A pair of NFC heavyweights will butt heads on Sunday afternoon when the San Francisco 49ers head into the heart of Louisiana take on the New Orleans Saints. Both teams have identical 10-2 records, but the momentum belongs to the Saints, who have won three straight and looked sharp in avenging an earlier season loss to Atlanta on Thanksgiving.
We have odds and analysis for their eagerly anticipated grudge match well as the biggest Week 14 trends and storylines from around the National Football League.
On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers met the Baltimore Ravens in a matchup many hailed as a potential Super Bowl LIV preview. The game lived up to the hype, as the now-10-2 Niners and 10-2 Ravens fought a back-and-forth battle decided by a field goal as the clock expired.
Baltimore arose victorious, 20-17, at home on a windy, rain-soaked afternoon and extended its win streak to eight. San Francisco, consequently, suffered its second loss of the season and is at risk of losing the No. 1 seed in the NFC, if the Seahawks beat Minnesota on Monday Night Football.
Moving forward, the Niners face a difficult four-game stretch to close out the season, starting with Sunday’s road test against New Orleans. The Saints currently possess the second seed in the NFC and boast a three-win streak since falling to the Falcons 26-9 at home on November 10.
The Saints exacted revenge on their NFC South foe on Thanksgiving Day in a 26-18 victory in Atlanta. Utility man Taysom Hill stole the show, as the Saints third-string quarterback blocked a punt on the Falcons’ first drive, then caught a three-yard pass from Drew Brees and ran 30 yards for another score.
Taysom Hill is a myth pic.twitter.com/XcOK4DjHnr
— DailySportsDosage (@OfficalDSD) November 29, 2019
The Saints D also excelled, and sacked Falcons QB Matt Ryan nine times for a loss of 53 yards. The Falcons rushing attack mustered just 89 yards, though the receiving corps put up 312 yards of offense, even without star wideout Julio Jones.
On Sunday, New Orleans will host the top defense and No. 7 offense in the league. The Niners feature the second-best rushing offense, comprised of backs Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, but confront a Saints defense that gives up just 88.6 yards per game on the ground.
New Orleans is a three-point home favorite in the contest and is 8-2 against the spread in its last 10 games overall. The road team, however, is 4-0 ATS in the previous four meetings between the Saints and the 49ers, and San Francisco is 5-1 ATS in the last six in the series.
MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens seemingly can’t be stopped. The 10-2 Ravens hosted San Francisco on Sunday and notched their eighth straight victory in a 20-17 dogfight at M&T Bank Stadium.
Jackson connected on 14 of 23 passes for just 105 yards and one touchdown, but the quick-footed quarterback added 101 yards on the ground and one more score.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) December 1, 2019
Running back Mark Ingram piled on another 59 yards on 15 carries, and tight end Mark Andrews led the team in receiving yards, with 50 on three catches.
The Ravens defense held the 49ers to 165 yards through the air, but San Francisco RB Raheem Mostert ignited for 146 rushing yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.
With the Ravens’ win, and a New England Patriots loss on Sunday, Baltimore is in possession of the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The remainder of the Ravens’ schedule is a bit softer and shouldn’t present much trouble, but first Baltimore must travel to Buffalo to confront the No. 3 defense in the league.
The 9-3 Bills spoiled Thanksgiving for the Dallas Cowboys, as Buffalo routed Dallas 26-15 at AT&T Stadium on Thursday afternoon. Up until the final four minutes of regulation, Buffalo led 26-7, before Jason Witten found the end zone to bring Dallas within 11.
Former Cowboy Cole Beasley had an outstanding outing against his former team, as the Bills receiver recorded 110 yards and a score on six receptions. Rookie Devin Singletary also registered a touchdown catch and led Buffalo in rushing, with 63 yards on 14 carries.
Buffalo heads in as a six-point home underdog and is 4-0-1 against the spread in its last five games overall. Both the Bills and the Ravens rank in the bottom 10 in passing yards but fall in the top five in rushing yards. The Bills are more efficient at defending the pass, though the Ravens are seventh in rushing defense, with 94.9 yards per game allowed.
