NFL

NFL Week 14: Packers to cruise home, a slugfest between The Browns and The Ravens

December 11, 2020

Just FOUR weeks remain of what has been a thrilling 2020 NFL regular season and the push for the playoffs is becoming intense.

The AFC North, AFC West, and NFC South are all but resolved, true, but elsewhere, expect fireworks as juggernauts go head-to-head in the hope of securing those places. Nat Coombs is on hand once again to talk us through his selections and best bets for Week 14.

 

Detroit Lions – Green Bay Packers

Sunday December 13, 21:25pm GMT

The Packers are rolling again, averaging 34 points per game over their last 3, a run which has included some solid defenses in Chicago and Indy. Whilst Rodgers & Green Bay trend upwards, life in the Motor City has been typically dysfunctional again this season, costing Matt Patricia his job and leaving the Lions out of the playoff picture, and scrapping for consolation spoiler wins, like their 34-30 defeat of the Bears last weekend, pulling back from a 30-20 deficit with just four minutes remaining.

It was impressive fight from Detroit, but if you’re a glass-half-empty Lions fan – is there any other kind? — you’ll be looking at this match up with trepidation, figuring that Rodgers & his flowing offense will have a field day, if the much-maligned Mitchell Trubisky and a woeful Bears offense could put up 30 points.  And you’d be right.

Rodgers is leading all QB’s in passing TD’s (36) with just 4 INT and is seemingly now in a two-man race with Patrick Mahomes for MVP. Davante Adams, his favourite target, is having an exceptional year, and whilst the rest of the younger receiving core that includes Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdez-Scantling aren’t yet as consistent as Head Coach Matt Lafleur would like, this is an offense finding its groove at the right time. Not least because the exceptional Aaron Jones (who had 236 yards from scrimmage & 2 TD’s in the Packers Week 2 demolition of Detroit) is heating up, posting 130 rushing yards against Philly in Week 13, averaging 8.7 per carry.

They’ll establish Jones easily enough against Detroit and Rodgers will capitalise on the attention, especially against a struggling Lions secondary that could be missing first round corner Jeff Okudah.

Offensively, although Deandre Swift will be a welcome return, it’s likely Detroit will be without leading receiver Kenny Golladay again, and much as Matthew Stafford will still land some blows, GB run away with this.

Match odds: Lions (17/5) Packers (6/25)
Tip: Green Bay -7.5 (22/25)

 

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Cleveland Browns – Baltimore Ravens

Tuesday December 15, 01:15am GMT

The Ravens kept their playoff hopes alive after Covid affected slump, running all over the Cowboys in a 34-17 win. The 294 rushing yards will be hard to mirror against a Browns side that comes into Monday Night Football with many finally taking them seriously, having dismantled the Titans in an explosive first half display last Sunday.

Whilst Tennessee are an organised, well coached defense that were uncharacteristically disjointed for the first half against the Browns, Baltimore is a different proposition with disruptors like Yannick Ngakoue & Calais Campbell, versatile Patrick Queen, and exceptional corners Marlon Humphrey & Marcus Peters, making them one of the more formidable offenses in the NFL. The lack of pressure that Browns QB Baker Mayfield enjoyed against the Titans is unlikely to be replicated with a blitz happy Ravens expected to get in his face regularly ; Baltimore blitz over 40% of the time. Most quarterbacks tend not to thrive under that kind of attention, but Mayfield’s regression is stark, so except both teams to look to the ground game for much of this one, with the Browns 1-2 punch of Nick Chubb & Kareem Hunt likely to factor heavily.

Much has been made of Lamar Jackson’s disappointing season, but he remains a dangerous dual threat QB capable of breaking off a play at any moment that can change the trajectory of the game, and his underrated passing ability will benefit from the return of TE Mark Andrews and possession receiver Willie Snead. As always at this time of year, double check the weather – Mayfield & co have had a few home field games this year in adverse conditions – but assuming it’s clear skies for primetime, expect both sides to land punches and cruise past the conservative total.

Match odds: Browns (11/10) Ravens (10/13)
Tip: Over 46.5 (22/25)

 

For all NFL Week 14 betting markets, click here

 

Cincinnati Bengals – Dallas Cowboys

Sunday December 13, 18:00pm GMT

Dallas disappointed against Baltimore but can bounce back with a win against an abject Bengals side whose mojo was lost the moment number one overall pick Joe Burrow was counted out for the season. As referenced, the Ravens did much of their damage on the ground, and Cincy will be missing Joe Mixon, their main rusher for this. Rookie receiver Tee Higgins is out for the Bengals too, and whilst Dallas may miss Zeke Elliot, given the indifferent form he’s been in all season, that won’t short stack them too dramatically.

Andy Dalton, on his return to Cincy, will be motivated in a way every QB that’s moved on is when facing his old side, and Dallas should be able to close out on promising drives against the Bengals in a way they didn’t against Baltimore.

Match odds: Bengals (33/20) Cowboys (13/25)
Tip: Dallas -3.5 (10/11)

Check out the Nat Coombs Show podcast on ESPN right here.