Week 14 NFL Picks (ATS): Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
On Monday, the New Orleans Saints ran into a buzz saw, when they got hammered at one of the most difficult NFL venues. Hey, no one wins in Seattle; however, what should concern Sean Payton is how his team appears to struggle against physical opponents. Now, Carolina brings its second-ranked defense to New Orleans in what basically amounts to a showdown for NFC South supremacy. Winners of eight straight, Carolina looks primed to give Drew Brees and company plenty of fits. That said, good teams tend to rebound from humiliating losses, and even with the short week, the odds favor New Orleans at home. Things will be different when the Saints travel to Carolina in a couple of weeks; but, right now, we don’t like Cam Newton’s outfit against a wounded opponent. Put your money on N.O. minus-3.5 points.
Houston at Jacksonville (Line: Texans -3)
This spread seems a bit odd, especially since the Jaguars just beat Houston in Texas a couple weeks ago. We think most of the love comes from Houston’s strong performance against New England last week. Is it fool’s gold? We’re leery of a Texans letdown, but we’ll take Houston to avoid a sweep at the hands of their equally-sorry inter-division rival. Take the Texans minus-3 points.
St. Louis at Arizona (Line: Cardinals -6.5)
After their first loss in five games, the Cardinals head home, where they’ll face a once red-hot Rams team that got a nice wake-up call at San Francisco last week. How will each team rebound from disappointing losses? We expect the Cards to win, but the Rams are apt to keep things close. Take St. Louis plus-6.5 points.
Cleveland at New England (Line: Patriots -11.5)
After a scare in Houston, New England returns home, where they’ll face another lackluster opponent. Will they struggle again? Not likely. Blame last week’s near loss on an emotional letdown following a big win against Denver. Having learned its lesson, New England should start fast against Cleveland and its turnover prone quarterback, Brandon Weeden. Go with that Pats minus 11.5 points.