In this series, the home team is 7-1 against the spread and the under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
The New England Patriots once again succumbed to a team led by a dual-threat quarterback and failed to find consistent output from the Pats’ own offense in a 28-22 road loss to the Texans.
Tom Brady struggled for another week, as he completed 24 of 47 passes for 326 yards and couldn’t find the end zone in the first half. New England did pull together a quick scoring spurt in the final four minutes and nearly recovered an onside kick for one last drive, but the Pats dug too deep a hole to salvage a win against Houston.
The defeat by the Texans dropped the Patriots to the projected No. 2 seed, behind Baltimore, in the AFC playoff picture. Fortunately for New England, the schedule is much softer from Week 15 on, but before then, the Patriots must endure one final test at home.
On Sunday, the Patriots host Patrick Mahomes and the 8-4 Kansas City Chiefs—the team New England sent packing in overtime of the AFC Championship Game in 2018.
Patrick Mahomes on what the Raiders took away, his defense and going against the Patriots next week. pic.twitter.com/U1lWDuxjHq
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) December 2, 2019
The Chiefs are seemingly back on track, after Mahomes suffered a dislocated knee in midseason, and pulverized the 6-6 Oakland Raiders 40-9 on Sunday. Last season’s MVP didn’t need to do much against a shaky Oakland team that committed 12 penalties, turned the ball over three times, and scored just once, in the final 39 seconds.
The Chiefs rank fourth on offense (384.7 yards per game) but 25th on defense (372.1 opponent yards per game), whereas the Pats feature the second-best defense against the pass (163.5 yards allowed) and sixth-best rushing defense (94.5 opponent yards per game).
New England beat Kansas City twice last season, in a 43-40 nail-biter in Week 6 and the 37-31 overtime victory in the playoffs. The Patriots are just 1-4 against the spread versus a team with a winning record, and the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between New England and Kansas City.
Thursday, December 5, 8:20 p.m. ET | Soldier Field
Thanksgiving was a day of celebration for the Chicago Bears and an afternoon of despair for the Dallas Cowboys.
On Thursday, Chicago kicked off the NFL’s holiday festivities with a 24-20 road win over Detroit. Mitch Trubisky produced a decent showing, with 338 yards through the air, three touchdowns and one interception against the Lions’ 30th ranked passing defense. David Montgomery caught one of those TD passes and rushed for 75 yards on 16 carries.
Mitch Trubisky’s last 4 games:
979 yards | 8 TD | 4 INT | 95.8 Rating
Jared Goff’s last 4 games:
1,000 yards | 2 TD | 5 INT | 75.6 Rating
— David Prince (@bydavidprince) November 28, 2019
The Bears challenged Lions rookie David Bough in his first start, as Matt Stafford continued to sit with hip and back injuries and backup Jeff Driskel dealt with a hamstring issue. The first-year quarterback out of Purdue put up a 280-yard, two-touchdown performance and nearly led Detroit to a come-from-behind victory, until he threw an interception at Chicago’s 39-yard line with 29 seconds left in the game.
The Bears exited Ford Field with a 6-6 record, good for third in the division, and play host on Thursday to another 6-6 team, the NFC East-leading Cowboys.
Despite generating 426 yards of offense, Dallas laid an egg on Thanksgiving, with a 26-15 loss to the Bills at home. Dak Prescott completed 32 of 49 passes for 355 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he tossed an interception and lost a fumble in Buffalo territory that led to a Bills touchdown in the first quarter.
The Cowboys are just one game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles and can’t afford many more losses on the season. Dallas is favored by three on the road at Chicago and is 4-9 against the spread in its last 13 Thursday games. The Bears are 2-8 ATS in the last 10 Thursday games and 1-7 ATS in the last eight games overall.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, December 8, 8:20 p.m. ET | LA Memorial Coliseum
The Seattle Seahawks enter Monday night’s matchup with the Minnesota Vikings one victory away from knocking San Francisco out of the top seed in the NFC.
