NFL picks for week 14
Chris Raybon: You wouldn’t know it from their records – the Vikings are 10-2 and the Lions are 5-7 – but the Lions were the better team. Detroit ranks 13th in DVOA overall, while Minnesota ranks 20th. The Lions have the best offense (9th-for-19th) and special teams (9th-for-20th), and defenses are nearly equal (19th-for-18th).
The Lions were a third-ranked defense when they released defensive linebacker Aubrey Pleasant at the end of October, but they’ve been as high as 19th since then. Detroit plays covering man in the fifth-highest rate and the championship in the sixth-highest, which tends to give Kirk Cousins bouts. Cousins’ passer rating drops from 91.2 when not a tackler to 79.6 on blitz, and his 52.6 PFF grade against blitz ranks 34th out of 38 eligible quarterbacks. Against men’s coverage, Minnesota’s 6.8 yards per targeted pass attempt ranks 27th in the NFL.
On offense, the Lions should be able to put points on a Vikings defense that ranks 23rd in pressure rate (19.5%), as Jared Goff’s clean-pocket passer rating (108.9) is 48.1 points better than when under pressure (60.8). ). The Vikings also have the second-lowest men’s coverage average, the Lions’ 8.5 yards per targeted pass attempt against the seventh-ranked district in the league. Goff will have a perfectly healthy weapon collection with Amon-Ra St. Brown, D’Andre Swift, Jameson Williams, DJ Chark, and Josh Reynolds at the same time for only the second time all season.
The Lions have played better at home this season, averaging 31.9 points per game and a +4.0 point differential compared to 18.4 points per game and a -7.4 point differential on the road. It’s been lucrative late in the season for teams with high winning percentages to fade underdogs like Minnesota, according to our Action Labs data, Dogs with a winning percentage of 80% or greater have only gone 12-23-1 (33%) against the spread since 2003.
Use the NFL live odds page to get the best numbers in Detroit. FanDuel was still holding Lions -1.5 as of 9pm ET Saturday night.
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Chris Raybon: That’s a good place to sell up on the Steelers, who are going 3-1 straight and against the difference in their past four games. The Steelers benefited from a massive turnover fortune during that period, with eight takeaways and no giveaways.
With the exception of the most recent drive against the Jaguars, the Ravens defense has been off since the acquisition of Roquan Smith, allowing 13.3 points per game and 263 total yards per game over their last four games. The Ravens are a well-rounded defense, ranking 9th in DVOA overall, 6th against a run, and 11th against a pass, even if he doesn’t turn the ball over, Kenny Pickett will struggle to put up points against this defense, as he has a 77.3 passe rating from a clean pocket rating Ranked last in the NFL among the 37 eligible quarterbacks.
With Lamar Jackson struggling, his absence isn’t as significant as it was earlier in the season. Tyler Huntley gets the ball out quickly and has only lost one start by more than one point and none by more than three points. And while he doesn’t have the same kind of mathematical ability as Jackson, he has shown that he can run some same-area reads and clips and be productive. Against one of the best defenses in the league last week at the Broncos, Huntley threw just five incompletions on 32 pass attempts while rushing 10 times for 41 yards.
We should get the Ravens’ best effort here, as they are definitely looking for revenge after the Steelers beat them twice by a combined four points last season. This tends to be the Steelers’ disappointment score, according to our Action Labs data, they’re only 80-92-2 (47%) against the spread as favorites under Mike Tomlin. Meanwhile, the Ravens are 32-22-3 (59%) from the ATS as a minor road dog under John Harbaugh.
Excluding the last week of the season, Baltimore is also a 12-2-2 (86%) ATS in by-road games from Week 10-on under Harbaugh, covering an average of 5.6 points per game.
I’d bet Baltimore down to +1.
Chris Raybon: This is a matchup between two defenses that rank in the top six in the DVOA, with Buffalo scoring in the fourth and the Jets in the sixth.
Both defenses also rank in the top 10 in pressure average, with the Jets ranking fifth at 24.6% and ninth at 23.8%. Even more impressively, no defense needs a blitz to get the pressure on, as the Jets are 31st in blitz rate (15.1%) and the Bills are 23rd (19.4%). This also helped the two teams rank inside the top 10 in fewest passes allowed over 20 yards, with the Jets finishing third (9.9%) and ninth (11.3%).
Josh Allen led his offense to just 17 points in the first meeting against the Jets and could take on Robert Saleh’s defense that ranks fifth in the DVOA. In four games against pass defenses ranked 12th, the Bills averaged just 23.5 points per game compared to 29.9 against defenses outside the top 12.
The Bills have also been running the ball more lately, which can shorten the game. After making determined calls on just 32.8% of their offensive plays (excluding the kneeling down) in their first eight games, they’ve called determined players 40.4% of the time over their past four games.
On the other side of the ball, Mike White is having his toughest game yet after facing two below-average defenses in the Bears (32 in DVOA weighted) and Vikings (20). White struggled against the Bills last season, going 24-of-44 for 251 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Bills’ defensive metrics are even more impressive when you consider all the players who have missed games, including Tre’Davious White (10 missed games), Jordan Poyer (three games), Tremaine Edmunds (three), and Ed Oliver (three). ), Greg Rousseau (three), and Matt Milano (one). Having White available is a big deal, because he’s the Bills’ best answer to Garrett Wilson, who posted 13 catches for 257 yards and two touchdowns as White’s starter. With everyone healthy last week, the Bills allowed just 242 total yards on 51 plays for the Patriots.
With wind and possible light snow in the forecast for Sunday, those numbers are going to be an ugly late season. According to our Action Labs data, the outdoor bottom divisions are 62-38-1 (62%) since 2021, including the 26-11-1 (70%) mark this season.
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