NFL Week 14 Predictions: Actually Time for Change

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Scratch what I said this past week.

I admittedly performed so badly in Week 13 that I am giving up. For the first time in the 2021-22 NFL season, I am just at a complete loss for words. Hell, Detroit got their first win of the season over Minnesota, a team that was able to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at the height of their powers.

Talk about making no sense.

So, for the last five weeks of the regular season, I am changing the format of this weekly article. All predicted outcomes will still be mentioned in the article, but knowing that I write all of that analysis for it to just make no sense on Sundays, the top five weekly matchups in my mind will be the ones that get the attention.

On top of that, I will be doing a little dive on a handful of players that have potential in my eyes to outkick weekly expectations and could help lead you or your fantasy team to postseason stardom. 

Anyways, I’m sorry about the recent disappointments with my performance. Hopefully, as the season winds down, my winning percentage goes back up. 

I’ll take what I can get at this point. Happy Week 14!

TEAMS ON WEEK 14 BYE: Indianapolis, Miami, New England, Philadelphia

Last Week’s (Week 12) Pick Record: 6-8

My Overall 2021-22 Pick Record: 118-76

Note: All betting information comes from BetMGM (https://sports.in.betmgm.com/en/sports/football-11)

My Must-Watch Week 14 Matchups

Buffalo Bills (7-5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-4)

Time/Channel: 12/12/21 @ 4:25 PM on CBS

Spread: Tampa Bay (-3)

After losing to division rival New England in Week 13 where Mac Jones only attempted three passes, it is hard to pick Buffalo this week. However, I think that they know that to keep pace with New England for the divisional race, they need to win every game they possibly can. QB Josh Allen looked undesirable against the Patriots, but I have a feeling he finds his footing against a banged-up Tampa Bay secondary this week. With QB Tom Brady on the other side, Allen will have to earn it all game. He leads his Bills down the field and defeats the Buccaneers off of a K Tyler Bass walk-off field goal.

My Prediction: Buffalo defeats Tampa Bay, 31-30

Los Angeles Rams (8-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (10-2)

Time/Channel: 12/13/21 @ 8:15 PM on ESPN

Spread: Arizona (-3)

Round 2 between these NFC West foes. The meeting was a thrashing, as Arizona demolished Los Angeles on both sides of the ball. With QB Kyler Murray seemingly fully back from injury and Arizona being dominant on both sides of the ball, it’s hard to pick against them. With that being said, it is hard to beat a team twice, and this one has divisional weight. The Rams know that if they lose this one, they are playing on Wild Card weekend. Head coach Sean McVay expectedly creates some magic, lets QB Matthew Stafford find his groove, and the Rams narrowly defeat their biggest challengers for NFC West supremacy.

My Prediction: Los Angeles defeats Arizona, 27-24

Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

Date/Time/Channel: 12/12/21 @ 1:00 PM on CBS

Spread: Kansas City (-9.5)

The AFC West showdown that has lost some magic since Las Vegas has decided to lose last week against Washington. Without TE Darren Waller as the security blanket, QB Derek Carr has struggled to find options to replace him. While WR Hunter Renfrow has been great as a slot weapon, Carr simply needs others to step up. While RB Josh Jacobs is adequate in his attempts to establish the run, the Chiefs have been playing perhaps the best defensive football they’ve played all year over the last three weeks. I believe Kansas City, in a classic matchup, outduels Vegas and creates some more separation between themselves and the rest of the loaded AFC West.

My Prediction: Kansas City defeats Las Vegas, 35-24

Baltimore Ravens (8-4) vs. Cleveland Browns (6-6)

Date/Time/Channel: 12/12/21 @ 1:00 PM on CBS

Spread: Cleveland (-2.5)

I have a feeling that QB Lamar Jackson feels heated about three straight subpar performances (including the four-interception game against Cleveland in Week 12). It’s unfortunate that he faces the same elite defense that torched him just two weeks ago. And they are coming off their bye. Seems like Cleveland has this one, right? I wouldn’t be so sure. QB Baker Mayfield and the receivers haven’t been on the same page, and that limits what they hope to do offensively (RUN). Even with Cleveland likely to play intense with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, Baltimore shows that they are the true class of the AFC North after beating them again, this time on their home turf.

