NFL Week 14 picks: Do Rams, Chargers have a chance? Cowboys-Eagles big in NFC race

NFL logo for Sam Farmer picks
Sam Farmer makes his Week 14 picks (Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)

The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups. Lines according to FanDuel Sportsbook (O/U = over/under). Last week’s record 7-6 (.538); season 116-77 (.601). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 7-5-1 (.583); season 92-97-4 (.487). Off: Cardinals, Commanders. All times Pacific.

New England (2-10) at Pittsburgh (7-5)

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shows anguish on the sideline.

Tonight, 5:15

TV: Amazon Prime Video

Line: Steelers by 6. O/U: 30½.

New England’s defense is playing pretty well but that Patriots offense is awful. Pittsburgh’s offense is nothing special — no more than 16 points in any of the last three games — but it’s fractionally better.

Prediction: Steelers 13, Patriots 6

RAMS (6-6) at Baltimore (9-3)

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson scrambles against the Jets.

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 11

Line: Ravens by 7½. O/U: 40½.

Would be huge for the Rams to win, but that’s a tall order. Kyren Williams helps them keep it close, but the edge goes to Baltimore and quarterback Lamar Jackson’s play-making ability.

Prediction: Ravens 24, Rams 20

Jacksonville (8-4) at Cleveland (7-5)

Browns quarterback Joe Flacco throws a pass against the Rams.

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 2

Line: Browns by 3. O/U: 30½.

C.J. Beathard did a respectable job in relief of the injured Trevor Lawrence, but that figures to be a problem against a stout Cleveland defense. Browns quarterback Joe Flacco still has something in the tank.

Prediction: Browns 17, Jaguars 10

Tampa Bay (5-7) at Atlanta (6-6)

Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) leaves the field during a game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: NFL Ticket

Line: Falcons by 2½. O/U: 39½.

This is for the upper hand in the NFC South. If the Buccaneers can avoid turnovers, get the ball into Mike Evans’ hands and limit the damage caused by Bijan Robinson, they should be able to hang on.

Prediction: Buccaneers 21, Falcons 18

Detroit (9-3) at Chicago (4-8)

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell watches action from the sideline.
Coach Dan Campbell's Detroit Lions are in first place in the NFC North. (Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: NFL Ticket

Line: Lions by 3. O/U: 41½.

The Lions are finding ways to win games but they’re giving up too much on defense. That’s going to be a problem against top-shelf teams. Fortunately for Detroit, Chicago is not a top-shelf team.

Prediction: Lions 28, Bears 20

Indianapolis (7-5) at Cincinnati (6-6)

Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) signals at the line during a game against the Jaguars.

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: NFL Ticket

Line: Colts by 1½. O/U: 41½.

What a performance Monday night by quarterback Jake Browning, and he didn’t do it with smoke, mirrors and luck. That’s a repeatable performance and the Bengals are at home.

Prediction: Bengals 23, Colts 21

Carolina (1-11) at New Orleans (5-7)

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara runs in open field.

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: NFL Ticket

Line: Saints by 5½. O/U: 37½.

This was a three-point win by the Saints in Week 2. New Orleans is nothing special, to be sure, but Carolina’s offense is really anemic. New Orleans pulls away in the second half.

Prediction: Saints 27, Panthers 17

Houston (7-5) at N.Y. Jets (4-8)

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals.

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: NFL Ticket

Line: Texans by 5½. O/U: 32½.

Although the Jets’ quarterback situation is a mess, C.J. Stroud is having a historic rookie year for the Texans. Losing receiver Tank Dell was a setback for Houston, but it’s next man up.

Prediction: Texans 24, Jets 14

Minnesota (6-6) at Las Vegas (5-7)

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) signals teammates.

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: NFL Ticket

Line: Vikings by 3. O/U: 40½.

A pattern is emerging with Josh Dobbs. His play has gone from very good to meh — trying too hard and making mistakes — just like in Arizona. The Raiders should be able to run the ball.

Prediction: Raiders 24, Vikings 20

Seattle (6-6) at San Francisco (9-3)

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll waits to run onto the field in Baltimore.

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: NFL Ticket

Line: 49ers by 10½. O/U: 46½.

The 49ers dominated this matchup a couple weeks ago and they've got even more confidence now. Seattle put up a good fight against Dallas last week before another deflating loss.

Prediction: 49ers 31, Seahawks 20

Denver (6-6) at CHARGERS (5-7)

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) hands off to running back Austin Ekeler.

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: Channel 2

Line: Chargers by 2½. O/U: 43½.

The Broncos are a different team than they were through the first six weeks. The Chargers are coming off a good defensive performance, but they can’t run and they drop a ton of passes.

Prediction: Broncos 22, Chargers 17

Buffalo (6-6) at Kansas City (8-4)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) and tight end Travis Kelce (87) cheer from the sidelines.

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: NFL Ticket

Line: Chiefs by 2½. O/U: 48½.

Opponents are really focusing on containing Travis Kelce and no reliable second option has emerged for Patrick Mahomes. The Bills are desperate but they can’t run well enough to attack a KC soft spot.

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Bills 23

Philadelphia (10-2) at Dallas (9-3)

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott acknowledges fans with a finger point.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has had an MVP-type season. (Associated Press)

Sunday, 5:20 p.m.

TV: Channel 4

Line: Cowboys by 3½. O/U: 52½.

The Eagles got clobbered by the 49ers and will be looking for a strong rebound. Philadelphia is banged up. Dak Prescott is having an MVP-type season for the Cowboys. Figures to be close.

Prediction: Cowboys 31, Eagles 27

Tennessee (4-8) at Miami (9-3)

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws under pressure from Chargers rushers.

Monday, 5:15 p.m.


Line: Dolphins by 13½. O/U: 47.

The Miami defense looked excellent in a blowout of Washington. On offense, Tua Tagovailoa gets the ball out of his hands so quickly, it should neutralize the Tennessee pass rush.

Prediction: Dolphins 30, Titans 20

Green Bay (6-6) at N.Y. Giants (4-8)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) runs in open field.

Monday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: Channel 7

Line: Packers by 6½. O/U: 37½.

Wink Martindale likes to blitz and play man defense, and that plays into the hands of Green Bay QB Jordan Love, who has excelled in those situations. Aaron Jones figures to be back for Packers.

Prediction: Packers 24, Giants 18

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.