The Sports Editors’ NFL Week 14 Picks


AP Photo/David Banks

MURRAY MANIA: Kyler Murray is finally back for the Arizona Cardinals after missing three games, and he looks to bring his swagger to a Super Bowl.

Silverstein: Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) at Los Angeles Rams

The Rams absolutely embarrassed me two weeks in a row after I confidently picked them to first beat a decimated Tennessee Titans team, and then surely bounce back against the 49ers. Both games were pretty pathetic losses. Well, guess what? This is my revenge. When these two NFC West heavyweights go head-to-head on Monday Night Football, Arizona will get the win and take an even more firm grasp on the division. In an NFL season that has so far been full of pretenders instead of contenders, the 10-2 Cards have been the most consistent of the bunch and have had to overcome a plethora of big injuries in the process. Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins are back after missing multiple weeks, and the duo connected for a score in the team’s win Sunday over the Chicago Bears. I only expect these dynamic stars to get better as they shake off the rust, which spells trouble for any team. Head Coach Kilff Kingsbury has clearly instilled a strong “next man up” mentality, and a variety of skilled position players have stepped in to fill the injury void in recent weeks. Now that the team is healthier, this depth will only make Arizona that much more consistent as the season winds down, and their athletic defense has shown playmaking ability down the stretch. Give me AZ in the No-Fly Zone on Monday. 

Cobey: Baltimore Ravens (+2) at Cleveland Browns

This is a weird line. Two points is a weird amount of points. The Browns being favored is weird. It’s just all weird. The Ravens have been really inconsistent lately, with average quarterback play from Lamar Jackson. They lost to the Steelers last week in heartbreaking fashion, as John Harbaugh decided to go for two instead of an extra point, costing the Ravens the game. This team is a shell of its 2019 and 2020 self. Jackson ranks 15th in QBR in the league, after being number one and number seven in 2019 and 2020, respectively. He has been throwing interceptions at an incredible clip: 13 in just 11 games compared to 15 in 30 games between the 2019 and 2020 seasons. With all of that being said, it’s time to bounce back for the Ravens. They need to start winning games to remain a top-four seed going into the playoffs, and it starts on the road against the Browns. They beat this Browns squad without Jackson just two short weeks ago, and they should be able to handle Baker Mayfield again, who has been atrocious in 2021. It’s come-back time, and they need to win. Time to quiet the Dawg Pound. 

Hunter Firment: Green Bay Packers (-12.5) vs. Chicago Bears

Give me the Packers to give the Bears absolute work at home this weekend. In 27 games against Chicago in his career, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 22-5 with 59 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. That’s dominant. Also, the Packers are playing with a lot on the line Sunday. If the Green and Gold defeat the Bears at Lambeau Field this weekend, and if the Minnesota Vikings lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football, the Packers will be crowned NFC North champions. And while the Packers have much bigger goals (like avenging their NFC Championship Game loss to the Bucs from a year ago), a chance to clinch the division with a win over their arch-rivals should be incentive enough to go out and play their best football. Expect Rodgers and the Pack to give Chicago the business… again.

Notis: Los Angeles Chargers (-10.5) vs. New York Giants

Some weeks, the Los Angeles Chargers look like the best team in football. Other weeks, the Los Angeles Chargers look like the worst team in football. No matter how they play each week, there is no possible way they can be worse than the New York Giants.

Even when quarterback Daniel Jones is healthy, the Giants are a complete train wreck. Superstar running back Saquon Barkley has not looked like the other worldly, generational talent we saw during his rookie season. During this past week’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Giants under new play-caller Freddie Kitchens refused to run the ball and, when they did, Barkley did not know where to go. Jones will be out with a neck strain and backup quarterback Mike Glennon could be out to a concussion. This will put newly acquired third-string quarterback Jake Fromm at the helm of one of the most talented yet dysfunctional offenses in football. 

Quarterback Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers have preyed on opposing defenses this year, and that will not change against the Giants. Cornerback James Bradberry looked like he did not care about the outcome against the Dolphins, and Herbert will just throw dimes on him all day. Expect the Chargers to blow past this terrible Giants team. 

Schiller: New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at New York Jets

This one seems almost a little too easy. I get that the Saints are losers of four straight, including a loss to the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football in which they only scored 17 points, and Alvin Kamara will likely not suit up for the fourth straight game. But a date with the Jets on Sunday should prove a cure for the recent ills suffered by Sean Payton’s team. Since losing starting quarterback Jameis Winston to a torn ACL, the Saints have not been the same offensively, leading Payton to make the switch from Trevor Siemian to the polarizing Taysom Hill in an attempt to spark the offense. Say what you will about Taysom Hill as an NFL caliber pocket passer (spoiler alert: he’s not), his athleticism and ability as a runner is undeniable. Against the Cowboys, Hill racked up over 100 rushing yards. The Saints recommitment to their running game should lead to success against a Jets team that ranks a miserable 30th out of 32 teams defending the run.

The other matchup that gives me confidence in this pick is rookie quarterback Zach Wilson against the Saints defense. To put it mildly, the number two overall pick from this year’s draft has not given Jets fans much to write home about. Wilson has thrown only six touchdowns to go along with 11 picks and has looked lost at times on the field. Pair that with a Saints defense that ranks fifth in DVOA, and the young signal caller could be in for another long afternoon. Expect the Saints to control this game with their rushing attack and feast defensively on the mistake-prone Wilson.