Week 14 of the very unique 2020 NFL season is here.
With COVID-19 concerns in several games, be sure to check injury reports as we get closer to kickoff. Our experts Drew Dinsick, Dave Tuley and Matt Youmans combine to give their opinions on every game.
All odds as of Thursday evening, from VSiN’s NFL odds page.
Arizona Cardinals (-2.5, 45) at New York Giants
Youmans: The Cardinals are fading fast, having lost four of their past five to fall from the playoff race. Arizona’s only win since the beginning of November came on Kyler Murray’s Hail Mary that beat the Bills on Nov. 15. Amazingly, the Giants have won four in a row and can probably take the NFC East by splitting their final four games to finish 7-9. Giants coach Joe Judge is doing an outstanding job, especially on the defensive side. New York has allowed 20 points or fewer in each game during its win streak, and limiting Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense to 10 points last week was one of the most impressive performances by any NFL defense all season.
The Giants can win with veteran quarterback Colt McCoy, but it appears Daniel Jones is on track to return from a hamstring injury. Wayne Gallman, who rushed 16 times for 135 yards last week, was the offensive star against the Seahawks. The Giants are 16-2 ATS in their past 18 games as road ’dogs, so it might actually be a negative that this is a home game, but I’ll play Judge’s hot hand and bet on the better defense.
Pick: Giants + 2.5
Dinsick: The promising start by the Cardinals has faded into obscurity. After Arizona raced out to a 5-2 record and first place in the NFC West, it has been tough sledding. The Cardinals went 1-4 through the toughest part of their schedule and now are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. The Giants, on the other hand, were left for dead earlier this season on the back of a horrific start, but thanks to the historic ineptitude of the NFC East, they still control their destiny for a home playoff game despite their 5-7 record. With Jones’ mobility potentially limited and Murray another week removed from his shoulder injury, it is fair to question why this line is under the key number of 3 — Arizona is substantially more talented and also the more desperate team.
The Giants have not fared well this season against mobile QBs and have been playing above their true talent level for several weeks, leading to a market overreaction on their rating. The fair price in this matchup should be -3.5, so I will lay the points with the road favorite.
Pick: Cardinals -2.5
Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5, 50.5) at Miami Dolphins
Dinsick: The Dolphins have proven themselves to be one of the most well-prepared and well-coached teams in the NFL this season. Their strength lies in their shutdown secondary, which is the ideal matchup for a Chiefs team that relies so heavily on game-breaking plays by its wideouts. While Tua Tagovailoa has not had the ideal start to his career for Miami, he has shown flashes of promise and he has a favorable matchup against a Chiefs team that hasn’t been able to muster a pass rush. Kansas City also plays a bend-but-don’t-break defensive style that complements what Miami will try to do in this game offensively. It’s tough to make the case that Miami is live to win outright considering the heroics of MVP leader Pat Mahomes this season, but I certainly see value in + 7.5, as a fair price in this game is + 6.5 by my numbers.
Pick: Dolphins + 7.5
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-1.5, 48)
Youmans: It’s not uncommon for a team that has a long winning streak snapped to drop two in a row, and the Steelers’ current form is not indicative of an 11-1 team. Pittsburgh’s problems have nothing to do with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger or its defense, as the Steelers rushed for just 21 yards on 14 carries in Monday’s loss to Washington. A slumping offense is not primed to trade shots with Josh Allen and the Bills, who have scored 27 or more points in four consecutive games.
The look-ahead line was Pittsburgh -1.5 prior to Monday’s results. Buffalo has flipped to the favorite, and it does not seem to be an overreaction. The Bills (9-3) are 5-1 in their past six games, losing only to Arizona on a Hail Mary. The Steelers picked on weak quarterbacks in a majority of their victories. Allen could have issues, however, with a ball-hawking pass defense, and Big Ben is usually dangerous as an underdog. The Buffalo side might wind up being too popular with the public, so this is more of a lean than a best bet.
Pick: Bills -1.5