Week 14 of the NFL season officially signals the stretch run with just 25 percent of the regular-season schedule remaining for every team.
Just one club entered Week 14 having clinched a playoff spot: The Los Angeles Rams have wrapped up their second straight NFC West title. They still have much bigger fish to fry in terms of the NFC’s top seed. The Rams are 3-point betting favorites on Sunday night in Chicago at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com and wouldn’t get the NFC’s top spot with a victory but would earn no worse than the No. 2.
Los Angeles is just 3-7 ATS in its past 10 December games.
The New Orleans Saints are one game behind the Rams for the NFC’s top seed but would win any head-to-head tiebreaker. Off their 10-game winning streak ending in Week 13 at Dallas, the Saints head to the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday as 9-point favorites even though the Bucs beat the Saints in the Big Easy in Week 1.
New Orleans clinches the NFC South for the second year in a row with a win or Carolina loss in Cleveland. The Saints are 1-4 ATS in their previous five trips to Tampa according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
In the AFC, the New England Patriots can wrap up yet another AFC East title with a win (or tie) at the Miami Dolphins, who are 8-point underdogs. New England is just 1-4 straight-up and ATS in its past five in Miami and Tom Brady is 7-9 SU in his career there as a starter.
The Kansas City Chiefs lead the AFC West by a game over the Los Angeles Chargers with those two meeting in a huge game on Thursday in Week 15. Kansas City would clinch at minimum a wild-card berth on Sunday with a victory over the Baltimore Ravens, who themselves are fighting for a wild-card spot and the AFC North title. The Chiefs are 7-point betting favorites but have lost their past three at home against Baltimore.
Might the Chargers get caught in a trap game Sunday against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals ahead of that Chiefs showdown? Los Angeles would clinch a playoff berth with a victory and a few other teams in the wild-card hunt losing Sunday. Cincinnati is down starting QB Andy Dalton and star receiver A.J. Green and is a 14-point underdog – the biggest number on the board. The Bengals have won their past six West Coast games.