DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA, December 6, 2017: Football is a brutal, tough game. It’s the NFL Big Dogs. December football is even tougher than that. Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells says to his players,
“Don’t tell me about the pain, just deliver the damn baby.”
Buckle up chin straps. Tape up ankles. Will yourself through sheer grit and determination. Only the strongest and toughest survive. Welcome to National Football League Week 14.
Welcome to December, and the words of Hall of Fame Minnesota Vikings great John Randle.
“This is when the NFL big dogs come out!”
Look in 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 NFL big dogs come out!”
In September, all 32 NFL teams are like 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 NFL big dogs come out.”
The Game – September to December
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 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.”
Welcome to the NFL 2017 Week 14 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Week 14 – NFL Big Dogs
Thursday, December 7, 2017, 8:30 p.m.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons — New Orleans is 9-3 and Atlanta is 7-5. As well as the Saints have been playing, this is one of those games to go with the home field and the desperate team. Upset special, Falcons win outright.
Sunday, December 10, 1:00 p.m.
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills — This game could be over by halftime. The Bills at 6-6 need a win to survive in the AFC playoff chase. The colts are a mess. Bills cover.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants — Eli Manning is back after a one game benching. Coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese have been fired. The Cowboys have lost three straight with Ezekiel Elliott still suspended. Dallas has more talent and at 6-6 can still make the playoffs. However, the Giants will rally around Manning. Expect a raucous home crowd. Upset special, Giants win outright.
Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The 6-6 Lions have more talent than the fading Buccaneers. Jameis Winston has regressed. Matthew Stafford will throw the ball at will. Lions cover.
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs — Both teams are 6-6. The Chiefs have lost six of seven while the Raiders have won two straight. Oakland beat awful teams playing with backup quarterbacks. The Chiefs have a hex on the Raiders when it matters, and this game matters. The Oakland secondary is still porous. Chiefs cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans — Both teams are done for the year. The 49ers have been playing better football despite the worse record. Jimmy Garoppollo won in his very first start last week on the road. He will again. Upset special, 49ers win outright.
Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns — The 6-6 Packers got a big overtime win last week and will have Aaron Rodgers back if they make the playoffs. Cleveland is winless, and that will not change this week. Brett Hundley is playing well enough to keep the team afloat while Rodgers recuperates. Packers cover.
Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals — The Bears are done and the 5-7 Bengals are all but done after collapsing at home against Pittsburgh. However, the Bengals still have a more experienced quarterback and a great receiver in A.J. Green. Chicago lacks the talent to go on the road and win this one. Cincinnati is not good enough to trust the spread. Bengals win but fail to cover.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers — Minnesota is 10-2 and Carolina is 8-4 after a tough loss to New Orleans. Both teams have nasty defenses. Cam Newton has a surprising rival in the revived Case Keenum. Minnesota is the better team, but go with the home crowd on this one. Upset special, Panthers win outright.
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Chargers — The 6-6 Chargers have won four straight and the 5-7 Redskins are sinking. Philip Rivers is playing lights out and the defense has really come on strong. Chargers cover.
New York Jets at Denver Broncos — The 5-7 Jets face a Broncos team that has lost eight straight games. Trevor Siemian returns, and the Broncos get the suspended Aqib Talib back. The Jets have a history of losing games that matter most, and this is one of those games. Upset special, Broncos win outright.
Tennessee Titans at Arizona Cardinals — Tennessee is 8-4 because they have played some very weak teams. Arizona is only 5-7, but they did play Jacksonville tough a couple weeks ago at home. Tennessee is a boring team, and at some point their lucky streak has to run out. Upset special, Cardinals win outright.
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams — Philadelphia lost last week at Seattle to drop to 10-2. The Rams are right on their heels at 10-3. Both teams are well-coached, but this is one time to trust the home crowd. Rams cover.
Seattle Seahawks at Jacksonville Jaguars — Both teams are 8-4. Russell Wilson has been carrying the Seahawks while the Jaguars have a defense that has turned the town into Jacksonville. However, Seattle has the experience. Upset special, Seahawks win outright.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers — Pittsburgh got to 10-2 by surviving a brutal game against Cincinnati. Now they get the hated Ravens, who are 7-5 and desperate to make the playoffs. Throw out the records when these teams meet and bring pain pills. Home field rarely matters, but Pittsburgh can win a war of attrition. Steelers win but fail to cover.
Monday, December 11, 8:30 p.m.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins — In theory this game should be a blowout, but Tom Brady has inexplicably played some of his worst games at Miami. New England is 10-2 and Miami is 5-7, but for some reason Brady forgets that in the hot Florida sun. He will not have Rob Gronkowski, who is suspended for one game. Having said all of that, the Patriots should win. Patriots win but fail to cover.