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Week 14 betting capsules: Division matchups galore will affect playoff races

Sportsnaut
Dec 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 brings plenty of intrigue, especially when it comes to playoff positioning. The Baltimore-Cleveland, Dallas-Washington, Las Vegas-Kansas City and Los Angeles Rams-Arizona games are all key divisional matchups. Plus, Buffalo will try to prove it’s a contender and not a pretender with a trip to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.

Sunday’s Games

Atlanta at Carolina (-3 points, O/U 41.5)

The Falcons (5-7) and Panthers (5-7) are in a three-way tie for second place in the NFC South, four games behind Tampa Bay and both have lost three of their past four games. The Falcons lost to the visiting Buccaneers 30-17 last Sunday while the Panthers had a bye week, during which they fired their offensive coordinator. Carolina won 19-13 in the previous meeting this season.

Baltimore at Cleveland (-2.5, 42.5)

This will be back-to-back games against the Ravens (8-4) for the Browns (6-6), who had a bye last week after a 16-10 loss at Baltimore. The Ravens lost a nail-biter 20-19 at Pittsburgh last week, going for two at the end of the game. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is 5-2 against Cleveland, while Browns QB Baker Mayfield is 2-5 against Baltimore. The Browns have scored 17 or fewer points in seven of their past nine games.

Dallas at Washington (+4.5, 48)

Despite a 27-17 win at New Orleans last week on a Thursday night, the Cowboys (8-4) have lost three of their past five games. With two games remaining against Washington (6-6), which has won four in a row, the NFC East title remains up for grabs. QB Taylor Heinicke has led the WFT to two straight 17-15 victories, including last Sunday in Las Vegas.

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-8.5, 43.5)

The Titans (8-4) are coming off a much-needed bye after two consecutive defeats and remain without their top offensive weapons in RB Derrick Henry and WR A.J. Brown. The Jaguars (2-10) were blown out 37-7 last week by the host Los Angeles Rams. Jacksonville has lost 14 consecutive road games, including all five this season.

Las Vegas at Kansas City (-10, 48)

The slumping Raiders (6-6) have lost four of their past five, including a 17-15 loss last week to visiting Washington. They’ll face a tough task against the Chiefs (8-4), who have won five in a row — during which their defense has allowed an average of 11.2 points per game. That includes a 22-9 win against visiting Denver last Sunday. Kansas City won 41-14 at Las Vegas in Week 10, as Patrick Mahomes threw for season highs of 406 yards and five touchdowns.

New Orleans at N.Y. Jets (+5.5, 43)

The Saints (5-7) lost 27-17 to visiting Dallas last week on Thursday night as Taysom Hill threw four interceptions. They’ve dropped five games in a row, but their offense could get back on track with a couple of extra days to prepare against the Jets’ league-worst defense and the return of RB Alvin Kamara. New York (3-9) lost 33-18 to visiting Philadelphia and backup QB Gardner Minshew last Sunday.

Seattle at Houston (+8.5, 40.5)

The Seahawks (4-8) showed some signs of life last week, beating visiting San Francisco 30-23 to snap a three-game skid. Russell Wilson had his best game since returning from finger surgery, throwing for 231 yards and two TDs and leading a rally from a 10-point deficit. The Texans (2-10) lost 31-0 at home to Indianapolis last Sunday and are expected to go with rookie Davis Mills at QB.

Detroit at Denver (-10, 42.5)

The Lions (1-10-1) will try to go for two wins in a row after beating visiting Minnesota 29-27 last week on a last-second scoring strike from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Goff threw for 296 yards and three TDs. The Broncos (6-6) lost 22-9 at Kansas City last week to drop two games back of the AFC West-leading Chiefs. Denver has won 19 of its past 23 games against opponents with a losing record.

N.Y. Giants at L.A. Chargers (-9.5, 42.5)

The Giants (4-8), who lost 20-9 at Miami last week, nearly had to turn to third-string QB Jake Fromm make his NFL debut with Daniel Jones (neck) ailing, but Mike Glennon cleared concussion protocol and is expected to start a second straight game. New York is 1-5 on the road and hasn’t scored more than 17 points in any of its past three trips. The Chargers (7-5) blew out host Cincinnati 41-22 last Sunday as Justin Herbert threw for 317 yards and three TDs. L.A. has alternated wins and losses for the past six weeks.

Buffalo at Tampa Bay (-3.5, 53.5)

The Bills (7-5) lost 14-10 on Monday night to New England, despite the visiting Patriots attempting just three passes in blizzard-like conditions. The Buccaneers (9-3) have won three in a row, including a 30-17 win at Atlanta last week as Tom Brady threw for 368 yards and four TDs. Brady is 32-3 in his career against Buffalo and is 18 completions away from breaking Drew Brees’ all-time NFL record of 7,142.

San Francisco at Cincinnati (+1.5, 48.5)

The 49ers (6-6) had a three-game winning streak snapped last weekend when they blew a 10-point lead in a 30-23 defeat at Seattle. San Francisco managed just 71 yards on the ground and Jimmy Garoppolo threw a pair of interceptions. The 49ers are 4-2 on the road and have won six in a row in the Eastern time zone. The Bengals (7-5) lost 41-22 at home to the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday and QB Joe Burrow is dealing with a dislocated pinkie.

Chicago at Green Bay (-12.5, 43)

The Bears (4-8) lost 33-22 at home to Arizona last weekend, their sixth defeat in the past seven games — with the only win in that span on Thanksgiving against lowly Detroit on a last-second field goal. The Packers (9-3) are coming off a bye. QB Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears — remember, he told their fans just that after a 24-14 win at Chicago back in October. Rodgers is 21-5 in this series, with 57 TDs and just 10 interceptions.

Monday’s Game

L.A. Rams at Arizona (-2.5, 51.5)

The Rams (8-4) need a win if they have any hope of catching the Cardinals (10-2) in the NFC West. Los Angeles snapped a three-game skid with a 37-7 victory against visiting Jacksonville last weekend as Matthew Stafford threw for 295 yards and three TDs. Arizona got QB Kyler Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins back last Sunday for a 33-22 victory at Chicago. The Cardinals won the first games between the teams this season, 37-20 on Oct. 3 in Inglewood, Calif., beating Rams coach Sean McVay for the first time in nine meetings.

–Field Level Media