I’m not sure if the Jets are planning to build a statue for Gregg Williams, but I feel like they should at least consider it for the way he handled the end of the game against the Raiders on Sunday. Sure, he made one of the worst coaching decisions of all-time, and yes, he deserved the firing that came his way, but if you ignore all that and only pay attention to the big picture — I’m a big picture guy — he saved the Jets from themselves.
What Williams did to the Jets would be like if your babysitter accidentally burnt your house down. Sure, you’re going to be upset at first, and yes, you’re probably never going to hire that babysitter again, but once you get that insurance check, you won’t remember anything bad that happened.
Williams basically burnt down the Jets house on Sunday, but once they get that Trevor Lawrence insurance check in the mail, no one in New York will ever hold anything against him. I mean, to be honest, I think the Jets actually forgot about the fact that the worst team in the NFL is going to land Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft, because that’s the only way to explain why they were TRYING to beat the Raiders. The only reason the upset didn’t happen is because Williams came along to save the day with the worst defensive play-call in the history of football and that play-call allowed the Raiders to complete a 46-yard Hail Mary to win the game. Sometimes it pays to work with people who are bad at their job.
If the Jets don’t want to build Williams a statue, they should at least send him a Trevor Lawrence jersey. It’s the least they can do. As for me, the least I could do is stop talking about the Jets, so we can get to the Week 14 picks.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you don’t click over, I won’t be offended. However, I will be offended if you don’t sign up for CBSSports.com’s NFL newsletter, which I pump out four days per week. I also have a newsletter about what it’s like to write newsletters, but I won’t ask you to subscribe to that one.
As for the football one, if you want to subscribe, all you have to do is click here and enter your email address. It takes six seconds to sign up and if you’re wondering why I know that, it’s because I got bored and timed it. One thing that’s not boring is the podcast that I recorded on Monday night with my crazy partners Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson. We spent 45 highly entertaining minutes debating who’s going win the NFC East ,if the Bills are good enough to win the Super Bowl and whether the Steelers are going to lose any more games. If you want to listen, and you definitely should, you can do that below.
Alright, thanks for suffering through all the self-promotion. I hope it wasn’t too painful. Let’s get to the picks.
NFL Week 14 Picks
New England (6-6) at L.A. Rams (8-4)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox/Amazon/NFL Network)
If you’ve watched the Rams play at all this season, then you may have noticed that their success in pretty much every game hinges on how well Jared Goff plays. Actually, I don’t think that’s limited to just this season because that basically describes every Rams game for the past three years. If Goff struggles at all, the Rams lose. If Goff plays well, the Rams win. If you need proof, just check out his QB rating: The Rams are 8-1 this season when he finishes with a QB rating above 75, but 0-3 when he goes below 75. I’m pretty sure that makes this Goff’s Mendoza line.
So will Goff get above a 75 QB rating against the Patriots? My guess is no. One reason Goff generally plays well is because Sean McVay does a good job of scheming things up for him. The Rams love using pre-snap motion, they love using play-action and they love using deception to open things up for Goff. For an undisciplined defense, all of that is a total nightmare. Unfortunately for the Rams, they’re facing the opposite of an undisciplined defense this week. As a matter of fact, you could argue they’re playing the most disciplined team in football. The Patriots defense might not be great this year, but they do their job, which is important to Bill Belichick. As a matter of fact, I won’t be surprised if that guy has “Do your job” put on his tombstone.
If you look at the Rams’ three losses this year, they came against smart defensive minds. Two came to the 49ers and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and one came against the Dolphins, who are coached by Brian Flores. Coincidentally enough, Flores was on the Patriots coaching staff that absolutely shut down Goff and the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. I’m not sure if the Rams learned anything from that game though, because Flores was able to shut them down again back in Week 8.
Speaking of Super Bowl LIII, McVay had two weeks to prepare for the Patriots and he used all that time to come up with a game plan that produced exactly three points. This time, he only has three days to plan. You do the math. Also, the Rams are 0-2 against the AFC East this season and 8-2 against everyone else. I’m taking the AFC East team here.
The pick: Patriots 23-20 over Rams
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Arizona (6-6) at N.Y. Giants (5-7)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
If you would have asked me five weeks ago who I thought was going to win this game, I probably would’ve picked the Cardinals by seven touchdowns. I’m not sure why you would have asked me about this game back then, but just play along. After eight weeks of play, the Giants were 1-7 and it looked like they were going to duke it out with the Jets for the title of worst team in the NFL. As for the Cardinals, they were 5-2 after eight weeks and they had looked so good over that span that Cards fans started talking about something they almost never talk about: The playoffs.
