NFL Week 14 Preview and Bettor’s Guide: The Big Dogs come out
DELRAY BEACH: Put the little NFL puppies to bed. This is December football and the National Football League at its toughest. This is Week 14. Goodnight, puppies. “This is when the big dogs come out.” Football is a violent, tough game. The legendary Vince Lombardi once said it was a game for madmen, and he was their leader. Lombardi was only speaking about regular football. December football is even tougher than that. December football is brutal. Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells had a stern December warning for his players:
“Don’t tell me about the pain. Just deliver the damn baby!” – Bill Parcels
Tape up ankles. Buckle up chin straps. Will yourself through sheer grit and determination. Only the toughest and strongest survive the month of December. Welcome to National Football League Week 14.
“This is when the big dogs come out.”
Welcome to December, and the words of Hall of Fame Minnesota Vikings great John Randle.
“This is when the big dogs come out!”
Look in the eyes of Hall of Fame Chicago Bears legend and one of the original NFL Big Dogs Michael Singletary’s eyes. See the smoke of his breath in the freezing air. Hear his intensity.
“This is when the big dogs come out!”
In September, all 32 NFL teams are little puppies with dreams in their eyes.
You can yap and yelp in September. You better be snarling mad dog mean come December to win in the National Football League.
“This is when the big dogs come out.”
In September there is room for finesse.
In December the weather is colder and the bodies are bruised, beaten, bloodied, and battered. Some of these men will refuse to stay down. Super Bowls are not won by talking. The Lombardi Trophy is not hoisted by engaging in words.
December’s NFL Week 14 is when the teams with the battering rams get the job done. December is smash-mouth offense, bone-crushing defense, and blustery blizzard football weather.
This is when the big dogs come out.
With that, here is the NFL 2019 Week 14 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, December 5, 2019, 8:20 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Chicago Bears —
Jerry Jones is on the verge of firing everyone, but the Cowboys actually lead the NFC Least by one game. Chicago is going nowhere, so this game will tell if the Cowboys are willing to fight for Jason Garrett or give up on him. The Cowboys have more talent. Cowboys cover.
Sunday, December 8, 1:00 p.m.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) —
In a mind-numbingly dumb move, the Panthers fired Ron Rivera. Riverboat Ron is a good coach, and he had a team decimated by injuries. Go with the Falcons at home against a team left rudderless. Falcons cover.
Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) —
The Colts are 6-6 and need to win to keep hope alive for the playoffs. The Buccaneers are improving on offense. Go with the desperate team with everything to play for. Upset special, Colts win outright.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-5.5) —
Miami was winless until they played the Jets. The Jets won three straight but then lost to winless Cincinnati. Ryan Fitzpatrick would leave to beat his old team, but so would Adam Gase. Fitzpatrick gets garbage-time touchdowns. Jets win but fail to cover.
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-3) —
Both teams are 10-2. The 49ers have a nasty defense and can run the ball, but the Saints have pinball wizard Drew Brees. At home, trust Brees over Jimmy Garoppolo. Saints cover.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-14) —
The Vikings had a tough road loss at Seattle but are 8-4, one game back in the NFC North. The Lions are a mess and down to their third-string quarterback. The spread is high but the Vikings at home will be angry. This could be over by halftime. Vikings cover.
Denver Broncos at Houston Texans (-9.5) —
Drew Lock looked impressive in leading a win in his very first game, on the road. The Texans have the talent advantage, and Deshaun Jackson at home is a force of nature. Until we know what Lock is, go with a Houston team at 8-4 that has a one-game lead in the AFC South. Texans cover.
Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) at Buffalo Bills —
Right now the 10-2 Ravens are the top seed in the AFC but 9-3 Buffalo is one game back. Buffalo is even only one game back of New England in the AFC East. Baltimore is playing at another level, but Buffalo does have a stingy defense. If any game could slow down Baltimore, this one is it. Upset special, Bills win outright.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-8.5) —
Now that the Bengals have their win for the year, the Browns can tear them apart. The 5-7 Browns actually have the slimmest of playoff hopes, and if there is one team who will not overlook the Bengals, it’s their hated rival. Browns cover.
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers (-13) —
Forget the high spread or that the Redskins have won two straight after a 1-9 start. The 9-3 Packers are on a mission. Aaron Rodgers has a defense, and the offense is starting to gel. This is a mismatch from the start. Packers cover.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars —
The two most underachieving teams in the league meet. Nick Foles has been benched in favor of Gardner Minshew. Nobody finds ways to lose games like the Chargers. The Chargers have the edge on talent, and this might be the one week where that matters. Chargers cover.
After starting 0-3, Mike Tomlin has the Steelers at 7-5. Nobody gets more out of less than Tomlin. Even with third-string quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges, they find ways to win. Tomlin has earned the benefit of the doubt. The Cardinals have not. Steelers cover.
Both teams are 6-6, but the Titans are rolling while the Raiders are reeling. Ryan Tannehill is playing well, Derrick Henry is running hard, and the Raiders just lost consecutive games by 31 points each. However, both those games were on the road. The Raiders only have two regular season games left in Oakland before they move forever. The Black Hole will be emotional, and emotion matters in football. Give the Raiders one chance at home before giving up on them. Upset special, Raiders win outright.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-3) —
This AFC Title Game rematch is not as appetizing as it sounds. The 8-4 Chiefs have an offense but the 10-2 Patriots are winning with defense. Tom Brady is still angry, and Bill Belichick always seems to out-coach Andy Reid when it matters. At home, go with the Patriots, who still have not clinched their division. The Chiefs have all but wrapped up theirs. Patriots cover.
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Los Angeles Rams —
This is not the same Rams team from last year. The offense is not what it was. Even the defense has regressed. both teams have talent, but something with the Rams is not clicking. Maybe it is the dreaded Super Bowl loss hangover. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are playing lights out football. Russell Wilson is at the top of his game. The 10-2 Seahawks still have a shot at home field throughout the playoffs. Seahawks cover.
Monday, December 9, 8:00 p.m.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5) —
Daniel Jones is injured, and Eli Manning gets to start. The Giants are awful. The Eagles at 5-7 are actually only one game out in the NFC Least. This Eagles team is a shell of the team that won it all two years ago, but playing the Giants is the perfect tonic. Eagles cover.
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