Home / frontnfl / 2023 NFL Game Picks: Week 14
Ben Green/Buffalo Bills

2023 NFL Game Picks: Week 14

Last week: 8-5

Season: 120-73


NE (2-10) @ PIT (7-5) 

Thursday, December 7 | 8:15 PM ET | Prime Video


Mitchell Trubisky will be making his first start of the year in place of Kenny Pickett (ankle), and it will come against a New England team that he faced in Week 2 of last season—which was a 17-14 loss for the Steelers. Entering the year, there was hope that the Patriots would be much better offensively, but they’re averaging an NFL-low 12.3 points per game, and Bailey Zappe didn’t prove to be an upgrade over Mac Jones with a shutout loss to the Chargers. In the matchup last season, it was Nelson Agholor (6/110/1) and Jakobi Meyers (9/95) doing most of the damage for the Pats, but the pass-catchers now lack juice, especially with rookie Demario Douglas (concussion) out again. Because of the ineffectiveness through the air, New England will try to play through Ezekiel Elliott, and the defense needs to prevent big plays from George Pickens and Diontae Johnson on the perimeter. Overall, I trust Trubisky to have a key throw (or run) late in what is expected to be a slugfest.


Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers


TB (5-7) @ ATL (6-6)

Sunday, December 10 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


This weekend is a huge matchup in the NFC South, as the Buccaneers can’t afford to drop to 5-8 while losing both games against the division-leading Falcons, and Atlanta can essentially make it a two-team race with New Orleans by sweeping Tampa Bay. In the Week 7 win, the Falcons survived three lost fumbles by Desmond Ridder, and their young signal-caller should be much more focused on ball security in the rematch—though he has continued to struggle despite back-to-back wins since being reinstalled as the starter. To maximize the offense, I would like to see Kyle Pitts featured versus a Bucs defense that might be getting Lavonte David (groin) back, but probably won’t have fellow linebacker Devin White (foot), and Jamel Dean (ankle/foot) being out would leave the right cornerback spot a clear weakness for Pitts to exploit. Unless Baker Mayfield can get a frustrated Chris Godwin involved, Atlanta should be able to do enough to win at home.


Winner: Atlanta Falcons


LAR (6-6) @ BAL (9-3)

Sunday, December 10 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


I said last week that having Kyren Williams in the lineup for Los Angeles takes the offense to another level, and he proved that again in the win over Cleveland by turning 24 touches into 112 total yards and a score versus one of the league’s top defenses. The Rams are now 5-3 when Williams plays, and the second-year back has been another hit for LA to remain competitive following all the trades made to help win a Super Bowl two seasons ago. Baltimore will be another challenge this week, but Sean McVay has the playmakers to create problems for anyone, so Matthew Stafford needs to play better than he has in three career matchups versus the Ravens—which includes a pick-six in back-to-back games. Defensively, the Rams haven’t allowed more than 20 points in a game since the start of November, but that mark will be tested against Lamar Jackson and the explosive Baltimore offense; I could see Odell Beckham Jr. having a big game facing his former team.


Winner: Baltimore Ravens


DET (9-3) @ CHI (4-8)

Sunday, December 10 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


Chicago gave Detroit a battle in the first matchup this season with 17 points needed in the final five minutes for the Lions to get a 31-26 victory, and the Bears could have a couple of advantages in the rematch with an extra week to prepare—plus cold weather in the forecast to perhaps slow down Jared Goff and the passing attack. That said, I’m sure Dan Campbell’s squad would welcome a street fight if that’s what Sunday turns into, but DJ Moore needs to be contained after a 7/96/1 line in the first meeting and big-time production with Justin Fields under center in general. For the Chicago backfield, rookie Roschon Johnson showed signs of a takeover prior to the bye with 15 touches, but Khalil Herbert (4.9 yards per carry in three seasons) shouldn’t be discounted, and D’Onta Foreman can be a bruising option in the cold. Still, I like the former Bears running back in David Montgomery to have another productive day, and aside from a Week 6 win where he left early and then missed a few weeks, he’s scored in every game this season.


Winner: Detroit Lions


IND (7-5) @ CIN (6-6)

Sunday, December 10 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


Talk of Joe Burrow being a “system quarterback” as a criticism based on Jake Browning’s primetime performance last week is disrespectful if meant as anything more than a joke, but the situation is a great reminder about how much supporting cast matters in the NFL (so have hope, Panthers fans). The second career start for Browning was masterful, though, and his experience as a four-year starter at Washington—which included a 43-touchdown campaign as a sophomore—is certainly a good thing for Cincinnati as they compete for a playoff spot over the final five weeks. Assuming the offense can keep up their strong play, it’ll be up to Lou Anarumo to fix a defense that has shockingly allowed the most yards per pass (8.1) and second-most yards per rush (4.8) in the league; because of those struggles, the Colts might be able to take advantage with Michael Pittman Jr. and others to extend their winning streak to a league-best five games and position themselves for a possible tie atop the AFC South by Sunday evening.


