Table of Contents

    By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast

    WEEK 14  – WIDE OPEN

    I woke up to week 14 and quickly had an epiphany: there are GOOD teams out there and there are teams like the Chiefs, Vikings, and Eagles who have separated themselves in the standings but are there any truly GREAT teams out there right now? It just feels like one of those seasons where even the top of the crop from a win-loss standpoint aren’t as well-rounded as great 1 and 2 seeds in past years. Meanwhile, in a metaphorical “tier two” of NFL title contenders, there are teams lurking like the Bengals and Cowboys who are on the verge of greatness and capable of a magical title run. The depth of teams allows for lots of postseason scenarios and makes handicapping harder. It’s week 14 and you’re playing for seeding in the playoffs or you’re planning your January vacation. 

    Off of last week’s mediocrity, it’s time for a bit of a switch-up in vibes. This is the point in the season where you can more clearly target motivation. I refer to it as the idea of “betting the team” instead of “betting the spot”. With that, I’m going to do some sniping through the board for the teams that are catching or about to “catch the cold.” Let’s make sense of the week 14 card and get to who’s a winner and who’s ready to go golfing.

    THE HEADLINERS

    Thursday Night Kickoff 

    Raiders (-6) @ Rams – Sad state of affairs as the defending champs in LA are 3-9 and underdogs at home to a Raiders team that has caught a bit of life as of late. Expect them to stay on the verge of playoff relevancy and handle a maligned Rams squad.

    Early Slate

    Jets (+9) @ Bills – In this AFC East duel the Jets come off a back-breaking loss in Minnesota and now take it to Buffalo against the current emperor of that division. Josh Allen has owned this matchup in recent years but the Jets snuck one past Buffalo earlier this season, let’s see if they can sweep the board!

    AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

    Lions (-1) vs Vikings – Big time trap game as the line indicates for Minnesota. The Lions are that pesky team that grinds everyone’s gears and seems to give everybody a game, so this figures to be a close one in Detroit. It will be hard to go against the Lions and the public money on this early start.

    Eagles (-7) @ Giants – The eagles come off another impressive win, but why are we not unanimously sold on them? It’s a hard question to answer but it has something to do with performances we’ve seen from recent Eagles teams in the postseason. Regardless, this is a litmus test for the Giants to see how they fare against the best of the best in the NFC.

    Late Window

    49ers (-3) vs Bucs – TB12’s last gasp for the postseason tour heads out west to where he dreamed of playing QB as a kid. They do have an opening as the Niners are likely to be playing their third QB Brock Purdy for a full game, so if Tampa’s D comes to play all might not be lost for Brady’s postseason hopes.

    Night Pick of the Week

    Dolphins (-3) @ Chargers – Miami sits at 8-4 and they stay out west this week after a tough loss in San Francisco. This week’s challenge at QB is more formidable in Justin Herbert, so it could spell trouble for the Defense in what figures to be a high-scoring affair all around.

    AP Photo/David Becker

    THE “WHO CARES?” GAME

    I’m humble enough to say it – my Patriots visiting the Cardinals on Monday night football could be the stinker of the week. It definitely has little to no effect on any other NFL team’s standing and the Patriots’ glimmer of hope for the postseason is shrinking by the day. Dear nation: I apologize in advance for subjecting you to more of Mac Jones in primetime.

    WEIRD VIBE PREDICTION OF THE WEEK

    Vibe check FULLY back after the Lions Money Line pick was spot on – they rolled for what was absolutely my easiest winner of the week. In keeping with the theme of finding bad and claiming a winning moment, let’s grab the lowly Rams on Thursday night to pull a rabbit out of their hats, and cover the 6-point spread at home…somehow.

    WEEK 13 RECAP

    The winners in my main card came from the Giants TIE (of course, right?) and a decisive Under in Deshaun Watson’s season debut in Houston. The other gems in here cashed nicely but alas it’s another 2-3 affair as we hover right at .500 for the season.

    Week Thirteen: 2-3 ATS, Season Overall: 33-33-1 ATS

    EARLY WEEK 14 NFL PLAYS FOR ALEX

    The Bengals are finding that Jackpot Joey magic I saw last season, and the Browns don’t have enough for a playoff run at this point. I like Cincy to roll this week and keep it movin’. Give me Bengals -6 at home.

    I’m going to get the line now before it’s out of control, but Lions -1 is on my card in the trap game of all trap games.

    One team that is checked out and won’t show up on the road is the Panthers, who are 0-5 away this year. I like the Seahawks -3.5.

    I don’t like the Steelers against mobile QBs so I’ll take the Ravens +2 as they continue to squeak by in close games.

    The Texans vs. the Cowboys could be rather ugly, so I’ll stick with the Under 45.5 points at JerryWorld. 

    Other leans: Patriots ML, Dolphins/Chargers Over 52

    Not in an NFL pick’em pool yet? Create your own today to get in on the action as the season heats up!

    EATS AND DEETS

    The best crowd: Eagles/Giants at the Meadowlands, Over/Under 15.5 fights in the crowd in that game?

    Goofiest line: Cowboys -17, the Texans stink but that’s still a TON of points in today’s NFL.

    Simultaneous screen count: Time to bust out every screen you have, the holidays are here and the football gets good.

    Tailgate pick of the week: First draft of Christmas cookies, you know to test out the recipe.

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    About Author

    Alex Lauzon

    Lauzon is a podcast host, live broadcaster, analyst and betting extraordinaire for the Course of Life brand. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, he worked in ESPN and ESPN radio newsrooms. He has interviewed athletes and celebrities from all walks of life who often love to play golf. When he's not playing golf or talking about the game on Course of Life, Lauzon enjoys time with his wife and dog, checking off the next island vacation destination or counting down the days to the next Dell Match Play in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

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