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December 07, 2023

Week 14 NFL picks

Does Jimmy Kempski think the Eagles will win in Dallas this weekend?

Eagles NFL
120723DakPrescott Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are playing better than Jalen Hurts and the Eagles right now.

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 14 NFL picks. To note, the team logos indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.


Patriots at Steelers (-6): Bailey Zappe vs. Mitch Trubisky. Oof. I don't think I could have hand-picked two more boring, uninteresting offenses to watch. Good luck with the ratings on this one, Amazon.


Panthers at Saints (-5): The NFC South teams' odds of winning the division, per inpredictable

• Falcons: 59%
• Buccaneers: 22%
• Saints: 18%
• Panthers: Eliminated from playoff contention.

If the Saints lose this game they're in big trouble. Luckily for them they're playing a Panthers team that is not only winless on the road but is also playing its third straight road game in as many weeks.


Lions (-3) at Bears: Hmmm 🤔, why is this line only 3? The Lions don't have a long injury list and the weather doesn't look like it'll be a disaster. I get that the Lions aren't as good as their 9-3 record would suggest and the Bears nearly upset them a few weeks ago, but they're 5-1 on the road and they need this game. OK, I'll bite. Give me the Lions, and I'll lay the 3.


Texans (-3.5) at Jets: This season Zach Wilson went from QB2 to QB1 to QB3 and back to QB1. The mismanagement of their quarterback situation this season will be an example for teams that lose their starter early in the season of what not to do. Or perhaps better stated, they shouldn't have traded for an insecure egomaniac and then let him play GM all offseason.


Colts (-1.5) at Bengals: The Colts have won four straight against bad teams (Panthers, Patriots, Bucs, Titans), but I kinda liked what I saw out of the Bengals on the road against the Jags on Monday night. Now that Joe Burrow is done for the season, the Bengals are no longer Super Bowl contenders, but they haven't given up on the season either under Jake Browning.


Jaguars at Browns (-3): C.J. Beathard vs. Joe Flacco (!). At least it's better than Zappe vs. Trubisky. This game will also feature Doug Pederson vs. Jim Schwartz. I'll take Schwartz and Myles Garrett over the Jags' sucky offensive tackles.


Rams at Ravens (-7): If you're an Eagles fan, you should be rooting for the Ravens to stay healthy, as you may need them to beat the 49ers Week 16.


Buccaneers at Falcons (-1): I've started to think about which of the NFC South teams have the best chance of giving the 5 seed the best game in the wildcard round of the playoffs. It's really hard to make a case for any of them. Saints, I guess?

Anyway, I just can't get on board with Desmond Ridder, so give me the Bucs here with no confidence at all.


Vikings (-3) at Raiders: Justin Jefferson will likely make his return to the field in this matchup, which is why the Vikings are favored by 3. I've been riding the Vikings (mostly successfully) over the last couple of months, but Jefferson's return to the lineup is creating too big a bump in the betting markets. I'd take the Raiders, buuuut how can you?


Seahawks at 49ers (-10.5): The Seahawks put more of a scare into the Cowboys than I thought they would last Thursday night, but they have been owned by the Niners the last two years:

Week 2, 2022: 27-7, 49ers
Week 15, 2022: 21-13, 49ers
Wildcard Round, 2022: 41-23, 49ers
Week 12, 2023: 31-13, 49ers

That's a total combined score of 120-56. This could be a letdown game after the Niners put so much emphasis on beating the Eagles Week 13, maybe? Eh, I'm not buying that.


Bills at Chiefs (-1.5): The Chiefs have won their last 10 games coming off of losses, dating back to 2021, and they have a chance to do some serious damage to the Bills' playoff hopes with a win. The AFC division leaders would much rather have to face teams like the Steelers, Browns, Colts, or Texans in the playoffs than the Bills.

But the Bills are desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and in evaluating these two teams in recent weeks, I came away thinking that the Bills are the better team.


Broncos at Chargers (-3): The Chargers are the more talented team, but I just don't trust their fraud coach.