Winner: Indianapolis Colts


JAX (8-4) @ CLE (7-5)

Sunday, December 10 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The status of Trevor Lawrence (ankle) will be one of the top storylines of the next couple of weeks, as he hasn’t been ruled out—but the Browns and Ravens (in Week 15) aren’t the opponents you want an injured quarterback facing. Whether it’s Lawrence or C.J. Beathard under center, the Jaguars must play through Travis Etienne Jr. (15 touches in the overtime loss to Cincinnati), and Calvin Ridley needs to step up with Christian Kirk (core muscle) out for the year if Jacksonville doesn’t make a deep postseason run. Fortunately for the Jags, rookie Parker Washington stepped up admirably in place of Kirk last week by catching six-of-six targets for 61 yards and a score, and he’s a sixth-round pick that we thought could have gone in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. But with the injuries piling up for Jacksonville, the Browns are at least getting top cornerback Denzel Ward (shoulder) back in the lineup, and their stingy trio should make things tough on Beathard (if he starts) while either Joe Flacco provides a steady hand for Cleveland or Dorian Thompson-Robinson is back at quarterback to provide playmaking ability.


Winner: Cleveland Browns


CAR (1-11) @ NO (5-7)

Sunday, December 10 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


We can only go on rumors right now, but the Panthers moving on from general manager Scott Fitterer after the season apparently not being a lock is stunning to me, as they have not drafted well at all over the past few years—and the culmination of the sub-par scouting is what has put Bryce Young in the situation he’s in. The Seahawks are the model example of franchises being able to turn things around with one or two home-run drafts, so owner David Tepper has to find a general manger that can overcome the lack of draft capital (and blue-chip talent on the roster) by hitting on all three days of the draft—not to mention UDFA targets. The Saints are another example after they were able to build at least a fringe contender over the past several years based largely on the strength of their 2017 draft class, but the wheels seem to be falling off due to recent misses on the offensive line, so we’ll see if Jameis Winston can get the train back on the tracks if Derek Carr (concussion) can’t go.


Winner: New Orleans Saints


HOU (7-5) @ NYJ (4-8)

Sunday, December 10 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


Takeover performances by Derek Stingley Jr. (two interceptions and four passes defended) and Will Anderson Jr. (2.0 sacks and two tackles for loss) showed the star power that Houston has on defense, and Sunday will be a fun game with Stingley and Sauce Gardner sharing the field for the first time as the top cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Of course, the major story is Zach Wilson returning to the starting lineup for the Jets, and I’m glad everyone—even some of the harshest critics in the New York media—realize that Wilson is the best option for the team and didn’t get enough credit for solid play earlier this season. There might be too much wrong with the offense right now for Wilson to suddenly look like the quarterback we saw at BYU, but maybe coming back with a chip on his shoulder will lead to him being more of a playmaker and letting it rip on downfield throws. I like the playoff chances for Houston, but New York gets the edge at home thanks to their defense.


Winner: New York Jets


MIN (6-6) @ LV (5-7)

Sunday, December 10 | 4:05 PM ET | FOX


Wins over the Giants and Jets got the Antonio Pierce era off to a great start, and the Raiders battled in losses to the Dolphins and Chiefs to close out November; but this week—coming out of the bye—and the final five games will be telling for Pierce’s chances of being hired as the permanent head coach, so the staff will be tested versus a Minnesota team that has a tremendous offensive head coach in Kevin O’Connell and a top-tier defensive mind in Brian Flores. Also, some guy named Justin Jefferson is set to return after a seven-game absence, and he was on fire to begin 2023 with a season-long pace of 140/2,308/13 in four healthy appearances, so Las Vegas will obviously have their hands full. The best shot at winning to keep their slim playoff hopes alive is to have Aidan O’Connell hit on deep shots to Davante Adams when Flores brings pressure, but I think the rookie struggling is the more likely outcome as owner Mark Davis perhaps ponders a big swing in the offseason.


Winner: Minnesota Vikings


SEA (6-6) @ SF (9-3)

Sunday, December 10 | 4:05 PM ET | FOX


The primetime matchup on Thanksgiving didn’t go as planned for Seattle with a 31-13 loss at home to San Francisco, but it was a strange game—as deep throws to DK Metcalf didn’t connect in the first half, and the offense could never get into rhythm with only 18 snaps over the first 30 minutes. The opposite was true last Thursday night with Metcalf starting a 41-35 loss to the Cowboys with a 73-yard touchdown grab, and I would anticipate him having more success in the rematch versus Charvarius Ward. Unfortunately, the Seahawks could be without both Kenneth Walker III (oblique) and Zach Charbonnet (knee), so a lot will fall on Geno Smith to play like he did in Week 13 for Seattle to pull off the upset as desperation mode kicks in with others emerging in the playoff race. Unless Walker in particular is active and given a full workload, I don’t think there is enough firepower to beat a San Francisco offense that has run like a machine with Brock Purdy under center.


