Which teams are Jenny Vrentas and Andy Benoit backing in this week's slate? Their picks and more in MMQB's best bets for Week 14.
The MMQB staff is back with six of our top bets this week, including two home favorites in divisional showdowns and differing views on Steelers-Raiders.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)
The Cowboys are coming off a statement-making win against the Saints, and they’ll be on extra rest after playing last Thursday; the Eagles will be on the road on short rest, coming off Monday Night Football. That’s some crummy scheduling luck for Philly. The Eagles have what’s perhaps a final chance to save their season this week, and these division matchups can be hard to predict. But the Cowboys seem to have picked up momentum this past month, while the Eagles struggled last week to put away a Washington team that’s lost two starting QBs this season. — Jenny Vrentas
Baltimore Ravens (+6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Baltimore, with its aggressive disguising, might be the toughest defense Kansas City faces this season. Expect a very close game. — Andy Benoit
Pittsburgh Steelers (-11) at Oakland Raiders
Despite getting burned last week, I'm going with Pittsburgh again. This line should be two or three points higher but the Steelers have suffered one of the most hilarious strings of rotten luck any team has had in recent memory.
In the Sunday night loss to the Chargers, the Steelers were on the wrong end of a missed false-start TD, an easy end-zone interception that Pittsburgh DBs keystone copped into a Chargers touchdown and a lengthy punt return TD (with a missed block in the back to boot) to fuel the Chargers' comeback. The previous week in Denver was the red-zone turnover fest, including Xavier Grimble's fumble through the end zone as he walked in for a TD and James Conner forgetting he was holding a football.
In reality, the Steelers should have beaten both those AFC West opponents by two touchdowns. They'll make up for that in Oakland, against a Raiders team that made it close with the Chiefs thanks to K.C.'s horrific defense. The Steelers won't give up points the way the Chiefs did. — Gary Gramling
Denver Broncos (-4.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Is no one watching Denver? This team has beaten the Steelers and Chargers in recent weeks. The Broncos are 6-6, but every one of those losses has either come after traveling to the east coast or playing against one of the league’s current juggernauts, the Rams, Chiefs, or Texans. Football Outsiders has them fifth in overall efficiency, ahead of Pittsburgh and New England. They’ll easily handle the 49ers, who ought to be focused on draft position in another lost year. — Jacob Feldman
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-4.5)
Hey, the Texans worked out for us last week, so let’s go right back to the well. They’re finally getting the attention they deserve after winning their ninth straight game with relative ease, knocking off the Browns in Week 13. You could make an argument that their relatively soft strength of schedule has something to do with their winning streak, but they’ve won four of the nine games by multiple scores, including three by 16 or more. No matter who you’re playing, that’s impressive. Houston’s streak started back in Week 4 with a 37-34 win over the Colts in Indianapolis. The Texans are only stronger on both sides of the all since then, pulling off impressive road wins in Denver and Washington (when Alex Smith was healthy), then beating the Titans and Browns by a combined 33 points in their last four games. The Jaguars exposed the Colts offense last week, thanks in part to center Ryan Kelly’s knee injury. If he’s out again, the Texans are just as equipped as the Jaguars to attack the interior of the Colts’ offensive line, and make life tough on Andrew Luck. — Michael Beller
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders (+11)
The Steelers typically play down to their competition on the road under Mike Tomlin, and this seems like the perfect spot to take advantage of that, despite Pittsburgh's current two-game losing streak. The Steelers are 24-39 against the spread as road favorites since 2007. Pittsburgh also has a huge showdown against the Patriots the following week. This is an ugly bet, but the ones that you're most uncomfortable making are usually the best ones. Expect a sleepwalkish effort from the Steelers in this one. — Max Meyer