lopsided division matchup for Sunday night. Green Bay is coming off a bye, well rested and back at full strength offensively with more defensive reinforcements on the way. Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears and won’t let them sniff anything close to an upset at Lambeau Field. If it’s Andy Dalton making another start for Chicago in prime time, well, everyone knows how that will go.

Pick: Packers win 38-17 and cover the spread.

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  • Upset of the Week: Jets (+6, 43.5 o/u) over Saints

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Jets got scrappy and stayed with the Eagles for a while. Should Alvin Kamara come back for New Orleans, their weak run defense will get pushed again, but they get a break with a limited Saints’ offense otherwise. New York is seeing Zach Wilson play better and Elijah Moore and the rest of the Jets’ receivers can cause a reeling secondary some matchup problems. This outdoor game falls into the home team’s favor as Robert Saleh’s defense makes enough plays to steal a fourth win.

Pick: Jets win 20-17.

  • Raiders at Chiefs (-9.5, 49 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chiefs are about to romp through the AFC West again and the Raiders, just like the first time and the Broncos last week, will be overmatched by the long-time division powerhouse. Kansas City hasn’t played great offense at home of late, but the defense has put it all together and this should be a get-well game for Patrick Mahomes and the running game. Derek Carr is impossible to trust in matchups of this magnitude.

Pick: Chiefs win 33-20 and cover the spread.

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Jaguars have become lifeless mush under Urban Meyer, masquerading as a professional team with awful coaching and terrible misuse of personnel. Somehow, they have blown getting an elite QB prospect in Trevor Lawrence and the defensive flashes they have shown are few and far between. Mike Vrabel will deliver his NFL coaching muscle after a bye with a creative and effective game plan by every measure.

Pick: Titans win 30-16 and cover the spread.

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  • Ravens at Browns (-2.5, 42.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Lamar Jackson is in a passing slump. Baker Mayfield has been in one all season. Something has to give here as both teams will try to run often to win the game and help make their QB more efficient. Jackson’s legs are still a big factor and can make a big difference in this type of grinding defensive struggle. The Ravens’ blitzing gets to Mayfield to contain the Browns’ offense.

Pick: Ravens win 23-20.

  • Falcons at Panthers (-3, 43.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Falcons are doing their best offensively with Matt Ryan as Calvin Ridley has been a big absence all season. The revelation of Cordarrelle Patterson in the backfield helps them here as well as Ryan’s remaining top targets, Russell Gage and Kyle Pitts staying hot against a weakened secondary. The Panthers fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady looking for a spark, when in reality he’s the only one they had when Christian McCaffrey was healthy. Atlanta takes it to split away-and-away with Carolina.

Pick: Falcons win 20-17.

  • Cowboys (-4.5, 49.5 o/u) at Washington Football Team

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Cowboys have been on a roller coaster of late as they’re trying to find their elite offense with Dak Prescott again where the explosive passing and power running are in harmony. Their defense, however, enjoyed a resurgence on the road vs. the Saints in Week 13 and Washington has limited ways to attack them beyond Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin for Taylor Heinicke.

Pick: Cowboys win 27-20 and cover the spread.

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Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Seahawks found their life with Russell Wilson against the 49ers at home. The Texans saw their severe lack of talent cost them to the point of being shut out by the Colts. The spirit they once had with David Culley might be completely broken. Seattle’s running game still isn’t there but it can get on track by committee to further boost Wilson here. The defense has been underrated all season, too.

Pick: Seahawks win 27-10 and cover the spread.

Sunday 4:05 ET, Fox

The Lions got their win out of the way at home against the Vikings and will go back to losing close low-scoring games. The Broncos’ defense can make life rough on Jared Goff with their pass rush and secondary while also containing the running game. The Broncos will have success pounding the ball on the Lions and get enough from Teddy Bridgewater in the short-to-intermediate passing game.

Pick: Broncos win 20-13 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Giants at Chargers (-10.5, 45.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Giants have gone into the tank offensively and it doesn’t matter who’s quarterbacking them or calling plays. The Chargers have lightning-fast players everywhere to keep helping the electric arm of Justin Herbert. The key for them is avoiding turnovers and expect the defense to keep helping with takeaways. Herbert will patient against another zone defense with Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler being the primary target as Brandon Staley’s team inches closer to the AFC playoffs.

Pick: Chargers win 31-17 and cover the spread.

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  • 49ers (-1, 47.5 o/u) at Bengals

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET,  CBS

The 49ers lost on the road to the Seahawks last week but have been strong when traveling into the Eastern time zone with Kyle Shanahan and this kickoff time is familiar to them. The Bengals have few answers to their specific strengths on offense, spreading the ball around the field with George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk. Joe Burrow will turn this into a shootout with Jimmy Garoppolo, but in the end the 49ers get the few defensive plays needed to preserve the victory.

Pick: 49ers win 27-24 and cover the spread.

  • Bills at Buccaneers (-3, 52.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bills haven’t been a great road team going South this season, losing to the Titans and Jaguars. The Buccaneers are 5-0 in Tampa Bay, building off their big win in Super Bowl 55 there. Tom Brady will exploit the right holes in the Bills’ defense between Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski, while the Bucs will be able to pressure Josh Allen often in a one-dimensional attack. The power running of Leonard Fournette late will close the door.

Pick: Buccaneers win 31-27 and cover the spread.

Vinnie Iyer’s 2021 picks:

  • Week 13 record against the spread: 8-5
  • Week 13 record straight up: 9-4
  • Season ATS: 106-85
  • Season straight up: 127-65



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