Eagles at Cowboys (3.5): Dak Prescott had a brutal performance against the 49ers Week 5. Here's what he has done since then:

 OpponentComp/Att (Comp %) Yards (YPA) TD-INT Rating 
Chargers 21/30 (70.0%) 272 (9.1)1-0 109.3 
Rams 25/31 (80.7%) 304 (9.8)4-1 133.7 
Eagles 29/44 (65.9%) 374 (8.5)3-0 115.2 
Giants 26/35 (74.3%) 404 (11.5)4-1 138.3 
Panthers 25/38 (65.8%) 189 (5.0)2-0 95.2 
Commanders 22/32 (68.8%) 331 (10.3)4-0 142.1 
Seahawks 29/41 (70.7%) 299 (7.3)3-0 115.8 
TOTAL 177/251 (70.5%) 2173 (8.7) 21-2 121.5 

Meanwhile, here's what opposing quarterbacks have done against the Eagles' defense since their impressive performance against the Dolphins back in Week 7:

 OpponentComp/Att (Comp %) Yards (YPA) TD-INT Rating 
Sam Howell, WAS 39/52 (75.0%)  397 (7.6) 4-1 114.0 
Dak Prescott, DAL 29/44 (65.9%)  374 (8.5) 3-0 115.2 
Patrick Mahomes, KC 24/43 (55.8%)  177 (4.1) 2-1 71.6 
Josh Allen, BUF 29/51 (56.9%) 339 (6.6) 2-1 82.1 
Brock Purdy, SF 19/27 (70.4%) 314 (11.6) 4-0 148.8 
TOTAL 140/217 (64.5%)1601 (7.4) 15-3103.9 

Mahomes' and Allen's numbers look better if Marquez Valdes-Scantling and James Cook make easy catches, and it's also worth noting that Allen did a lot of damage against the Eagles with his legs.

The Eagles' back seven hasn't made enough plays on the football this season. As a team, they have 6 INTs. Only one team (the Titans) have fewer. They have also allowed opposing receivers to often run wide open through the intermediate areas of the field. It's hard to envision the Eagles suddenly correcting their coverage issues when they haven't played consistently there for over a month. 

Obviously, they have played a difficult slate of opponents during that stretch, but they're facing another one on Sunday that put up big numbers against them Week 9. They've been both vulnerable and (mostly) harmless, and it's hard to trust them right now against quality passing attacks. 

It doesn't help that this is the second straight opponent the Eagles will face that has extra rest heading into the matchup.

MORE: Five matchups to watch in Eagles-Cowboys


Packers (-6.5) at Giants: The Packers are suddenly in a really strong position to earn a wildcard spot. After beating Justin Herbert, Jared Goff, and Patrick Mahomes the last three weeks, here are the quarterbacks they're scheduled to face the rest of the season:

  1. Tommy DeVito, Giants
  2. Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers
  3. Bryce Young, Panthers
  4. Josh Dobbs, Vikings
  5. Justin Fields, Bears

They have a legitimate chance of running the table.


Titans at Dolphins (-13): The Titans are trash and the Dolphins will run up the score if they get the chance.

Side note: For some reason there are two Monday night games this week (Packers-Giants and Titans-Dolphins), and both kick off at 8:15 p.m. EST. Weird.

Byes: Cardinals, Commanders.

MORE: A PSA about the Eagles' run game

• Picks against the spread: Saints (-5), Lions (-3), Bengals (+1.5), Bills (+1.5).

• Eagles picks (straight up): 9-3
• Eagles picks (ATS): 4-6-2

• 2023 season, straight up: 121-74 (0.621)
• 2023 season, ATS: 30-33-5 (0.478) 😱😱😱
• 2022 season, straight up: 176-107-2 (0.621)
• 2022 season, ATS: 50-50 (0.500) 
• 2021 season, straight up: 179-105-1 (0.630)
• 2021 season, ATS: 46-40-1 (0.534)
• 2020 season, straight up: 169-81-1 (0.675)
• 2020 season, ATS: 45-37-3 (0.547)
• 2019 season, straight up: 160-107-1 (0.601)
• 2019 season, ATS: 42-35-3 (0.544)
• 2018 season, straight up: 173-94-2 (0.647)
• 2018 season, ATS: 41-36-2 (0.532)
• 2017 season, straight up: 181-86 (0.678)
• 2017 season, ATS: 36-32-2 (0.529)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (0.644)
• 2016 season, ATS:  41-34 (0.547)
• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)
• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

• Last 9 years, ATS: 375-324-18 (0.536)

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