We’re entering crunch time.
It’s been a weird NFL season thus far, and things might only get weirder over the final few weeks as some teams set their sights on the playoffs. Week 14 features several intriguing matchups, and that, in many ways, makes picking games against the spread even more difficult.
Team NESN isn’t fazed, though. In fact, Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle have improved significantly of late following a little bit of a rough patch. They went a perfect 5-0 with their Westgate SuperContest picks in Week 13 after going 3-2 in each of the previous three weeks. The duo now is feeling good as they look to continue climbing the Team OddsShark standings.
So, who do Cole and Doyle like this week in the premier NFL handicapping contest? Find out below.
Sunday, Dec. 10
San Francisco 49ers (+3) over Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Jimmy Garoppolo seems to have sparked the 49ers, although their Week 13 win did come against the lowly Chicago Bears. And that magic should continue in Week 14, when the Niners square off with a Texans team that’s been a shell of itself since losing its leaders on offense (Deshaun Watson) and defense (J.J. Watt). Take the better quarterback and the points.
Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) over Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
The Vikings are very good at extending drives on offense (first in third-down conversion percentage) and stopping drives on defense (first in opponent third-down conversion percentage). They also are thriving in the red zone, both offensively and defensively, which really is a microcosm of how excellent this balanced team has been amid its eight-game winning streak.
Kansas City Chiefs (-4) over Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m.
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
The Chiefs have been awful lately, largely because of their offensive struggles. The Raiders’ defense presents an opportunity for them to get back on track, though. It’s also worth noting that Derek Carr has struggled mightily in three career starts — all losses — in Kansas City.
Los Angeles Chargers (-6) over Washington Redskins, 4:05 p.m.
StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.
The Chargers’ vaunted pass rush should feast on the Redskins’ banged-up offensive line. If so, we could see a few turnovers from Los Angeles’ defense, which has been very opportunistic in recent weeks. On the flip side, the Chargers’ offense hasn’t turned the ball over in their last three games.
Baltimore Ravens (+5) over Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m.
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are 10-2 — same record as the New England Patriots — but life sure hasn’t been easy. It’ll only get more difficult this week, too, when they host the Ravens, whose defense has been in vintage form recently. Pittsburgh might win this game, especially with it being played in the Steel City, but a second consecutive physical divisional game for Ben Roethlisberger and Co. suggests this should be a tight one. Field goal decides it.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images
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