Winner: San Francisco 49ers


BUF (6-6) @ KC (8-4)

Sunday, December 10 | 4:25 PM ET | CBS


Bills-Chiefs has been one of the best matchups in the league over the past few years, and as usual, the stakes are very high. For Buffalo, they still have matchups versus the Cowboys and Dolphins on the schedule, but the offense can trade blows with anyone with Josh Allen getting back to a near-unstoppable level under Joe Brady, and the increased pace has helped the group return to dominance. The defense needs to figure out ways to get late stops, though, as end-of-game collapses have been a theme (which the Chiefs know all too well), and Sean McDermott will have to contain Travis Kelce without star linebacker Matt Milano (leg) on the field. But in general, the advantage for Buffalo is Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense simply not living up to expectations this year (0-4 record when opponents score 21+ points), and the Bills starting fast can maybe get Andy Reid to abandon Isiah Pacheco and the running game. If Buffalo is able to come out of Arrowhead with a victory, I’ll really like their chances of making a Super Bowl run behind lights-out play from Allen.


Winner: Buffalo Bills


DEN (6-6) @ LAC (5-7)

Sunday, December 10 | 4:25 PM ET | CBS


A high-ankle sprain for Austin Ekeler has led to a significant decrease in efficiency (3.0 yards per carry in eight games since returning), and the struggles led to head coach Brandon Staley bluntly responding “yeah”—and then expanding on the answer—when asked about Joshua Kelley getting more carries. I would also like to see second-year runner Isaiah Spiller get a larger opportunity (as brought up last week), but Kelley can certainly take advantage of increased touches versus the bottom-ranked Denver run defense, and Joshua Palmer (knee) returning would be a massive boost to the offense by increasing the vertical threat with rookie Quentin Johnston not yet making an impact. On defense, the concern for Los Angeles is their inability to stop the run, and Javonte Williams has been a hammer to wear out opponents and set up deep shots for Courtland Sutton; I like that formula to get the Broncos a victory ahead of a Saturday night matchup against the Lions in Week 16.


Winner: Denver Broncos


PHI (10-2) @ DAL (9-3)

Sunday, December 10 | 8:20 PM ET | NBC


The Eagles were blown out by the 49ers last week, and now they could lose control of not only the No. 1 seed in the conference, but also the NFC East if unable to bounce back with a win over the Cowboys this weekend. Looking at the positives, Philadelphia will get Dallas Goedert (wrist) back, and former All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard decided to sign with them over Dallas this week. On the other hand, Dak Prescott is playing the best football of his career, and the secondary for the Eagles remains a potentially fatal weakness with Darius Slay declining and Avonte Maddox (pectoral) being a longshot to return this season. I know a lot of Eagles fans were happy to see him go after the Super Bowl, but I’m still not sold on new defensive coordinator Sean Desai being an upgrade over Jonathan Gannon, so the adjustments made to slow down CeeDee Lamb (11 receptions for 191 yards in the first matchup) need to be balanced with Prescott having plenty of other weapons to hit. The X-factor will be Jalen Hurts’ legs, and I’m hoping DeVonta Smith remains heavily involved with Goedert back—but entering last week a bit worn down and then facing the Niners (after which teams typically struggle) could be enough to slant this game towards Dallas.


Winner: Dallas Cowboys


TEN (4-8) @ MIA (9-3)

Monday, December 11 | 8:15 PM ET | ESPN/ESPN2


A fictional tale of the tape between Derrick Henry (six-foot-three, 247 pounds) and De’Von Achane (five-foot-nine, 189 pounds) is a hilarious visual, but Miami’s rookie runner has proven himself as a legitimate game-breaker in short order, and a lot of credit goes to Mike McDaniel for not only putting him in position to have success, but also identifying him as an electric player in the pre-draft process. At Texas A&M, Achane was capable of handling heavy workloads despite a smaller build, and that included a 38-carry effort in an upset win over the No. 5 LSU Tigers; this week, the Titans will need to tackle on the second level to avoid an embarrassment like Washington had last week, but something to keep in mind is that Mike Vrabel was able to successfully shutdown Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs better than anyone ever has with a 27-3 win a couple of years ago. Somehow coming up with a game plan to stop McDaniel’s attack and feeding King Henry is the path to an upset, but I don’t think Tennessee’s roster is good enough at this point.


Winner: Miami Dolphins


GB (6-6) @ NYG (4-8)

Monday, December 11 | 8:15 PM ET | ABC


Green Bay is in excellent position to earn one of the final two wild card spots in the NFC, but the Giants are a team that I wouldn’t count out making some noise themselves if they can rattle off a couple of wins (facing the Saints next week) to reach 6-8 before a Christmas showdown versus the Eagles. This week, New York should play through Saquon Barkley as much as possible after he only had 13 carries (for 70 yards and a score) in last year’s close win over the Packers, and rookie speedster Jalin Hyatt will force opponents to lighten up the box if he builds on his 100-yard performance prior to the bye. Defensively, the Giants have been one of the NFL’s worst teams versus the run, so superstar defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (hamstring) returning is key to prevent routine body blows by AJ Dillon between the tackles—in turn setting up downfield haymakers for a confident Jordan Love to hit. Green Bay’s recent play and Matt LaFleur’s 16-0 career record in December makes them the pick, but an upset wouldn’t surprise me.


Winner: Green Bay Packers