I’m not sure if the Giants and Cardinals switched uniforms after Week 8, but it kind of feels that way. The Cards are 1-4 since their Week 8 bye and they would be 0-5 if they hadn’t beaten the Bills with a prayer throw. I’m not sure if they offended the Pope or something with their Hail Mary, but I’m starting to feel that way.
I think the Cardinals’ biggest issue right now is that it seems like Kyler Murray is afraid to run, which has made their offense one-dimensional. Murray injured his shoulder in Week 10 and since then, he’s averaged 20.3 rushing yards per game. That’s a huge difference when you consider that he averaged 67.1 between Weeks 1 thru 9. Murray the dual-threat quarterback is nearly impossible to beat, but Murray the one-dimensional quarterback is very beatable.
I have no idea who’s going to be starting at quarterback for the Giants, and I thought about making two picks for this game — one for if Daniel Jones plays and one if he doesn’t — but then I decided that I don’t care who starts. The Giants defense did such a good job of bottling up Russell Wilson that I’m 99% sure that they’re going to be able to do the same thing to Kyler Murray.
The pick: Giants 27-24 over Cardinals
Atlanta (4-8) at L.A. Chargers (3-9)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
I wasn’t going to include this game in the main picks this week, but then I remembered it’s being played between the two most dysfunctional teams in football so I decided I had to include it. I mean, I’m not sure if you guys remember, but through the first eight weeks of the season, I’m 90% certain these two teams were in a competition to see who could blow the most leads. On one hand, you had the Falcons, who successfully blew a 20-point lead to the Cowboys and a 16-point lead to the Bears. THE BEARS. Have you seen their offense? The Bears can’t even score 16 points in a game and they somehow overcame a 16-point deficit.
On the other hand, you have the Chargers, who one-upped the Falcons by blowing three leads of 17 points or more this season. They blew a 17-point lead to the Buccaneers in Week 4 and lost. They blew a 17-point lead to the Saints in Week 5 and lost. They blew a 21-POINT lead to the Broncos in Week 8 and lost. The Chargers are so good at blowing leads that they’re beating the Falcons at their own game. Well, they are right now, but they’ll probably blow that lead too.
If the space-time continuum is ever going to rip causing the universe to implode on itself, it’s almost certainly going to happen while this game is being played. If Matt Ryan wasn’t still alive, I’d be 100% convinced that Justin Herbert was just a reincarnation of him. He’s doomed to live out his NFL career on a team that’s always blows big leads.
My only prediction for this game is that it will be total chaos and that we will see at least 11 blown leads. There will most likely be at least three missed field goals, multiple turnovers, an improbable onside kick recovery and if I know these two teams like I know these two teams, the game will probably be decided by a safety, because that’s the only way a Falcons-Chargers game could possibly end. Actually, I take that back. This is Falcons-Chargers, it could end with all of us being swallowed by a black hole that will transport us back to Jan. 1, 2020 forcing us to relive the entire year. Maybe it would be safer if this game just isn’t played.
The pick: Chargers 33-31 over Falcons
Pittsburgh (11-1) at Buffalo (9-3)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
If you live in Buffalo and you see a lost NBC production truck driving around the city this week, that’s probably because they’ve forgotten where the Bills stadium is located, which is what happens when you’re broadcasting a game from a place for the first time in 13 YEARS. As you may or may not have noticed, this is the Sunday night game for Week 14 and I’m guessing the entire city of Buffalo is going to be amp’d up due to the fact that this is the first Sunday night game the Bills have hosted since NOVEMBER 2007. Of course, the Bills lost that game 56-10, so I guess you can’t really blame NBC for not wanting to return.
The good news for the Bills is that I don’t see them losing this game 56-10. As a matter of fact, I don’t see them losing this game at all. This game is going to completely hinge on how well Josh Allen plays against a Steelers defense that has been beating up opposing quarterbacks all year long. The Steelers have 44 sacks on the season, which leads the NFL. The odd thing about Allen is that he almost seems to play better when he’s under pressure. There have been five games this season where he’s been sacked multiple times and in those five games, not only have the Bills gone 5-0, but Allen is averaging 300.4 yards and two touchdown passes per game.
As for the other quarterback in this game, I’m not sure if it matters how well he plays, because even if he’s throwing his passes right on the money, his receivers are probably just going to drop them.
Dropped passes is definitely not a stat you want to be leading the league in.
One other thing about this game that I think works to the Bills advantage is the fact that they caught a break in the scheduling department and that’s because the Steelers had to play on Monday night. Originally, the Steelers were supposed to play Washington on Sunday in Week 13, which would have given them an extra day of rest, but now, the Steelers won’t be getting that extra day. I feel like Ben Roethlisberger could have really used the extra day, if only to show his receivers how to catch a football.
