We’re into the final quarter of the NFL regular season, so survivor pool picks are tough. If you’ve looked ahead on the schedule and saved some teams, there are still some strong looks for Week 14.
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1. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Cincinnati)
The best lock of Week 14 is the Chargers. They’re the biggest favorite of the week at 14 points, they play at home, and they play a team without its starting quarterback and No. 1 receiver. There might be some slight hesitation coming off a win that took a lot of energy last Sunday night in Pittsburgh, but LA should be able to handle business—a home loss to the Broncos a few weeks ago should ensure they remain focused and don’t look ahead.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (@Oakland)
The Steelers are the second-biggest favorite of Week 14, and it’s just hard to see them losing three straight games, so there aren’t many better locks than them. Going into the Black Hole isn’t a huge concern, as the Steelers are 4-1-1 on the road this season while Oakland obviously isn’t having a great season. You should also consider that if you haven’t used Pittsburgh yet, their next two games are versus New England and New Orleans, so now might be the time.
3. Denver Broncos (@ San Francisco)
The loss of Emmanuel Sanders to a torn Achilles in practice is tough, so you have to hope the team doesn’t have an emotional letdown of sorts after the injury. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is another big loss, so both sides of the ball took a hit within the past week. The Broncos should be fine, though, as the Niners have won just one game without Jimmy Garoppolo under-center, and that came on a Thursday night when weird things happen. Denver has Cleveland and Oakland coming up, so they could be good locks the next two weeks, too, if you want to save them.
4. New York Giants (@ Washington)
Understandably, there might be some reservations about using a 4-8 team as a lock. But chances are if you survived this late into the season you didn’t use the Giants yet, making them a pick many might have to go with in Week 14. Also, New York is 3-1 in their last four games, so they’re playing pretty well right now. Consider them a pretty good lock against a team down to its third string quarterback that just arrived with the team a half a month ago.
5. New Orleans Saints (@ Tampa Bay)
After getting shut down by Dallas last Thursday night, it’s unlikely New Orleans has an offensive drought this Sunday against Tampa Bay. Offensive firepower isn’t lacking on the Bucs side either, but the Saints should be prepared to make a statement after they lost to the NFC South opponent at home in Week 1. There’ll also likely be extra motivation to start a new win streak after they just dropped their first game since that Week 1 loss.
6. Detroit Lions (@Arizona)
The Lions are 4-8, so there’s obvious risk with selecting them as a lock for Week 14. However, the Cardinals are coming off a win in Lambeau Field last week, so they could have a letdown. Also, Arizona has been one of the worst few teams in the league this season, so winning two in a row doesn’t seem like a probable scenario. This is the best time to use the Lions if you haven’t used them.
7. Seattle Seahawks (vs. Minnesota)
The Vikings do not own a win against a team over .500 this season, and the Seahawks are over .500 and get to play at home in a primetime Monday night matchup. Minnesota has so much talent on both sides of the ball that you can get burned picking against them for a lock, but Seattle is pretty much unbeatable at home in night games.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Baltimore)
Defenses like Jacksonville and Denver have done a relatively good job of limiting Kansas City’s offense, and Baltimore is arguably the league’s best defense, so the Chiefs are not a higher lock despite playing in Arrowhead against (potentially) a rookie quarterback. You probably already used the Chiefs if you’re still alive in a season-long survivor pool, anyway.