The 2020 NFL regular season is winding down, and there are playoff spots to be had.
While a handful of division winners are all but locked up, a few others feature tight races. The Wild Card spots in both conferences also are fairly up for grabs.
With this in mind, our three underdog picks this week all are teams that could significantly benefit from a Week 14 in order to strengthen their playoff hopes, or keep them alive.
(+5) New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams
The Patriots are playing their best football of the season at the right time. New England’s full-fledged beatdown of the Los Angeles Chargers marked Bill Belichick’s team’s fourth win in its last five games. The Patriots now are at 6-6, and they’ll remain in desperation mode when they visit the Rams on Thursday night.
LA ousted division rival Arizona in Week 14, but the Cardinals have been pretty lousy of late. Prior to that win, the Rams fell to the shorthanded San Francisco 49ers. In other words, New England might have more momentum going into this one than LA.
Keep in mind, the majority of the Patriots’ losses on the season were fairly narrow. Four of the six defeats were by seven points or less.
Indianapolis Colts at (+3) Las Vegas Raiders
Going in on the Raiders this weekend might come off as a foolish move. After all, Las Vegas effectively was an inexplicably stupid decision away from falling to the winless New York Jets last Sunday.
We’re choosing to view that near-loss as a wake-up call, however. The Raiders currently sit eighth in the AFC standings, one game out of a Wild Card spot. The third of those spots is held by the Colts, who are one peg ahead of the Silver and Black in the conference standings.
Indy isn’t reeling entering this matchup, but its last two outings were far from inspiring. The Colts were shellacked by the Tennessee Titans at home in Week 12 and were awfully close to suffering an upset loss to the Houston Texans last Sunday.
We’re expecting Derek Carr and Co. to make the most of their new lease on life and bump Indianapolis out of the playoff picture.
(+3) Washington Football Team at San Francisco 49ers
Talk about getting no love from the sportsbooks. Washington handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the season Monday night, and its reward is an underdog tag in a game that will be held at a neutral site.
Perhaps WFT relishes being in this position, however. Ron Rivera’s team is 6-4 against the spread as an underdog this season. Conversely, San Francisco is an underwhelming 2-4 as a favorite on the campaign.
Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle are not expected to be available for the Niners on Sunday, so we’re banking on Washington’s stout defense wreaking havoc against Nick Mullens and Co. With an NFC East title a distinct possibility, we believe WFT will be the more motivated side in Arizona.