The 49ers fell to 10-2 after dropping a close game to the Ravens and already lost to the 9-2 Seahawks in Week 10. Close, but still far behind in the NFC West is another team hoping the Seahawks and Niners lose as many games as possible from here on out, as the 7-5 Rams land at third in the division and are currently outside of the postseason picture.
On Sunday in primetime, Los Angeles has the chance to hand the Seahawks at least one loss and repay its rival for a 30-29 defeat back in Week 5.
The Rams haven’t looked all that intimidating in 2019 and embarrassed themselves against the Ravens in a 45-6 loss in Week 12. On Sunday, Los Angeles rebounded against the 3-8-1 Cardinals and hope to carry that momentum into a difficult division showdown.
In the 34-7 victory over Arizona, Jared Goff enjoyed one of his better performances, with 424 yards through the air, two touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Cardinals. Todd Gurley also broke free for 95 yards and a score, and Robert Woods reeled in 13 catches for 172 yards.
— Christopher Reiss (@NFL_ChrisReiss) December 1, 2019
The Rams offense will need to be just as explosive and less turnover-prone against Seattle. The first time these two met, Todd Gurley lost a fumble and Jared Goff chucked up an interception in the final minutes as Los Angeles trailed by one.
Seattle is second in takeaways per game (2.2), while the Rams average the 10th most giveaways per contest (1.7). If Los Angeles can hold onto the ball, it should be able to outscore Seattle and get past the secondary, which gives up 268.7 yards per game, fourth-most in the league.
The Rams are 4-1 against the spread in the last five against the NFC West and 12-5 ATS in the last 17 games overall. The underdog is also 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between the Seahawks and Rams, and Seattle is 2-5 ATS in the last seven in Los Angeles.
Bet on Seahawks vs. Rams here.
Monday, December 9, 8:15 p.m. ET | Lincoln Financial Field
Somehow the Washington Redskins ended up as the only member of the NFC East with a win in Week 13 and moved one game ahead of the New York Giants in the division standings, as a result.
At 2-10, the Giants sit fourth in the NFC East and haven’t experienced a victory since Week 4, when New York beat Washington 24-3. Their latest loss came expectedly to the 9-3 Packers, who downed the Giants 31-13 on the road on Sunday.
Meanwhile, New York’s upcoming opponent, Philadelphia, should have improved its record to 6-6 but instead fell, 37-31, to the 3-9 Dolphins in Week 13.
Philly carried a 14-point lead with 11:44 left in the third quarter, before the defense gave up three touchdowns in under 13 minutes. Miami then kicked a 51-yard field goal to go up 37-28 with 3:37 remaining, and the most the Eagles could do was add three points on a field goal in the final two minutes.
The Eagles’ struggles are confounding, but the upcoming schedule should present an opportunity to figure something out against lowly competition. The Giants rank in the bottom 10 in both offense and defense, and give the ball away at the highest rate in the league.
Philadelphia has been turnover-prone, too, but at least it possesses a bright spot on defense. Philly’s rushing D is fourth in fewest yards allowed (91.0), and its pass defense is tied for 11th in interceptions (10).
Giants QB Daniel Jones got picked off three times against the Packers and has coughed up 11 total interceptions on the season. He’s also leading the league in fumbles, with 15.
— TheBlueZone (@TheBlueZonee) December 1, 2019
The Eagles are favored by nine at home and haven’t lost to the Giants since November 2016. New York is 2-6 against the spread in its last eight games overall, while the Eagles are 2-5 ATS in the last seven overall. Philly is also 4-9 ATS in its last 13 home games.
