The Sports Editors’ Week 14 Picks

The Sports Editors

Stuzin: New York Jets (+9) at Buffalo Bills

It feels as if one of us picks the Jets every week, but they truly are one of the most exciting teams to watch right now. Despite a crushing loss against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13, the Jets still seem to have good morale going into this away matchup against the Bills. The last time these two teams faced off, the Jets came away with a shocking victory, and who’s to say they can’t do it again? Since replacing QB Zach Wilson with Mike White, the team has seen a dramatic change in the passing game: White has 684 yards in the air in two games, a number Wilson never saw in any two-game span. Additionally, wide receiver Garrett Wilson is making a statement that he should be Offensive Rookie of the Year (he finished Week 13 with eight receptions and 162 yards).

There is no denying that the Bills continue to consistently steamroll competition, as QB Josh Allen continues to put up MVP numbers (3,406 passing yards and 25 TDs on the season, ranked third and second, respectively), but I see no reason the Jets can’t cover this spread.

Fischer: Cleveland Browns (+6) at Cincinnati Bengals

On Sunday, Dec. 4, the biggest week’s biggest story, the return of DeShaun Watson after an 11-game suspension, was overshadowed by the Browns’ defense and special teams. With three non-offensive touchdowns, which included a four-yard fumble return by Denzel Ward, a sixteen-yard interception return by Tony Fields II and a seventy-six-yard punt return, the Browns cruised to victory against the struggling Texans. Earlier this season, the Browns defeated the Bengals in dominant fashion by a score of 32-13. In that game, Nick Chubb rushed for 100+ yards and 2 touchdowns. If the Browns want to maintain their recent success against the Bengals, Chubb will need to have a similarly dominant day and Watson must reignite the Browns’ passing game.

In his short, yet stellar young career, Joe Burrow has compiled an 0-4 record against the Browns. Even coming off a sensational victory against the Kansas City Chiefs that saw Ja’Marr Chase return to the lineup to lead the Bengals in receiving, I see this matchup being a close affair between division rivals with key playoff implications. 

Martin: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (Over 53 Total Points)

Instead of picking against the spread this week, I am taking over 53 total points at Ford Field. This NFC North matchup presents a perfect opportunity for a high-scoring affair. Both the Vikings (unsurprisingly) and Lions (surprisingly) have been very competent on offense. In Minnesota, star playmakers Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook pose a challenge for any defense. With Kirk Cousins as a reliable decision-maker, the Vikings have an easy time giving the football to their studs and letting explosive plays happen. On the other side, the Lions are one of the hottest offensive teams in the league right now and are actually favored in this game against the 10-2 Vikings. Lions running back Jamaal Williams has a knack for finding the endzone, and currently leads the league with 14 touchdowns this season. The Lions are 8-4 on the over/under this year, which speaks to their underrated offense as well as their mediocrity on defense. Games at Ford Field this season have averaged 59.0 total points, and have hit the over in six out of eight games. Moreover, four of the last five games between the Vikings and Lions have gone over the total points line. Give me the over!

Notis: Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) vs. Carolina Panthers

The NFC South has proven time and time again that it cannot compete in the NFL. Leaving Week 13 without a team above .500, there’s no future where any team in this division makes it to the Super Bowl. The Carolina Panthers are no exception. After dropping quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Panthers are without offensive firepower or organizational direction. Coming off the bye, Carolina will have rest but zero momentum. The Seahawks have continued to shock the league and need to have continued success to top the 49ers in the NFC West. A strong Week 13 performance from quarterback Geno Smith and the Seattle defense toppled the Rams. The Panthers have no reason to win and the Seahawks have every reason to dominate. If the Seahawks win by three or fewer points it should go down as a loss on their record. 

Silverstein: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) at San Francisco 49ers

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the battle of sixth and seventh rounders. Tom Brady, the greatest football player ever to grip the laces, is a four-point underdog to Brock Purdy, also known as Mr. Irrelevant, the last player picked in this year’s draft. Don’t get me wrong, the 49ers are stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, and Purdy did well to step in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and secure a victory over a very strong Miami Dolphins team. But, the kind of a player and competitor Brady is, coupled with his vintage, goatly comeback on Monday night versus the Saints tells me there is simply no way he loses this matchup. Yes, Brady’s Tampa offense has not looked all that pretty this year, but their defense ranks fifth in points allowed per contest, and if this one is low-scoring and close, number twelve is going to find a way to get it done. Give me a very close game and a very possible Buccaneers win in San Fran on Sunday.