The pick: Bills 26-23 over Steelers
Lock of the Week that’s not actually a lock
Kansas City (11-1) at Miami (8-4)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
I’m starting to think we might have to start calling this the “Fade of the Week” since it’s definitely the one pick where you should be doing the opposite of whatever I do. If you’ve been betting against my “Lock of the Week” over the past few weeks, I’d like to congratulate you because that means you’re probably now a millionaire and reading this from your new beachside condo in Aruba that you bought with all the money you made fading me.
I’m not sure how it happened, but the “Lock of the Week” has turned into the Chicago Bears of picks. It started off hot, but now, it’s the laughingstock of football. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to be the Chicago Bears of anything, especially not this year. For the first two months of the season, the Lock was 6-2 against the spread and 7-1 straight-up, but after last week’s debacle where I picked the Seahawks over the Giants, the “Lock of the Week” is now 0-7 against the spread over the past seven weeks (5-2 straight-up).
To end the drought, I’m doing what any smart person would do: I’m turning to Patrick Mahomes, who will be playing the Dolphins.
Picking the Chiefs to cover against an 8-4 team might not seem like a smart pick, but I’m throwing smart out the window because all smart has gotten me is 0-7 against the spread since the start of November. Anyway, if you’ve watched the Dolphins defense play over the past three weeks, they’ve been absolutely dominating their opponents. Of course, the last three quarterbacks they’ve faced are Drew Lock, Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen, who are three quarterbacks that I’m pretty sure any team could dominate. Facing Patrick Mahomes is going to be a shock to their system, kind of like eating a vegetable after eight straight days of only eating only Twinkies. Trust me, that doesn’t feel good on your system and facing Mahomes won’t feel good for the Dolphins.
Although the Dolphins have been good on defense, I don’t think they’re going to be able to slow down Mahomes, which is going to be a problem, because I don’t think Miami’s offense has the firepower to keep up in a shootout.
The pick: Chiefs 30-20 over Dolphins
Lock of the week record: 12-3 straight up, 6-9 against the spread
NFL Week 14 picks: All the rest
Texans 27-20 over Bears
Cowboys 24-17 over Bengals
Chiefs 30-20 over Dolphins
Buccaneers 30-27 over Vikings
Broncos 20-17 over Panthers
Titans 31-24 over Jaguars
Colts 34-27 over Raiders
Seahawks 31-20 over Jets
Packers 30-23 over Lions
Saints 27-17 over Eagles
49ers 23-16 over Washington
Ravens 23-20 over Browns
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Falcons would score exactly 16 points and lose to the Saints and guess what happened? The Falcons scored exactly 16 points and lost to the Saints. However, I won’t pat myself on the back too much here and that’s because Falcons games have become pretty predictable. I mean, the same thing basically happens every week: The offense sputters in key situations, which causes the Falcons to settle for field goals when they actually need touchdowns and they ultimately lose due to all their field goals. Although this is bad for the Falcons, it’s good for Younghoe Koo who is threatening the record for most field goals during a single season. Through 13 weeks, Koo has already hit 32 field goals, which is crazy when you consider that no other kicker has even hit 30 this year. It also means he’s on pace for 42.7 field goals, which would put him within striking distance of tying David Akers’ record of 44.
Worst pick: I only missed three picks in Week 13, but I won’t be taking a victory lap and that’s because if I try to take one, I’ll trip over my own feet and fall flat on my face, kind of like I did with my Browns and Giants picks. Last week, I predicted that the Titans would destroy the Browns and I’m not sure if you watched the game but the Titans definitely didn’t destroy the Browns. As a matter of fact, I think the opposite happened. However, I can’t say for sure because I had to turn the game off to save what I had left of my dignity after the Browns took a 38-7 lead. I would say that was my biggest whiff of the year, but it wasn’t, because I also picked the Seahawks over the Giants. To be specific, I think I wrote the the Giants going to Seattle with Colt McCoy would be like going to a gun fight and only bringing the thimble piece from Monopoly.
Yep, I definitely said that. I think the moral of the story here is that whenever you’re playing Monopoly you should always be the thimble piece. And also, if you’re ever in a gun fight, don’t discount the thimble piece as a potential weapon.
Finally, if you’re still reading, you might be wondering which teams I’ve done well picking this year and here’s the answer:
Teams I’m 11-1 picking this year (Straight up): Chiefs, Jets
Teams I’m 10-2 picking this year: Jaguars, Chargers, Packers, Steelers, Ravens (9-2)
Longest winning streak: Jaguars (Nine straight games correct)
Longest losing streak: Washington (Three straight games incorrect)
Also, there is no team I’ve been worse at picking than the Falcons (4-8). I’m guessing this is karma’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t have said all those bad things about Atlanta when i lived there for three years.
Straight up in Week 13: 11-3
SU overall: 123-66-1
Against the spread in Week 13: 9-5
ATS overall: 89-98-3