My Prediction: Baltimore defeats Cleveland, 21-17

Dallas Cowboys (8-4) vs. Washington Football Team (6-6)

Time/Channel: 12/12/21 @ 1:00 PM on FOX

Spread: Dallas (-4)

Three weeks ago, Dallas was the runaway pick for the NFC East title. That is not the surefire case anymore, as Washington has won four straight games. Over that span, they have prioritized the run, as RB Antonio Gibson is now proving his high preseason draft stock. Dallas isn’t collectively very good at stopping the run, but when LB Micah Parsons has played the way he’s been playing, they can rally around that. I have mentioned before that I don’t think Washington QB Taylor Heinicke can carry the load in a game where they need to play from behind, and they will be behind all game against the potent (and now healthy) Dallas attack.

My Prediction: Dallas defeats WFT, 28-20

Remaining Picks:

Minnesota (-3.5) defeats Pittsburgh, 26-21

Tennessee (-8.5) defeats Jacksonville, 24-17

Seattle (-7.5) defeats Houston, 31-21

New Orleans (-6) defeats New York (A), 24-11

Carolina (-3) defeats Atlanta, 24-21

Los Angeles (A) (-10) defeats New York (N), 28-17

Denver (-7.5) defeats Detroit, 23-16

San Francisco defeats Cincinnati (-1), 27-24

Green Bay (-12.5) defeats Chicago, 30-22

My Week 14 Impact Players

Dak Prescott (QB- Dallas Cowboys)

Prescott has performed ‘okay’ by whole-season metrics (QB10 in fPPG, 18th in total QBR) but has had two underwhelming performances in the last three weeks. Looking to rebound from an anemic Week 13 against New Orleans (238 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), Prescott gets the advantage of having all of his top receiving threats available for Week 14 (Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup). Facing a Washington defense that has been prone to allowing big plays, I am confident Prescott will respond in this suddenly crucial divisional contest.

Alvin Kamara (RB- New Orleans Saints)

After watching New Orleans the past four weeks, I have drawn a conclusion. Without Kamara, the Saints just aren’t much of anything on offense. His MCL sprain suffered in Week 9 may still need some time to get back up to speed, but when playing the horrid New York defensive front, you have to roll Kamara out with no regrets. I have a feeling that he plays his workhorse role for the Saints (they need him to), propelling them to a much-needed win.

Elijah Mitchell (RB- San Francisco 49ers)

Status is something to monitor for Mitchell, as he potentially was concussed in the Week 13 loss against Seattle. However, if cleared to play on Sunday against Cincinnati, he’s a must-start. Mitchell has a combined seventy-four touches since Week 10 (three games played), which is truly ridiculous. Any running back with that volume garners starting attention, but considering that Mitchell averages 15.1 fPPG on the season and facing a leaky Bengals run defense only adds to his potential to produce big numbers this week. 

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR- Los Angeles Rams)

A successful catch rate has been somewhat hard to come by since OBJ’s arrival (9 catches/18 targets with Matthew Stafford), but Beckham has played himself back into at least fantasy relevance. Obviously, his days of operating as a true first option are likely numbered (due to natural decline and Cooper Kupp’s emergence), but it’s worth noting that OBJ has a touchdown in his last two games. With defenses zoning in on Kupp and fellow Rams wideout Van Jefferson, opportunities will most certainly be there. Facing Arizona, I have a feeling that this game will be high-scoring, leading to Beckham’s rising value for Week 14.

Mike Williams (WR- Los Angeles Chargers)

While teammate Keenan Allen is likely Justin Herbert’s first look on the majority of pass plays, Williams has proven that he’s more than capable of producing gaudy numbers. In a matchup with the underwhelming Giants, opposing lead corner James Bradberry IV could shadow Allen in the slot. With the Chargers still firmly in the AFC West divisional race, I don’t think their gameplan changes, but the size mismatch between Williams (6’ 4”, 218) and likely defender Logan Ryan (5’ 11”, 195) could result in Herbert looking his way a little more in this interesting Week 14 matchup.

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Gavin Smith

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