Week 14 NFL Previews
THERE’S MORE NFL WEEK 14 GAME PREVIEWS
FEATURING THE SUNDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN BETWEEN PANTHERS-SAINTS IN N’ORLEANS …
PLUS THE UP-TO-THE-MINUTE NFL POINTSPREAD CHART
By Jim Hurley
Let’s dig right in and get to some key NFL Week 14 matchups this Sunday:
CAROLINA (9-3) at NEW ORLEANS (9-3) – 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
This really is Part I of a two-part battle for the top spot in the NFC South as the Panthers and Saints will clash again in two weeks in Charlotte, but by that time will Carolina have merely zoomed past New Orleans?
No doubt that Carolina’s current eight-game SU (straight-up) winning streak has been one of the great stories in NFL-land this year especially when you consider head coach Ron Rivera’s job was on thin ice after the team’s 1-3 SU start, but for the road dogs to click out another “W” here, ball security is key, and note Carolina has committed just seven turnovers during this eight-game win streak while QB Cam Newton is also back to making big plays on the ground as evidenced by a 53-yard scamper in last weekend’s 27-6 win/cover against 7-point dog Tampa Bay.
The Saints – who were humbled badly in their 34-7 loss at 6 ½-point fav Seattle last Monday Night – have not lost consecutive games since the 2009 season and QB Drew Brees (just 147 passing yards against the Seahawks) likely will come out no-huddle and with four wide receivers here in an effort to spread the field and get one-on-one matchups against this Carolina secondary.
Let’s see if Saints’ TE Jimmy Graham continues to be hobbled with nagging injuries – no doubt he was not himself on MNF despite the touchdown grab from Brees.
Spread Notes – Carolina has covered seven of its last eight games this year and the Panthers enter this NFC South tilt with a spiffy 9-4 ATS (against the spread) mark in recent head-to-head showdowns against the Saints. Note that New Orleans is just 6-5-1 against the Las Vegas prices this year and did you know the Saints are an ultra-sizzling 18-4-1 ATS at home since the start of the 2011 season (that’s an .818 winning percentage)
NFC South Sunday Night Showdown
Panthers at Saints (NBC)
This will be the more closely watched NFC Games this side of the playoffs as the sizzling Carolina Panthers, riding an 8-game win streak and featuring do-everything QB Cam Netwon finally take on their main rival in the NFC South.
The Saints will be in a surly mood after getting waxed by Seattle last Monday but they are tough in the Dome as their 5-0-1 home spread record will attest.
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INDIANAPOLIS (8-4) at CINCINNATI (8-4) – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
One good thing you can say about these Cincy Bengals is they are resilient:
How else to explain the bounce-back nature of this team with consecutive wins against Cleveland and San Diego (with a bye week in between) following on the heels of the back-to-back overtime losses in Miami and Baltimore?
Now, an oft-overlooked Bengals’ stop unit that ranks eighth in the NFL in both rush defense and pass defense will look to keep the Indy Colts stalled early here – and Lord knows that Chuck Pagano’s club really has had it rough trying to get out of the so-called starting gate in recent weeks.
In fact, dig a little deeper and you’ll see Indianapolis has trailed by two-or-more scores in the first half of three of its last four games, and even last week’s 22-14 win against 3 ½-point dog Tennessee was no offensive explosion with veteran PK Adam Vinatieri booming five field goals for the winning cause.
Spread Notes – Cincinnati’s a solid 7-4-1 versus the vig overall this season (see our chart below) and the Bengals are 10-5 ATS in their last 15 games versus AFC competition. On the flip side, Indianapolis is 6-5-1 versus the vig this year and the Colts have covered three-of-four as underdog sides this season.
TENNESSEE (5-7) at DENVER (10-2) – 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS
The best thing you can say about these Broncos is that they are survivors:
The AFC West leader copped a pair of wins against Kansas City in the span of the past three weeks and didn’t let that painful 34-31 OT loss in New England two weeks ago linger for very long. Now, the return of popular head coach John Fox figures to give the Broncs another little energy boost here, but on the field we’ll be watching to see if the QB Peyton Manning-to-WR Eric Decker pass-catch combo again will explode here one week after that dynamic duo combined for a total of four TD plays.
The Titans, meanwhile, rank seventh in the league in pass defense while yielding just 212.6 aerial yards per game and Tennessee is hoping its offense – one that has scored in excess of 30 points just once this year (see Tennessee 38, New York Jets 13 way back in Week 4 play) – can survive without TE Delanie Walker (45 receptions) who figures to miss this game with a post-concussion issue.
Spread Notes – Denver is 7-5 against the odds this season and the Broncos own a 10-5 ATS mark at home dating back to the start of last season.
Important Note …
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the NFL Week 14 games and all the basketball action when you check with us here at the red-hot Jim Hurley’s Network – make sure you’re all aboard for the week/weekend action online here at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
NFL POINTSPREAD CHART
Here’s how things look right now with an NFL team-by-team spread look while heading into Sunday’s NFL action:
NOTE: Lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez including a Monday Night Football Preview/Forecast – that’s the matchup between the Dallas Cowboys at the Chicago Bears.
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