NFL Betting Trends
Looking to build your bankroll? These are the numbers you need to know:
- Home favorites have won just 63% of their games SU in 2019. By contrast, road favorites have won 64% of their games SU
- Road teams have won 57% of their games ATS in 2019. Road dogs have fared even better, winning 60% of their games ATS in 2019
- 54% of all non-overtime games have gone Under the projected point total in 2019
- The Bills have been the NFL’s most reliable team against the spread in 2019, covering 73% of the time
- The Bears (3-9-0) have covered just 25% of the time ATS in 2019, but have gone Under 67% of the time
- The Bills are 5-0-1 ATS in 2019 when playing on the road
- The Bucs are 0-4-0 ATS in 2019 when playing at home
NFL Week 14 Schedule
Cancel all your plans. Seriously, you won’t be going anywhere.
|Cowboys vs. Bears||Thu, December 5 @8:20 PM||CHI +3||43.0|
|Panthers vs. Falcons||Sun, December 8 @1PM||ATL -2||48.5|
|Colts vs. Buccaneers||Sun, December 8 @1PM||TB -3||47.5|
|Dolphins vs. Jets||Sun, December 8 @1PM||NYJ -6||44.0|
|49ers vs. Saints||Sun, December 8 @1PM||NO -3||45.0|
|Lions vs. Vikings||Sun, December 8 @1PM||N/A||N/A|
|Broncos vs. Texans||Sun, December 8 @1PM||HOU -10||41.5|
|Ravens vs. Bills||Sun, December 8 @1PM||BUF +5.5||43.5|
|Bengals vs. Browns||Sun, December 8 @1PM||CLE -9.5||42.5|
|Redskins vs. Packers||Sun, December 8 @1PM||GB -13.5||42.0|
|Chargers vs. Jaguars||Sun, December 8 @4:05PM||JAX +3||43.0|
|Steelers vs. Cardinals||Sun, December 8 @4:25PM||ARI +2.5||43.0|
|Titans vs. Raiders||Sun, December 8 @4:25PM||OAK +3||46.5|
|Chiefs vs. Patriots||Sun, December 8 @4:25||NE -3||49.0|
|Seahawks vs. Rams||Sun, December 8 @8:20||LAR +2.5||46.5|
|Giants vs. Eagles||Mon, December 9 @8:15||PHI -9||47.0|
Get to Know Jason Sanders
Jason Sanders made history on Sunday when he became the first kicker to catch a TD pass since 1977. Here are three things you should know about the Miami Dolphins standout:
- Sanders was a two-sport star at Villa Park High School, where he earned Century League Special Teams Player of the Year honors as a member of the football team, and recorded 13 goals and six assists in 19 games as a member of the soccer team.
- Sanders has a powerful brain to go with his powerful leg. The California native graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in business and political science and was a 2014 and 2015 Mountain West All-Academic selection.
- Sanders earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors during Week 10 of the 2019 NFL season after converting three field goals and an extra point in Miami’s shocking 16-12 win over Indianapolis.
— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) December 1, 2019
You have to admire Doug Pederson’s sunny disposition. There aren’t many NFL head coaches that could still find reason for optimism after losing to the Dolphins.
“I do what the doctors tell me,” @JJWatt says.
JJ says, though, that his rehab is going well and if he gets a green light, he will “take it gladly” and get back on the field. pic.twitter.com/Wea83WvDJV
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 2, 2019
Will J.J. Watt be back in time for the playoffs? The three-time Defensive Player of the Year sounds like he’s close to 100% after tearing his pectoral muscle in Week 8.
— Aaron Kasinitz (@AaronKazreports) December 1, 2019
Is it just us, or does it seem like this might be the first time that Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has led off a postgame press conference?
Three and Out
Adam Vinatieri’s days may be numbered after the three-time All-Pro connected on just one of his four field goal attempts on Sunday against the Titans. In honor of the 46-year-old kicker, here are the three oldest players in NFL history:
- George Blanda (48 years old): The true granddaddy of them all, Blanda’s legendary career spanned four decades and 340 games. The longtime Raider was the first player to ever score over 2,000 points and still holds the record for most passing touchdowns in a game.
- Morten Anderson (47 years old): Anderson hung up his cleats in 2007, but he likely could have played another few years given his exceptional productivity. The “Great Dane” nailed 100% of his extra point attempts with the Falcons that season, and retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in games played and points scored.
- Adam Vinatieri (46 years old): The nickname “Automatic Adam” has taken on an ironic undertone in Vinatieri’s 24th – and likely final – season in the NFL. The four-time Super Bowl champ has converted just 68% of his field goal attempts and 78% of his extra point attempts this year with the Colts.